Pacifica’s kids are lucky enough to have the playground of their dreams right in their backyard, thanks to a dedicated group of local families who designed and built it themselves. Tucked far enough back in the valley that the sun is often shining when it’s foggy at nearby Linda Mar beach, it’s very well worth a visit. And despite that fog, Linda Mar Beach (aka Pacifica State Beach), has been voted hands-down the best family beach in town, with its clean expanse of sand and gentle waves.

When to go: Any sunny day. Check the weather beforehand, as the area can be foggy.

Approximate travel time: Pacifica is located 15 miles south of San Francisco.

What to do: The playground has a castle theme, with climbing structures, a ‘dungeon’ made from tires, swings, slides, a wooden train depot, a beehive for tots, a water mist area for hot days, a big lawn, and lots of picnic tables. NOTE: The restrooms are not close by, so plan accordingly.

Lunch options: Take a picnic, or eat at the beachside High Tide Restaurant Café and Creperie, or at Luigi’s, for all things Italian. Both eateries are super family-friendly.

How to dress: Take layers for the changeable weather you can expect at the coast.

Bonus: Stop by Lucy’s Sweet Delights near the beach for a yummy ice-cream cone or a cup of frozen yogurt.

Cost of trip: Inexpensive.

Online:, Frontierland Park here.