Fun for family trips or lovebird weekenders, this collection of historic Cape Cod-style cottages sits right out on Crystal Pier. Each cabin comes with a kitchenette (perfect for quick breakfast and lunch prep) and private deck (with chaise longues and an umbrella-shaded table, natch). Know that they are incredibly popular, so the smart traveler books in advance.
This darling farm-to-fork concept has a pair of locations: a sit-down restaurant at the beginning of the Malibu Pier, and a counter-service cafe at the end of it. The menu is similar at both—sink-your-teeth-in breakfast burritos, all-organic salads, luscious grass-fed burgers—but the cafe does have outside seating under strung lights. It gets magical at dusk on weekends when they stay open a little later. Malibu Farm also hosts farm dinners.
Only a stone’s skip from the Ventura Harbor, this 1800s hacienda is a lovely place to while away an afternoon. The grounds, which include a rose garden, are free to roam, and tours of the house, filled with period furniture, cost $5. They host an alfresco concert series every summer, too.
On a sunny day, dining at one of Nepenthe’s outside table is one of life’s purest pleasures. The view and the vibe are so good you won’t mind the inevitable weekend wait (not to mention that you can order a drink and chill out on floor pillows while you do). Afterward, cruise over to the Henry Miller Library to see if there’s any live music happening.
A lighthouse-turned-hostel. What more do you need to know? That you can spend the night in a 1875 lighthouse station? That the nearby Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail passes by pocket beaches and fantastical artists' studios that look like they're straight out of Hobbiton? If you’re from the area, a staycation is definitely in order.
First the welcome: Other spots give you tiny bottles of water (if you’re lucky), while Nick’s gives you a cocktail and platter of barbecued oysters. Next, the rooms (ahem, try standalone cabins): There are 12, with five over the water. And, finally, the restaurant: It’s a charismatic community hub that feels like a cross between a salty-dog dive and hunting lodge, only the food’s superb. Go late, after the crowds clear out, go for a window seat, and go easy on the oysters, because you’ll want to hit Tomales Bay Oyster Co. or Hog Island Oysters tomorrow.
Courtesy of Spot
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Courtesy of Spot
Bandon Beach, Bandon, OR
With striking offshore rock formations, Bandon is a lesser-known alternative to oft-photographed, more famous Cannon Beach. Hit the beach early in the morning to have it all to yourselves, then grab an outside table at Tony’s or the Bandon Bait Shop, both bait/tackle shops that serve up some mean fresh seafood. Rent the 1905 cobbler-built River House for a historic stay.
With panoramic vistas of the Pacific, the working 1894 Heceta Head Lighthouse is perched cliffside near the town of Yachats. It’s one of the most photographed lighthouses in the U.S.A. and for good reason: that red and white pop against a backdrop of evergreens. Stay for the night in the lighthouse keeper’s home, a Queen Anne-style house complete with covered porch, pictured here.
Ciders, gins, brandies, and liqueurs are produced in the large copper still of San Juan Island Distillery, which has a lovely little tasting room that’s open on Saturdays. Apples, the root of most of their liquors, come from a neighboring orchard, and island botanicals like wild roses and blackberries lend their bouquets to limited releases.
This is where you come for storm-watching: Viewing the waves and winds and rain from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the inn’s luxe lobby, curled up by a fire, hot toddy in hand. That said, when skies are clear, their Ancient Cedars Spa has some of the best views around, oriented to the open Pacific. A must is the Cedar Escape Treatment with a rub-down with organic sea salt followed by an aromatic massage.