Where to Stay, Eat & Explore in Pacifica, California

Advisor - Jody Holman
Curated By

Jody Holman

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  • Domestic Travel

  • USA

  • California

  • Beaches

  • Foodie

  • Relaxation

  • Surfing

Yellow wildflowers next to body of water during daytime
Curator’s statement

This summer I was given an opportunity to take a drive down Highway 1 to shoot some coastal scenes for a local magazine. I was expecting it to be fun, but I was honestly not expecting such raw (and cultivated) beauty. Nor was I expecting to see such a change in the coastal vistas and offerings from Pacifica to Paso Robles.

So in case you are planning a trip to California — and have time to rent a car, put the top down and enjoy the curves — here is one of my discoveries. Pacifica is a beautiful place to stop — either for photos, or food or just to take it all in.

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Where to stay in Pacifica, California

Pacifica Beach Hotel

Contemporary rooms, ocean views and a heated pool located right off of California's Highway 1.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott San Francisco Pacifica

Located just steps from Nor Cal's beautiful beaches, the Fairfield Inn offers modern rooms and an outdoor terrace.

Pacifica Lighthouse, Trademark Collection by Wyndham

Unpretentious rooms located just steps from sandy Rockaway Beach and a short drive from Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

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Things to do in Pacifica, California

Body of water next to steep cliffs during sunset

Though Pacifica doesn’t have a “city center” per se, there are some darling walking and eating areas — and let’s not forget the surf! Palmetto Ave has some very cute, small-town shops that I love, including the Chit Chat Cafe at the pier.

The pier itself is quite an interesting stroll (stop a crab catcher to chat and they may give you an explanation of their new-fangled crab traps). If the smell of fresh fish is too much for you, bring your walking shoes, and head South on the trail that balances between the Pacifica Golf Course and the beach. It will take you towards Mori Point, up the stairs, where you can sit on a bench and catch 180 degree views of the ocean. 

Another wonderful area to spend a morning or lunchtime is Linda Mar beach. Known throughout the Bay Area as a prime surf spot, the people watching is great! You can choose to walk the path, but a stroll on this beach is hard to beat. If you have kids, don’t miss the Northern area tide pools full of star fish, and all kinds of great shells and discoveries.

Day Trips from Pacifica

Head south to Half Moon Bay, and onward to Ano Nuevo State Park, Santa Cruz or Paso Robles.

Places to eat & drink in Pacifica, California

Person holding cup of coffee in front of building made out of driftwood with blue paint during daytime

Two favorite local cafes are Soul Grind for fresh-roasted, deliciously dark coffee and small bites by the fireplace, and Beach Monkey cafe for acai bowls and delicious coffee. 

A relative newcomer to the scene is the Tap Room for microbrews and a seat in the sun. If you happen to be in Pacifica in the mid-afternoon or evening, Rockaway Beach might be your best bet. Breakfast is served all day at the newish Breakers Cafe across from Nick's. Or grab lunch at our much sought after Gorilla BBQ, in the orange caboose on HWY 1.

Then work off some of that pork, strolling the path in our quarry, and visit the beach before stopping in at A Grape in the Fog Wine Bar to grab a romantic, happy hour cocktail with ocean views at the new Moonraker. Or indulge in some fabulous small bites and brews at the Pacifica Brewery, where outside picnic tables beckon on a sunny day. 

Drinks and plates to share at Peruvian Puerto 27 over the hill towards Linda Mar is another option. Puerto 27 's location has turned over and over for years. Finally, Puerto 27 has found the right formula: beautiful view, good food at varying price ranges, excellent bartenders who know their stuff, huge windows with natural light and friendly staff. Come for the drinks, come with a date, come after a day of surfing or come with family or friends. It is a small plate/family-style so it's easy to share. Expect fresh oysters and some true-to-Peru dishes. And don't miss the pisco sours! My favorite dishes are: the lomo saltado (steak), ceviches and the trucha encebollada (whole pan roasted trout).

Need to Know

For more California travel inspo, check out my guide to San Francisco: Local's Art & Culinary Guide to San Francisco.

Advisor - Jody Holman

Travel Advisor

Jody Holman

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