Dusk settles over Tomales Bay, California
Photo:Alex L. Fradkin/Stockbyte/Getty
STRATEGY: THE SURPRISE DIRECT FLIGHT
Easy routes to the regional airports mentioned in this story: Delta flies from Atlanta to Jackson Hole in just under six hours (from $370; delta.com). Continental flies from Houston and Dallas to Montrose, Colorado (from $400; continental.com). Allegiant Air flies regularly from Las Vegas to Duluth (from $270; allegiantair.com) and Missoula ($140). And barring any planning hiccups, Horizon Air will offer direct service from Los Angeles to Flagstaff starting this June ($200; alaskaair.com).
TOMALES BAY, CALIFORNIA - It wouldn't be hard to miss the coastal village of Marshall, an hour north of San Francisco on Highway 1—only 100 or so people live here, and the place looks kind of scrappy. But gritty is in these days, and last summer, restaurateur Pat Kuleto turned Marshall into the home of the North Coast's most serenely stylish digs. Nick's Cove & Cottages is a cluster of gussied-up fisherman's cabins, complete with water-view decks and bedside cheese plates. Next door, Nick's roadhouse serves oysters caught out front and pinot noir from up the road. But the reason to go is the full moon on Saturday the 16th: As night falls, kayak due west from your cabin, past Hog Island, and visit Tomales Point's tule elk herd (daylong rentals from Point Reyes–based Blue Waters Kayaking, $60; bwkayak.com). When you return to shore, moonlit wine tasting and oyster slurping await on the deck of your cabin (doubles, $300; nickscove.com). Nearest airport: San Francisco.