Is Pescadero Worth Visiting? 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit

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If you are traveling to San Francisco or live in the Bay area, is Pescadero worth visiting? A small town on the northern California coast, Pescadero, may not be as well known as some of the other beach towns in California. However, its small-town charm and beautiful coastal views are some of the many reasons why Pescadero should be added to your northern California bucket list. 

There are so many incredible locations to visit along the California coast! Honestly, it can be hard to choose which place to stop along the Pacific Coast Highway. However, I am here to tell you that Pescadero, California, should not be missed! Find out why Pescadero is worth visiting, what you should do on your trip, and where you should stay.

How to Get to Pescadero

Located only an hour’s drive from San Francisco, Pescadero is the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. The town of Pescadero is in San Mateo county, right off of Highway 1. You can easily visit from San Francisco or as a pit stop on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

Is pescadero worth visiting? How to get there

If you are planning a road trip in California, you can find the best rates for a car rental here.

  • San Francisco to Pescadero: Distance 46 miles, approximately 60 minute drive
  • Half Moon Bay to Pescadero: Distance 17.8 miles, approximately 24 minute drive
  • Santa Cruz to Pescadero: Distance 35.5 miles, approximately 41 minute drive
  • Bus Station near Pescadero: Pescadero Creek Rd & Water Ln, a 12-minute walk to downtown

Why is Pescadero Famous

Pescadero, Portuguese for “fishing town”, and is known as a farming and ranching community. Here you will find plenty of fresh produce, goat dairy farms, and don’t forget to try one of the homemade baked pies with locally grown berries from Duartes Tavern or Pie Ranch.

The town of Pescadero is known for its rich history. Such as the local eatery Duartes Tavern, which has been owned and operated by 4 generations of the Duartes family since 1894.

pigeon point lighthouse

The historic landmark, Pigeon point lighthouse, was constructed in 1872 to guide ships along the rocky reefs of the San Mateo coast. Or Butano State Park, which is the first state park in California.

Is Pescadero Worth Visiting: 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit

Pescadero is a total hidden gem and one of the Bay areas best-kept secrets. This small town has so much to offer, from the wild pacific ocean to the tall ancient redwood trees, you will want to visit Pescadero again and again.

There are many amazing things to do in Pescadero that you must check out for yourself. Here are the reasons why Pescadero is worth visiting.

1. The Delicious Food: Pescadero Restaurants

A single road runs through the Downtown area of Pescadero. In fact, it will only take you about 5 to 10 minutes to walk from one end of downtown to the other. However, this tiny but vibrant town has a few delicious options to grab a bite to eat or sip on the oh-so-popular SightGlass coffee.

A must-stop is the historic Duartes Tavern, with its legendary olallieberry pies and artichoke soup. The artichoke soup was so rich and creamy. It comes with warm slices of fresh sourdough bread, perfect for dipping into the hot and delicious soup.

why pescadero is worth visiting, the restaurants.

Duarte’s homemade olallieberry pies are baked fresh daily. Their famous olallieberry pie has been has been on the menu since the 1930s.

If you are looking for a pick me up during your time in Pescadero, Downtown Local serves SightGlass coffee, a San Francisco favorite. While you are waiting for your specialty coffee, explore the inside of the cafe.

downtown local coffee shop

Downtown Local is a very unique coffee shop. The entire space has vintage items on display, and most of the decor is for sale. They have a lot of interesting and neat finds, including vintage books, vinyls, automobilia magazines, vintage toys, and other items.

2. Pituresque Destination

One of the main reasons why Pescadero is worth visiting is its picturesque location. As you drive along the winding and twisting roads of the northern California coast, you are truly blown away by the stunning views. The small two-lane road cut in the hillside and bounded by cliffs and ocean on the one side and rugged mountains on the other.

Besides the coastline views, Pescadero is also known for its lush redwood forests. It is home to some of the oldest redwood trees in northern California. You can go hikes, camp, and explore these majestic redwoods trees at Big Basin Redwoods or Butano State Park.

