Spring Forward

First I heard seals. Then coyotes. Then I opened my eyes to a full-frontal view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Such is life at Cavallo Point, a 46-building resort on a renovated army base in the Golden Gate National Parks that opened last July. The first hotel to start up on Park Service land this century, Cavallo sits in the Sausalito hills, just seven miles from downtown San Francisco. But you wouldn't know it if the bridge didn't smack you in the face: The closest thing to a traffic jam is the mix of kayaks and sailboats in the Bay. Cavallo's Victorian-era military digs are complemented by 13 new solar-panel-equipped bamboo units. An odd pairing, perhaps, but it somehow works when you're achieving coma in a king bed after a day on the bike. Go now, in shoulder season, when the Bay Area serves up an early spring, the coastline is crisp and fogless, and the 500 miles of Marin County trails are dust-free. Those routes are best explored on two wheels (Cavallo rents road/mountain-bike hybrids). If you're feeling ambitious, sign up for a multi-day, activity-based "learning vacation"—options include road riding, open-water swimming, and, later this spring, a trail-running trip led by ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes. From $250; cavallopoint.com

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