Bean Hollow State Beach

Meander Among Tide Pools at Bean Hollow State Beach


Bean Hollow State Beach

Looking for a California beach where sea critters outnumber the “critters” with umbrellas and ice chests? Bean Hollow State Beach, one of the gems of the San Mateo Coastline, is just the ticket! We love this cozy little beach because it’s not too crowded, it’s great for picnics, and its rocky crevices afford easy-to-get-to, up-close-and-personal views of tide-pool inhabitants such as crabs, sea urchins, and anemones.

Want to know more about this little stretch of paradise between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz? We’ll fill you in on all the details about Bean Hollow State Beach itself, as well as cool places to visit in and around the nearby town of Pescadero.

How to get to Bean Hollow State Beach

Bean Hollow State Beach is located 17.5 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 3 miles south of Pescadero on California Highway 1. Its official address is 11000 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, CA 94060.

Bean Hollow State Beach’s claim to fame

In October 2010, the carcass of an 85-foot pregnant blue whale washed ashore at Bean Hollow State Beach, causing a media stir.

What facilities are available at Bean Hollow State Beach?

Bean Hollow State Beach is hardly a resort; it offers the bare minimum in the way of people-pleasing amenities. The most you can expect are picnic tables and a few portable toilets. There’s no running water, and there are no beachside bars with cute cabana boys. Deal with it.

Is Bean Hollow State Beach a good place to swim?

If you’re a fish, yes. If you’re a human, no. Swimming for people is dangerous because of the cold water, rip currents, and heavy surf at Bean Hollow State Beach.

Are dogs allowed at Bean Hollow State Beach?

Yep – as long as they’re controlled with a leash of no more than 6 feet at all times. Your pet tarantula, however, should stay home.

What to wear to Bean Hollow State Beach

Stilettos and a top hat. Just kidding. You know the drill; Bean Hollow State Beach is pretty much the same as all Northern California beaches, which can be freezing one moment, warm the next. Dress in layers — you can’t go wrong. And be sure to wear some sturdy shoes so you can navigate the rocky tide-pool areas with ease.

A few rules about Bean Hollow State Beach

* No beach fires are allowed.

* Sure, it’s fun to collect souvenirs, but don’t even think of picking up shells, driftwood, or other natural beach features to cart back to your house. It’s against the law.

* Fireworks are prohibited.

Treat Bean Hollow State Beach tide pools with care

This is a given, but it bears repeating. The tide-pool creatures of Bean Hollow State Beach don’t like to be poked! Think of how irritating that was when you were a kid and your brother wouldn’t stop pummeling you in the back seat of the car. Well, it’s no different for urchins and anemones, except they can’t fight back. So look all you want, but please don’t disturb the ocean ecosystem. It’s more fragile than you think.

Things to do near Bean Hollow State Beach

Take a Hike
The Arroyo de los Frijoles Trail between Pebble Beach (not to be confused with the famous golf course) and Bean Hollow State Beach is a 2-mile round-trip journey worth taking. Greeting the eye are tide pools, wildflowers (in season), and colonies of harbor seals and shore birds, as well as the unique quartz pebbles on Pebble Beach – they’re wave-polished and rounded into beautiful gemlike stones. The trailhead at Pebble Beach begins at the south end of the parking lot along Highway 1, 2.5 miles south of Pescadero.

View Elephant Seals
At Año Nuevo State Reserve, learn about 2½ ton elephant seals that come to the reserve to give birth, nurse, mate, and molt. Be sure to make reservations far in advance; only a limited number of visitors are allowed at a time. Read about Ano Nuevo Guided Walks at before calling (800) 444-4445 for a reservation.

Pick Some Fresh Produce
Just a short jaunt south of Ano Nuevo State Reserve is Coastways Ranch, operating in Pescadero since 1917. Here you can pick your fill of the biggest, reddest, juiciest strawberries and olallieberries you’ve ever laid eyes on, and purchase a jar of jam to bring home. Wear your oldest, rattiest pair of shoes; the ground is often muddy.

