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: casshouseinn.com. Point Buchon: pee.modwest.com/pacrescrvations.

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: $; esauscafe.com. Robitaille's: robitaillescandies.com.

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.; seabrookwa.com.

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: $$; queeniesroadhousecafe.com. Elk Cove Inn: From $135; 2-night min.; elkcoveinn.com.

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: enjoyportorford.com. Wildspring: From $278; 2-night min.; wildspring.com.

6 SEATTLE'S CAKE AND ICE CREAM OBSESSION

CUPCAKE ROYALE

The indie chain has an ice cream sandwich for the ages: Slabs of housemade ice cream, swirled with cupcake chunks, are bracketed by firm slices of, say, red velvet or salted caramel cake. cupcakeroyale.com.

HOT CAKES

To create its luxurious cake shakes, this Ballard dessert shop adds in apple hand pies, molten chocolate cakes, even birthday cake. getyourhotcakes.com.

PARFAIT

Set to open this summer in Ballard, Parfait fills its macarons and profiteroles with housemade organic ice creams like chocolate chai and honey, instead of pastry cream. parfait-icecream.com. …

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