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20 coastal discoveries: from roadside fish shacks to secret campgrounds, our picks for the coolest (and tastiest) finds by the sea.


1 | Drake's Beach Cafe, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA A meal here is worth the twisty 35-minute drive from Olema to the Pacific; the view alone can rekindle date night. $$$$; lunch Fri--Sun, dinner Fri--Sat; reservations required; 415/669-1297. -CHRISTINE RICHARD, FEATURES EDITOR


2 | Mariscos Guillen La Playita, Santa Monica Five minutes from Venice Beach, this stand has the most perfect shrimp tostadas. $; 370/452-0090. -ALLISON ARIEFF, HOME EDITOR-AT-LARGE

3 | Olympic Peninsula wine country, WA My faves in this up-and-coming area near Port Angeles: Harbinger Winery (360/452-4262) and Camaraderie Cellars (Fri--Sun; 360/417-3564). -SARA SCHNEIDER, WINE EDITOR

4 | Oysterville Sea Farms, Oysterville, WA Oysters are handpicked daily and sold by the bushel; scoop up a jar of pepper jelly too. -Rachel LEVIN, SENIOR TRAVEL EDITOR

5 | Ruddell's Smokehouse, Cayucos, CA I drove two hours from I-5 for these wild salmon tacos, smoked in-house and wrapped in a warm tortilla. $; 805/215-6939. -RACHEL LEVIN, SENIOR TRAVEL EDITOR

6 | Sushi on the Sea, Sooke, B.C. This offbeat restaurant in Sooke Harbour has communal dining on a 1930s teak fishing boat. $$; Fri--Sat; reservations required; 250/642-6669. -CHRISTINE RICHARD, FEATURES EDITOR

Fresh air

7 | Cape Flattery Tribal Scenic Byway, Neah Bay, WA Paved two years ago, this road winds 11.5 miles to the northwestern tip of Washington: Take the trail to incredible land's-end scenery. $10 permit required, available at Makah Cultural & Research Center; -MARGARET SLOAN, PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

8 | Hobbit Trail, Carl Wash-burne State Park, Florence, OR The trail meanders through a mossy forest, ending at a beach that, with luck, you'll have all to yourself. -MIRANDA JONES, STYLE EDITOR


9 | Humboldt Bay, CA I love this still-wild bay; it's great to rent a kayak at Humboats Kayak Adventures and paddle with harbor seals along the Eureka waterfront. Kayaks $15 per hour; -MARGARET SLOAN, PRODUCTION COORDINATOR


10 | Manchester State Beach, Manchester, CA I can't believe I'm sharing one of my best-kept camping secrets--but here it is: Hidden in the sand dunes, just a mile's hike from the main campground, are 10 almost-always-empty environmental sites (i.e., no cars). -RACHEL LEVIN, SENIOR TRAVEL EDITOR

11 | Thousand Steps Beach, Santa Barbara Reach my no-distractions beach for relaxing via the Thousand Steps (don't worry, there are only 241). Check the tide schedule before heading down. -CHRISTINE RICHARD, FEATURES EDITOR

12 | Treasure Island Park, Laguna Beach, CA The slender park, awash in Mediterranean flowers, evokes the 1934 movie Treasure Island, which was filmed right on this strip of coast. -JIM McCAUSLAND, SUNSET CONTRIBUTOR


13 | Beach House Style, Fairfax, CA I like the reclaimed boat-wood frames here--my go-to place for beachy cottage finds. Closed Mon; frames from $36; 415/454-3138. -JESS CHAMBERLAIN, HOME WRITER

14 | Mollusk Surf Shop, San Francisco Even the wetsuit-averse (like me!) feel welcome: Check out books, limited-edition T-shirts, and original art. mollusk -SAMANTHA SCHOECH, CONTRIBUTING TRAVEL EDITOR

15 | Sesame and Lilies, Cannon Beach, OR Two floors overflow with antiques, petrified sand dollars (pictured on map), seabird watercolors, and -MIRANDA JONES, STYLE EDITOR

16 | A Summer Place, Manhattan Beach, CA The bright, fun mix of vintage-inspired signs, apothecary jars, and shells at this oceanside shop reminds me of my childhood. 310/545-7080. -JENNIE NUNN, ASSOCIATE HOME EDITOR


17 | Giant Camera, San Francisco The view from this darkened chamber behind the Cliff House is, for my money, the most mysteriously beautiful vista in the world. $3; -PETER FISH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE


18 | Long Marine Laboratory and Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz, CA Tour the lab and check out the 87-foot whale skeleton (closed Mon; $6;, then head to Wilder Ranch for a seaside stroll that's like walking along the white cliffs of Dover ($8 per car; -ALAN PHINNEY, MANAGING EDITOR

19 | Paraclete Charter Service, Anacortes, WA I wouldn't have discovered the San Juan Islands' less famous gems, Like Cypress Island, without this water-taxi service. From $36 one-way; reservations required; -KATHY BRENZEL, GARDEN EDITOR


20 | Trinidad, CA This beach hamlet--with its sea stacks poking out of the Pacific and oceanside trails--may be remote, but that's also what makes it great. I love the kitschy Seascape Restaurant on the pier ($$$; 707/677-3762). -CHRISTINE RICHARD, FEATURES EDITOR
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Title Annotation:The West at its best
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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