• Photo: Peggy Woods Ryan / Shutterstock

Half Moon Bay

It may be the largest and most visited of the coastal communities, but Half Moon Bay is still by all measures a small town. Turn onto Main Street and you'll find five blocks of galleries, shops, and cafés, many of which occupy renovated 19th-century buildings. While traditionally this was an agricultural center for local growers of artichokes and other coastal crops, it has also become a haven for Bay Area retirees.

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