3. The Slow Coast

Often referred to as the slow coast, Pescadero is the perfect example of an idyllic California beach town. Life is at a different pace than in San Francisco. Pescadero, along with the other beach towns along the northern California coastline, is nicknamed the slow coast for its relaxing and country setting. With fewer crowds than other beach towns, it is a great little location to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

why pescadero is worth visiting

4. To Support Local Shops & Businesses

Another reason why Pescadero is worth visiting is the many local shops and businesses. Along downtown Pescadero, you will find a couple of local shops selling locally sourced products from jewelry to clothing, antiques, and handcrafted furniture.

local businesses and shops in downtown pescadero

No visit to Pescadero is complete without a trip to the Arcangeli Grocery, where you can find their famous garlic artichoke bread.

The large loaves of freshly baked bread are kept warm behind the counter. We could not resist immediately pulling apart the fluffy pieces of soft bread while we walked along downtown.

The market also sells everything from fresh produce, wine, meats, dips, baked goods, and a deli where you can order a sandwich to go.

no visit to pescadero is complete without a trip to arcangeli grocery
the famous artichoke bread from arcangeli grocery

5. The Farms, Goats, & Wine Tasting

One of our favorite things to do in Pescadero was to visit the local goat dairy farm, Harley Farms. There you can enjoy a walk along with the property and visit some of their adorable goats and donkeys. You can even book a tour of the farm and get the opportunity to hold and play with the baby goats.

visit the goats at harley farms
visit the local goat dairy farm at harley farms

Harley Farms also has a little shop you can browse and buy delicious homemade goat cheese, farm honey, jams, and natural bath and body products made with goat milk.

After your time at the farm, I highly recommend you go wine tasting at Sante Arcangeli Winery. The wine tasting takes place in a rustic barn at Harley Farms. You can enjoy a 6 flight wine tasting paired with Harley Farm’s award-winning goat cheese, local honey, and chili salted caramels.

wine tasting at sante arcangeli winery is worth a visit in pescadero

6. Pescadero is Very Dog Friendly

For all of my dog parents out there, you will be happy to know that Pescadero is a dog-friendly town. We brought our English Golden Retriever along with us on our recent trip to Pescadero, and he was welcome to most things in the area.

dog friendly things to do in pescadero

A trip to Bean Hollow State Beach is one of the best dog friendly things you can do in Pescadero. It’s a long stretch of sandy beach where you will find tide pools, a short hiking trail that goes up to the bluffs, and a little cove covered with multi-colored pebbles. Our dog loved rolling around in the sand and splashing in the ocean.

Another spot that surprised us and is also dog friendly is Arcangeli Winery. Dogs are welcome to join you either inside or outside the barn during your wine tasting.

7. Close to Half Moon Bay

During your day trip or weekend in Pescadero, you can easily visit its neighboring beach town, Half Moon Bay. Pescadero is only 17.8 miles away from Half Moon Bay, about a 24-minute drive. Half Moon Bay is known for its gorgeous coastal views and beaches, renowned restaurants, fresh local produce, quaint shops, and world-famous surfing competition.

If you plan on visiting with your dog, Half Moon Bay has numerous dog friendly beaches as well.There are also many outdoor activities, such as trails, downtown Half Moon Bay, and dog parks, for you to enjoy with your pup.

best day trip to half moon bay

Locals love to unwind at the incredible Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. The luxurious hotel sits on an ocean bluff with some of the best views in the area. However, even if you are not a guest, you can still stop by the Ritz Carlton to admire the beautiful view and have some cocktails around their cozy firepit. 

ritz carlton half moon bay
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Where to Stay in Pescadero

Planning on spending the night in Pescadero? Here are my recommendations for hotels:

HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel

The Pigeon Point Hostel offers a unique stay next to the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The rooms sit along the bluff side with jaw-dropping views of the California coastline.

views from Hi Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel
pigeon point lighthouse

However, this place gets even better! The most impressive thing about this hostel is the secluded and private hot tub. The hot tub sits at the edge of the bluff showcasing incredible views of the wild Pacific Ocean.

Pescadero Creek Inn

Relax and spend your night or weekend in a cozy farmhouse. In Downtown Pescadero, you can find the charming Pescadero Creek Inn. The hotel is in a century-old farmhouse with four restored rooms overlooking their beautiful gardens.

In Conclusion: Is Pescadero Worth Visiting?

In conclusion, is Pescadero worth visiting? I think after reading this post and getting a small taste of the many amazing things to do in Pescadero, you will agree that YES Pescadero is absolutely worth visiting!

The charming town of Pescadero, with its delicious eateries, sweeping coastal views, and many outdoor activities is a destination that should be your next day trip or weekend getaway in the Bay Area!

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