The 4-Hour Rule: Pescadero

You just can’t beat $34 a night

April 9, 2019 2:16 pm

Time for one more trip to the Central Coast before the summer crowds show up.

Destination: Pescadero, for a weekend of moody beach walks (expect to see otters, seals and sea lions), redwood camping and a fancy dinner at a goat farm (really).

Isn’t this why you came to California? Or, if you’re local, why you stay here?

Our top pick: Grab a campsite at nearby Butano State Park. It’s $35 a night for a spot under the redwoods, which is a deal unlikely to repeat itself within 100 miles of San Francisco. (Except for immediately below.) Jump on that, as bookings are permitted six months out, and while some spring and summer availability remains, it’s thinning. You’ll find swanky digs 15 miles up the coast in Half Moon Bay — but why not stay in Pescadero’s historic lighthouse (from $34 a bed if you’re traveling solo)?

How about a moody walk on the beach, with your choice of rocky or sandy beaches, tidepools and dramatic/Instagram-friendly rock arches? (Pescadero State Park has ’em all.) Do you have kids? Do they love animals? You’ll find elephant seals in various stages of molt between now and August, along with slightly less terrifying otters, harbor seals, California sea lions and more, all at Año Nuevo State Park. Motorcyclists love Pescadero — and especially Downtown Local, the Sightglass-serving coffee shop that’s a part-time ode to vintage motorcyclia.

Dinner at the goat farm: yes. (Save room in your bag for goat cheese savories.) Duarte’s Tavern might be the oldest restaurant you visit in California, since it predates the earthquake/fire mishegas of 1906 by 12 years (it’s also a past James Beard winner). For something fancy, head to Half Moon Bay — but Mercado has tasty Mexican for non-snobs.

Main image via Unsplash

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