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Escaping the Heat with Mom to Moss Landing

It was hot at the house but cool and foggy along the coast. Mom was in need of a fried oyster lunch and Phil’s Fish Market makes a mean fried oyster. The obvious solution was a road trip to Moss Landing.

We headed over Highway 152, 101, and toward Monterey. Between Castroville and Moss Landing, we stopped by one of the vegetable stands in Moss Landing on our way in. We came well prepared, bringing ice chests for our haul. I always look at their bargain bin and everything there was looking a bit sad. But I ended up with some good sized avocados and artichokes. Mom picked up the same, along with a spaghetti squash.

Moss Landing is home to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, a multi-campus research facility for the California State University system. It also harbors over 600 boats that include fishing boats, pleasure craft and research vessels. The commercial boats bring in dungeness crab, halibut, king salmon, albacore, rockfish, sablefish, anchovies, sardines, squid, black cod, red snapper, corvina, prawns, mackerel, and others. There is also access to state and federal protected lands such as Moss Landing State Beach, Salinas River State Beach, Zmudowski State Beach, Moss Landing Wildlife Area, and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

We continued driving to the main part of Moss Landing, across the bridge, parking at Phil’s Fish Market. The temperature was 55 degrees, so nice and cool, expected to reach a high of 69 in the afternoon. That was a far cry from the 100’s or so we had been having. A narrow sand pathway along the restaurant led us to the beach behind it and that was the extent of hiking I did on this adventure. Dogs are allowed on leash on this strip of beach access and beach. Sally the Weimaraner and Fannie the Corgi have visited this beach on more than one occasion.

We set up our beach camp and got the binoculars out to see what we could see.

We watched sailboats.

And we watched seagulls.

We watched sea lions swimming off the jetty and the fog lift.

All of this hard work had made us hungry so we put our stuff back in the car and headed into Phil’s. I hadn’t been to Phil’s since they reopened their outdoor dining section post COVID. The restaurant and fish market had been well designed for social distancing while ordering. Masks were required when we entered the main part of the restaurant where the fish market, restrooms and ordering were. After we placed our order, we took our number and picked a table where they brought our lunch in To Go containers. We ate at the table but we could have gone out to the back patio that has recently been covered to disuade those pesky seagulls who are known to steal part of your lunch when you aren’t looking.

One of the big reasons we came to Phil’s is because Mom needed a fried oyster fix and Phil’s does fried oysters like no other.







I ordered a calamari sandwich, taking half of it home with me. While writing this blog, I looked back at the last visit to Phil’s and I ordered a calamari sandwich then also. I need to branch out and get a little more adventurous the next time I visit. They do make a good calamari sandwich though.

Dog Friendly?

Most beaches do not allow dogs but one reason I like stayed at Moss Landing (besides Phil’s) is that there are a few areas where dogs are allowed on leash. The path between Salinas River State Beach Potrero Parking Lot and Sandholdt Road is one of those. The beach access and beach behind Phil’s and the the jetty area are a couple of others.


Moss Landing Map

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Fannie & I Escaped The Heat At Moss Landing For A Day August 23, 2020

Escape with Sally to Moss Landing January 26, 2020

Escape to Moss Landing for the Day July 29, 2018

Escape to Moss Landing January 24, 2016


Salinas River State Beach

Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery

Moss Landing Wikipedia


  1. Wow, the fried oysters look nice and big. Last time I got a basket of fried oysters there, they were very small. Guess I will have to go back, as I love oysters. I like to surf cast along that beach.

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