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About Mavericks Beach in Half Moon Bay, California

Mavericks Beach at Pillar Point near Half Moon Bay is the site of the annual big wave surfing competition called Maverick’s. This big wave surf area is located a quarter-mile offshore from bluff top viewing areas outside the Air Force military installation on Pillar Point. From a distance Pillar Point is easy to spot as it has a huge white ball (a “radome” that encloses a telemetry dish for tracking aircrafts) on top.

The landforms under the water at Mavericks create a unique big break when large winter swells roll in. The surf competition is held when (and if) sufficient conditions occur between November and March. It’s “on” when there’s a strong winter W-NW swell and wind coming from the east blowing offshore.

The first Mavericks event took place in 1999 and has happened in most years since. Several films have been shot here telling the history of Mavericks some of its surfers (e.g. Discovering Mavericks, Chasing Mavericks).

When the weather cooperates this is a great beach to get out and stretch the legs on. This is a popular spot for locals who want to walk their dogs in peace. Signs say leashes are required but this is not typically enforced unless dogs get close to the nearby Pillar Point Marsh wetlands.

To find Mavericks from Highway 1, drive through the Half Moon Bay community of Princeton-By-The-Sea, then turn north onto West Point Avenue and continue to the Pillar Point Marsh parking lot at the end of the road.

From the parking area hike down the trail to the harbor and turn right. Follow the trail to the jetty and around the corner. Keep in mind that rogue waves can hit the beach so always keep your eyes on the surf. The steep cliffs on the bluff are crumbling in the area outside the jetty so stay back from them.

Camping on the point is not allowed and the parking lot is locked at sunset.

W Point Ave
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Other Names
Pillar Point Beach
Pet Details
Dogs allowed on leash
No fee for parking
Surfing, Whale Watching, Hiking, Birdwatching
Toilets, Trails
Map of Mavericks Beach
El Granada, US
6:23 pm, April 21, 2024
temperature icon 56°F
L: 53° H: 61°
Feels like 55.17 °F scattered clouds
Wind gusts: 4 m/s
UV Index: 0.89
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 6:26 am
Sunset: 7:50 pm
Humidity 82 %
Pressure1014 mb
Wind 4 m/s

Nearby Beaches

Ross Cove Beach

0.3 miles away

Ross Cove Beach is on the north side of Pillar Point between Half Moon Bay and the city of...

View beach

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Lodging


Rated 4.0 out of 5
1 review(s)
Very good100%
Rated 4.0 out of 5
May 3, 2023

Not a bad beach but Ross Cove on the other side of Pillar Point is much better.

Hugh Johnson