A short 20-minute drive south from San Francisco, the coastal town of Pacifica often gets overlooked by visitors making their way down the peninsula. But locals know that Pacifica has plenty of hidden treasures and unique stories that make it a true one-of-a-kind place. Let us give you an insider's look at some of our favorites:

The Mori Point Loop Trail 
Pacificans love hiking and enjoy a multitude of stunning trails. Most tourists stick to walking or biking along the coastal trail, but few venture into the hills of the Headlands area. Here you'll find a network of secret bunkers and hidden stairways left over from World War II when this area was an important lookout and defensive position. Explore the dank bunkers, fortified stairs, and labyrinths of tunnels carved into the cliffs while taking in stunning views of the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. Check out the full trail on All-Trails; it's incredible to explore! We also recommend the McNee Ranch trails that lead you through majestic redwoods out toward Devil's Slide trail - the views alone are worth it! 

Surf Camp Pacifica
Speaking of Pacifica State Beach, no visit to Pacific is complete without at least one surf lesson! Surf Camp Pacifica has been teaching thousands of people how to surf for decades - young and old alike flock here from all around the world to learn.

Pacifica's Smattering of Tiny Beaches

Rockaway, Muir, and Pacifica State Beaches are well-known, but locals have their own favorite petite and personalized sandy spots scattered along the coast. Tiny unnamed pullouts and cliff-hugging coves are enjoyed by just a handful of families and friend groups who have adopted them as their cherished own slice of shoreline. Just look for the inconspicuous trails and stairways tucked between houses leading to secret sunbathing and wading areas. 

Nick's Rockaway Beach

Nick's Seafood Restaurant
This no-frills seafood joint - a Pacifica institution dating back to 1927 - tucked next to Highway 1 may not seem fancy from the outside. But inside, you'll find the freshest catch, creative seafood creations, and a lively community of salty old fishermen alongside hip young surfers mingling together over ice cold beers. Pro tip: the cracked crab is worth getting messy for. When the surf is high, you'll also have a front row seat to watch the more adventurous surfers tackle Rockaway Beach waves (not for beginners!). 

La Playa

Pacifica's Love of Tacos and Burritos
With so many taco trucks dispersed throughout Pacifica, vigorous (and sometimes humorous) debates erupt among locals over which one is the supreme victor. Each truck has its diehard fans and specialties, from the tender Baja-style fish tacos at Pablito's Truck to the sizzling Carne Asada at the bright pink truck in the Westbay shopping center parking lot. That said, the Burritos at La Playa Taqueria right there on State Beach are hard to beat as well - enjoy with a pitcher of their famous Margaritas with friends. You'll be joined by plenty of locals!

Pacifica's Prohibition History 

The Adobe Sánchez in Pacifica, California, is one of the few remaining structures from the Mexican Ranch era in the region. While it is a well-preserved example of adobe architecture, a lesser-known fact is that the building was once used as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era in the 1920s and early 1930s. It's well worth a visit to learn more about this unique historical site. Learn more from the San Mateo County History Museum.

Murals, Mosaics, and Shark-Themed Art
Public art installations are everywhere in Pacifica. Vibrant sea-themed mosaics and murals cover the walls of restaurants, apartment buildings, and alleys. And don't miss the whimsical sculptures of sharks popping up in business parks and shopping centers - a nod to the predators that swim in the waters just offshore.

So next time you're headed down the coast, get off that beaten path and poke around the unique nooks and crannies that give Pacifica its distinct local flavor and personality. The town is filled with friendly, dog-and-sea loving people who enjoy welcoming visitors from around the world.