Mountain bike through towering redwoods, horseback ride across coastal meadows, explore beaches and tide pools, then chill out in a fully outfitted safari-tent “bungalow” (plush bedding, electricity, and Wi-Fi) at the coastal Costanoa Lodge, an eco-adventure lodge in Pescadero. Roughly a 1.5-hour drive south from San Francisco, this peaceful retreat is surrounded by 30,000 acres of state parks from Big Basin to Año Nuevo State Reserve and Butano State Park. The grounds are heaven on earth for nature and wildlife lovers. Drift off to sleep listening to the sound of crashing surf and lonely coyote yelps; in the morning, stroll along the empty beach and spot lounging elephant seals. Appealing extras include an outdoor hot tub with views of coastal hills, and—to completely posh it up—a day spa offering on-site massages and body treatments.
Besides tent cabins, Costanoa has snug cabins with fireplaces, skylights, and a group dry sauna, and traditional lodge rooms. Hiking, kayak tours, guided bird-watching walks, and yoga are popular activities here, and kids can do things like make tie-dye t-shirts and ice cream at Costanoa Kids Camp, which runs from April through August. The campsite includes outdoor grills and picnic tables, or head over to the Cascade Bar & Grill, for locally sourced seafood and produce.
Nearby attractions include u-pick farms, the 19th-century Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve (home to blue heron, foxes, and deer) and two renowned Pescadero institutions, the Arcangeli Grocery and Bakery and Duarte’s Tavern, both of which serve up local artichoke-inspired delicacies.