Montara State Beach
Map showing the location of Montara State Beach
Map showing the location of Montara State Beach
Map showing the location of Montara State Beach
Map showing the location of Montara State Beach
LocationSan Mateo County, California
Nearest cityHalf Moon Bay
Coordinates37°32′53″N 122°30′49″W / 37.54806°N 122.51361°W / 37.54806; -122.51361
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation

Montara State Beach is a beach located in the coastal region of the U.S. state of California, eight miles north of Half Moon Bay on State Route 1. It is operated by the California State Department of Parks and Recreation under the San Mateo Coast Sector Office. It is one of the cleanest beaches in the state[1] and is known for surfing and fishing.

Montara State Marine Reserve & Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area extends offshore from Montara State Beach.

Facilities and regulations

McNee Ranch trailhead at Gray Whale Cove, Montara State Beach

There are two beach access points. Dogs are allowed on-leash (6 ft. maximum). Fireworks and fires are not permitted.

There are bike, hiking, and horseback trails. The Devil's Slide is at the north end of the beach and the trail starts from a beach parking lot.[2] A lighthouse operated as a hostel is part of the state park.

The 690-acre McNee Ranch, on Montara Mountain, encompasses coastal mountain habitat and has sweeping views of the coast. The ranch's two-mile Pedro Mountain Trail connects to trails leading to Montara Beach and Gray Whale Cove.


The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition, camped in this area on October 30, 1769, possibly at Martini Creek,[3] which reaches the sea at Montara beach (Bolton says San Vicente Creek, farther south). Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi noted in his diary, "We stopped not far from the shore at the foot of some hills which prevent us from passing along the beach. They form a valley sheltered from the north, from which flows an arroyo with plenty of good water...on account of the large number of mussels which they found on this beach, very good and large, the men called it Punta de las Almejas."[4]

See also


  1. ^ Jones, Carolyn (May 27, 2010). "Bay Area beaches grade well for safe swimming". San Francisco Chronicle.
  2. ^ "Devil's Slide Trail map" (PDF). San Mateo County Parks. March 2014.
  3. ^ Portola Expedition Diaries
  4. ^ Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi: Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. pp. 225–26. Retrieved September 12, 2017.