Beach Access Sorta Granted

Martins Beach

There's a secluded and scenic beach on the San Mateo Coast that's been kept under wraps for years. The reason? A homeowner has kept this beach to himself, and the Surfrider Foundation, San Mateo County Chapter, hasn't been happy about it. After a long battle in the courtroom, the public was granted access to the beach for the summer, but things are still a bit tricky: Permanent public access isn't a guarantee, and it's unclear which days the gate will or will not be open. You can take your chances over the next few weeks and see if the entrance gate is locked or not. The official name of the beach is Martins Beach, and it's located just off Highway 1, about 6 miles south of Half Moon Bay. In exchange for a parking fee of $10, you can enjoy this crescent-shaped sandy haven bookended by 30-foot cliffs. Towards the north end, small pools appear during low tide, teeming with starfish, mussels, and sea anemone. The beach is popular for surfing and fishing. Depending on the swell and tide, waves can be a decent size, and fun. No waves and the water's calm? Then tide-pooling or fishing for rock cod and perch can be a blast.

Alternate Beach: If you show up to Martins Beach and can't access it, head a few miles south to San Gregorio and Pomponio State Beaches, which are connected by a 1.5-mile (one-way) stretch of golden sand backed by grassy bluffs.

Martins Beach is 5 miles south of Half Moon Bay Golf Links, or 5 miles north of San Gregorio State Beach. On Hwy. 1 there's a green blank billboard that sits on a farm at the turnoff/roadside parking. If the gate is unlocked, follow the road down to the beach. Parking fee $10. No dogs. __Researched and written by Kyle Madden.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

    View
  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

    View
  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

    View
  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

    View
  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

    View
  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

    View
  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.

    View