All "Relaxing" Stories in Northern CA

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    Yosemite Sands

    Dip your toes in the refreshing waters of the Merced River at one of the best picnic spots in Yosemite Valley, Cathedral Beach. This day-use area on the western end of the valley doesn’t make it on the typical tourist track, and is especially quiet during autumn’s shoulder season…

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    Dunes of Death Valley

    You won’t find a body of water here, but you will find big waves … of sand! Bring snacks and a beverage to enjoy at one of the world’s premier picnic spots—the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes—just 2 miles east of Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley National Park. Park on the side of Highway…

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    Strolling Stornetta

    Big Sur has some competition. Located along the rugged Mendocino County coastline, the 1,665-acre Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands were last year designated as part of the California Coastal National Monument by President Barack Obama. It’s a spectacular place to meander for…

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    June in September

    Fall may be June’s best season. At least, when it comes to lakeside lounging. Set beneath the spiky mountain backdrop of the Ansel Adams Wilderness and looming Carson Mountain, June Lake shines in more ways than its large expanse of aquamarine water. There’s a reason this area…

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    Beach Access Sorta Granted

    There’s a secluded and scenic beach on the San Mateo Coast that’s been kept under wraps for years. The reason? A homeowner has kept this beach to himself, and the Surfrider Foundation, San Mateo County Chapter, hasn’t been happy about it. After a long battle in the courtroom, the…

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    Swing on Up

    We know of a hidden playground. The catch: You have to hike to it, and there’s just one swing. Relive your recess days, gently swaying back and forth under a eucalyptus tree while looking out at a panorama of Stinson Beach. We’re not sure who put up the swing, made out of climber…

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    Beach Rambler

    So you’re in the mood for a long walk on the beach. Get an early start and get to Stinson Beach. Larger than Muir Beach and less rocky than Bolinas Beach, this Bay Area staple of pristine soft sand stretches for 3.5 miles up the coast, with mountainous views of Bolinas in the…

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    Mile Rock Club

    Solitude in San Francisco is a just a Mile Rock away. This small and secluded cove tucked beneath wild and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge is easy to reach if you don’t mind lots of steps. From the Lands End parking lot by the…

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    Point of Contemplation

    Guiding mariners around the craggy cliffs of the Pacific since 1872, Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero has been preserved by the California State Park system. Also very much alive in the area: tide pools! Venture an easy 100 yards north of the Point’s popular hostel and take…

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    Let's Catch Brunch

    Ready to upgrade your next brunch outing? Rather than standing in line for hours at the latest cool place, go to a cool picnic on the pier, where you’ll catch your own meal, and sip mimosas too! The SF Crabbing Crew knows how to host a good time! And by that we mean catching…

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    Goat Love

    What happens when 200 alpine goats get plenty of TLC on 9 acres of coastal pasture? Goat milk cheese so good it’s won two world medals, not to mention over 30 national ribbons from the American Cheese Society. Get to Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero. This year the farm is…

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    Point Reyes Buzz

    Next time you want to go to wine country, head for Point Reyes Station. It’s home to Heidrun Meadery, a sweet secret worthy of some buzz. Heidrun is a master of “honey wine” (aka mead) and beekeeping! Unlike most meads (which are still), Heidrun uses the French champagne method…

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    Victoria Lap

    Known as North America’s most English city, Victoria is so much more than high tea and crumpets. This energetic and stylish seaside city on Vancouver Island is home to the globally renowned Butchart Gardens and has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city. The good news is…

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    Victoria Lap

    Known as North America’s most English city, Victoria is so much more than high tea and crumpets. This energetic and stylish seaside city on Vancouver Island is home to the globally renowned Butchart Gardens and has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city. The good news is…

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    Go Ghostbust!

    Located in the high desert of the Eastern Sierra, Bodie State Historic Park looks like a Hollywood set for a Western movie. But this isn’t Hollywood magic—it’s a gold-mining ghost town that’s as pure Wild West as it gets! Named after William Bodey, who discovered gold in the…

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    Simply Tasty!

    Remember when wine tasting at all the good spots was free or only a few bucks? (Okay, that was quite awhile ago.) Anderson Valley never forgot! Who knows how long it will last, as this land of pinot noir is developing an outstanding reputation for premium wines, but currently you…

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    Blooms A-brewin'

    Got anything for Mom, yet? Go botanical. Nestled between idyllic meadows and woodlands, Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park is anything but garden variety—with a collection that has grown to include thousands of the state’s native species and 10 acres of meandering streamside…

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    Garden by the Sea

    As one of the most spectacular botanical gardens in the country, Fort Bragg’s Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens makes a splash in more ways than its fabulous flora. Its 47 acres includes a stunning bluffside hiking trail overlooking the Pacific, where cliffs drop dramatically to…

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    Mom's the Word

    Tucked on the western slope of Sonoma Valley’s Mayacamas Mountains, Quarryhill Botanical Garden flies under the radar as people zip right past it on their way to wineries. They’re missing out on one of the world’s finest Asian botanical gardens. Exotic shade trees, tranquil ponds…

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    Still Milling After All These Years

    It’s hard to imagine anything other than wine grapes being grown in the Napa Valley. But thanks to the State Parks’ historic preservation of the Bale Grist Mill, we get to peek back in time at what folks of the mid-19th century did before the grapes moved in. In many ways the old…

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