The fishing village of Moss Landing is a must-visit in Monterey County, and is a bay-side spot less than two hours' drive south of San Francisco. Wildlife, waves and, of course, fresh sea food anchor this weekend getaway.
It takes just 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive to Moss Landing from San Francisco. For the fastest ticket, ride US-101 S toward San Jose, where you'll exit onto CA-85 toward Cupertino and beyond, toward Los Gatos and CA-17 S. Enjoy the slinking 17 all the way to Santa Cruz and famed CA-1. That's your line the rest of the way to Moss Landing.
Of course, you could just bow out of all those highway changes and the bustle of the greater Bay Area much sooner. Forget US-101, and take the calm cruise of CA-1 all the way down from I-280 and Daly City. It might take up to 30 minutes longer, but you'll be glad you made the effort, at least going in one direction on this round-trip getaway to that other bay.
Contrary to its name, Motel 6 - Monterey is in nearby Castroville. It's a small, budget-friendly option that gives you the basics you need for a launch point to adventure. The hotel is only minutes from Moss Landing, and is less than 14 miles from Monterey, the heart of Monterey Bay and and the county.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Marina is a six-minute walk to sands between your toes and waves beneath your board, and is less than 10 miles from Moss Landing. This spot just off US-1 comes with the comfort and amenities you expect: WiFi, in-room refrigerator and coffee maker, fitness room access and breakfast.
The Captain's Inn is a family-run place like no other, and is only an eight-minute walk from the beach. This nautical-themed Moss Landing B&B offers unique rooms with free Wi-Fi. It provides a daily, free hot breakfast that includes fruit, pastries and a home-cooked main course. Enjoy your private fireplace in your one-of-a-kind room that might just include a catamaran-bed with seaside views. Yes, a catamaran-bed.
The seafood at Phil's Fish Market is as local and fresh as you can get. It's a local's go-to in Moss Landing. The blackened scallops and seafood pasta are highly recommended, but you know you can't go wrong in a seafood joint named Phil's Fish Market in a fishing village on Monterey Bay.
This road-side market and restaurant give you the freshest produce and lunch you can find. Grab your sandwich and a brew, and maybe take home some of the tongue-in-cheek offerings of Big Cock Ranch, with its Good S**t, Aw S**t or Bull S**t-branded seasonings. Fresh bread? Local beer? Smoothies, avocados, melons? The market is overflowing with fresh goodness and too many items to list.
Lemongrass Seafood Bar & Grill serves up the Thai goodies you crave. Authentic noodles and fresh seafood served with a smile. Vegetarian options are plentiful, of course.
A Monterey Bay whale watching trip with Blue Ocean Whale Watch is the perfect activity for families, ecotourists, and photographers. Tours depart from Moss Landing Harbor, which is halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey.
The Elkhorn Slough is one of California's largest wetlands and is part of a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The slough winds inland seven miles and provides vital feeding and resting grounds for a diverse population of wildlife. The weather is mild year round and each season offers unique opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Moss Landing State Beach might be the most beautiful stretch of sand in California. Yeah, big claim in a state that shows off hundreds of miles of world-class coastline. Moss Landing State Beach has tall sand dunes that drop down to the beach and lay out a broad swatch of solitude and sea.
Drive the 10 minutes to neighboring Castroville to see what's going on in the Artichoke Capital of the World. At the heart of this fertile area's artichoke prominence is Pezzini Farms. At Pezzini Farms, you can get in touch with the soil and the souls that make it happen. The farms have produced Heirloom Green Globe artichokes for more eighty years, with each being harvested by hand.
Kayak Connection offers kayak tours in Elkhorn Slough, one of the top 10 wildlife viewing destinations in North America, and in nearby Santa Cruz. The Elkhorn Slough at Moss Landing boasts the largest remaining raft of southern sea otters on the planet. Paddle with otters, as well as sea lions, harbor seals, floating jelllies and migrating sea birds.