The Quiet Coast

Half Moon Bay is about a 45-minute drive south of San Francisco via State 1. In downtown Half Moon Bay, Main Street stores stay open late December 3-4 during the free annual Nights of Light event. And if you're in town December 18, don't miss the Half Moon Bay Coastal Flower Market at La Piazza (9-3; Main St. at Miramontes St.). For more area information, contact the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors' Bureau ( www.hmbchamber.com or 650/726-8380).

Best Western Half Moon Bay Lodge. Spacious rooms 2 miles south of downtown Half Moon Bay. From $139. 2400 S. Cabrillo Hwy. (State 1); www.halfmoonbaylodge.com or 650/726-9000.

Pillar Point Inn. Bed-and-breakfast overlooking Princeton Harbor. From $160. 380 Capistrano Rd., Princeton-by-the-Sea; 650/728-7377.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. The most luxurious lodging in the area, with ocean views, two restaurants, and a full-service spa. From $195. 1 Miramontes Point Rd.; www.ritzcarlton.com or 650/712-7000.