At the edge of the continent, 2 miles but worlds away from the crowds of Stinson Beach, ten rustic all-wood cabins offer wide, clear views of the Pacific and accessible solitude. Built in the 1940s, these little beauties—at the base of Steep Ravine Canyon off Highway 1 in Mount Tamalpais State Park—provide one of the best deals around for oceanfront views. Whales are common passersby in the winter and spring, and on a clear day, the mysterious Farallones appear in the distance. Outside the cabin doors, a set of wooden steps descends to a quiet cove, Redrock Beach, where sea stars lounge in the sand. The Steep Ravine cabins are the perfect place to finally read that summertime book while listening to the waves lap and lather the shoreline. Later, barbecue some tri-tip and sip wine while watching the sunset. Way to unwind.
The Steep Ravine cabins are reservable up to seven months in advance through Reserve America; they cost $75 per night. On the first day of each month, the entire seventh month in advance becomes reservable (for example, on August 1, 2008, you can reserve cabins for the entire month of February, 2009). All weekends typically sell out within minutes, but there are always cancellations. Typically each week there are at least one to two cabins available. Call 415-388-2070 to see if there are any cancellations (up to 10 days in advance). If there are, show up at Pantoll Ranger Station at 2:00 p.m. the day of availability for a lottery to see who gets the cabin. No dogs.