By Jason Kaefer
My family and I moved to Daly City (The Gateway to the Peninsula) and nestled into the hills beside the 280 Freeway. From this location, San Francisco is a 10-minute drive North and San Jose – 40 minutes South. Between these two regions are a great amount of Bay Area hot spots. One city glossed over by the noise of San Francisco is Pacifica.
My wife and I experienced Pacifica our third day living in North County. Ironically, I’ve lived in the Bay my entire life and traveled to Pacifica only twice. A Bonfire (first occasion) and a girl dragging me along (second occasion). I never thought this out-of-the-way spot held any hidden gems. But to my surprise, Pacifica has a beaming charm.
In case you aren’t familiar with the region, let me give you a brief background. The city spreads over six miles of coastal beaches and is popular in the region among surfers and fisherman. It also offers local hiking (good for bikers) around the green, winding trails encompassing the city. Local restaurants are a must for anyone looking to dine near the calming waves (I’ll review some top choice restaurants in a later post.) For now, check out below the uniqueness of Sharp Park, Pacifica.
Sharp Park is one of the few beaches in California with black sand.
Don’t be turned off by it, it’s perfectly clean and enjoyable. This dark color comes from a high concentration of iron oxide magnetite. In the summer, Sharp Park feels almost like Southern California as you stroll down the levee’s promenade ( pictured below) which separates the beach from the protected marshland, or as you dig your bare feet into the warm, charcoal sand.
The Pacifica Pier is a popular fishing spot in San Mateo County. The pier stretches several hundred feet where, on a good day, one catches Salmon, Striped Bass, and Crab. The summer months are best for Salmon and Striped Bass, while the Winter brings in Dungeness Crab. But try and avoid the pier during storm season. TRUST ME. The waves pictured below are nothing compared to what goes down in a wind storm.
I would recommend heading to Sharp Part at dusk to the promenade mentioned above when the sun burns into the clouds in a melting of red and pink and orange. My advice, dress warm, particularly between August and January. Remember, its Northern California, and just South of the State of Oregon, so don’t expect to jump head first into turquoise waves and swim with dolphins when you arrive.
Dress warm, as pictured below. If you have a toddler, sweatshirt with a hood and a warm vest. Parents, consider the wind. The hoodie blocks the cold from your toddler’s ears and the vest keeps them insulated. Our little guy loves the ocean.