Tucked away off Highway 1 between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz is the one stop light town of Pescadero. The weathered wood turn off sign along Highway 1 is so unobtrusive that you could easily drive right past without even knowing that you’d missed out on the chance to unwind with a piece of olallieberry pie and wander around this quaint little farm town.
What to Do:
Harley Farms: Possibly the cutest goat farm ever. Admire the goats and then go inside and sample the many farm made goat cheeses. If you’ve planned ahead you can make a reservation to go on the goat cheese tour. A tour typically lasts about 1 1/2 hours and costs $35 per person. It’s not recommended for younger children since it requires some patience, listening, and not climbing all over the farm equipment.
The Pescadero Flowery: Part flower shop, part nursery with the option to pick your own dahlias when they’re in season (season begins in July and it’s $2 a stem). There’s also a DIY succulent bar where you can make your own arrangements. This is a great spot to snag a gift for anyone you know with a green thumb.
Shop: Pop into any of the other craft or antique shops if you’re in the mood and kid-free. Shuman Pottery has handmade goods and Tom is frequently busy creating wares in his studio next door and is happy to answer any questions or show you his clay working magic.
The Pescadero Marsh: Meander around the marsh and enjoy the views and wildflowers, depending on the time of year. There are a few short trails that can be accessed from pullouts along Pescadero Road. Or if you want more of a walk then park at Pescadero State Beach and make your way along the pathway next to Highway 1 and then under the bridge to the start of the Sequoia Audubon Trail. On certain Sundays there are free guided walks for those who want to learn a little more about the marsh.
Bean Hollow State Beach: Probably one of the most picturesque beaches on the coast, it’s a popular stopping spot for people traveling along Highway 1. However, like many of the beaches along this stretch of California coast, the ocean is frequently rough and it is often either foggy or windy. Nonetheless, the beach is beautiful and if you’re lucky you might even get a day that’s warm enough to take off your sweatshirt. Parking in the parking lot is $10, although there are a few spots along the highway if you want to save a little cash. Note: There are two Bean Hollow beach parking lots. The one to the north, closest to Pescadero, offers access to a pebble strewn beach. The one to the south is the sandy cove pictured.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse: About fifteen minutes from the town of Pescadero, this is a scenic spot to take the classic lighthouse and rugged coastline photo. Adjacent to the popular photo-op lookout is a path leading down to a protected little sandy cove. If you have a few minutes it’s a nice place to relax or let kids run around a bit. For lighthouse enthusiasts and people who plan ahead, the lighthouse also has a hostel that you can stay in. Make sure to book well in advance if you’re wanting to stay in the summer or on a weekend.
Duartes Tavern: This restaurant has been around forever, actually 1894 to be precise, and is the place to go if you want to have a slice of pie or a cup of artichoke soup. Serving up everything from hamburgers to crab cioppino you won’t be leaving hungry.
Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos: This burrito oasis is hidden inside the gas station and driving past you wouldn’t even know it existed. However, once you go inside you’ll see a bustling taqueria serving up delicious plates of reasonably priced Mexican food. It’s definitely the best meal I’ve ever gotten from a gas station. Cash only.
Arcangeli Grocery: Pop in here and grab a loaf of the legendary Garlic Herb Artichoke Bread. Frequently it’s still warm and it’s the perfect companion for your Harley Farms cheese that your bought. If you’re heading to the beach or on a hike you can also grab a deli sandwich to go.
- There are numerous state beaches within fifteen minutes of Pescadero. If you pay the $10 entrance fee to park in one it will also let you visit other state beaches/parks on the same day.
- Wear layers, this section of coastline can be foggy, damp, windy, and occasionally warm all within a span of a few hours.
- The weather is the sunniest and warmest late summer-early fall.
- The surrounding hills are their greenest and the wildflowers are the best during the spring.
- If you’re looking for a more hiking options check out nearby Butano State Park. Located in the redwoods and with 40 miles of hiking trails, this is an awesome spot to work up an appetite for all that cheese, bread, pie, and seafood that you’re going to devour in Pescadero.