Winter Coastal Adventures in the Northbay

01.19.12


Bonus Sherpa: Primetime Coastline

Winter brings rumbles and roils to the mercurial Pacific, and the North Bay's got some premier spots for witnessing the coastal dramas. For your viewing pleasure…


Owl Trail Marin

Owling Good Time: The dramatic setting of Marin's Owl Trail (pictured) just gets better with winter's feisty weather. Stroll the sweeping 1-mile (one-way) trail to a secret beach at Slide Ranch.

Coast-Connection: The Sonoma Coast seems to have more beaches than San Francisco has hills. After Bodega Bay, the choices go on for 13 miles. For an easy intro to beach hopping, hike from Shell Beach to Blind Beach along the bluff-top Kortum Trail.

Dillon Downtime: Cell phones don't work, and many houses don't have TV in Dillon Beach. Meaning that you're left with little to do but relax and enjoy its namesake stretch of sand, which isn't such a bad thing to do when storms roll in, and the sky is gunmetal gray.

Arch Angle: Point Reyes' Bear Valley Trail is popular for good reason: the bike-and-hike trail leads to a hulking coastal outcrop that offers colossal views. Make the trip to Arch Rock and enjoy the best seat in the house for the Pacific's winter show.

East Meets West: The rugged cliff top surrounding the town of Mendocino could double as a backdrop for New England. But Mendocino Headlands State Park is pure California. Its trails leave right from town and curve along the dramatic coastal bluffs, leading to a blowhole, a beach, and perches with unforgettable views.

SLO Romantic

Chocolates, roses, and champagne: romantic. Combining all that with adventures on the beautiful Central Coast? “I do!” San Luis Obispo (SLO) is equal parts romance and outdoor fun. Book an overnight package and get started on a Valentine's adventure to remember. Spend the night at an intimate B&B and fuel up on a local, organic breakfast before hiking to Montana de Oro's Valencia Peak  (1200 feet) where swooping coastal vistas and waves smoldering among bluffs add intrigue to your 'extended arm' snapshots. Or pack a picnic and a bottle of local wine, and relax by the water at Lopez Lake (for those whose Valentine's date is a dog, not figuratively, Lopez Lake is dog-friendly!).

Does your idea of a romantic escape include a giant rock engagement? You're in luck! Bishop Peak and Cabrillo Peak are two of the most notable rock-climbing spots in the region, located among the Seven Sisters—a chain of ancient volcano plugs that lead from Downtown SLO to Morro Bay. And for those who like it hot, cozy up to a bonfire at Avila Beach, one of the nicest, year-round sandy spots on the Central Coast. SLO's got all the ingredients you need for putting a sweet touch on outdoor adventures. Book your Valentine's adventure package today. SLO romantic!

Turn the Romance Dial to Eleven: Sign up for Secrets of SLO newsletter, and enter to win 2 free nights in San Luis Obispo.

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