Pacifica is nestled along the northern Californian coast, just 15 miles south of San Francisco. It’s a Mediterranean-like haven in between SF and Half Moon Bay, with cooler temperatures and an abundance of serene, natural beauty. Pacifica is worlds away from the vibrant northern Californian communities of the Bay area. It’s a peaceful respite from the city, with an unexpected but stellar arts scene and the finest of nature’s glory.
Nature is at it’s best in Pacifica, California. The temperatures are refreshingly cool, and the perfect swells make it a popular regional destination for surfers. Linda Mar Beach is a popular among local families, as is Rockaway Beach for its recreation. Sharp Park Beach is a go-to, for its picnicking, hiking and fishing areas. But the main attraction, or at least the one that attracts 17 million people annually, is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the largest urban national parks in the world. Over two hundred years of history are buried there, which visitors can experience as they enjoy recreational activities like windsurfing and hiking. The national park has trails that lead to Pacifica Skateboard Park, a popular mountain biking and skateboarding destination. If you’re looking for different forms of entertainment, the Pacifica Spindrift Players put on contemporary shows including plays and performances all year round. For music, try the Mildred Owen Concert Hall, which hosts performances by world-class artists. Don’t miss the Sanchez Arts Center, which has art galleries, studios, a ceramics lab and an arts education room.
Since Pacifica is only 15 miles from San Francisco, spending the day at Fisherman’s Wharf followed by an evening of Bay life nightlife is a viable option. But if you prefer the low-key vibe of Pacifica, then Half Moon Bay is another beach escape from the city. It’s just over 10 miles away, south along the coast. To visit a quiet town along the shore, Belmont is just a 30-minute drive, or a 2-hour bus ride from Pacifica. Pacifica is located in San Mateo County, where San Mateo stands as an interesting choice for a day trip. You’ll experience a complete 180 in San Mateo, which is visibly a part of the fast-paced, high-tech enclave of Silicon Valley. You’ll find educational attractions for kids, a remodeled shopping center and a hopping downtown commercial district set against a beautiful beach backdrop.
Traditional lodging options in the budget to moderate price range come in six different options in Pacifica. You’ll find four of them at Rockaway Beach, including Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel, the biggest of the bunch, and the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Pacifica. Pacifica Beach Hotel, with its popular Peruvian restaurant and indoor swimming pool, is just across the street from Linda Mar Beach. If you want to stay in the Sharp Park Area, there’s an Americas Best Value Inn, a short walk from the Pacifica Pier Promenade. If none of these options float your boat, check out the local rooms for rent or housing swaps that are listed through online rental or travel sites.
SamTrans is the main form of local transportation in San Mateo County. The line that serves Pacifica is called FLX, and it travels clockwise in a loop from Linda Mar Park and Ride along Highway One. It passes through Crespi Drive, Fassler Avenue, Terra Nova Boulevard and Oddstad Boulevard before ending up back at Linda Mar. The bus operates weekdays from 6:15 AM to 6:50 PM on a fixed schedule with stops at SamTrans bus stops. Customers can arrange for direct service within a half mile of the bus route by calling a day in advance. On the weekends, the Devil’s Slide Ride provides free weekend shuttle services from 8 AM to 5 PM along the Pacifica coast. The southernmost stop for this route is the Devil’s Slide Trail. You can also take the BART, which is the Bay Area Rapid Transit, a regional rail service in the San Francisco Bay area, to travel outside of Pacifica. You would have to take the bus or a car to the BART station closest to town (Daly City or Colma), and take BART from there.
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