El Granada, CA 94018
scenic trails & sea front
El Granada, CA, is a sleepy residential community about 4 miles north of historic Half Moon Bay and 25 miles south of San Francisco. In and nearby town, however, there is plenty of beautiful scenery. See map of best things to do for exact locations.
It does have an interesting history which resulted in the many beautiful parks which surround it today. The most famous architect of the early 1900s, Daniel H Burnham, designed El Granada to become a recreational home community that fronted the ocean and was surrounded by linked park chains (green space). Thousands of wealthy San Franciscans came via Ocean Shore Rail Road to enjoy the setting and look at house lots for sale within this 1271-acre development (including 640 acres of parks). Picnics and carriage riding on the many park trails were especially popular activities. However, the Shore Line Investment Company behind the project went bankrupt in 1920 leaving a train station, nice boulevards arranged in a fan shape, and many vacant lots. Years later the area slowly filled in to become the quiet bedroom community that exists today.
Some of the very nice park lands (see map) surrounding El Granada are:
- Quarry Park: A 40-acre community park whose Vista Point provides a spectacular view of Princeton harbor.
- Wicklow Open Space: A 478-acre preserve most easily accessed via Quarry Park. Blue gum eucalyptus trees planted in the early 1900s still cover more than half of the property.
- Rancho Corral de Tierra: A new national park, consisting of 4,262 acres north and east of the city.
- Mirada Surf: A 40-acre open space area which includes the bluffs and trail above Miramar beach.
- Pillar Point Bluffs: Beautiful open space lands on bluffs above the ocean (& Maverick’s surfing spot) located between Pillar Point Harbor and Moss Beach.
Some best places to see the ocean are below. Also see map.
- Princeton-By-The-Sea: This nice little commercial maritime village surrounds Pillar Point Harbor. It has a marina, pier, lodging, and some shopping. Some of the better restaurants are Mezza Luna and Sam’s Chowder House. Other popular restaurants include Barbara’s Fishtrap, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, and Silver Star Grill.
- Surfers Beach: Probably the best and most popular spot for beginning-intermediate surfers between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Has good access and good steady small wave action.
- Mirada Surf Coastal Trail: A short new paved trail on the beach bluff between El Granada and Miramar.
- Mirimar Beach: Good beach walking here or on Mirada Rd on the bluffs above. See live webcams from Miramar Beach Restaurant.
Since El Granada is really just a sleepy bedroom community there really is not much happening within town itself. However, here are a few hidden secrets to check out:
- Creekside Smokehouse, 280 Ave Alhambra, for the best smoked fish around.
- Cafe Gibralter, 425 Ave Alhambra, is one of the top restaurants on the coast.
- El Granada Hardware & Cafe, 85 Ave Portola. Join the locals and Surfer Beach visitors for a good cup of drip coffee check the “fogbuster” house blend at
- Map of best things to do in El Granada and Princeton Harbor
- Princeton-By-The-Sea a nifty harbor village adjacent to El Granada
- Quarry Park information
- Rancho Corral De Tierra trailhead to a new national park
- Half Moon Bay coastal trails and Map
- Half Moon Bay things to do and Map
- Top of page and Home page