Magazine article Sunset

Top 10 Secret Coastal Escapes

Magazine article Sunset

Top 10 Secret Coastal Escapes

Article excerpt

Spectacular one-day outings to celebrate the greenest, breeziest month


A HIDDEN HOT SPRINGS COVE It's rare to find hot springs near the coast. But the rarest experience of all is to soak in a natural stone pool so close to the water's edge that the ocean swells gently flow in and out, bathing you alternately in hot and cold water. Where to seek out this singular experience? At the protected hot springs in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park at Hot Springs Cove, on the west side of Vancouver Island. Take a guided daylong boat tour out of Tofino and hike a mile through stunning old-growth rain forest before surrendering yourself to a half-dozen rock pools, each slightly cooler than the next. Tours from $94 U.S.; www.remotepassages. com or 800/666-9833. -ABIGAIL PETERSON


FISH FROM A DORY BOAT Time was, fishermen on the Oregon coast put to sea in dories that they launched right from the beach, negotiating the waves to reach the open ocean. At Pacific City they still do, and you can join them. Dory captain Joe Hay takes as many as six passengers, conditions permitting, for a day's fishing for tuna or halibut, or a few hours of angling for lingcod, cabezon, and other bottomfish. Once you're back on solid ground, he'll gladly snap your picture and fillet your catch, from $110 per person; or 866/965-7555. -BONNIE HENDERSON


LIGHTHOUSES FROM THE AIR You haven't seen Mendocino at its best till you've seen it from above. Craggy cliffs become puzzle pieces, jutting into the ocean; the water grows calm and multihued, in brilliant shades of blue; and its four historic lighthouses appear pencilthin, presiding proudly over their respective points. It's just you and Coast Flyers' extremely capable pilot, cruising through the crystal-clear sky in a four-seater Cessna at a cool 130 knots-lifting as high as 2,000 feet and, swooping like a seagull, as low as 100. Circle above Point Arena over to Point Cabrillo, following the edge of the earth up to Cape Mendocino and Punta Gorda. All along, keep your eyes peeled for gray whales making their spring migration to Alaska. From $180; www.coast or 707/337-1224. -RACHEL LEVIN


BREAKFAST BY THE SEA Perched on a bluff above the shimmering Pacific (by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier) is Snackropolis, with its weathered picnic benches and $4.25 breakfast burrito-a piping-hot heft of tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, and salsa (salt provided by the sea breeze). Open weekdays only, it's a perfect prelude to morning tidepooling on the rocks north of the pier. Take the kids, or just act like one; you'll have the squishy sea anemones, sea stars, and scuttling hermit crabs all to yourself. Snack bar 7:30-2:30 Mon-Fri; check local tide tables for low tide; snackropolis or 858/534-2025. -KEN McALPINE


A LAKE AMONG DUNES The Central Coast's Oso Flaco Lake is inset like a blue sapphire within white dunes-and it makes a top spring hike as the yellow blossoms of giant coreopsis and the violets of silver bush lupine dab the dunes with color. Getting there is an adventure: You reach the freshwater lake after bouncing down a farm road running between broccoli fields. A causeway leads to a boardwalk that edges and crosses the lake. Continue a bit farther and you'll reach one of California's longest and wildest stretches of beach, is per vehicle; www. …

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