Esalen Institute information
Marked only by a lit sign reading ‘Esalen Institute – By Reservation Only,’ this spot is like a new-age hippie camp for adults. Esoteric workshops treat anything ‘relating to our greater human capacity,’ from shapeshifting to Thai massage. Esalen's famous baths , fed by a natural hot spring, sit on a ledge above the ocean. The entrance is on the ocean side of Hwy 1, just over 11 miles south of Nepenthe restaurant and 10 miles north of Lucia.
Dollars to donuts you’ll never take another dip that compares panorama-wise with the one here, especially on stormy winter nights. Only two small outdoor pools perch directly over the waves, so once you’ve stripped down (bathing is clothing-optional) and taken a quick shower, head outside immediately to score the best views. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a tepid, no-view pool or even worse, a rickety bathtub.
Things have sure changed a lot since Hunter S Thompson was the gun-toting caretaker here in the 1960s.