The description of a trip on the Ocean Shore below is from the 1913 California Tourist Guide and Handbook by Wells and Aubrey Drury.
The Ocean Shore Railroad runs for 40 miles down the coast by a line of great scenic beauty. The road is an engineering wonder, many difficulties of construction having been surmounted by the builders. The trip starts from the depot at Twelfth and Mission streets, San Francisco, passes by Islais Creek and the market gardens of the city, to Daly City (7 1/2) and thence by beautiful Lake Merced (2 miles long) with its wooded shores, its numerous islets and its delightfully blue waters. It was on the shores of this lake that the famous duel was fought between Judge David S. Terry and Senator David C. Broderick, in which the latter was mortally wounded, September 11, 1859. Running through Spring Valley, the train comes out on the Pacific Ocean in a region of rugged picturesqueness, passing Mussel Rock (4), and Edgemar (1) to SALADA (1), where there is a broad bathing beach between the ocean and a natural salt water lake, Laguna Salada. (Hotel Salada, $1.50 up.) From here the route extends through Brighton (1/2) and Vallemar (1) to Rockaway Beach (1). At this place are large amusement concessions. After passing here, the route enters the fertile San Pedro Valley, reaching Tobin (1 1/2), the shipping point of the valley. Though only three miles long by half a mile wide, every foot of its highly productive soil is under cultivation. Its produce is to be found on the tables of epicures the world over. The principal delicacy that thrives in this little valley is the artichoke, of which hundreds of carloads are shipped yearly to the markets of New York, London and the Continent. Leaving Tobin, the railroad is built on great cliffs for several miles around Pedro Mountain, exhibiting many feats of engineering. Far below the breakers dash with tremendous force against the cliffs. Here is passed Point San Pedro, a great rock of many-colored strata, presenting a strange and beautiful picture. Then comes the only tunnel of the line, which is broad and has a double track bored through four hundred feet of solid rock, and after traversing for some distance the rolling foothills the train reaches MONTARA (5), a beach resort. Nestling in the hills, less than a mile from the beach, is the modern and cosy Montara Inn. From Montara is reached Farallone (1/4). The bathing beach here is excellent and there is also good fishing from the rocks. The government lighthouse and signal station is located at this point. Mussel and abalone beds of great extent are along this part of the coast.
Next in the line of travel is MOSS BEACH (1), another popular beach resort. There are to be obtained here many unique specimens of marine moss and other sea growths. Surf and still-water bathing and fishing add to the appeal of Moss Beach as a recreation ground. There is also a pretty park. From Moss Beach, the line runs through PRINCETON-BY-THE-SEA (2), on the northern shore of beautiful Half Moon Bay. Nearby is Pillar Point, sighted in 1585 by Captain Francisco de Gali, a Spanish navigator. Portola passed here on his northern march to San Francisco, Otcober 30, 1769.
After leaving Princeton the traveller reaches GRANADA (1), situated on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the bay. From Granada the line runs past Miramar (1/2), where there is a long pleasure pier extending into the ocean, to HALF MOON. (Occidental Hotel, $2.) This quaint old place was settled early in the history of the State and was long known as Spanishtown. It is now a growing residence city. From here the route continues through Arleto Park (1-2) and Fair Haven (2) to PURISIMA (2), another old settlement, located in the green canyon of Purisima Creek. This stream, where it empties into the sea, plunges down in a series of picturesque waterfalls. Beyond here is Lobitos (2), situated where the Lobitos Creek enters the ocean, and thence is reached TUNITAS GLEN (2), the present terminus of the Ocean Shore Railway. There is here a pretty little cove with a good bathing beach. Excellent trout-fishing is enjoyed in Tunitas Creek. From here connection is made by stage along the coast to the popular seaside summer resorts of San Gregorio, Pescadero and Pebble Beach, and the mountain retreats of La Honda and Belleville. The road is good for automobiles, running south to Santa Cruz.
PESCADERO is picturesquely situated near the ocean, but separated from it by low hills. Two miles south of here is Pebble Beach, a little cove in which there are millions of pretty, smooth pebbles of all kinds, including moss-agate, carnelian, opal and quartz. It has been declared that no other beach in the United States equals this in the number and beauty of its stones. A stage road leads over the Sierra Morena, via La Honda, to Redwood City. (For description of other parts of San Mateo county see Route 3.)