English (US)English (US)

Popular Pages:

Visit California logo



A long stretch of coastline and beautiful open space areas make this San Mateo County community an ideal escape near San Francisco

  • Summary
  • Official Resources
  • Things to do
  • Gallery
  • Places to Eat & Drink
  • Podcasts

A long stretch of coastline and beautiful open space areas make this San Mateo County community an ideal escape near San Francisco

A unique seaside suburb just south of San Francisco and within easy reach of cities along The San Francisco Peninsula, Pacifica has endless ways for visitors to savor the natural beauty of the San Mateo County coast.

Pacifica boasts six miles of coastline and the landmark, 1,140-foot Pacifica Pier is an ideal spot to watch the fog roll in and the surf surge onto shore. From the pier, scan the ocean for migrating gray whales as well as the occasional blue or humpback whale—you can even fish for striped bass and salmon during summer. Crescent-shaped Pacifica State Beach (known locally as Linda Mar Beach) stretches for nearly a mile on the southern end of town and is ideal for long walks along the edge of the continent.

Ocean-View Dining 

A paved path traverses a point and connects Linda Mar to the narrow strand of Rockaway Beach, where relaxed Nick’s Seafood Restaurant lets you gaze out on the ocean while enjoying favorites like the grilled Dungeness crab sandwich on sourdough. Thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, the views are spectacular at Moonraker, a local favorite that features everything from Dungeness crab cioppino to wild boar Bolognese. It’s also popular for Sunday brunch.

Outdoor Activities in Pacifica

Not surprisingly, Pacifica is a haven for surfing. More experienced surfers take on the serious waves at Rockaway and black sand Sharp Park Beach, while Linda Mar is a good spot for novices and is where several local companies offer lessons. Pacifica is also home to Sharp Park Golf Course, a seaside links circuit designed by Augusta National and Cypress Point architect Alister MacKenzie. Considered one of the country’s top municipal courses, Sharp Park has earned a reputation as “the poor man’s Pebble Beach.”

For a more rugged side of the Pacifica coast, Mori Point juts out into the ocean and offers an assortment of hiking options—from short strolls to the more challenging 3.2-mile round-trip Mori Point Peak Loop, which climbs a few hundred feet to spectacular ocean views and brilliant spring wildflower displays.

Mori Point is just one of several open space areas in and around Pacifica that are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Bay Area’s enormous urban park. Milagra Ridge, with its remnants of historic military installations and natural areas teeming with rare butterflies, delivers expansive coastal panoramas. Head to 1,200-foot Sweeney Ridge, on native lands of the Ohlone people, for more hiking and views. You can also visit a monument to Spanish explorer Captain Juan Gaspar de Portolá, who, along with members of his expedition, first sighted San Francisco Bay from Sweeney Ridge in 1769.

South of Pacifica, don’t miss the Devil’s Slide Coast, named for the geologically unstable stretch of Highway 1 that was frequently closed because of landslides until the completion of the Devil’s Slide Tunnel in 2013. A portion of the California Coastal Trail runs through the area and you can hike and bike along the 1.3-mile Devil’s Slide Trail, which follows an old segment of Highway 1.

Where to Eat and Drink in Pacifica

After all of your outdoor adventures, reward yourself with a cannoli or another sweet treat from Mazzetti’s Bakery, an old-school Italian bake shop. If you want to pack a picnic for a hike or a day at the beach, Colombo’s Delicatessen has been a Pacifica favorite since 1986. For the distinctive flavors of Peru, Puerto 27 serves ceviches prepared with sustainably sourced seafood and a crispy, fried-whole branzino. 

Craft beer fans should check out Pedro Point Brewing’s diverse offerings, which include IPAs, a chocolate stout, and a mango limeade. At nearby Pacifica Brewery you can pair traditional lagers and farmhouse ales with wood-fired pizzas and a delicious burger topped by sharp cheddar and beer onions. Or choose from the selection of California and international wines at A Grape in the Fog, Pacifica’s casual-yet-upscale wine bar.

Pacifica is also famously home to the what some call the world's most beautiful Taco Bell. Located directly on Pacifica State Beach, this Taco Bell offers coastal views and even has a walk-up ordering window for hungry surfers looking for a quick bite.  

Pacifica Arts

For the creative side of Pacifica, stop into the Sanchez Art Center to see works by leading California artists and members of the Pacifica community. The gallery is part of the Pacifica Center for the Arts, where Pacifica Performances hosts an eclectic lineup of bluegrass, jazz, classical, and blues concerts in the intimate Mildred Owen Concert Hall.

Featured Pacifica

California Winery

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up and get weekly travel inspiration and ideas

Subscribe to our Newsletter