Via chooses the best places and activities along the coast from
Alaska to Southern California.
East Coasters go to the beach. In the West, we hit the coast—or rather, it hits us. Long before we spot the water, the salty air tells us we're close. The Pacific Coast begs to be driven: Highways were paved and named in its honor. We also hit it on foot, with our surfboards and flip-flops, our sweaters and dogs. Go on, follow its curves, pause on its promontories. Watch it long enough and it'll eat the sun, a grand nightly performance at the edge of our world. It's a hit every time.
Snowy plovers on Haul Road , north of Fort Bragg + Barbecuing bivalves at a Tomales Bay oyster farm + Spotting bat rays from the end of Estero Trail in Point Reyes  + Sand castles at Stinson Beach  + San Francisco's Beach Chalet  + Phipps "U-pick" Country Store and Farm  in Pescadero + Santa Cruz's Mystery Spot  + Big Sur's Bixby Bridge  + Pier fishing in Morro Bay  + The views from Malibu's Adamson House  + Basketball on the Venice Beach  courts + Digging holes at Huntington Dog Beach  + Sighting gray whales in Dana Point Harbor  + Launching a model yacht in Mission Bay Park , San Diego
Photography courtesy of PDPhoto.org 
This article was first published in November 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.