Oregon’s natural sandbox
Sand has become Florence, Ore.’s greatest draw, said Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times. “Once rated the nation’s top retirement” community, the town situated along the state’s central coast is now a hub for sand-sport enthusiasts. Thanks to an unusual “geological phenomenon,” a 40-mile swath of shoreline stretching south from Florence is covered by the country’s “largest expanse of coastal dunes.” Each year, three nearby rivers dump sediment into the Pacific off a “sloping sandstone terrace.” Each year, “ocean currents and offshore winds toss the grains back” upon the shore. The result of all this sifting and shifting is the “softest and cleanest sand on the coast.” The massive, “honey-colored mounds” form one giant sandbox for “sandboarders,” whose recently conceived sport resembles snowboarding and skateboarding but requires no padding or helmet—just “climbing stamina and meaty leg muscles.” At Sand Master Park, the world’s first sandboarding park, tricksters slip their bare feet into a board’s “padded bindings,” then set off down the dunes.
Contact: Traveloregon.com

The timeless charm of Palm Springs
For nearly a century, “martini-sipping, LSD-tripping, Prozac-popping celebrities” have been gravitating to Palm Springs, said Adam Platt in Condé Nast Traveler. For them, the famous California oasis is a refuge, “a place for ultra-public personalities to disappear for days, weeks, or even years at a time.” The desert resort’s therapeutic powers work just as well for anyone looking to “realign their senses and get their heads screwed on straight.” Any good “relaxation tour” should include the desert hot springs, of course. But the area’s Rat Pack–era restaurants and “state-of-the-art” casinos make for fascinating distraction. Nostalgic types may enjoy an afternoon at Rancho Mirage, Frank Sinatra’s old residence. Amid the citrus aromas of Wolfson Park, the voice of Ol’ Blue Eyes flows from speakers hidden amid the foliage. New-music fans can see bands such as Radiohead play among the palms of Coachella Valley. “After a week adrift,” I found the desert heat could do strange things to a person. “My mind was a pleasing blank” and my body at ease.
Contact: Palm-springs.org