We reveal our prized getaways.

By Steve Millburg
August 22, 2006

1. Cape Perpetua, Oregon
Travelers who love the Central Oregon Coast venture to CapePerpetua again and again, as I have countless times. Each day Ihead to a different trail among the cape's 2,700 acres of forestedmountains and seaside paths that abut the Pacific Ocean. At the St.Perpetua trail overlook, the view extends 35 miles to the sea'shorizon, south to Florence's wavy dunes, and north to the YaquinaHead Lighthouse. After my first visit, I cried when it came time toleave. On later trips, I headed home with a smile, knowing I'd beback; 541/547-3289 or fs.fed.us (type"perpetua" into the search box). ―Susan Haynes

2. Grand Feature Pool, Point Clear, Alabama
The Grand Feature Pool at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort,Golf Club & Spa lives up to its name. Designed to resemble afree-form, oak-shaded lagoon, it features several fountains andwaterfalls. Its "zero-entry" design allows swimmers to wade in on aslope, without stairs or ladders―perfect for small children.Older kids enjoy the supervised spiral slide. Purists can swim lapsin a quiet indoor pool adjacent to the spa; 800/544-9933 or marriottgrand.com. ―Julia Dowling Rutland

3. The Whole Enchilada, Moss Landing, California
I can eat Mexican food for every meal. So it was with greatenthusiasm that I accepted an assignment at The Whole Enchilada.Chef Luis Solano taught me the finer points of making tamales andsipping tequila. And oh, the food. Luis' innovative coastal Mexicancuisine includes creamy guacamole, crab-stuffed poblanos, shrimpseviche―I must have devoured five meals total. Stop by, butbe smart: Stick to one entrée at a time; 831/633-3038 or wenchilada.com. ―Sarah Brueggemann

4. Schoodic Peninsula, Maine
Acadia National Park, which occupies most of Mount DesertIsland, ranks as one of the most visited U.S. parks. With CadillacMountain, Sand Beach―and the popovers at Jordan PondHouse―it's easy to understand why. But my favorite spot liesan hour's drive northeast, where Schoodic Peninsula, the only sliceof the park on the mainland, juts boldly into the Atlantic. Take inpanoramic sea views, then walk with care over the precipitousgranite boulders. "Ayup," a Winter Harbor lobsterman told me on mylast visit, "Schoodic's Down East at its best"; 207/288-3338 or nps.gov/acad.―James H. Schwartz

5. Restaurant 213, Fruitland, Maryland
Like an octopus, the Chesapeake Bay extends watery arms inall directions, stretching its influence far inland. One of thosetentacles, the Wicomico River, brushes past the town of Fruitlandon Maryland's Eastern Shore. There, in an easy-to-miss strip mall,Restaurant 213 offers a blissful dining experience. Chef-owner JimHughes' "fine American dining with global influences" encompasseslots of seafood, prepared and served with care, flair, and arefreshing lack of pretension; 410/677-4880 or restaurant213.com. ―Steve Millburg

6. Washington State Ferries
Hop aboard a Washington State Ferry, the easiest (and mostinexpensive) way to reach destinations throughout all theisland-dotted bodies of water between Tacoma and British Columbia.The San Juan Islands routes boast frequent sightings of sea life,sometimes including orcas. High tea and double-decker-bus toursmake a Vancouver Island visit to Sidney and Victoria seem like anafternoon in London. Bainbridge Island's quiet roads and boutiquesprovide an ideal trip for walk-ons and bicyclists, who catch theferry in downtown Seattle. For a pure joyride, the two-hourSeattle-Bremerton round-trip yields plenty of time for soaking inthe scenery and enjoying an Ivar's clam chowder on deck;206/464-6400 or wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. ―Susan C. Kim

7. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Kapalua, Maui,Hawaii
I never understood the attraction of sushi―until myvisit to Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kapalua. Acrispy spider roll with a tangy unagi glaze changed my outlook onthe Japanese staple. Perennial award-winner Sansei specializes incutting-edge cuisine (The Washington Post calls it "sushi with attitude"). Butit's chef and owner D.K. Kodama's strict adherence to his "no wimpysauces" motto that elevates the food to such epiphanic heights. Irecommend forgoing a table to sit alongside locals at the bar,where hip and goateed sushi chefs roll their gourmet goods;808/669-6286 or sanseihawaii.com. ―Kay A. Fuston

8. Zihuatanejo, Mexico
"You remember the name of the town, don't you?" If you saw The Shawshank Redemption, then you certainly rememberZihuatanejo, prisoner Andy Dufresne's remote getaway. It invitesvisitors to enjoy laid-back living and unspoiled natural beauty onMexico's Pacific Coast. Catalina Beach Resort, the town's oldestand most charming hotel, overlooks the area's premier swimmingbeach, Playa de la Ropa. It offers reasonable rates, especiallyoff-season (mid-April through mid-November). Or, find five-staraccommodations at La Casa Que Canta on the same stretch of sand.Catalina Beach Resort: 877/287-2411 or catalina-beach-resort.com.La Casa Que Canta: 888/523-5050 or lacasaquecanta.com. ―Elizabeth Beeler

9. Conch Republic Seafood Company, Key West, Florida
When in Key West, I make it part of my daily routine to eatfried shrimp at the Conch Republic Seafood Company. Built from anold fish house in the Historic Seaport, the Conch Republic combinesambience and history with fresh seafood delivered daily from nearbywaters. Plus, it's away from the cruise-ship crowds. Live bandsplay nightly on the patio. Four huge saltwater fish tanks separatethe bar and dining room. Garage door "walls" provide amazing viewsof the marina. Hint: The bar, my favorite spot in the house, servesa full menu; 305/294-4403 or conchrepublicseafood.com.―Keri Payne

10. Mystic, Connecticut
Strolling Main Street, you'll find such one-of-a-kindneighborhood shops as Whyevernot (clothing, jewelry, and gifts),Bank Square Books, and Mystic Pizza, the inspiration for the 1988Julia Roberts movie of the same name. In the evening, take a sunsetcruise aboard Argia, a replica of a 19th-century schooner, or enjoy livemusic while dining at the 250-year-old Captain Daniel Packer InneRestaurant and Pub. Spend your nights in one of the 10 luxuriousrooms at the Steamboat Inn on the waterfront. You'll wake tohomemade Steamboat Delectable muffins each morning; 877/286-9784 ormysticcountry.com. ―Allen B. Bunting

Because we love to share our discoveries, here's a bonusfind:

11. Legs Inn, Cross Village, Michigan
As a native Michiganian and lover of Polish cuisine, Isalivate at the thought of Legs Inn. Built by Polish immigrantStanley Smolak in the 1920s on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan,it takes its name from the inverted stove legs that form adecorative roof railing. Stop in for Polish or American fare, andrequest patio seating overlooking the water. Your server mayactually be from Poland, here as an exchange student. It's tough todecide between the Taste of Poland entrée (cabbage rolls,Polish smoked sausage, and dumplings) and the house specialty,Whitefish Polonaise. But save room for the Fruit Pierogi du Jour,topped with sweet sour cream so good your Polish grandma wouldsteal a bite. After dinner, stay in one of the Legs Inn cottages,steps from the beach. The inn stays open mid-May throughmid-October for lunch and dinner; 231/526 2281 or legsinn.com. ―Jacquelyne Froeber

published September 2006