Magazine article Sunset

Hidden Beach Towns

Magazine article Sunset

Hidden Beach Towns

Article excerpt

1 Cayucos, CA

The tiny surf town north of Morro Bay has a pier made for sunsets, classic seafood like steamer clams and thick wedges of cod at Duckie's Chowder House, and the idyllic Cass House Inn. It's also an ideal jumping-off point for exploring the spectacular--and unsung--stretch of coast to the south, Montana de Oro State Park and Point Buchon Trail (our cover hike). Duckie's: $; (805) 995-2245. Cass House: From $185; 2-night min: Point Buchon:

2 Carpinteria, CA

Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria is the kind of place where you wish you'd learned to bodyboard as a kid, with a wide sandy beach and beginner-size waves. Mornings can be foggy, all the better to enjoy the slow pleasures of Linden Avenue--like Esau's for a chile relleno omelet or Robitaille's for homemade chocolate--before hitting the beach. Esau's: $; Robitaille's:

3 Seabrook, WA

Tucked into the coast below Olympic National Park, Seabrook was founded in 2004 as a community of shingled cottages, where everything is within walking distance and parks, firepits, and bocce courts encourage neighborliness. The beach is just steps away, and a new summer street fair will bring farmers and artisans together each month. Cottage rentals from $199; 2-night min.;

4 Elk, CA

Rounding a bend along Highway 1, most people pass right by this hamlet of 250 people in their rush to the marquee town of Mendocino. But those who do pull over--not for gas, since there's not a single pump in town, but maybe for a slice of blackberry tart at Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe--learn that here, you can get away from it all. There's a handful of B&Bs like the Elk Cove Inn scattered atop the bluffs, a gloriously unpopulated salt-and-pepper spit of sand at Greenwood State Beach, and hardly any cell service. Queenie's: $$; Elk Cove Inn: From $135; 2-night min.;

5 Port Orford, OR

A fishing village an hour north of the California border, Port Orford has rugged, driftwood-clogged beaches (surfers go to Battle Rock) and one of the last remaining open-water docks, where boats are lifted from the ocean by crane. At WildSpring Guest Habitat, there's a cliffside soaking tub and woodsy yet plush cabins with antiques and radiant heat. Battle Rock: Wildspring: From $278; 2-night min.;



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