Moss Beach is a coastal census-designated place in San Mateo County, California, with a year 2000 census population of 1953. Located in Moss Beach are the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a marine sanctuary; the historic Moss Beach Distillery and the Seal Cove Inn, a destination lodging property. Moss Beach is naturally a foggy, drippy microclimate that gives one a sense of isolation from nearby cosmopolitan regions, and assures that summer temperatures are generally mild.
Moss Beach is situated at 37°31'31" North latitude, 122°30'46" West (37.525240, -122.512811), approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of San Francisco and 50 miles (80 km) north of Santa Cruz, California. Nearby towns include Montara to the north, El Granada, Princeton-by-the-Sea, and Half Moon Bay to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²). 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²) of it is land, with none covered by water.
As of the 2000 census there were 1953 people, 740 households, and 526 families residing in the Census Designated Place (CDP). The population density was 1,092.5 people per square mile (421.3/km²). There were 771 housing units at an average density of 431.3/sq mi (166.3/km²). The racial makeup is 90.53% White, 0.10% African American, 0.61% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.46% Pacific Islander, 1.08% from other races, and 5.02% from two or more races. 7.22% of the population were Hispanic.
There are 740 households, of which 36.1% have children under the age of 18, 58.9% are married couples , 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and average family size is 2.98.
The median household income is $91,992, and the median family income is $99,307. Males had a median income of $81,619 versus $41,411 for females. The per capita income is $41,283. 4.3% of the population and 3.2% of families were below the poverty line. 2.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.7% of those over 64 are below the poverty line.
In the state legislature Moss Beach is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Gene Mullin. Federally, Moss Beach is located in California's 12th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +22 and is currently held by Jackie Speier.
Due to the marine air currents off of the Pacific Ocean, Moss Beach experiences above average fog levels, but also superior ambient air quality. Note the everpresent fog in the photo above (the circular blotches are not a special effect, but a result of the droplets formed on the camera lens cover). Situated along the coast of Moss Beach is the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a California designated area of Special Biological Significance. The reserve boasts a scenic blufftop trail through ancient cypress groves overlooking the Pacific Ocean, historically interesting tidepools and a variety of significant marine animals and pelagic birds. The unique outcroppings along the beach are part of the Franciscan formation, a favorite of local geologists.
An occurrence of the rare plant Hickman's potentilla, Potentilla hickmanii was observed by E.C. Suttliffe in 1933 in the vicinity of the mouth of San Vicente Creek within Moss Beach. This colony was not further documented for decades, but another colony was discovered toward the end of the 20th century north of Moss Beach. The plant was listed as an endangered species by the United States government in 1998, and had previously been listed as California endangered in 1973.
Off State Route 1, one finds the famous restaurant Moss Beach Distillery, an architecturally and historically noteworthy building located upon a cliff with ocean views. This present day restaurant has its roots in bootleg liquor during Prohibition. This building is an official California Point of Historical Interest and includes its own ghost (the Blue Lady) which has been featured in a number of ghost hunting programs including Unsolved Mysteries.Sci-Fi's Ghost Hunters recently found their paranormal claims to be fraudulent by revealing that owners of the distillery have created various hoaxes simulating paranormal activity. Noted travel author Karen Brown operates the Seal Cove Inn adjacent to the reserve.