Author/Photos: Brian Overfelt
Mavericks is located 1/2 mile off shore of Pillar Point, in the small town of Princeton-by-the-Sea. The famous surf break is surrounded by homes, businesses, restaurants and the bustling Pillar Point Harbor, a working fisherman’s harbor protected by a breakwater. Nearby is the beautiful coastal trail linking Pillar Point to the stunning Ritza Carlton on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean just south of downtown Half Moon Bay. The town of Princeton has been a tourist destination since the early 1900s, when a train linked the coastal community to San Francisco.
Below are a few highlights of the area around Princeton-by-the-Sea.
ALONG THE HARBOR
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Enjoy the great dining and custom brews of The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company with stunning views of the harbor. The outdoor dining patio features a firepit, outdoor bar and a friendly place for dogs You can see many a big wave charger in here getting a bite to eat after a long session at Mavericks.
390 Capistrano Rd – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-2739
Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant
A family style Italian restaurant with great food, a great staff, and great prices. This place is a must eat and is on one of the last turns to Mavericks. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant.
459 Prospect Way – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-8108
Old Princeton Landing and Silver Star Grill
“The Coast side’s biggest little music house.” This place is a local favorite open everyday for happy hour to late night that hosts great music and entertainment. Owned and run by locals (except Frank Solomon who bar backs while he is in town to surf Mavericks). You can’t miss it as it’s on the way to Mavericks and will have live music the day of the event. A new addition is the Silver Star Grill that is open everyday but Monday from 10am to 10pm. The grill brags it has the best burger ($6) in town and I believe it does.
460 Capistrano Rd – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-7096
A local seafood restaurant inside pillar point harbor that serves up excellent food. This place literally hangs over the water and has become an institution to the coast side. It’s on the way to Mavericks so you won’t miss it. There is also a to go window if you want to keep exploring while you eat.
281 Capistrano Road – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-7049
Oceano Hotel and Spa
A 4 star hotel and spa that is a new addition to the coast and host to Mavericks Invitational Festival. Very nice rooms and a very nice spa. Beautiful views of the harbor. Also, has an atrium mall inside with many local shops. A must go!!
270 Capistrano Rd – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 726-5400
Situated in picturesque Pillar Point Harbor, Crab Landing Seafood & Steak House strives to create an unforgettable dining experience for each and every guest. Crab Landing prides itself on gracious and professional service, a spectacular menu featuring locally farmed produce and fresh, local sustainable seafood, and a unique multi-level dining room with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, showcasing the stunning harbor-views of the historic California Coastline.
260 Capistrano Rd – Princeton By The Sea, CA94018 – (650) 712-1288
IN THE HARBOR:
The best place to buy fresh fish in the area is right from the fisherman on their boats. Just stroll down Johnson Pier and look for signs hanging along the pier to find the latest catch from the boats.
Half Moon Bay Sportfishing
You need a fishing license, some bait, a whale watching expedition, book a charter to view the Mavericks Invitational from the channel, or anything else to do with sport in the ocean; this is your place.
27 Johnson Pier – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-3377
Ketch Joanne/Harbor Bar
This is a true locals favorite and a very comfortable place. Enjoy a family style breakfast, lunch or dinner with a great menu we all enjoy. The Harbor Bar is a place where the locals like to blow off steam late into the night.
17 Johnson Pier – Princeton By The Sea, CA 94018 – (650) 728-5566
Mavericks Surf Shop
Located right in the heart of Johnson Pier is Jeff Clark’s Mavericks Surf Shop. Equipped with all surfing equipment and great apparel this shop has what you need when spending time in the ocean. The walls of Jeff’s shop are also covered in Maverick’s history with amazing photos and big wave guns. You’ll even find Jeff hanging out there and working on boards. A must stop while visiting the area.
25 Johnson Pier – Pillar Point Harbor – Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 – (650) 560-8088
Princeton Pantry/Bait & Switch Sportfishing
Princeton Pantry (aka Bait & Switch Sportfishing) is a small market, coffee shop and ocean sport fishing and boat charter business located in scenic and historic Pillar Point Harbor. They book fishing trips and tours, including trip out during the Mavericks Invitational, on six different boats – all with great captains and crew, impeccable safety records and amenities.
15 Johnson Pier, Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay, 650-726-7133 or 726~0110
Princeton Seafood Co. Market- Fresh Fish and Crab Market
Just steps away from the fishing fleet at Pillar Point Harbor, Princeton Seafood Co. Market & Restaurant has welcomed locals and visitors alike for over 30 years. Serving fresh seafood, salads, pasta dishes, and other fare alongside their award-winning clam chowder, they offer fabulous food in a relaxing atmosphere. The Market features an array of seafood, fresh from the source, for your home culinary adventures.
300 Capistrano Rd – Princeton By The Sea, CA94018 – (650) 726-2722
Half Moon Bay Kayak Co.
If you want to explore the harbor or the coast on a kayak this is the place to go. The friendly HMB Kayak Co. staff provides lessons and rentals. (Note: rentals are closed on contest day and during hazardous ocean conditions.)
2 Johnson Pier – Princeton By The Sea, CA94018 – (650) 773-6101
HEADING SOUTH ALONG THE TRAIL
This beautiful trail runs all along the coast starting inside the Pillar Point Harbor. Take a walk or bring your bike and enjoy the trail as it winds along many beaches here on the coast of Half Moon Bay.
Beach House InnThe Beach House Inn has sweeping views of Pillar Point Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. A favorite among honeymooners and couples, the luxury boutique hotel has more than 50 loft suites to offer. The hotel provides a relaxing haven for visitors. Coast-to-coast walking paths can be found nearby. Picnic lunches can be made up for seaside strolls, and the city offers plenty of choice for dinner. Head back to the hotel and you’ll find attractively decorated and comfortable guestrooms. 4100 North Cabrillo Hwy – Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 – (650) 712-0220
Sam’s Chowder House
Sam’s Chowder House is the locals’ answer to high quality comfort food. They have a great menu and an incredible view of the Pillar Point Harbor and beyond (all the way to Mavericks). Situated right on Highway 1 you can’t miss the restaurant as you approach the Pillar Point Harbor from the South.
ACROSS THE HIGHWAY IN EL GRANADA
Harbor View Inn
This simple, clean motel sits directly across Highway 1 from the Pillar Point Harbor and just a few yards from Cafe Classique. They offer an affordable place to stay and within walking distance to the Mavericks Invitational Festival, Pillar Point, and the many restaurants and attractions in the harbor.
51 Ave Alhambra – El Granada, CA 94018 – (650) 726-2329
Open seven days a week from 4:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for coffee, espressos, homemade bagels, scones, muffins, croissants. Full breakfast and lunch served all day.
107 Sevilla Avenue El Granada, CA 94018 – (650) 726-9775
Easy Mart Liquor & Food
This is one of those inconspicuous but essential destinations on our local knowledge section. A local convenience store directly across from the harbor that has everything from gasoline to Gatorade, bait and tackle to fine wines, and everything in between.
61 Ave Alhambra – El Granada, CA 94018 – (650) 726-9924
El Granada General Store
A favorite coffee and sandwich shop for locals, located across the street from the El Granada Post Office and across the highway from Surfer’s Beach. Get a true sense of a small town market, deli, ice cream shop and full service hardware store, all in one convenient location.
85 Avenue Portola – El Granada, CA 94018 – (650) 726-5009