Rockaway Beach, West Coast


Those who live here know there’s only one true Rockaway Beach. The one The Ramones wrote a whole song about getting to. But it isn’t the only one.

My friend that lives in San Mateo, California was driving along Highway 1, giving me a tour of the Pacific Coast, when I spotted a big blue sign with a familiar name. Almost by fate, a girl from Rockaway Beach, New York, was led to one of the west coast’s versions: Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California. I had heard there was a Rockaway Beach in California, but had no idea how close it was to where I was visiting during my first-ever visit to the state, until we passed by the sign. I immediately asked my friend to make a U-turn. I needed to visit Rockaway Beach.

Now, Rockaway Beach, Cali. isn’t nearly as impressive as New York’s. Even the saleswoman in the one giftshop where I stopped, in hopes of finding a souvenir, said so. I browsed around Pedro Point Sirens giftshop, looking for anything that said Rockaway Beach, California on it, only to come up empty and having to ask the saleswoman for help. She pointed to a single magnet bearing the name with a surfer on it, saying the store specifically started making them because those from Rockaway Beach, New York would stop in looking for souvenirs of the west coast Rockaway. I purchased the magnet, while the woman explained that their Rockaway Beach isn’t much of a town at all, and the beach is barely a smidgen of what New York’s Rockaway offers. The small area, just seven miles from San Francisco, offers a few shops, a restaurant and a hotel that bare the Rockaway name, along Rockaway Beach Avenue. And the beach, although visually beautiful, and a place with more than enough rocks to justify the “Rock” in Rockaway, is no more than five blocks long. But worth a visit if you’re ever in town.