Tidepools just down the stairs show off local sealife
—Welcome to Moonstone Beach on the scenic Central Coast of California. Located in Cambria, this beautiful and unique beach, part of the Hearst San Simeon State Park is about a 40-minute drive north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1.
The Moonstone Beach Boardwalk is a comfortable way to take in the magnificent beauty of the Pacific coastline and enjoy the beach. It is a fantastic day hike for the whole family. Dogs are not allowed on Moonstone Beach, but your leashed dog can join you on the easy 1.5-mile stroll on the boardwalk. Bring binoculars.
“This boardwalk meanders down a pathway which is easily accessible either walking, using a stroller or wheelchair. Easy access down to Moonstone beach to collect sea glass and moonstones. Love to walk the area at sunset and listen to the waves.” — TripAdvisor
There are benches to sit and enjoy the views and several stairways that lead right to the sandy beaches. Look out for the friendly squirrels. They will jump right up to you if they think you have food. Other wildlife includes ducks, egrets, seals, and the ever-present sea gulls, that will also snatch food.
On the beach, visit the several tide pools that are part of the part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. They are filled with ocean life like sea anemones, spiny purple sea urchins, snails and crabs.
Moonstone Beach gets its name from the agate stones that the tides deposit on the beach. Although not true, gem-quality moonstones, the local stones are just as spellbinding. Collecting rocks and shells from within state parks and the marine sanctuary is illegal under most circumstances, as is collecting plants and sea animals from the tide pools. Check with California State Park authorities if you want to collect moonstones from the beach.
The boardwalk runs parallel to Moonstone Beach Drive, which is lined on the inland side by shops, restaurants and hotels. Reservations are not required to visit the boardwalk. Bicycles are not allowed on the boardwalk, but leashed dogs are. The weather can be chilly, even in the summer time, so be sure to bring a sweater or jacket.
Visitors are encouraged to abide by local county health directives and to check the California State Parks website, parks.ca.gov, for safety tips, accessibility features and for more information.
To get to the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk, head to Cambria on Hwy 1 to Cambria. Turn onto Windsor and a quick right on Moonstone Beach Drive. There is an official free parking lot on the left side a short way down and lots of parking near the boardwalk along the road.
While you are here, check out the many fine restaurants, inns and motels along Moonstone Beach.
- Scarecrow Festival is Cambria tradition
- Take an “Outback” trail ride
- Howl at the moon – Enjoy Twin Coyotes Winery
- Pub features locally grown ingredients