This beach community, just a stone's throw from San Francisco, is a popular getaway for anglers, hikers, surfers and mountain bikers. The ocean views can't be beat, especially from the vantage point of Pacifica Pier, downtown off Beach Boulevard. This "L"-shaped pier extends 1,140 feet into the Pacific and has a reputation as one of the best fishing piers in California for salmon and striped bass (a state license isn't required to fish here). The day following a winter storm usually brings crashing waves and opportunities for dramatic photos. This is also a great spot for sunset watching. The pier occasionally closes during rough weather.
The bluff-top perspective from Mori Point, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, offers outstanding panoramic views of the ocean and coastline, especially on clear, fog-free days. From the parking area at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Clarendon Avenue (a short distance south of Pacifica Pier), a wide dirt trail runs along the beach to Bootlegger's Steps. Climb the steps to reach the flat expanse at the top. From Mori Point other trails follow the coastal headlands south, providing access to Rockaway Beach and Linda Mar Beach. Note: Stay on the marked trails if you explore this area, as the cliffs are fragile and unsafe for climbing.
One thing the northern California coast is famous for is fog, and the Pacific Coast Fogfest celebrates one of the meteorological mainstays of Pacifica's maritime climate. It's also a celebration of sun, sand and surf, plus arts and crafts and food and beverage booths, a parade and marching band competition, and plenty of live music. The fun takes place the last full weekend in September, when the weather is usually—and ironically—sunny and fog-free.
Francisco Sanchez, an alcalde (administrative magistrate) of San Francisco under the Spanish government, was awarded land in this area in return for his service to Mexico. Sanchez occupied an adobe built in the 1840s; the preserved two-story house, a half-mile east of SR 1 at 1000 Linda Mar Blvd., stands within Sanchez Adobe County Park and contains period furniture, artifacts and clothing. Tours are offered; phone (650) 359-1462.
Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center 225 Rockaway Beach Ave. Suite 1 PACIFICA, CA 94044. Phone:(650)355-4122