For a good time while watching for whales, grab some lawn chairs, a thermos of hot cocoa (and Baileys), and binoculars, and head to Mori Point in Pacifica. Famous as the setting for the final scene in the ’70s cult film Harold and Maude (Harold drives his car over a cliff), Mori Point was privately held for decades and only recently became an addition to the Golden Gate National Park system. What it lacks in official trail systems, Mori more than makes up for in stunning ocean views, thanks to the exposed promontory. Plant the lawn chairs at the base and scan for 50-foot Grays in the distance. A short and easy trail leads up to the promontory, but be careful, there’s no fence and the cliffs are more than 100 feet in places. Strolling south leads to 105 acres of open bluffs to explore.
Going south on Highway 1 in Pacifica, look for the “End Freeway 1/4 Mile” sign. Make a right onto the second unmarked street after the sign (across from the Orchids Gift Shop Gallery). Drive 100 feet and park. Walk west past the gate on a wide dirt fire road for .25 mile. Go left and uphill on the new trail up to the promontory.