For my very first blog post, I wanted to talk about the little seaside town that we found in the Bay Area: Pacifica.
If you are not a SF Bay Area local, there are a few things you need to know first:
- Don’t call it “San Fran.”
- There is an East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek), a North Bay (Marin, Sausalito, Stinson Beach), a South Bay (San Jose), but there is no “West Bay.” We got laughed at. A lot. We quickly learned that locals refer to the West portion of the Bay Area as “The Peninsula” or the San Francisco Peninsula. This includes anything below the city of San Francisco (“The City,” which is on the tip of the Peninsula).
- Cities on the Peninsula include: Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco, Burlingame, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Menlo Park.
- Living in SF or on the Peninsula is very expensive. Many people in their twenties that work downtown, or in the Peninsula commute in from the East or South Bay (more affordable rent/housing).
- Summer in San Francisco really is quite chilly. The warmest months tend to be August, September, and October! June and July are foggy and cold.
Pacifica is a stretch of coastline just a few miles south of San Francisco, on the northwest portion of the Peninsula.
What is it like to live in Pacifica?
Awesome. Seriously – as a couple that grew up in Southern California, this little section of the Bay Area is the most precious gem in the Bay Area!
When most locals hear “Pacifica,” they equate the word with FOG. I have even seen license plate frames that say “Where in the FOG is Pacifica?!” (haha). It is quite foggy in Pacifica, but mostly during June and July. For the majority of the year, we have clear skies (the temperature usually isn’t far out of the 55-70 range at any point in the year, fog or no fog). However, after living here for over two years, I have to say that the fog is so unique and charming that I really cherish those foggy days.
On chilly, foggy days it is fun to curl up with a good book and cup of tea and just take in the spooky way the water reflects the light. Or if you’re not in the mood for it, you can always just drive over the hill into Daly City or Burlingame and enjoy whatever weather the rest of the Bay Area is experiencing 😉 Again, you are just a few miles south of San Francisco, so you can drive up to Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, or downtown of course. There is a BART station in Colma where you can leave your car and take the train so you don’t even have to worry about parking in the city!
Some evening fog rolling in
On sunny days, there is so much to do in Pacifica! The whole seaside town is very dog-friendly. “Esplanade Beach” is one of the very best dog beaches in the Bay Area (and possibly the state of CA). Everyone is so friendly, the beach is never crowded, and there are lots of dogs running free and having fun. Cooper especially loves to dig holes at this beach and gathers an audience as people walk by. Half Moon Bay (famous for Mavericks surf competition and the annual Pumpkin Festival) is just 10 minutes south too.
Esplanade (Dog) Beach
There are great trails all around – Mori Point is a gorgeous cliff that overlooks the pier. Hang gliding is becoming more and more popular (people glide right by our apartment window all the time!). Down in the Southern part of Pacifica (Linda Mar neighborhood), there is a famous Taco Bell that is built on the sandy beach, where they built a walk through “drive-thru” for surfers so they don’t have to even walk inside! My favorite restaurant is “The Surf Spot,” which serves quintessential Californian cuisine – lots of organic items, kale, avocado… yum. I also adore “Lovey’s Tea” which is a British tea house that holds afternoon tea service, complete with a huge list of teas, crumpets, scones, little sandwiches, and petits-fours.
The view from the famous Pacifica Taco Bell (popular surf spot, right?)
This should really be selling point number one, but if I still haven’t convinced you yet that Pacifica is the coolest, just wait until whale watching season. Every year, whales migrate along the coast for a few months. I cannot believe that I live in a place where I can look out my window and see a whale every time I look up! Seeing a whale breach was the coolest experience – I thought I’d have to go on a whale watching tour to ever see that. At other points throughout the year, you can also see dolphins and sea lions right in the waves!
And the best part of all is that the rent here is some of the most affordable in the Bay Area if you have a dog! Why not get a spectacular ocean view for the same price as a dog-friendly apartment in Redwood City? Plus, how cool is it that you can live right off the CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway? 😀
Sidebar: Fun fact I learned in my Linguistics class at Cal – people from Southern CA refer to freeways/highways by saying “take the 280 North” or “we drove on the 101,” whereas people from Northern CA say “take 280 North” or “we drove on 101.” Funny!