Best Secret Beaches on Earth
Ken Kienow / Courtesy of Cass House Inn & Restaurant
Locals call this tiny surf town 210 miles north of Los Angeles Cayucos-by-the-Sea. It’s a refreshingly underdeveloped beach retreat dotted with 19th-century western buildings, vintage shops selling Americana and folk art, and a pier that stretches nearly 1,000 feet into the ocean. Check in to the restored 1867 Cass House Inn & Restaurant (222 N. Ocean Ave.; 805-995-3669; doubles from $165), with views of the Pacific and a stellar farm-to-table restaurant serving four-course dinners. For something humbler, there’s the fish fry at no-frills Sea Shanty (296 S. Ocean Ave.; 805-995-3272; lunch for two $25), just a short walk away. Antiques lovers can stroll Ocean Avenue, chockablock with treasure-filled boutiques such as Rich Man Poor Man (146 N. Ocean Ave.; 805-995-3631) and Remember When (152 N. Ocean Ave.; 805-995-1232), then grab a bourbon shortbread cookie at Brown Butter Cookie Company (250 N. Ocean Ave.; 805-995-2076; cookies for two $2.40). Cayucos is the perfect jumping-off point for those looking to explore the Central Coast, including the nearby wine region of Paso Robles, Hearst Castle, and the artsy village of Cambria, a 20-minute car trip up the shore.
—David A. Keeps