Places to Play: Pacifica, California

Ocean views from the Coastal Trail near Pacifica, California. (Photo by California News Press)

Have you discovered Pacifica yet? This beautiful coastal destination is just 2 miles from San Francisco, yet its small-town vibe, unspoiled scenery and abundance of outdoor recreation options feel a world away from the city.

It’s a viable base for exploring the whole Bay Area, but Pacifica is vacation-worthy in its own right. Its attractions include coastal hiking trails, sandy beaches, prime surf spots, a quarter mile-long fishing pier, a historic castle built by a wealthy eccentric, and what is certainly the world’s most scenic Taco Bell. Pacifica also offers whale watching, an excellent golf course, and in September it celebrates Fog Fest, a free festival held every year since 1986.

A foggy trail along the coast in Pacifica, California
A foggy trail in Pacifica, California. (Photo by California News Press)

Whether it’s a short stroll or strenuous hike, hitting the trails is a must during any stay in Pacifica. Runners take note too – Runner’s World named the city one of the most beautiful places to run in the world. Local trails might be shrouded in fog, whipped by winds coming off the Pacific or bathed in sunshine, all in the same day. You might take in views for miles, on a clear day as far as the Farallon Islands, or barely make out the trail ahead through the mist.

Hikers should consider Mori Point Park, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompassing fields of seasonal wildflowers and the dramatic bluff of Mori Point. Another popular spot is the Coastal Trail at Devil’s Slide, a segment of the California Coastal Trail along the former Highway 1. The wide, well-developed trail hugs rugged cliffs, winds around rock formations and presents an unmatched ocean panorama.

Ready to book a stay in Pacifica? We recommend the local Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites for up-close ocean views, and Pacifica Beach Hotel, notable as an architectural landmark.

Planning a Northern California vacation? We have lots of recommendations!

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