Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Ken Kienow / Courtesy of Cass House Inn & Restaurant

These beach hideaways are understated, unexpected, and—at least for now—under the radar.

Cayucos, California

13 of 26

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

Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Cayucos, California

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

Ken Kienow / Courtesy of Cass House Inn & Restaurant
Promoted Stories
Explore More
More from T+L