Welcome to San Gregorio
South of San Francisco is a stretch of California coast peppered with tiny towns and sleepy beach-side communities. These towns don’t have much in the way of commercial development or local attractions. Sometimes, these cities never got around to incorporating, which means they aren’t even cities in a technical sense, just an old fashioned community of people brought together by shared values. San Gregorio is one of these areas. There is not much to the area, just a rich history and miles of beautiful California beach. Luckily for the residents, that’s just the way they like it.
Lay of the Land
Located along the Pacific Coast in San Mateo County, San Gregorio is one of dozens of tiny communities and towns that populate what once was a bustling stagecoach line from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. San Gregorio is just south of Half-Moon Bay and a few miles down State Route 84 from the communities of Bellvale and La Honda. With just over 200 residents, San Gregorio is tiny community by any metric. However, it is an extremely desirable area, with numerous historic homes. This has led to an average home value of $861,100, despite the relatively average household income of $73,750.
Despite being located in San Mateo County, the transportation options for San Gregorio are severely limited as a result of its isolated position along the coast. Traditional road travel is limited to the only two major roads near the area: State Route 1 and State Route 84. State Route 1 is a major coastal highway that runs the length of the Pacific Ocean from Pacifica in the north to Santa Cruz in the south. State Route 84 on the other hand runs in a more westerly direction from San Gregorio into the heart of the San Francisco Peninsula. Public transportation in the area is limited to SamTrans commuter bus service which runs a small circuit serving the coastal communities of San Mateo County. However, the bus lines do eventually lead to the city of Pacifica which does provide additional options for public transport.
Once upon a time, San Gregorio was a major stop on the stagecoach line from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. The town featured a sprawling, ten room hotel, several saloons, a post office, and a general store. However, all that remains of the original commercial endeavors is the general store and the post office. Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped the general store from becoming a local and regional attraction.
The San Gregorio General Store is still a functional retail location, offering residents, visitors, and those just passing through, access to a wide variety of functional and not-so-essential shopping options. This includes everything from books and fishing supplies to children’s toys and novelty gifts. However, the store has also become somewhat of a cultural icon in the area. The store currently hosts numerous musical performances which serve to showcase the talents of local and regional bluegrass and blues artists. It also serves as a meeting place for local farmers, vacationing Silicon Valley executives, and beach visitors.
The only other notable attraction in the area is the San Gregorio State Beach. The beach features numerous general amenities, such as restroom facilities, boating outlets, several dedicated picnic areas, and wide stretches of calm beach, perfect for swimming. It is also the home of a protected estuary. The estuary is fed by San Gregorio Creek from the east and is backed by a long stretch of sandy beach. It is also the home of dozens of different bird species and other smaller land and aquatic animals.