Looking for a seaside road trip, taking you down winding coastal highway? Do you crave the wind in your hair, sun, and surf? For an extended weekend of fun, drive or fly into San Francisco airport, then head out to Pacifica, California!
From San Francisco, take Route 1 South (Highway 280) to get to the shores of Pacifica. You'll know you're in Pacifica as you'll find one after another of gorgeous beaches, expansive sea vistas and outstanding views (surfers included!).
Grab a California State Park Day pass for $10 (or grab a California Explorer Park Pass if you are in Pacifica for more than a week). Get ready for fun in over 100 California state beaches, recreation areas, and parks in California. Parks usually open at 8am and close at sunset.
In the 6 hours I drove in one day,
I was able to see and stop at a dozen parks. Stop activities varied, but usually included photography, taking a beach walk, having lunch on the beach, sunbathing and reading a book on the beach. Many parks have access right off of Route 1; however, parking can be an issue as spaces are very limited, and beaches are very popular! I would suggest going to the parks either early in the morning (when they open) or later in the afternoon around 3pm to avoid the crowds. Be prepared to walk a short distance if you are going to visit the parks during peak times.
I enjoyed my entire ride along the coast of California. In my road trip journey, I listed some of my favorite California State Parks, including Pomponio beach (best beach for swimming), Half Moon Bay, Pescadero, and Ano Nuevo.
Ano Nuevo State Park is perfect for an afternoon walk, with thousands of beach rocks just asking to be picked up and admired. The sea throws hundreds of rocks in tiny groups along the shore, like little rock families! Ano Nuevo is also home to elephant seals, who, after almost killed to extinction in the 1920's for lamp oil, have made Ano Lucia their new breeding grounds. Tours cost $7, and you can reserve a tour online from December to March from Reserve America 800-444-4445.
And definitely stop at Pigeon Point lighthouse - tour the grounds for a day tour or stay at the hostel located next to the lighthouse grounds. Pigeon Point Lighthouse will walk you back through time when mariners navigated the seas before GPS.
Traveling down the California Coast is a great weekend getaway you won't want to miss. Bring your SO, your best friend or your canine companion, and enjoy the beauty, charm, and relaxation California State Park beaches have to offer.
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