Just an hour from the busy bay area, a laid-back retreat to soothe the soul – the washington post

Last winter, after a family holiday, my wife and I were returning home through San Francisco and decided to take two days outside the city to de-stress. Hotel and airfare to hawaii Our mini-vacation got off to a rocky start: Two hours in, we were still downtown waiting in line with everyone else renting a car that morning. Hawaii vacation house rentals By noon, though, we were cruising over the Golden Gate Bridge on the winding road to Stinson Beach.


We joked about our mood rising from the effects of negative ions, something we had read about a couple of decades ago, when social psychologists at New York University found that wind and surf can cause electrification of the air that can make people happy. Deals in hawaii For us, it worked.

Just an hour’s drive from San Francisco, Stinson Beach feels like another world. All inclusive resorts hawaii It has a vibe of remote California and evokes an alternate reality that makes even walking blissful. Cheap trips to hawaii Two days can feel like a week-long getaway. Resort packages in hawaii Even in winter, you can dip your toes in the ocean, stretch your legs, have lunch outside on the patio at the Breakers Cafe, soak up the Zen without setting foot in a yoga retreat.

There are only a couple of lodging options in the area and they can fill up fast. Vacation packages to hawaii Sandpiper Lodging is a little hotel a short walk from the beach. Best deals for hawaii vacation package (Ryan Jones/For The Washington Post)

We paused from time to time to check the progress of a few surfers and the dog racing around the tiny bathers on the beach below. Package hawaiian vacations The afternoon light skimmed off the azure water, and we could tell that the negative ions were doing their work. Low cost hawaii vacation packages They were disrupted only by signs that warned of a Tsunami Hazard Zone: “In case of earthquake go to high ground or inland.” The text wasn’t as upsetting as the image of the hapless stick figure running with no chance of escaping the huge, beautiful blue curl bearing down on him.

We checked into the Sandpiper, a cozy low-slung motel with flowers vining up to the second-floor balcony, and settled into our room upstairs. Family package deals to hawaii It thrilled me to stand on the balcony and look out to sea. Inclusive trips to hawaii By the standards of a D.C. Flight and hotel packages to hawaii winter, the day felt like fall, and the gas fireplace sliced through the chill wonderfully.

Stinson Beach is a stone’s throw from several yoga retreats. Vacation resorts in hawaii With its visual beauty and proximity to San Francisco, the place has exerted a pull on Bay Area musicians at least since Jerry Garcia lived and recorded here in the early 1970s. Hawaii tickets It was here that he launched his bluegrass side project, Old and in the Way. Cheap hawaii vacation packages for two Janis Joplin had her ashes scattered at Stinson Beach. Hawaii vacation all inclusive packages And Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was living in a trailer when he passed through around 1986 and gave a solo concert just to impress a woman.

The town feels like an old rural version of California. Best vacation hawaii The Sandpiper’s owners, John Vantress and his wife, Heather, bought the place three years ago after she had worked there for more than a decade. Holiday hawaii package deals She grew up in Bolinas, just beyond the lagoon. Hawaii hotel deals Vantress grew up over the ridge in Tiburon .

Fortified by an outdoor lunch of omelets and home fries at the Parkside Cafe, we crossed the road through town and started up the hill on the Dipsea Trail. Hawaii cheap We passed a French family on a walk, strung along the trail like beads on a chain. Honeymoon to hawaii Mostly, though, we had the trail to ourselves in long stretches of sunlight. Hotels in hawaii Sometimes we stopped to soak it in, facing the sea. Hawaiian tour packages The view to the west went on forever. Cheap travel packages to hawaii To the right, Bolinas Lagoon cut a blue slice just below the hills to the north.

Continuing on, the trail dipped into the forest of spruce and chaparral. Hawaii vacation planning The tree canopy filtered the light for a blue-green effect as we approached the redwoods of Muir Woods. Cheap holiday packages to hawaii This trail is home to the Dipsea Race, the oldest foot race in America, dating back more than a century, to 1905. Affordable hawaii honeymoon packages Held every June, the race covers the trail’s length, with runners clambering from Mill Valley, about seven miles inland, to the ocean. Family packages to hawaii deals The race’s organizers claim that it is one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Hawaii vacation family packages I don’t doubt it.

Another walking option, according to a park ranger, is a mountain loop: Go up the Dipsea to where the Steep Ravine Trail forks to the left; follow that up the eponymous ravine to the Pantoll Ranger Station and then bear left to take the Matt Davis Trail west, back down to Stinson Beach.

With the late sun dropping in the western sky, our afternoon walk ended with us reaching the beach just about the time when the sun kissed the sea.

Open mic night at Breakers is popular for its range of local musical talent. Cheap hawaii deals On our night, it had a silver-haired jazz guitarist and a teenage keyboard player. Package tour hawaii It’s also a good place to grab dinner. Cheap holiday packages hawaii It may have been on this site that Garcia and friends in Old and in the Way had their first gig in the fall of 1972, according to local lore. Cheap air and hotel packages to hawaii (Or maybe not; it’s hard to say. Hawaii resort packages Breakers opened in 2009 but its building started out as a market and gas station in the 1920s.) The next morning, it attracted a line for bagels outside. Packages hawaii It’s just a pleasant place to say hi to people.

After another barefoot stroll in the sand, we set off in the morning fog on a misty drive back through the woods to the bedroom community of Larkspur for a gradual reentry to urban America. Things to do in hawaii There, we grabbed an artisanal lunch including chanterelle-and-leek risotto at Farm House Local.

Even though it lasted less than 48 hours, that trip has returned to my thoughts a lot lately. Travel to hawaii After this election season, I’m thinking that a negative-ion cleanse could be the winning ticket.