Pacificaaah: Where Sighs Matter
Aaahhh…. Pacifica is nature’s way of blessing the California coast. With six miles of shoreline and 51 percent of open space, this beachfront playground has a way with outdoor recreation. While some might find gratification in a day trip to Pacifica, there is a wide diversity of activities, restaurants, and accommodations that beg visitors to spend at least a full, leisurely weekend in the town.
For those interested in hiking and walking, there are more than a dozen trails spanning many miles of ocean-view treks for everyone from beginners to the most advanced. From the easy Mori Point coastal walk to the more advanced terrain of Sweeney Ridge, there is a hike for every level of fitness.
While most of the coastal trails are designed for pedestrians, Pacifica is also known in the bike community for its network of trails that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Whether pedaling a road bike or mountain biking, Pacifica features everything from laidback rides along the paved coastal trail or more challenging plights ascending the flanks of Montara Mountain, towering 2,000 feet above Pacifica.
Most surfing fanatics are familiar with Mavericks Beach, just south of Pacifica. But the rigorous surf is more than even the most advanced surfers can manage. Pacifica is a great alternative and is home to some of Northern California’s best surfing beaches, including Linda Mar State Beach, Rockaway Beach, and Sharp Park Beach. Surfing lessons and equipment are available at Nor Cal Surf Shop, located at Linda Mar Beach.
Golf enthusiasts will want to check out the Sharp Park Golf Course, featuring relatively inexpensive green fees (compared to other Bay Area coastal courses) and several holes with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While this is a public golf course, its intimacy feels more like a private club.
Another way to round out the outdoor adventure is to embark on a Segway tour with Silicon Segway. Of all the tours out there, this outing is a special favorite amongst locals and visitors alike because the route features an exciting coastal, serpentine pathway and picturesque, panoramic views.
Of course there are also indoor recreational options for visitors who want to warm up the joints and muscles before or after embarking upon these outdoor adventures. Ocean Yoga features a range of yoga classes and also offers the best massage therapy in Pacifica. Bowling is also another way to unwind after a jam-packed day of adventure and Pacifica’s Sea Bowl has a great vibe for couples and families alike.
To exercise the creative side and as an alternative to the physical activities in Pacifica, several local artists offer indoor and outdoor art lessons for individuals and small groups. Janet Arline Barker (of Janet Arline Barker Fine Art) inspires strokes of genius in all her students, no experience or expertise needed. She is patient and encouraging, helping to craft a Pacifica keepsake worthy of bringing home.
With the recent introduction of Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar, Pacifica now has one of the best new restaurants in the Bay Area. Developed by the owners of San Francisco’s most popular Peruvian restaurant, Fresca, Puerto 27 sits above Linda Mar Beach with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The menu is equally stunning with three dishes that are on the must try list: Causa Gravlox, yellow potato maki, pisco cured salmon gravlax, cucumber, crispy squid, lime honey sauce, and hijiki; Anticuchos de Corazon, beef heart skewers, aji panca achiote, yucca, and grilled corn; and a popular favorite, Arroz con Mariscos, mixed seafood and shellfish paella featuring intriguing, addictive flavors.
The next must-do dining experience in Pacifica is Lovey’s Tea Shoppe, where the menu and décor are both sensory sensations. Guests are greeted with mismatched china, quirky décor, Wee Tea for kids, hearty pub fare such as shepherd’s pie and sausage rolls, gluten-free options, and all the tea you can drink (try the black vanilla with lavender). Whether you’ve enjoyed your own brand of tea service in the past or not, visitors to Pacifica must visit this unpretentious little roadside gem.
There are so many exceptional dining options in Pacifica visitors will need to plan strategically. In addition to the aforementioned treasures, here’s a list of other great considerations: Nick’s for grilled crab sandwiches, hand-cut steaks, and martinis; The Surf Spot for fresh seafood and weekend entertainment; Gorilla Barbeque, as seen on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (ask Rich Bacchi to show you his knuckles); A Grape in the Fog for wine tastings and pre-dinner appetizers; Vallemar Station for hearty portions and stick-to-the-ribs comfort food; Colombo’s Delicatessen for superb sandwiches and other picnic-friendly items; Moonraker for seaside Sunday brunch; and Salada Beach Cafe for omelets, quiche, and oatmeal.
Pacifica offers six lodging options in the budget to moderate price range, and all are within walking distance to Pacifica’s beaches. Four are located at Rockaway Beach. The largest is the Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel, a full-service hotel situated on Rockaway Beach with spacious accommodations, beautiful ocean views, a swimming pool, and the upscale Moonraker restaurant. The newest hotel is the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Pacifica, which provides comfortable accommodations with ocean views and a complimentary hot Express Start Breakfast Bar. Offering a dash of Victorian charm combined with ocean views is the pet-friendly Pacifica Motor Inn, and adjacent to Nick’s Restaurant is the Sea Breeze Motel, which is very convenient for those looking to dance the night away at Nick’s.
Across from Linda Mar Beach and adjacent to Puerto 27 restaurant is the newly remodeled Pacifica Beach Hotel, which has an indoor swimming pool, hot tubs, and balconies with ocean views. Farther north near Sharp Park is Americas Best Value Inn, which is a short walk from Pacifica Pier and the golf course.
The natural beauty and unparalleled serenity of Pacifica, California, has attracted travelers to this coastal gem for more than 100 years. Located just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, Pacifica feels worlds away but is convenient to some of the most vibrant, international communities on the West Coast. Easily accessible from Highway 1, Pacifica’s rich cultural heritage and bohemian personality make it a unique destination worth discovering.
Pacifica’s ethereal beauty is enhanced by its Mediterranean-style weather. Refreshing temperatures range from 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the Central Coast, drawing visitors to Pacifica’s shoreline to cool off during the hot summer months with its natural air conditioning and attractive oceanfront accommodations. Likewise, Pacifica’s equally appealing winter travel season provides a dramatic setting for those interested in off-season values and romantic departures.
Of the many diversions, Pacifica boasts some of the most breathtaking panoramic vistas atop a wide range of hiking trails and walking adventures along the expansive beaches dotting the destination’s shoreline. Additionally, the destination features a range of recreational options, including surfing, boating, scuba, fishing, paragliding, birding, cycling, golf, tennis, archery, and horseback riding. According to the National Marine Sanctuaries of the West Coast, Pacifica is known to be the fourth richest area in the world for marine mammal life.
For more information about Pacifica, visit the website or download the iPacifica mobile app for Apple or Android devices, which provides information about dining, shopping, galleries, lodging, and weather all at your fingertips while you explore your favorite new local getaway—Pacifica.