640 Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero; (650) 879-0414

Visit a Cool General Store
If the San Gregorio Store doesn’t have it, you don’t need it! We get a kick out of this unique emporium’s website description: “Saloon, lanterns, seeds, no television, U.S. Post Office, cast iron cookware, aspirin, advice, wines fine to rot gut, western and work clothing, groceries, hardware, bullshit, toys, cowtechnician hats, international beers, beeswax, cheesecloth, piano in-tune, books (literature, poetry, gender and environmental politics), homemade sandwiches, diapers, crockery, weather analysis, coal hods, raccoon traps, tequila (18 flavors), posters, cards, tee shirts, buttons, candles, rain gear, organic garlic, apples and butternut squash in season, live music (Irish R&B, bluegrass, original everything else).” That pretty much says it all.

Highway 84 and Stage Road, San Gregorio; (650) 726-0565

Boogie at a Roadhouse
Apple Jacks Inn, which started life as a blacksmith shop in 1879, is one of the most lovable historic country dive bars in Northern California. Dance the night away to live music on weekends, and don’t trip over the Harleys. The bar is located about 5 miles east of San Gregorio.

1 Entrada Way, La Honda; (650) 747-0331

Load up on Heirloom Bean
Phipps Country Store & Farm has 75 varieties of the finest heirloom and exotic dried beans and legumes, in addition to a wide variety of fruit jams, herbs, spices, vinegars, rice, flours, and grains. In the summer it’s fun to come and pick pesticide-free strawberries, olallieberries, and boysenberries, and hang out with the farm animals.

2700 Pescadero Road; (650) 879-1032

Chat with Craftsmen and Artisans
You won’t want to miss Made in Pescadero, a working gallery that crafts and displays fine custom furniture, art, and accessories by the area’s most talented craftsmen and artists. The intoxicating smell of wood makes the experience all the more pleasant.

216 Stage Road, Pescadero; (650) 879-9128

Break Bread
Arcangeli Grocery Co./Norm’s Market specializes in country-style, made-from-scratch artichoke bread, as well as homemade spreads, salsas, and jams. Believe us, one bite of that heavenly bread will make you an addict! It’s a must for any picnic at Bean Hollow State Beach.

287 Stage Road, Pescadero; (650) 879-0147

Dine at a Historic Restaurant
You haven’t lived ‘til you’ve tried the artichoke and green chile soup at Duarte’s Tavern, a Pescadero institution since 1894. The James Beard Foundation “American Classics” award winner is also known for its olallieberry pie.

202 Stage Road, Pescadero; (650) 879-0464.

Stop at a Goat Dairy
Harley Farms Goat Dairy, a 1910 working dairy farm, has 200 alpine goats on nine acres of pasture in Pescadero. Stop in for some award-winning chevre, fromage blanc, ricotta, or feta cheese, and make time for a tour.

205 North St., Pescadero; (650) 879-0480

Where to stay near Bean Hollow State Beach

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, the 1872 lighthouse’s keeper’s quarters are restored and operated as a hostel. Guests get a choice of affordable shared or private rooms; amenities include lounges, fully equipped kitchens, Internet, free WiFi, and free parking. The best thing of all? There’s a hot tub with panoramic views of the ocean. Half-hour guided history walks around the lighthouse grounds are available 10a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, except on rainy days. The lighthouse itself is currently closed.

210 Pigeon Point Road (Highway 1), Pescadero; (650) 879-0633

Pescadero Creek Inn
This charming 19th century farmhouse B&B has three antique-filled guest rooms and a garden cottage with a private deck overlooking a creek, an organic vegetable garden, and 20 acres of flower fields. Anyone who presents 25 ticket stubs from Grateful Dead concerts gets a 10 percent discount each night. Environmentalists, teachers, and military personnel get a break, too.

393 Stage Road (888) 307-1898

This eco-adventure resort has a spa and outdoor hot tub, as well as several on-site activities: horseback riding, kids camp, guided naturalist hikes, mountain biking, surfing lessons, kayaking, and yoga classes. Accommodations come in three tiers: camping, tent bungalows, and lodge rooms.

2001 Rossi Road at Highway 1, Pescadero; (877) 262-7848

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