A Beach Beloved by Generations


The beautiful beach north of the Pajaro River has attracted people for centuries. Archaeologists have found the remains of campfires made by the Costanoan people, a Native American tribe. In 1769, Spanish explorers chose the name Pajaro—“bird” in Spanish—after finding a large grass-stuffed bird mounted at the mouth of river. 

In the 1800’s Pajaro Dunes became a popular recreation area for picnics, camping, and fishing. It also became the locus of shipping operations for the region’s agricultural products. In addition to building a wharf and industrial facilities, the shipping company landowner built a recreational resort with a hotel, cabins, a dance hall and other amenities.

Pajaro Valley Historical Association

A new railroad cut into the shipping trade, and in 1919 the land was sold to a developer with designs to fully exploit the area’s recreational potential. Older facilities were rehabilitated, and in 1931 an auto and motorcycle racetrack was built. Grander plans were waylaid by the economic reality of the depression era, but the racetrack remained in use until 1956.

The property changed hands in the 1950’s, and was eventually bought by developer Hare, Brewer & Kelley in 1963. HBK turned the land into the beautiful beach retreat known today as Pajaro Dunes.