Driving the coast line along Highway 1 is something that is on most people who visit California’s to do list. Whether it’s your one and only time making your way down this well-traveled road or it’s in your backyard and you visit it frequently, it pays to diverge and head inward to see charming little coastal towns. One of these inviting stops along the way is Pescadero.
Situated south of Half Moon Bay and North of Santa Cruz, it makes for the perfect day trip. From bird watching to beach combing there is something for everyone. The population is small but the sense of community is large.
Combine your love for hiking and bird watching at the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. The 243-acre preserve has more than 200 species of birds and several habitats including a tidal estuary, freshwater marsh, and dense riparian woods. There are several hikes you can take, but if you want something that’s relatively easy with the most diversity take the Sequoia Audubon Trail which is 2.4 miles round trip. Docent nature walks are offered the first Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. and the third Sunday of the month at 1 p.m.
Pescadero State Beach connects with the preserve and offers a wide sandy beach and plenty of washed up driftwood. On low tides, the beach stretches under the bridge.
Bean Hollow State Beach also known as Pebble Beach is a great place to explore tide pools and cool rock formations. And as its name sake, there are pebbles on the beach not sand.
Although the shopping is limited, the quality of goods makes up for the quantity. Made in Pescadero has handcrafted one of a kind furniture as well as art and accessories for the home by local artists and craftsmen. Stage Road Shops has a variety of kitchen antiques, tea cups, jewelry and other things of the knick knack nature. Country Roads Antiques has antique goodies on the bottom and top floor. Luna Sea has arts and crafts including a variety of sea inspired goods for your garden and jewelry.
Duarte’s Tavern established in 1894 has the old school family charm still going for it. Eat the Cream of Artichoke soup, Crab Cioppino and a slice of pie, any pie and you will not regret your visit. Get some Olallieberry Syrup to take home.
Arcangeli Grocery Co./Norm's Market is a general store that has fresh bread, jams, mustard, sauces, fresh groceries and a deli. Get some jarred goods to take home, the artichoke garlic partially baked bread and some sun-dried tomato basil sausage. This is also a great stop if you want to grab picnic supplies for the beach.
Harley Farms is a restored 1910 dairy farm that is now a working goat dairy farm. The farm offers farm and dairy tours as well as a cheese shop that has tastings and specialty items you can purchase. You can also check out the goats and llamas in the paddocks on your own Wednesday through Sunday. They also offer farm to table dinners, check their website in advance as they sell out quickly.
If you decide to stay a night or two, Costanoa Lodge gives you the option of glamping, camping or lodge accommodations. It’s located about 9 miles from Pescadero and is nestled in trees off of Highway 1. A great alternative if you don’t mind sleeping on bunk beds is Pigeon Point Lighthouse. This hostel not only has a historic lighthouse on the grounds, but they have a hot tub right on the ocean for guests only.