Pastel colors of sunset and silky water, waves crashing on the shore by Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Northern California, Pescadero.

8 Serene Towns on the Pacific Coast for a Weekend Retreat

Discover eight charming coastal towns along the Pacific Coast for a serene weekend getaway with unique experiences and breathtaking scenery. From the rugged shores of British Columbia's Ucluelet to the tranquil beaches of Washington's Seabrook, these destinations will appeal to visitors seeking relaxation and adventure. Explore the historic maritime town of Port Orford, Oregon, or wander through the pretty streets of Coupeville, Washington. Indulge in farm-to-table dining in California's Cambria or stroll barefoot along the sandy shores of Manzanita, Oregon. Experience the rich history and natural beauty of Cannon Beach, Oregon, or unwind amidst the rolling hills of Pescadero, California.

These serene towns provide the perfect excuse to pack the bags and get away.

Ucluelet, British Columbia

Beautiful Ucluelet Harbour, Pacific Coast, Vancouver Island
Ucluelet Harbour, Pacific Coast, Vancouver Island, Canada.

For a serene weekend getaway, look no further than Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, which has a population of around 1,700. Ucluelet is a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation word meaning “People of the Safe Harbor.” Consider staying at the Cabins at Terrace Beach, whose philosophy is “Check in, Chill out.” A family and pet-friendly lodge, several cabins overlook the Pacific Ocean, like loft-style cabins tucked in an ancient rainforest or two-bedroom nests with ocean and beach views.

During your stay, appreciate the natural beauty of Ucluelet by exploring the stunning coastal scenery along the Wild Pacific Trail, a 5-mile coastal trail visitors can hike alone or join a free guided walk with a naturalist. Hike through old-growth forests, stroll along rugged shorelines, and marvel at breathtaking ocean vistas. With the 2024 whale-watching season already underway, don't miss the opportunity to go whale-watching with Jamie’s Whaling Station aboard a fast-paced Zodiac or a comfy Cabin Cruiser.

In the morning, grab a locally roasted coffee, sweet and savory pastry, or an all-day brunch at The Break Café & Bistro, and set off for a day of beachcombing or surfing at one of the beaches in nearby Tofino. In the evening, unwind with a fresh seafood dinner at Currents Restaurant at the Black Rock Resort and watch the sunset over the horizon.

Port Orford, Oregon

Overlooking Port Orford Heads State park
Overlooking Port Orford Heads State park.

A secluded coastal town known for its unspoiled beaches and vibrant arts community, Port Orford is for visitors who want to recharge their batteries with a tranquil weekend escape. Established in 1851, Port Orford is the oldest townsite on the Oregon coast and the westernmost city in the contiguous United States. The small town is steeped in maritime history. History buffs can learn about the town’s past by visiting the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum, where US Coast Guards lived from 1934 into the 1960s, and viewing exhibits on shipwrecks, fishing, and more. The Cape Bianco Lighthouse is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in Oregon in a state with eleven lighthouses (of which nine appear on the National Register of Historic Places).

Take advantage of the town’s arts scene with a stop at the Hawthorne Gallery on the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail. The trail is free and accessible to the public at all times and includes more than 800 pieces of art. While much of the art inside the gallery is the work of the multi-talented Hawthorne family, nationally known artists like Albert Paley, whose iron and steel sculptures are in the Smithsonian and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, are also on show at the Hawthorne Gallery.

If spending the weekend stranded on a beach with an ocean view sounds about right, Castaway by the Sea is the perfect home away from home. With ocean-facing rooms, visitors can choose from condo kitchenettes, two-story townhouses, or a deluxe suite to start a relaxing weekend of beachcombing, tide pooling, and scenic walks along Battle Rock Beach, renowned for its sea stacks—large rocks in the sea that look like tall stone towers separated from the main shoreline.

Coupeville, Washington

Downtown Coupeville Waterfront
Downtown Coupeville waterfront. Image credit T.Schofield via Shutterstock

Part of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, the peaceful town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island is considered Washington's second-oldest town and a cozy spot to get away for a weekend. First settled in the 1850s, many buildings along the historic waterfront still date to the 19th century. The area is now a popular destination for visitors, with several art galleries, wine-tasting rooms like bayleaf, and seafood restaurants like the Front Street Grill, which serves locally grown Penn Cove mussels alongside a stunning view of Mount Baker in the distance.

