Moonlight at the Oasis

Rough week? How about a post-sunset seaside soak? Visit the secluded natural hot springs at Steep Ravine, about…

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Rough week? How about a post-sunset seaside soak? Visit the secluded natural hot springs at Steep Ravine, about one mile south of Stinson Beach on Highway 1. The easiest way to reach this watery oasis is to walk down the road through the Steep Ravine cabins, then continue north along Steep Ravine Beach until you reach the end of the sand. After that you clamber over rocks (trek with caution: wear sturdy shoes with traction and bring a flashlight if going after dark) for about 500 feet to the “grotto.” Most bathers here lounge au naturel in steamy sulphur-scented “hot tubs” (made of stone and sand bags). If these are too crowded, scoop your own — look for telltale bubbles on the sand’s surface and start digging. UPDATED NOTE: The grotto is exposed only at extreme negative tide ─ usually at a minus 1.0-foot mean tide or lower ─ and stays exposed for about two hours. (Find tide tables here) Plan accordingly or you may find yourself in far colder water — yep, as in the Pacific.

Look for the Steep Ravine gate and sign on Highway 1; park on the east side of the road. Walk down the road 1/2 mile to the cabins. Continue walking north along the beach until you reach a rocky cliff. Walk around; the hot springs are on the other side.

TIP: The Steep Ravine Cabins are closed for maintenance this October, but they’re well worth reserving for later weekends. Go to Reserve America to snag your coastal retreat.

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