Book a night in a restful room just a stone’s throw from Pacifica’s Rockaway Beach
We’re always eager to sing the praises of Pacifica, a delightful little beach town just a few miles south-west of San Francisco. With its sleepy small-town vibe, rugged natural landscapes, hiking trails and beaches galore, Pacifica is an ideal spot for a long weekend getaway. Bay Area locals can certainly enjoy Pacifica on a day trip, but adding an overnight stay encourages an unhurried pace of exploration that fits the town’s wave-lapped serenity.
Part of Pacifica’s charm is its unpretentiousness. Tourists are very welcome, and the town offers ample enough hotel rooms, restaurant tables and spots on its ocean-view benches for all. Yet it remains a locals’ town, free of sprawling resorts and chain eateries, with its prime beauty spots as-yet undiscovered by influencers-at-large. Even the weather has an air of modesty, with characteristic banks of fog forcing Pacifica’s striking coastal bluffs to play peekaboo. This only makes the scenery all the more glorious when the sun comes out – which it will, if you’re patient enough.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites
If you’re looking for a hotel room in Pacifica, you’ll find just half a dozen options in the town itself. There are no poor choices, but we readily recommend the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites. Those familiar with the Holiday Inn Express brand know to expect a pleasant and comfortable experience at a reasonable mid-range rate.
Adding considerable extra appeal to the Pacifica hotel is its location, right next to Rockaway Beach. In fact, you won’t find closer parking to the popular beach spot than the covered parking lot at the hotel (free to guests), and the sand is just a minute or two away on foot. The hotel is also one block from CA-1, making it easy to reach upon arrival in Pacifica, and an ideal home base for exploring the wider region. Pacifica’s famous Municipal Pier is 2 miles from the hotel, and Pacifica State Beach is 1 mile away.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites is a relatively small property with 38 rooms and suites, many boasting ocean views. Options include king suites and guest rooms with one king or two queen beds. Some feature a Jacuzzi tub, fireplace or sofa bed. Standard amenities include a Keurig coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, desk and 40-inch flat-screen televisions with premium satellite channels. Of course, all guests can enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast as well as all-day hot coffee and tea in the lobby. Wi-fi is also included in all room rates.
Guest rooms and suites radiate from a central atrium, which is filled with natural light from a huge skylight above. The gathering area features bright tangerine-cushioned sofas, coffee tables and lots of leafy potted plants. Guests also get access to a private patio with ocean views.
519 Nick Gust Way, Pacifica, CA 94044
Rockaway Beach, Pacifica
From the hotel lobby, it’s a quick walk across a rustic wooden bridge and over a bank of brambles, to reach Rockaway Beach. One of Pacifica’s top-rated beaches, it’s consistently graded A and A+ on its Beach Report Card. It’s a beautiful spot, a protected cove with a squat stretch of dark, slatey sand and waves that start out dramatic in the distance but turn gentle upon approach. Grab a spot on a bench, log or the sand and spend a meditative time watching the waves, the shore fishermen and kids at play.
One end of Rockaway Beach is flanked by a wall of boulders that makes climbing irresistible. The other butts up against a steep coastal bluff rising to 175 feet above the ocean and sand. A steep, zigzagging trail will take you to the top of the bluff in as little as 10 minutes, depending on your pace. It’s lined by low, wind-beaten coastal scrub, sparse stands of wildflowers and busy birdlife. From the top, you get an incredible panoramic view over all of Pacifica and the ocean as far as the horizon, that is, if the fog cooperates.
Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, a Pacifica Landmark
Another must-visit Pacifica landmark right next to the Holiday Inn is Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. Stop in for a post-hike lunch or dinner with drinks, and on Fridays and Saturdays for live music and dancing. Nick’s dates back to 1927, when Greek immigrant Stalios Karagianis sold snacks and sandwiches to fishermen and beachgoers. The restaurant has now expanded to encompass a large dancefloor, cocktail lounge, the vintage Horseshoe Bar and indoor and outdoor dining.
Don’t miss the signature crab melt, a grilled sourdough sandwich piled high with fresh Dungeness crab plus tomato and optional cheese. Other highlights of the seafood-centric menu at Nick’s include a Caesar salad with white anchovies, an avocado and bay shrimp sandwich on marble rye, marinated Dungeness cracked crab, and K.B.’s prawn po’boy. On the “turf” side of surf-n-turf, there are several burgers, a rack of lamb and prime rib. The setting, food, drinks and atmosphere are all top-notch.
100 Rockaway Beach Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044
For more information about visiting Pacifica, check out visitpacifica.com.
Disclaimer: California News Press and its contributors received goods, services and/or other professional courtesies to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of the author.