Visitors who book a two-night stay in one of 30 historic rooms, suites, or cabins in Captain Whidbey called the “Unofficial Official Lodge” of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve may never want to leave. Tucked among old-growth fir trees on the shores of Penn Cove, the lodge has a Chef's garden, a library, bicycles, row boats, and more for guests to enjoy. There’s a restaurant on site, a cocktail bar for late-night drinks by the 100-year-old fireplace, an espresso bar, and a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch menu.

The lodge serves as a great home base for exploring Whidbey Island. Other nearby attractions include hiking trails with ocean vistas, state parks like Fort Ebey, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Fort Casey, and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, which towers above Fort Casey. If being active is part of the weekend plan, embark on a kayak adventure with Whidbey Island Kayaking to explore the pristine waters of Penn Cove and spot seals, bald eagles, and other wildlife along the shoreline.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Pacific Ocean Coast, Oregon.
Cannon Beach, Pacific Ocean Coast, Oregon.

Take a weekend retreat to Cannon Beach, Oregon, by staying at one of the charming seaside hotels or cozy bed and breakfasts fronting the picturesque coastline. The Ocean Lodge offers romantic beach-themed rooms steps away from the iconic Haystack Rock—one of the most recognizable landmarks along the Pacific Northwest coastline. Composed of basalt, the sea stack stands at 235 feet and is home to an array of marine life, including seabirds who perch on top of it and sea stars and anemones who hide in the tidepools around it during low tide.

The pet-friendly Hallmark Resort and Spa on Cannon Beach is also a stone’s throw away from Haystack Rock. The resort is an oasis on the Pacific Coast with a swimming pool, hot tubs, and beach cruisers. Book a session at Elements by the Sea for the complete relaxation package, such as a “Melt Away Hot Stone Massage” that uses warm basalt stones to penetrate sore muscles or a “Hydrating Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap.”

For an early morning coffee run, Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters is within walking distance of both resorts, and Pelican Brewing is a popular choice for lunch or dinner. It’s a 20-minute walk from the beach into downtown Cannon Beach, where visitors can browse boutique shops, art galleries, and local cafes housed in quaint storefronts. Pick up souvenirs and handmade crafts at places like the Cannon Beach Art Gallery, or indulge in fresh pastries at Sea Level Bakery + Coffee. More energetic visitors can hike the nearby Ecola State Park Trail for panoramic views of the rugged coastline and lush forests.

Cambria, California

A row of tourist shops in Cambria, California.
A row of tourist shops in Cambria, California. Image credit agil73 via Shutterstock

Whether craving outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing escape by the sea, Cambria, California, offers the perfect setting for a weekend getaway on the California coast. Located on the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the town is minutes away from Hearst Castle—a historic landmark once the private home of William Randolph Hearst (the newspaper magnate). The castle is renowned for its lavish interiors and extensive art collection. Another landmark worth visiting is the Piedras Blancas Light Station and the nearby elephant seals colony at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, where elephant seals come ashore to breed, molt, and give birth.

Consider staying at one of the charming bed and breakfasts or boutique inns that offer cozy accommodations, like Little Sur Inn, a 17-room boutique hotel across from Moonstone Beach, or its sister property, Moonstone Landing. The Blue Dolphin Inn is also steps away from the beach with spectacular ocean views from the upper-level rooms, while rooms on the lower level have spacious patios for listening to the waves crashing over a complimentary picnic-to-go style breakfast.

Check out farm-to-table dining experiences at Cambria's restaurants, like Robin’s, where both locals and travelers go for bouillabaisse, curry, and vegetarian dishes, or Madeline’s Restaurant, where visitors can discover new California wines in their tasting room, followed by a French-inspired dinner in the dining room. Don't miss the chance to explore the quaint shops and boutiques in the East and West Villages for one-of-a-kind treasures to take home as souvenirs.

Manzanita, Oregon

People on beach on Oregon coast in Manzanita, Oregon.
People on beach on Oregon coast in Manzanita, Oregon. Image credit Rob Crandall via Shutterstock

At the top of any must-do list for a weekend retreat to Manzanita, Oregon, is to walk barefoot along the 7-mile stretch of Manzanita Beach. Visitors can collect seashells, watch the boogie boarders and fat-tire bikers navigate the soft sand, or watch dogs playing in the surf on this dog-friendly beach. Five minutes from Manzanita Beach is the Nehalem State Park. There’s a forested 2-mile-long path with breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and lush forests where elk and deer like to graze. A popular activity in the state park is kayaking, and Kayak Tillamook has tours that include two hours on the water, half-hour instruction, and a professional guide with all the required gear, which is part of the package. For fans of equine pursuits, book a one or two-hour beach and trail ride with Oregon Beach Rides around Nehalem Bay.

