With two intimate beaches and plentiful tidepools to wander, Bean Hollow State Park is a relaxing destination about an hour’s drive from San Francisco.
What Makes It Great
This is a fantastic place to relive your childhood and explore nature: peer into bountiful tidepools home to pale green sea anemones, spiky purple sea urchins, scuttling crabs and the occasional starfish; view the sunbathing seals that regularly lounge upon a rocky island just off shore; walk along a one-mile self-guided interpretive trail atop low bluffs speckled with vibrant spring wildflowers. Overlooking the crashing surf, this quaint trail links the southern sandy Bean Hollow State Beach (also known as Arroyo de los Frijoles Beach) to the northern Pebble Beach and provides interesting tidbits about the local scenery.
Pebble Beach itself is a work of art. Nestled into a quiet crescent cove, it consists of millions of colorful bean-sized stones (such as agate, chalcedony, jasper, moonstones, sardonyx) that produce a meditative murmur as the waves wash over them. Rocks with small, intricate cave-like features (tafoni) protrude from the shore; they are product of centuries worth of interplay between the stone, salt spray and high winds.
Who is Going to Love It
A convenient daytime getaway for pensive folks, naturalists and families with children who’d like to spend a quiet afternoon enjoying the beauty of California’s coastline and perhaps, a little snack at one of the park’s picnic tables.
Also great for dog owners who’d like to stroll along the scenic bluffs with their pup.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The park is located about 47 miles south of San Francisco. For the scenic coastal route, take I-280 S and follow signs for Pacifica. Continue onto CA Highway 1 S passing through Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. Another 17.6 miles south and there will be two consecutive right turn offs Highway 1 - one for the northern Pebble Beach and one for the southern Bean Hollow Beach.
Each beach has a few parking spaces ($8 for the day), a restroom, and a few picnic tables with barbeque grills. The mile-long interpretive trail connects the two beaches and allows for an easy two mile out and back. Bring your own tide tables - this information is not available at the park.
Swimming is not advised due to strong rip currents, heavy surf, and the presence of sharks. Beach fires, fireworks, gathering natural souvenirs are prohibited.