Pacifica, Calif.–I spent hours looking for coastal hotels before getting in my car and heading north from L.A. The photos usually deceive you into thinking something is better than it really is, as you discover once you arrive. So when I found this place called Pacifica south of San Francisco on the coast, and saw a Best Western Lighthouse Hotel that seemed like it was near the ocean from what I could see on my web site’s hotel reservations system, I was a bit skeptical, admitedly.
But upon arrival at a place known as Rockaway Beach, part of the city of Pacifica, I was simply amazed. The hotel had some worn spots with a few chips of paint, and other things that needed a lift, but all in all, this was it! I checked in, paid a bit more and got a suite on the 2nd floor. Ocean waves hit the beach just short of the building. In fact, your car will get quite damp in parts of the hotel’s parking lot. But the sound of the crashing waves lulled me to sleep that night when I stayed there. Man, this is what I love, but seldom seem to find.
Upon exploring Pacifica as I headed north the next day, I found a delightful pier that pretty much summarized my stay in Pacifica–understated. The pier was surrounded by surfers in the water catching waves, and on the pier were fisherman with umbrellas for sun protection. Some had kids or bambinos, and lawn chairs, coolers with snacks, and all the fishing gear. The pier was uniquely shaped and looked like it sat on stilts when I photographed it from the beach. Pacifica Pier is a very local, very mellow pier I had just enough time to walk to the end to and back. There were no special stores or shops, but it offers a vantage point to the hills next to the beach.
When you are taking a road trip, don’t miss the coastal route and this charming pier and city, known for its annual Fog Fest held each year. They apparently get lots of fog, just like San Francisco to the north a few miles.