We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Well protected twin beaches for swimsut wearers or for nudists” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Highway 1, Half Moon Bay, CA
650-728-5336
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #12 of 20 attractions in Half Moon Bay
Type: Beaches, State Parks
More attraction details
Attraction Details
Owner description: Gray whales can often be spotted close to the shore of this scenic beach. Surrounded by high cliffs, it features a clothing-optional section during the spring.
California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Well protected twin beaches for swimsut wearers or for nudists”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2007

Gray Whale Cove State Beach is located just a few miles up Highway 1 from the town of Montera. (N. of Half Moon Bay) There is a good sized parking lot on the east side of the road (away from the ocean) and a safe but steep trail down to the beach. Actually the trail drops down about 50 feet from the road and then there are stairs the last 80 or so vertical feet to the beach.

Looking out at the ocean, to the left (south) is a fairly large expanse of sand nestled in a cove with steep vertical rock cliffs. Surfers and families like this section and it is usually free of litter and over crowding.

Heading north around a series of rocks jutting out into the surf (calm or violent depending on the time of year) is a much smaller beach. This beach historically has been a nude beach and the sheltering rocks and high cliffs on this end make it a good place to come on the days when the wind is blowing but the sun is still out.

On the days that I have visited both beaches – there were very few people. This is probably due to the somewhat strenuous walk down and up the steps and the trail to the parking lot. The nude section attracts about an equal percentage of males and females. The people that I have seen seem to be a mellow nature lovers just looking for a place to get an all-over tan.

Also, I have seen nude people on the south beach but that is not too common. There are more people there (and families) and the south beach can be seen from the road above in a few places.

The water is far too cold to swim in. The waves even on a calm day make it extremely dangerous for a swimmer without a wet suit. Also, dog are not allowed on either beach.

If you are looking for a couple of pocket beaches for a quick stop (and a vigorous walk and climb) or to spend the entire day in (or out of) a swimsuit, this is one of the best beaches in Northern California.

* Portable restrooms at the top of the stairs but not near the beach
* Seems to be no fee for the parking lot
* The parking lot is not guarded and not marked
* The ocean is so loud that you cannot hear the traffic on Highway 1 above
* Pack out your litter!

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

12 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    8
    3
    0
    0
    1
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first

Travelers who viewed Gray Whale Cove State Beach also viewed

 
Half Moon Bay, CA
Half Moon Bay, CA
 

Been to Gray Whale Cove State Beach? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Gray Whale Cove State Beach, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Bookmark for later
Save Saved
You added Gray Whale Cove State Beach to your Saves list