We love driving along the California coast, stopping at all the beaches and vista points along the way — and the area around Pacifica is one stretch we hadn’t yet explored.
So this weekend, we headed to San Francisco to see a concert and do some adventuring. We visited the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA), wandered through Yerba Buena Gardens, and saw a movie, then headed south out of the city to hike at Mori Point, visit the Devil’s Slide Bunker, and explore Pacifica State Beach.
By the time we reached the beach town of Pacifica, we were starving. Now some people might look for a local lunch spot to try, but not us. We were on a mission to eat at the most scenic Taco Bell in the world.
Taco Bell On The Beach
In Pacifica, you can enjoy your Shredded Chicken Burrito, Chalupas, and Doritos Locos Tacos on the beach while watching the waves crash over the rocks and whales spout in the distance.
While some websites claim that this is the world’s nicest Taco Bell, I’d have to disagree. Natalie loves Taco Bell, so we stop at them when road tripping fairly often and have eaten at a lot of newer, nicer Taco Bell locations that don’t have standing water and sand on the floor.
But what makes this Taco Bell special isn’t how nice it is. It’s the fact that this Taco Bell sits directly on Pacifica State Beach and has an elevated back deck for beachfront dining, giant picture windows, a walk-up order window for surfers, and stunning 180 degree ocean views.
Known as the Linda Mar Taco Bell to locals, this fast-food restaurant also doesn’t look like other Taco Bell locations. Instead of a modern stucco box, this fast-food restaurant resembles a quaint, upscale, wooden, beach-front home — and there is no drive through.
The building was constructed in the late 1960s and was grandfathered in before Proposition 20, the 1972 California initiative which established the Coastal Commission. The initiative makes it nearly impossible for a restaurant, much less an international chain with 7,000 locations, to establish roots west of the Pacific Coast Highway.
In the 1990s, Conde Nast listed the Taco Bell as one of the world’s most scenic fast food establishments and over the years it has become a novelty tourist destination. More recently, it has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Trip Advisor, Buzzfeed, and numerous other websites and blogs.
With all of this attention, the Pacifica Taco Bell is now getting an upgrade! According to the San Francisco Chronicle and SF Eater, the location will become a Taco Bell Cantina with a new interior and menu changes including alcoholic beverages like draft beer and vodka/tequila Twisted Freezes.
Know Before You Go
- The ocean-front Taco Bell is located at 5200 California Highway 1, Pacifica, California 94044 in San Mateo County on Pacifica State Beach, also known as Linda Mar Beach.
- Instead of a drive through, this Taco Bell has a walk-up order window on a back deck.
- The Linda Mar Taco Bell is being upgraded into a Taco Bell Cantina that serves draft beer and Twisted Freezes that include vodka and tequilla!
- Pacifica State Beach is the southernmost of Pacifica, California’s large beaches, it is a 0.75 mile long crescent shaped beach located at the mouth of the San Pedro Valley.
- A parking receipt or pass is required to park in both the north and south Pacifica State Beach Parking lots on Highway 1 and the Crespi Parking Lot located on the corner of Crespi Dr. and Highway 1 adjacent to the Pacifica Community Center.