Golden Gate Bridge during daytimeLocated just 15 minutes from San Francisco, the beautiful beachfront town of Pacifica is the perfect destination for an outdoor, three-day getaway.
For the best values, visitors are advised to opt for a mid-week visit, during the busy summer months. Otherwise, the spring, fall and winter are lovely, quieter times to get lost in all that Pacifica has to offer for a weekend road trip.
While there are so many attractions and things to do in Pacifica, it’s important to build in plenty of quiet time to unplug, relax and rejuvenate. So, take it easy and understand that this list of suggestions for three perfect days in Pacifica is merely a summary of some visitors’ favorite pastimes. Whether staying for the day or an extended visit, Pacifica is the perfect mini-vacation destination.
Day One
– Check into one of seven hotels, there’s something for everyone’s taste and budget (please see hotel reference guide below).
– Enjoy a seaside lunch at Nick’s and be sure to order the signature grilled crab sandwich or one of the hand-cut steaks.
– Stroll the many local shops at Rockaway Beach for great treasures and local delicacies or visit the Pacifica Coastside Museum at the Little Brown Church in the Sharp Park District for an overview of Pacifica’s rich history. (open on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday from 1pm to 4pm)
– To rejuvenate, take a brief power nap at the hotel or on one of Pacifica’s many beaches, weather permitting.
– Have a pre-dinner glass of wine or a flight of proprietor Beth Lemke’s favorite blends at A Grape in the Fog.
– Book a table with spectacular sunset views and dinner at the Moonraker Restaurant, Pacifica’s finest beachfront dining establishment.
Day Two
– First thing in the morning, head out to the Pacifica Pier with fishing gear, tackle and bait. As a public pier, a fishing license isn’t required and fishing is free. (note: according to Pier Fishing in California, no other pier in the state yields the number of fish, nor the quality of fish, than the Pacifica Pier.
– For a hearty breakfast, check out the weekend menu at Ash’s Vallemar Station, which features large portions of the best, freshest fare.
– Hike/walk the gentle path of Devils Slide Trail. Interpretive signage and stunning views of the Pacific are the focus.
– Once back from a leisurely stroll, stop off at Humble Sea Brewing Co. for a local brew and quick bite.
– After lunch, take a short walk to Linda Mar State Beach to watch surfers and paddle boarders test their skill at mastering one of the most revered surfing spots in Northern California.
– The afternoon beckons for gazing out upon the ocean where several whale sightings have been noted as well as the playful routines of porpoises and dolphins, which can be seen playing offshore. (tip: the whale watch point at Rockaway Beach in front of the Moonraker statue displays interpretive information)
– For dinner, head to Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen and Pisco Bar and be sure to sample a variety of menu items, tapas style as well as their signature Pisco Sour cocktail.
– Check out who’s performing in town at The Mildred Owen Concert Hall features everything from opera and tango to blues and folk…weekends only.
– Another favorite entertainment spot in Pacifica is the local theatre group, which offers year-round performing arts that include revivals of favorite plays and musicals as well as some contemporary productions. For show dates and time, go to
Day Three
– Enjoy breakfast (or lunch) at Breakers in Rockaway Beach where choices range from healthy to homey. (Outdoor seating available)
– After breakfast, head out to one of three Golden Gate National Recreation Areas:
Mori Point is an easy hike that takes you right along the levy of the Sharp Park Golf Course on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other – venture up to the top of Mori Point for the feeling that you’re “on-top of the world.”
Milagra Ridge offers impressive views of the coastal bluffs of Pacifica and the vast ocean that hugs the coastline. Hikers will enjoy and learn through the interpretive/educational signs of the Nike Missle sites that lived on property long ago).
Sweeney Ridge beckons you to enjoy a “hike for the more experienced hiker”…in 1769, a scouting party led by Gaspar de Portola became the first Europeans to see San Francisco Bay from this ridgetop. A monument marks the approximate location.
– Wherever you end up walking or hiking, be sure to take in a casual lunch at Pacifica Brewery and enjoy light fare with a pint of local brew. Recently featured on “Check Please!”, the venue also has outdoor seating with fire pits and social bubble-cabana type areas.
– Then, as the getaway winds down, take a pick from the several adventure options…bowling at the Sea Bowl Entertainment Center; walking between Rockaway Beach and Linda Mar State Beach; powering up and down some of the most intriguing mountain bike terrain in California; paddle boarding at Linda Mar State Beach; hitting the links at the Alister MacKenzie-designed 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course; or surfing the popular beaches of Pacifica (surf lessons are available for those that need a refresher).
Pacifica offers seven 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 with 97 guest rooms is the Lighthouse Hotel, a full-service hotel situated on Rockaway Beach with spacious accommodations, beautiful ocean views and swimming pool. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott provides very comfortable accommodations with ocean views and a complimentary hot Express Start Breakfast Bar. Offering a dash of Victorian charm is the pet-friendly Inn at Rockaway Beach 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. Situated across from Linda Mar Beach is another full-service hotel called the Pacifica Beach Hotel with several remodeled rooms, offering spectacular ocean views, Jacuzzi tubs, indoor swimming pool and Peruvian restaurant, Puerto 27. Further north, near Sharp Park, is America’s Best Value Inn, which is a short walk from the Pacifica Pier and the golf course. The newest property on the scene is Anchor Inn at Pedro Point, which is convenient to Linda Mar Beach and features studio accommodations that are nestled in the hillside of Pedro Point.