Pacifica, California Photos and Information

Pacifica is a California Beach city located on San Mateo County's north coast within commuting distance of San Francisco. It is home to some of the San Francisco Bay area's best fishing and surfing beaches. For travelers seeking a more tranquil setting than San Francisco, Pacifica is only 15 minutes south of the city and is perfect choice for overnight accommodations.


Rockaway Beach is a region of Pacifica with several hotels overlooking the ocean that include Best Western Lighthouse Hotel. This hotel offers a fantastic location overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the sound of the crashing surf to lull you to sleep. Tastefully decorated, the hotel features a restaurant with incredible views of the ocean. It was there that diners sat at view tables in the Moonraker Restaurant and gazed at surfers navigating the 2 to 6 foot waves that break close to shore.

Located next door to the hotel is a row of shops that include the Pacifica Visitors Center. Be sure to stop by and get directions for the next leg of your journey. On display is a Sea Lion skeleton and an 8-foot long jawbone from a Baleen Whale. Guests can peruse local guidebooks and purchase affordable postcards and books of regional interest.

A bedroom community that has maintained a largely undeveloped commercial element, 50 percent of Pacifica is dedicated open space. Walking trails and a beautiful fishing pier that was constructed in 1973 offer vistas of the coastline and hills dotted with houses. On a clear day, you can see Alcatraz to the north.

With dramatic vistas from the hillside areas as well as neighborhoods snuggled up to the coastline, the city's shoreline is only secondary in fame to its awesome displays of fog. The city celebrates fog with an annual Fog Fest held as a celebration of sun, sand, and surf that defines life on the coast.

The Fest was created in 1986 to promote Pacifica. The last full weekend of September was chosen because historically the weather is actually sunny and nice. The two-day arts and crafts fair with over 190 arts and craft booths, live entertainment, and food and drink (including the Fog Cutter, a specialty drink created for Fog Fest), attracts over 50,000 people.

About San Mateo County: Among the richest counties in ethnic diversity nationally, San Mateo County offers residents a rich mix of urban development, sleepy redwood forests and one of the best preserved coastlines in America. In addition to wineries, flower farms, fishing, internationally known computer firms and the world’s eighth busiest airport, San Mateo County’s residents are among the wealthiest and best educated in the world. The County is 45 miles long and as narrow as seven miles in some places. Most of its 700,000 residents live along the San Francisco Bay, with the remainder closer to the coast. An estimated 90 percent live on 20 percent of the land, making San Mateo County the fifth highest in population density in the state.

Two freeways traverse The County north and south, while two bridges connect it to the East Bay, and both BART and CalTrain combined serve the whole County.

Pacifica is one of the youngest communities in San Mateo County and yet its Spanish origins make it one of the oldest. Between 1906 and 1920, small settlements sprang up around the stations of the Ocean Shore Railway, but the coast north of Devil's Slide remained sparsely-populated until the post-war boom. In 1957, Pacifica incorporated as a city, consolidating the communities of Edgemar, Fairway Park, Linda Mar, Pacific Manor, Pedro Point, Rockaway Beach, Sharp Park, Vallemar and Westview (Pacific Highlands).

Though the word, pacifica, means peace, the newly formed city was named in a contest held in 1957 and chosen to help solidify its entrance to the list of California cities. Home to Costanoan and Ohlone tribes before Spanish explorer Francisco Gali charted Point Año Nuevo (New Year) in 1603, Mexican settlers later built ranches. The California Gold Rush brought an influx of immigrants to the region and California soon became a state in the mid-1800's.

How to Get to Pacifica: Pacifica is 15 miles south of San Francisco and 55 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. The best way to get to Pacifica from the north is to take Highway 1 South from Highway 280 to Pacifica.

From the East Bay, travel west on Highway 92 over the San Mateo Bridge. Continue west on Highway 92 past Highways 101 to Interstate 280 . Take Interstate 280 North to the Pacifica/ Highway 1 exit. Follow Highway 1 south to Palmetto Exit.

From the South Bay, take Interstate 280 Take Interstate 280 North to the Pacifica/ Highway 1 exit. Follow Highway 1 South to Palmetto Exit.


Pacifica, California Photos and Information


 Elevation: 76'  Information: (650) 355-4122

Hot Deals
Save on Tickets


Universal City

Discount Disneyland Tickets


catalina express
Long Beach, Dana Point

Catalina Flyer

Newport Beach

Discount Disney's California Adventure tickets


Knotts Berry Farm
Buena Park

Discount Medieval Times tickets

Buena Park

Discount Pirates Dinner Adventure tickets

Buena Park

Discount Legoland California tickets


Discount San Diego Zoo tickets

San Diego

San Diego

Discount SeaWorld tickets