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.

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