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Moss Beach

Welcome to Moss Beach

Moss Beach is a secluded San Mateo County census designated place located in the center of California’s Pacific Coast. Moss Beach is one of numerous picturesque coastal towns dotting America’s western edge. Unusually high amounts of lingering fog combine with the secluded nature of the beachfront area to create a sense of pleasant isolation. While small in population, the residents of Moss Beach are nonetheless dedicated to maintaining the dreamy ambiance of the region.

Lay of the Land

Moss Beach is isolated and generally unlike any of the major metropolitan cities located in the rest of San Mateo County or the nearby Silicon Valley. However, the isolation is less intentional and more a result of the lack of infrastructure extending into the surrounding area and the mountainous region that shield it from the rest of the county. In actuality, Moss Beach is only 20 miles south of San Francisco and even closer to some of the other major county cities. Its nearest neighbors along the coast are Montara, El Granada, and Princeton-by-the-Sea.

While the town never incorporated or established a formal government, its 3,103 residents is a relatively high number for a census designated place. Economic conditions within the town are also in line with the rest of the region. The average household income for the area is $110,184 while the average estimated home value is $704,886.


California State Route 1 is a major historical highway that winds past Moss Beach and runs up and down the vast majority of the Pacific Coastline. It connects Moss Beach to the San Francisco Bay Area and allows residents to connect to Interstate 280. Public transportation within the city is extremely limited. SamTrans operates a bus lines that starts in Pacifica and runs down the coast, stopping in Moss Beach and several of the other more isolated locations in the area. SamTrans also runs several lines out of the same Pacifica station that move into the more populated regions of San Mateo County.

Local Highlights

Moss Beach is not a community concerned with economic growth or large scale commercial development. The vast majority of the Pacific Coast located within San Mateo County is covered by a combination of State Parks, State Beaches, and protected preserves and wildlife reserves. The cities and local communities in the region are mainly concerned with providing residents and visitors a means of enjoying the local scenery. In Moss Beach, these include Seal Cove and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. However, there are several locations within the area that seek to provide visitors with a touch of luxury during their stay.

One such location is the Moss Beach Distillery. Located on the cliffs directly above the beach, the distillery has a rich regional history. During prohibition, the secluded location was the perfect spot for bootleggers to operate an illegal distillery and speakeasy. After prohibition was repealed, the owner of the distillery decided to continue serving his existing clientele and converted the building into a more legitimate bar and restaurant. The same secluded location that once cloaked the distillery’s illegal activities now provides diners with a picturesque view of the ocean.

The Seal Cove Inn is another location within the area with the same dedication to providing visitors with premium service while they enjoy the local scenery. Though lacking the rich history of the distillery, the Seal Cove Inn makes the most of the local scenery. Located within a grove of cypress trees, the bed-and-breakfast provides guests As You Wish concierge services and lodgings in one of twelves luxury suites. However, the main attraction is of course the inn’s proximity to the local beach, which places guests within a five-hundred step walkway of the water.