Month: April 2015

National Park Service Hosts Junior Ranger Day on Alcatraz Island

urlThe National Park Service will host two Junior Ranger Day events and interpretive programs on Alcatraz Island on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, 2015.

The purpose of Junior Ranger Days is to highlight the Alcatraz Junior Ranger Program, including special ranger walks and other youth specific activities. In addition, Junior Rangers may purchase a Junior Ranger Book for a $2.00 fee at the retail stores located on Alcatraz Island. The booklet includes a variety of site specific activities. Those who complete the activities will be sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a Junior Ranger Badge.

f8c6a9afb8286197bad63905db4fba1aA limited number of complimentary tickets are available, therefore a maximum of four complimentary tickets are available per group or family and there must be at least one youth (between the ages of 5-11) in the group. Children must be accompanied by at least one responsible adult, age 18 or older. To book Junior Ranger Day tickets, please call the Alcatraz Cruises Group Services Department at (415) 438-8361 by no later than May 1, 2015. (Note: tickets for Junior Ranger Day are not available online or at the Pier 33 ticket booth).

Alcatraz Cruises is the National Park Service only concessioner for ticketing and ferry transportation to Alcatraz Island, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. More than 1.5 million visitors go to Alcatraz Island annually. It is a top visitor destination in San Francisco.

Pacifica Hits a Home Run with Affordable Accommodations for San Francisco Giants Fan

Conveniently located just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, the beautiful beach-front town of Pacifica is a great overnight destination option for San Francisco Giants fans who are traveling to the Bay Area to watch the 2014 World Series Champions.

Beginning with the 2015 Giants’ home opener on April 13 through the entire season, Pacifica’s six properties will be in full swing with lodging options that range from budget to moderately priced accommodations, plus the added bonus of FREE parking.

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PACIFICA LODGING

Pacifica offers six lodging options in the budget to moderate price range and all are within walking distance to Pacifica’s beaches. Four are located at Rockaway Beach. The largest with 97 guest rooms is the Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel, a full-service hotel situated on Rockaway Beach with spacious accommodations, beautiful ocean views, a swimming pool and the upscale Moonraker restaurant. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Pacifica provides very comfortable accommodations with ocean views and a complimentary hot Express Start Breakfast Bar, which has an outdoor deck overlooking beautiful Rockaway Beach Cove. Offering a dash of Victorian charm is the pet-friendly Pacifica Motor Inn and adjacent to Nick’s Restaurant is the Sea Breeze Motel, which is very convenient for those looking to dance the night away at Nick’s.

Situated across from Linda Mar Beach is another full service hotel called the Pacifica Beach Hotel. Under new ownership, the hotel now includes several remodeled rooms, offering spectacular ocean view rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, indoor swimming pool and the new Peruvian Restaurant, Puerto 27. Further north near Sharp Park is Americas Best Value Inn, which is a short walk from the Pacifica Pier and the Sharp Park golf course.

America’s Best Value Inn Pacifica: (877) 784-6835/www.pacifica-bestvalueinn.com

Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel: (650) 355-6300/ www.bestwesternlighthouse.com

Holiday Inn Express & Suites: (650) 355-5000/www.hiexpresspacifica.com

Pacifica Beach Hotel: (650) 355-9999/www.pacificabeachhotel.com

Pacifica Motor Inn: (800) 522-3772/www.pacificamotorinn.com

Sea Breeze Motel at Rockaway Beach: (650) 359-3903

WHAT TO DO IN PACIFICA

In addition to offering competitively lower prices and FREE parking, Pacifica’s hotels are ideally located amidst a myriad of outdoor activities and popular restaurants.

A recreational playground and dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Pacifica features everything from world-class surfing, mountain biking and hiking to fishing, scuba diving and hang gliding. Here’s a Top Ten List of the most popular Pacifica attractions ~

  1. Surfing: -Pacifica is home to some of Northern California’ best surfing beaches, including Linda Mar State Beach, Rockaway Beach and Sharp Park Beach.
  2. Biking:– Pacifica is known in the bike community for its network of trails that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Whether pedaling a road bike or mountain biking, Pacifica features everything from leisurely rides along the paved coastal trail or ascending the flanks of Montara Mountain, towering 2000 feet above Pacifica.
  3. Hiking: -There are over a dozen trails spanning many miles of ocean view treks for beginners to the most advanced. From the leisurely Mori Point coastal walk to the more advanced terrain of Sweeney Ridge, there is a hike for every level of fitness.
  4. Fishing: – Some of the best fishing in the United States can be found in the inshore waters off Pacifica. In addition to salmon, striped bass often frequent the surf along with kingfish, sharks and perch. Although rare, sturgeon, barracuda and bonito frequent the coastal waters of Pacifica.
  5. Crabbing: Pacifica Pier is the only place in the Bay Area where the public can crab for free. During the winter, Dungeness crab, which are not available elsewhere in the Bay Area, are abundant off the pier; in the spring, catch perch at Linda Mar Bay; in the fall, go rock fishing off Pedro Point.
  6. Scuba Diving: Linda Mar Beach is an intermediate-to-advanced beach entry scuba-dive site with a diverse aquatic life, such as seals, fish and rays. In May and June, halibut come into Linda Mar Bay, which attracts many divers spearfishing for this prize fish. At Pedro Point, two wrecks lie on the ocean’s bottom in approximately 30 to 40 feet of water.
  7. Golf: Sharp Park Golf Course is located just off the Pacific Coast Highway at the intersection of Sharp Park Road and Francisco Boulevard. The famous golf architect Alister Mackenzie designed the 18-hole course.
  8. Archery: San Francisco Archers is a non-profit organization that promotes archery at all levels of ability and age. The club is open to the public every day.
  9. Segway Tours: The many well-maintained and level trails along Pacifica’s beautiful beaches lend themselves to Segway rides. Begin your ride at Rockaway Beach and the trail wends through a rock quarry to climb up 12 scenic switchbacks over Pacifica’s Strawberry Hill to Linda Mar Beach and beyond.
  10. Beaches: Pacifica features seven miles of spectacular Pacific Ocean beaches that are perfect for a whole range of recreation, including Linda Mar Beach,

