We have close friends who live in San Jose so one of the things we are often looking for is fun places easy driving distances from both San Francisco and San Jose and one of our recent favorites is the state beach at Half Moon Bay. The beach is never crowded, the sand is great for building castles and our kids love playing in the waves. Be warned they are stronger than they look and we all got at least the bottom halves of our pants wet when a stronger than expected wave hit!
The last time we went we spent a few hours on the beach and then headed up the hill to enjoy some BBQ at the tables overlooking the ocean with a great view of the surfers. Be warned that the seagulls are fierce and are determined to get your food at any cost. We had the toddlers running circles around our table and that still was not enough commotion to keep them at bay!
It costs $10 per car to get in for the day but with lots of picnic tables, bathrooms (and showers if you brave the water) and BBQ facilities it is great value for a super fun day. They also have camping, we’ve never stayed overnight but should try one day!
For more information you can check out their website here!