Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

Top 14 unsung beach towns

Enjoy a heaping dose of sand and surf in these quintessential beach towns--but better keep these underrated spots (relatively) secret!

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Cayucos, CA
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jaimal Yogis and Anna Nordberg

Cayucos, CA

The small surf town of Cayucos has remained miraculously immune to over-development for decades, despite its great wines to the east and white sandy beaches to the west. With sand dunes climbing hundreds of feet above miles-long beaches and eucalyptus-lined hiking trails, the Montaña de Oro park (parks.ca.gov) is a must. Have dinner there at Duckie’s Chowder House ($; 55 Cayucos Dr.; 805/995-2245), which serves super-fresh fish tacos, steamer clams, and yes, chowder—all of which go well with the local ale.

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