18 quirky Bay Area adventures and destinations

Essex Hot Tub in Berkeley

No shirt? No shoes? No swimwear? No problem. For many years, skinny-dippers have been coming to a backyard in Berkeley for a secret soak. In 1975, the hot tub was built, and since then, it has hosted tens of thousands of visitors. It is open to women, and men are welcome, too, but they must be accompanied by a woman. Accessing the spot involves a complicated code system, in which everyone has their own number. Smoking and drugs are not allowed, and there’s a no-talking rule.

Musee Mecanique

Amid the touristy hustle and bustle of Fisherman’s Wharf is this gem: Musee Mecanique, home to one of the largest privately owned collections of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and arcade machines. The place is home to more than 200 machines, and they’re in working order. Musee Mecanique is on Pier 45, at the foot of Taylor Street, and admission is free every day. For details, go to http://museemecaniquesf.com.

Taco Bell in Pacifica

The food and service at this fast-food outpost are exactly what you’d expect at a Taco Bell. What sets this one apart is the location. “Romantic” and “Taco Bell” are probably rarely uttered in the same sentence, except perhaps when talking about the Pacifica franchise, which is directly on the beach and, naturally, affords fantastic views of the ocean. Share a Nacho Bell Grande with your sweetie, and flirt using hot sauce packets. 5200 Coast Highway. For details, call 650-355-4210.

Nature Friends Tourist Club on Mount Tamalpais

Established in 1912, this branch of the Austria-based Friends of Nature organization is a members-only club that welcomes nonmembers on selected weekends. The club’s three annual festivals are open to the public and feature a polka band, traditional dances, hearty food and thirst-quenching beer. This year the festival are May 17, July 19 and Sept. 20. For details, go to http://touristclubsf.org.

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