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25 Affordable Beach Resorts 2007

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Photo: Paul Bellaart

United States

$230 • Sea Ranch, California

Founded in 1964 and hailed as one of the first eco-sensitive resort communities in the United States, the utopian hideaway of Sea Ranch occupies 10 miles of rugged Pacific coastline about two hours north of San Francisco, in an area locally known as Mendonoma, at the border of Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Set near a redwood forest, the Sea Ranch Lodge (800/732-7262; www.searanchlodge.com) is a magnificent example of mid-60’s rustic-modern design. Nearly all of the 20 cedar-paneled rooms have leather armchairs and spectacular ocean views, but hedonists should opt for Nos. 19 or 20, which include fireplaces and spa tubs. Full breakfast at the lodge restaurant is a feast of local organic fruit, freshly baked biscuits, and omelettes—fuel for foraging stones and driftwood on the bluffs and on nearby Black Point Beach. The real show starts at sunset: Take in the majestic view from Adirondack chairs on the lawn or with a glass of one of 115 local wines.

While There Don’t miss a scenic road trip to Gualala, a tiny town eight miles away with a big reputation for its burgeoning arts scene. Visit the Alinder Gallery (39150 S. Hwy. 1; 707/884-4884), which specializes in Ansel Adams photography, and Placewares + Lyndon Design (39114 Ocean Dr.; 707/884-1184), a handsomely designed store selling local art and contemporary European home furnishings. —David Keeps


$146 • Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

Where’s the perfect perch for explorers of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, a dramatic hundred-mile stretch of shoreline that has everything from sandy beaches to tranquil lagoons to high, craggy peaks?In the trees, of course. Rockwater Secret Cove Resort (5356 Ole’s Cove Rd.; 877/296-4593; www.rockwatersecretcoveresort.com), accessible via a short ferry or floatplane ride from Vancouver, has recently opened a 1,500-foot-long treetop walk among the property’s tall stands of arbutus trees. The walk connects a new series of luxury tent-house suites, all with heated slate floors, shoji screens, hydrotherapy tubs, and private verandas overlooking the Malaspina Strait. Soak up the sea air during an alfresco massage at the tented spa in the cove, or launch a kayak or scuba-diving trip right from the resort’s black-sand beach. And it’s only 15 minutes by water shuttle across the strait to the tiny Thormanby Islands and their glistening alabaster beaches. Time your arrival for low tide, when you can wade through tidal pools filled with starfish, sea urchins, and Dungeness crabs.

While There A short drive away lies Desolation Sound, one of the crown jewels of B.C.’s marine parks, with warm waters, cataract falls, and sheltered coves that make it a kayaker’s playground. Halfmoon Sea Kayaks (5644 Cowrie St., Sechelt; 604/885-2948; www.halfmoonseakayaks.com) leads tours through the park’s rocky points and narrow channels. —Bonnie Tsui


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