Bed and Breakfast with Rooftop Gardens and Jacuzzi Minutes from the Beach
Quaint little guesthouses pop up throughout Great Britain's coastal areas and countryside; the scenes look like they were torn from an old storybook. These isolated, romantic bed and breakfasts struck a chord with architect James Statser and his wife, Jeanette—so much so that the couple decided to build one of their own back home in California. Their Cardiff by the Sea Lodge resides on a tiny patch of California's southwest coast, and its style fuses a romantic, old-fashioned feel with that of a tropical getaway.
A whale weathervane spins on top of the tower of the distinctive lodge building, which is lined with scalloped wood-shake shingles. Take a quick walk up a winding staircase and you'll end up at the rooftop garden, which glows with red hibiscus, peruvian lilies, and a blazing fire pit. Guests can stop at this secluded little spot to look out to the Pacific and share a champagne toast at one of the tables, or unwind in the jacuzzi. Elsewhere, tropical flowers bloom along cobblestone walkways around the property. And just a quick stroll away is the beach, where you can collect seashells.
Floral patterns accent the guest rooms, each of which features a distinct decorative style. Many boast handmade or Victorian furnishings. Mirrors line the walls of the Reflection room (207), which features a circular king bed originally designed to sleep King Arthur's Round Table. The Summer room (204) has white-wicker furniture, creeping vines, and a mural of the sky hand painted on the ceiling. In the morning, the lodge serves a breakfast of fresh fruit, cereal, and donuts from the local VG Donut & Bakery.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California: Walkable Coastal Town with Famed Surf Spots
Though it occupies just a 2-mile stretch of the Southern California coast, Cardiff-by-the-Sea draws a number of visitors each year, thanks to 900 acres of scenic wetlands and two coveted surf spots. The most popular of these is Cardiff Reef, where sand-stone bluffs overlook remarkably consistent breakers. When the waters recede, snorkelers and swimmers explore tide pools. To spot even more wildlife, take to the wetland trails at San Elijo Lagoon, where you can see hundreds of bird species and retired Toucan Sam impersonators.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea's charming, three-block-long town center is filled with art galleries, a row of restaurants, and a family-owned donut shop. For big-city attractions, make the short, scenic drive south to San Diego. In the famous Balboa Park, you’ll find a miniature railroad, a vintage carousel, and the outstanding San Diego Zoo.