Rockaway Beach, Sharp Park Beach and Mussel Rock Beach

After and/or before taking in a Giants game, visitors will want to enjoy one of Pacifica’s many popular restaurants before laying down for a quiet night’s sleep. Recommendations for dining are listed below:

  • Moonraker: (650) 557-7025/moonrakerpacifica.com
  • Nick’s Seashore Restaurant: (650) 359-3903/nicksrestaurant.net
  • Puerto 27: (650) 733-7343/puerto27.com
  • A Grape in the Fog: 650-484-5850/www.agitf.com
  • Surf Spot: 650-355-7873/surfspoteats.com
  • Ash’s Vallemar Station: 650-359-7411/www.vallemarstation.com
  • Lovey’s Tea Shop: 650-359-1245/www.loveysteashoppe.com
  • Devil’s Slide Tap Room: 650-898-8855/www.devilsslidetaproom.com
  • Paisano’s: 650-898-8645/paisanospacifica.com
  • Camelot Fish & Chips: 650-355-1555/camelotfishandchips.com
  • Beach Monkey Café: 650-738-5920/www.com
  • Guerrero’s Taqueria: 650-355-2833/(no website)
  • Rock n’ Robs: 650-359-3663/(no website)
  • Prime Dip: 650-557-1246/www.primedip.com

Travel Tip: For more information about Pacifica, log onto VisitPacifica.com.

Background: Pacifica. California

The natural beauty and unparalleled serenity of Pacifica, California has attracted travelers to this coastal gem for more than 100 years. Located just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, Pacifica feels worlds away but is convenient to some of the most vibrant, international communities on the West Coast. Easily accessible from Highway 1, Pacifica’s rich cultural heritage and bohemian personality make it a unique destination worth discovering.

Pacifica’s ethereal beauty is enhanced by its Mediterranean style weather. Refreshing temperatures range from 15-20 degrees cooler than the central coast, drawing visitors to Pacifica’s shoreline to ‘cool’ off during the hot summer months with its natural air-conditioning and attractive oceanfront accommodations. Likewise, Pacifica’s equally-appealing winter travel season provides a dramatic setting for those interested in off-season values and romantic departures.

Of the many diversions, Pacifica boasts some of the most breathtaking panoramic vistas atop a wide range of hiking trails and walking adventures along the expansive beaches dotting the destination’s shoreline. Additionally, the destination features a range of recreational options, including surfing, boating, scuba, fishing and paragliding, birding, cycling, golf, tennis, archery and horseback riding.

According to the National Marine Sanctuaries of the West Coast, Pacifica is known to be the fourth richest area in the world for marine mammal life.

For more information about the destination of Pacifica, California, please visit http://visitpacifica.com.

Whale Migration Through Pacifica, CA

For those that are interested in viewing the northbound journey of migrating whales, Pacifica sets the stage as an ideal viewing post because of the many inlets and close proximity to the route and “playground” of these magnificent creatures. Some of the best viewing platforms are from the coastal bluffs of Mori Point, Rockaway beach trail, Linda Mar State Beach, the Pacifica Pier and Devil’s slide walking trail.

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The northern migration of gray whales generally attracts 20,000 whales and lasts from February through April. The whales, including mothers and calves, travel closer to the coast on the northbound journey, so this is usually the best time for whale watching from the shores of Pacifica.

Blue whales are not as common as gray whales, but there’s an estimated population of over 2,000 on the west coast. The blue whale migration follows a pattern similar to the gray whale, but they don’t seem to travel such long distances, or to travel as close to the shore.

Blue whales are typically seen along the Central California coast, with Pacifica at the center of the action. Whale watching season for blue whales lasts from late spring to fall.

As for the humpback whales, they are very acrobatic. The population along the California coast is only about 800. Prime whale watching season for humpback whales is in the summer and fall, with the largest number of sightings along the Central California coast.

For more information, check the Whale Watching calendar athttp://gocalifornia.about.com/od/topcalifornia/ss/Whales-Dolphins-California-Coast_11.htm.