ActivitiesTravel & Day Trips

6 Best Things to Do in Pescadero California, From a Local

Nestled along the stunning California coastline, Pescadero is a quaint, picturesque town that offers visitors a unique blend of breathtaking natural scenery, mouthwatering local cuisine, and a laid-back atmosphere.

If you’re planning a trip to this coastal gem, be sure to check out our top recommendations for the best things to do in Pescadero, California.

First, a bit about me. I’m a professional food photographer whose work appears in The New York Times, Food and Wine, and more, and a writer with bylines in SFGate and the Bold Italic. I love Pescadero and travel there several times per year from my home in Lafayette, California.

1. Harley Farms Goat Dairy

A visit to Pescadero wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the award-winning Harley Farms Goat Dairy. This fully operational, 9-acre goat farm is home to over 200 alpine goats and offers farm tours, cheese tastings, and a charming gift shop filled with artisanal goat milk products.

Enjoy a guided tour to learn about the farm’s sustainable practices and meet the friendly goats up close, or just wander around the farm with your kids.

You can read our detailed review of Harley Farms Goat Dairy here.

2. The Beaches

Distinctive rocks at Bean Hollow State beach

Pescadero’s coastline boasts a variety of pristine, sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and exploring tide pools. Popular options include Pescadero State Beach, Bean Hollow State Beach, and Pomponio State Beach.

Be sure to keep an eye out for harbor seals, sea otters, and other marine life that frequently visit the area.

The distinctive, pock-marked rocks along the coastline here make Pescadero’s beaches unique. The water is too cold and the waves too high for most swimmers, but it’s a beautiful spot to take a walk along the coast.

3. Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Standing proudly on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in America. Built in 1871, this historic structure offers breathtaking panoramic views and is surrounded by a picturesque coastal landscape.

The adjacent Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park provides access to tide pools, secluded coves, and rugged cliffs, perfect for nature lovers and photographers. There’s even a hostel on property if you want to stay the night (albeit with fairly minimal luxuries).

The original lighthouse lens in the Fog Signal Building museum

I also love the Fog Signal building, which has a small museum about the lighthouse, as well as very knowledgeable and friendly rangers who will answer your questions.

Local tip: Ask the rangers to show you the super-bright rotating fog signal light.

4. Duarte’s Tavern

Pie at Duartes

Established in 1894, Duarte’s Tavern is a Pescadero institution known for its delicious home-style cooking and warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Serving up a variety of dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients, Duarte’s is particularly famous for its cream of artichoke soup and olallieberry pie. Make sure to save room for a slice of their delectable pie after your meal.

5. Downtown Local Coffee Shop

Downtown Pescadero

Located in the heart of Pescadero, Downtown Local Coffee Shop is the perfect place to start your day with a cup of expertly brewed coffee and a fresh pastry. Housed in a charming, vintage building, this beloved local spot also offers a curated selection of vinyl records, books, and locally-made gifts. Enjoy the cozy ambiance and friendly service as you plan your day’s adventures.

You wouldn’t expect to find such a hip coffee spot in a tiny coastal hamlet. But hey, this is the Bay Area; we love our coffee!

6. Butano State Park

Just a short drive from Pescadero, Butano State Park is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and hikers. With over 40 miles of hiking trails, this lush park offers a diverse range of landscapes, including redwood groves, chaparral, and riparian ecosystems. Keep an eye out for the park’s abundant wildlife, such as deer, banana slugs, and various bird species.


With its charming small-town vibe, beautiful beaches, and diverse attractions, Pescadero offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or culinary delights, you’ll find it all in this captivating coastal community.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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