Planning a trip to the beach? Here are the keys to a perfect escape to California’s Monterey Bay. First, stay overnight at the luxurious, play-centric 500-acre Carmel Valley Ranch (carmelvalleyranch.com) then go down-valley to rock climb (or hike) in secluded Pinnacles National Park (nps.gov/pinn). Kick back in the evening with live music and lawn games at Folktale Winery (folktalewinery.com), a hip, recently renovated estate. On day two, dabble in wine tasting rooms along the 34-mile-stretch coined the River Road Wine Trail: Include Hahn Estate’s ATV tour with jaw-dropping views of Salinas Valley (hahnestate.com). The following morning, head to the crescent-shaped bay to gallop a horse over rolling sand dunes at Salinas River State Beach (parks.ca.gov) then stroll the cobblestone streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea with the Wine Walk Passport, which grants samplings from nine of 14 tasting rooms tucked amongst the boutique-and-cottage rows (learn more at carmelcalifornia.org). The region’s 40,000 vineyard acres produces the most Chardonnay in the U.S. and one of the world’s top-rated Pinot Noirs—but don’t miss Galante Vineyards’ Ace High Malbec. Tap out with an exquisite farm-to-table dinner at the haunted Restaurant 1833 (restaurant1833.com).

—Morgan Tilton