As much as we mourn the end of summer beach vacays and frozen cocktails, the follow-up of fall on the beach is pretty good at keeping the blues at bay. And one of the biggest drivers of autumn bliss, aside from cool breach breezes and cozy nights around the fire pit, is pumpkin. All. Things. Pumpkin.
And if PSL’s and pumpkin spice candles are your jam come the first hint of sub-70-degree temps, you might want to plan a trip to California’s pumpkin paradise. Half Moon Bay, a tiny beach town located just south of San Francisco, bills itself as the world’s Pumpkin Capital—for good reason. Just beyond the hip surf town’s rugged coastline lies miles of rural pumpkin patches, where farmers harvest gourds that grow upwards of 1,000 pounds.
Those prized pumpkins will be on display at Half Moon Bay’s World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off (October 14), considered the Super Bowl of weigh-offs for competitive pumpkin growers. The coastal town is also home to the annual Art and Pumpkin Festival (October 19-20), which features carving contests, harvest-inspired crafts, and all the pumpkin-filled dishes and drinks you can possibly think of.
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But, even if you can’t make it to the festivities, planning a fall trip to beautiful Half Moon Bay is a must for pumpkin lovers. Throughout the season, visitors can explore the rural side of town with a trip to one of the city’s many pick-your-own-pumpkin patches. Brew lovers can also pay a visit to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, where you can sip on a cold Pumpkin Harvest Ale made from locally sourced sugar pie pumpkins while savoring views of the Half Moon Bay harbor.
For serious pumpkin enthusiasts, the ode to the orange gourd continues with a luxurious stay at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Book the Pumpkin Experience Package through October 31 and score a Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Facial and welcome pumpkin pastry upon arrival (rates start at $1,139 per night).
Has fall on the beach ever sounded so sweet?