When you need a weekend on the beach, far from city chaos, head north of Point Reyes to well-off-the-beaten-path Dillon Beach. With one café, a surf shop, and—well, that’s about it—you’re left with little to do but relax. Cell phones don’t work, wireless is nonexistent, and many of the houses don’t get TV reception. The mile-long stretch of beach is made for long walks, beautiful views, and play time for dogs (Dillon is a very pet-friendly place). Where to stay? Caroline Moore is the person to call for beach-house rentals. She has about 40 options, with everything from the ocean-view, tiny two-bedroom known as “God’s Pocket” to the spacious three-bedroom “Beauty on the Beach.” (The houses all are named because historically the town didn’t use addresses.) There’s also the curiously named Dillon Beach Resort; it’s not a resort, but it does have three brightly painted cottages to rent. While these cozy cabins could use a little sprucing up, the panoramic ocean views can’t be beat. During the winter, when storms roll in and the sky is dark gray, Dillon Beach is the place to sit back and…watch the weather. That’s coasting.
Distance: 55 miles from San Francisco.