Beach & Santa Rosa, Pacifica
When you want to while away a Sunday afternoon with a line in the brine, Pacifica is the place to do it. A short drive south of San Francisco on Highway 1, the town boasts a scenic boardwalk, a 1,140-foot pier with a nearby bait shop, and, most important, fish untainted by the toxic muck of San Francisco Bay. Both avid and amateur anglers can spend hours here watching the waves roll in and the people roll by as they wait for the surfperch, jacksmelt, salmon, striped bass, leopard shark, white croaker, flounder, and halibut to bite. The hard-core types cluster at the end of the pier, but there's plenty of elbow room for newbies. There are also plenty of fish. Pacifica has some of the most fertile waters in the state and is one of California's best places to catch salmon without chartering a boat.