Stay overnight in the state park’s campground, which borders the beach, in one of 18 available yurts. Or consider staying at one of the cozy beachfront cottages or boutique inns scattered along the picturesque coastline. Options like the Ocean Inn at Manzanita or Coast Cabins offer comfortable accommodations with stunning ocean views and easy access to the beach—the perfect setting for a relaxing retreat.

Discover the charming downtown area of Manzanita by browsing unique shops like Cloud & Leaf Bookstore, or stop in for an espresso shot at the landmark Manzanita News & Espresso coffee shop. Try the Tsunami Burger or the Hot Club House sandwich at Big Wave Café, and then unwind with a glass of Oregon wine or craft beer at the historic San Dune Pub, “ the quintessential place to be” in Manzanita.

Pescadero, California

The coastal town of Pescadero with the Pigeon Point Lighthouse visible in the distance.
The coastal town of Pescadero with the Pigeon Point Lighthouse visible in the distance.

Pescadero, California, midway between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, is situated on the Pacific Coast Highway (also known as State Route 1), a spectacular stretch of roadway with a view. The small coastal town on the Pacific Ocean in San Mateo County has a history dating back to the 19th century, and many of its historic buildings remain, including the Pescadero Community Church—the oldest surviving Protestant church on its original site and foundation.

This serene seaside getaway has plenty to see and do. Consider staying at the over 100-year-old farmhouse known as the Pescadero Creek Inn, where each room comes with period antiques, including an antique clawfoot tub. Explore the Redwoods by bicycle or Pigeon Point Lighthouse, visit the elephant seals at Año Nuevo, or unwind with a walk on a deserted white sand beach. More energetic pursuits like golfing and horseback riding are also short distances away.

Spend an afternoon touring a working dairy farm at Harley Farms Goat Dairy, meet the goats, the Anatolian shepherds, the alpaca who guards the goats from coyotes, and the barn cats. At the farm shop, pick up some farmstead cheese, honey, jams, jellies, or treats like goat milk soaps and lotions. At the end of a leisurely day, visit Duarte's Tavern, a local institution “where friends meet.” It serves hearty American country cooking inspired by the Duarte family’s Portuguese roots. It is famous for its artichoke soup and pies.

Seabrook, Washington

Hilltop Coastal Homes at Seabrook Beach, Washington Coast.
Hilltop Coastal Homes at Seabrook Beach, Washington Coast.

Seabrook is a small town on the Pacific Northwest Coast that has quickly become known as “Washington’s beach town.” Settle in at the Pacific Beach Inn between the Pacific Ocean and Olympic Forest for a two-day escape. The inn is the perfect spot to enjoy spectacular beaches, ancient rainforests, red clay cliffs, and breathtaking rivers. The nearby Clipper Inn offers a variety of boutique accommodations in well-appointed rooms with a maritime flair and a wine, beer, and cider bar called the Clipper Sipper.

The pace is slow in this quiet beach town, with most residents walking or bicycling around town. Be sure to bring bicycles to explore the town's scenic trails and bike-friendly streets. The same goes for paddle boarding and kayaking; pack boards and kayaks to take advantage of the calm waters of nearby Duck Lake or venture out into the Pacific Ocean for a coastal paddle. After a day of outdoor activity, book a health and wellness session at the Spa Elizabeth, a boutique day spa & apothecary.

Enjoy rustic, elegant dining at Koko’s Restaurant for brunch or dinner. The restaurant offers a menu that combines Salvadoran and Mexican cuisine. You can also choose any delicious cocktails from their extensive selection of margaritas, such as raspberry basil, spicy cucumber, and jalapeno. If traveling with family, the Rising Tide Tavern is a family-friendly restaurant with comfort food for the whole family.

There is no better way to unwind and relax than by spending a quiet weekend getaway along the Pacific Coast. From charming British Columbia towns to picturesque Oregon and California destinations, each of these eight towns offers a blend of relaxation and adventure. Explore historic maritime sites, indulge in farm-to-table dining, or admire the breathtaking scenery. Whether strolling horseback riding along sandy beaches, getting back to nature on a goat farm, or sipping on a well-deserved frosty margarita and enjoying the local culture, these coastal retreats are the best of the best for that perfect weekend retreat.

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