Rather than rubbernecking on Highway 1, scope out the scenery from the Harbor House Inn in Elk. High on a cliff, six Craftsman-style guest rooms and four cottages overlook rugged sea stacks that jut out from the Pacific. There are no phones, TV's, or even cell phone towers, leaving little to distract you from reading in a weathered Adirondack chair surrounded by antique climbing roses and cascades of nasturtiums. Winding paths lead to a hidden waterfall and a rocky private beach, where harbor seals and ocean kayakers bob in the distance. You'll find balm for all the senses here—whether you wake up to an invigorating hike or dine at sunset on Sonoma duck paired with wine from the inn's award-winning cellar. Harbor House Inn, 5600 S. Hwy. 1, Elk; 800/720-7474;; doubles from $295, including meals.
—Sharon Wick

Harbor House Inn