A longtime refuge of the hippie, surf, and political counterculture, Bolinas has stayed true to its roots. It hums with a beneficent vibe that supports everything from a fine-art museum that charges no admission to Free Box, a distribution center for free clothing. And for its 1,400 locals, from farmers to Silicon Valley billionaires, it's a divine and just-remote-enough place to settle down.
Situated on a rocky peninsula 13 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County, Bolinas is famous for cultivating its privacy. Signs that once marked the turn-off from California's Route 1 had been known to disappear, and in 1989 the town voted to eliminate them altogether.
But finding one's way here is worth the navigation. Shops like Bolinas Hardware & Mercantile and Bolinas People's Store make the downtown shopping scene at once old-fashioned and progressive, with both quotidian necessities and organic produce. And Bolinas's natural treasures are like a California long past: clusters of tide pools and miles of open beach.
Where to Stay: Set within the beauty of the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Point Reyes Seashore Lodge has 21 cozy rooms—some with patios—an apartment, and two cottages on lush, rolling hills. Rates start at $145; 415-663-9000 or pointreyesseashore.com