INTRODUCTION TO ROCKAWAY BEACH
|Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Where To Stay and Eat
Best Western Lighthouse Hotel 105 Rockaway Beach Ave., (800) 832-4777, (650) 355-6300. 97 rooms; $$-$$$. Heated pool (open year round); hot tub; sauna; fitness room. Room service; restaurant.
Eight rooms here have a full-on ocean view, while the rest have a range of partial views. Beach-front junior suites have a sliding door that opens to the sight and sound of the roaring ocean—no wimpy waves here. It’s a thrill watching surfers while relaxing to nature’s stereo performance. Time a visit well and luck might permit viewing passing whales, or maybe dolphins riding the waves like surfers, or even the great white shark that passes through twice a year. Several trails lead by the hotel: The Coastal Trail goes a mile north into the foothills, and the Linda Mar State Beach trail leads south to a popular surfing spot.
|exterior of Best Western Lighthouse Hotel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|bar at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|cracked Dungeness crab at Moonraker in Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|Petrale sole at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|Brussels sprouts and butternut squash soup at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|steak frites at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|blood orange sorbet at Moonraker at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Holiday Inn 519 Nick Gust Way, (650) 355-5000. Buffet breakfast; afternoon cookies.
Some rooms have an ocean view, but others, like the one I stayed in, have a view of the busy highway or parking lot. The best rooms here are ocean-views on an upper floor. Guest rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and quiet. Each has a Kuireg coffeemaker. The complimentary buffet breakfast served in a room with an ocean view is expansive, with pancakes, muffins, eggs, toast, cereal, yogurt, and really good biscuits. Hot drinks and juices are always available to guests. A few big fish are kept in a small salt-water tank in the lobby.
|view from breakfast room at Holiday Inn Express at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Seabreeze Motel 100 Rockaway Beach Ave., (650) 359-3903. 20 rooms; $. Continental breakfast; restaurant. No pets.
This is the place for a quick, inexpensive escape. Rooms are simple, but the beach and roaring sea are just a few steps away.
|exterior of Seabreeze Motel at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Nicks Sea Shore Dining ((650) 359-3900. B-L-D daily; $$-$$$. Reservations advised.) offers ’50s retro style with comfy booths and an ocean view. Under the same ownership as the motel, this merry steak and seafood house began as a burger stand selling bait to fishermen. Don’t miss the garlic bread or crab cakes. Additional popular items include Oysters Rockefeller, marinated cracked crab made from grandma’s recipe, and Nick’s Famous Crab Sandwich on grilled sourdough. For dessert, the sorbet bomb is da bomb--a delicious ball of passion fruit, mango, and raspberry sorbets encased in white chocolate. An adjacent bar with dance floor books live music on weekends and serves up tasty cocktails at its immense horseshoe bar.
|dining room at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|Oysters Rockefeller at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|cracked crab at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|sorbet bomb at Nicks Sea Shore Dining at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
A Grape in the Fog 400 Old County Rd., (650) 735-5854. Age 21+. M-Thur 4-10, F 4-11, Sat 2-11.
Located at the quiet end of an already quiet back road, this small wine bar offers an impressive selection plus some tasty small bites--cheeses and charcuterie, hummus, and stuffed empanadas. Seating is at high tables and a bar, and live music is scheduled on a small stage on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. My group tried four tasty vintages: an oaky, buttery, approachable Corkscrew Chardonnay; a fruity, smoky Stubbs Vineyard Pinot Noir; another good Kastania Pinot Noir with a sweet owl on the label; and the bold Mr. Beast Zin from Barber Cellar. Several featured wine flights remove the decision making and let you relax.
|exterior of A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|bar at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|small bites at A Grape in the Fog at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant 4408 Coast Hwy., (650) 898-8183. L-D daily.
This road house is an easy pull-off on Highway 1. An extensive Japanese menu includes crispy tempura, all types of sushi and sashimi, and more.
|sushi bar at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
|tempura at Uoyakutei Japanese Restaurant at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
Resurrected Boutique 450 Dondee Way #2, in Rockaway Beach Plaza, (650) 735-5503.
This cozy little spot purveys the work of local artisans as well as repurposed antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.
|merchandise at Resurrected Boutique at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California|
More things to do in Pacifica.
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
images c2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers