Gray Whale Cove, CA | Itinerary

LOCAL TO: San Francisco | 30 min drive

Gray Whale Cove State Beach kicks off our collection of local, undiscovered beaches. As we look ahead to summer, we are making our plans to get out and travel locally. In this itinerary, we highlight some of our favorite stops that make this day trip so memorable. We hope to share some ideas that can inspire your next day trip.

This beach was shared with me by a friend when I first moved to the area and now I want to share it with you.


How to get there: 

Rent Turo - easily book a car of your choice. I’ve found that Turo is by far the easiest car rental service with the most options. My favorite experience was renting a Mini Cooper convertible for a drive down the PCH - definitely would recommend.  


Finding the perfect playlist always takes me the most time before a trip. I use Spotify’s Soundtrack your Ride to create a customized playlist - you just answer a few questions and they create a playlist for you. 

9:00am Coffee + Breakfast 

Before you hit the highway swing by Piccino Coffee Bar & Bakery, in the Dogpatch, for a quick bite for the road. If you want to linger, stay for brunch at their restaurant. The Mediterranean infused menu brings together robust flavors. Whether it’s the classic Farm Egg dish with grits, brussel sprouts and balsamic or it’s the burrata with porcini honey served with fennel pollen crackers you will be pleasantly surprised by this menu. 

10:00am Pick up Lunch 

As you cruise through Pacifica stop by Dinosaurs to pick up exceptional bahn mi and spring rolls. This unassuming Vietnamese cafe serves the perfect sandwiches for the beach. Pair your sandwich with their Avocado Shake - fresh avocado mixed with vanilla rice milk and sweetened with pure cane sugar. A tasty treat to save for lunch.  


11:00am At the Beach 

Gray Whale Cove State Park is a unique cove-like beach. Nestled between cliffs, this beach offers sheltered nooks that make for an ideal beach set-up.

Although the waves are large, you can find time to wade and cool off. Currently, my go-to reading is the Conde Nast Traveler magazine - highlighting hidden destinations around the world.

When the heat of the day hits, one of my favorite snacks is a fresh grapefruit. There is just something about a juicy fruit at the beach that tastes so good. 

5:00pm Dinner

Before you head back to the city, catch the sunset at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company just a few minutes south of Gray Whale Cove. Make sure to pack a sweater so you can sit outside on their patio overlooking the ocean.

The restaurant also has outdoor fires to cozy up to when the sun goes down. Above all, don’t skip their famous craft beers and their incredible parmesan, truffle fries. 

Enjoy your drive down the PCH and share your stories along the way.