I eagerly look forward to summer every year. Tis’ the season of warm weather and spontaneous road trips out of town. Need some help choosing a destination? There are many places to go but these 15 getaways are all just a drive away and are a guaranteed good time.
1. Big Bear
A trip to Big Bear seems to mark itself on my calendar semi-annually. Weather its winter or summer, it’s always a good time. During the summer months, enjoy plenty of on-the-water activities including boating, jet skiing, paddle boarding and kayaking. There are also an array of hiking and biking trails, concerts and events that take place daily. Downtown is rather small but has everything you could need – restaurants, bars, cinema and even bowling. AirBnB makes it easy to enjoy Big Bear like a local but if you’ve ever felt the need to explore a more unique accommodation, check out Castle Wood Cottages.
2. Los Olivos
Los Olivos is one of five communities that make up the Santa Ynez Valley. Most known for it’s wine tastings and small town vibe, it’s a gem of a location for a weekend escape. The Santa Ynez Inn is the perfect boutique hotel for those seeking a little added romance. Heated bathroom floors, jacuzzi tub and fireplace transforms your room into a cozy retreat, not to mention the perks a room key gets you when visiting local wineries.
3. Palm Springs
Ah, Palm Springs. The city with whom I’ve only recently been acquainted with but have frequented on several occasions. There’s much to do, or nothing at all, if you prefer. A two hour drive puts you in this tropical little desert oasis where you can eat, drink, swim, gamble, dance and play golf to your hearts content. For more on Palm Springs, see our past article, Weekend Retreat: Palm Springs.
Oxnard Beach may be a part of the greater Los Angeles area but you’ll feel lifetimes away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Oxnard is definitely for those who are laying low. Grab a good book and a bikini and you’ve got yourself the perfect afternoon. As a foodie, you’ll have no shortage of restaurants to chose from and for the more adventurous type, fishing, water sports and a day trip to the Channel Islands are easily accessible.
5. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara could be considered L.A.’s younger, more virginal little sister. An hour and a half north on the 101 puts you smack dab in the middle of State Street. From here you can commence in any direction desired…eateries, shopping, outdoor activities, pristine beaches, farmers markets, art and world class entertainment. Santa Barbara lacks nothing. For a calendar of events, click here.
6. Bass Lake
Bass Lake is an amazing getaway for two main reasons: sun and fun! An day of jetski’s and eating finger sandwiches on the shore is my idea of a perfect afternoon, wouldn’t you say? The surrounding Sierra National Forest makes for a venturesome playground of hiking, waterfalls and camping, should you favor a more intimate experience with the great outdoors.
7. San Diego
San Dee-Ahh-Go (As Ron Burgundy refers to it)! City meets beach life at its finest. Find comfort in all the fine dining, luxury hotel chains and nightlife offered in downtown San Diego. It serves as the perfect middle ground for those not wanting to indulge in the extreme scene of Las Vegas but seeking more than just a small town getaway. Catch a Padres game or ride bikes on the strand and follow up your evening with rooftop dining and a host of events happening all around the city. If you can’t find it here, you may not find it anywhere.
8. Rancho Palos Verdes
Terranea Resort at Rancho Palos Verdes is quite deceptive – you would think you’re vacationing off the coast of Spain! This massive resort includes beach access to incredible coastline and coves or their multiple ocean side pools. Far enough away to feel as though you’re on holiday, but close enough to get away for just a night if that’s all the time you have. **Be sure to check back often for specials and free night stays!
9. Kern River
Kern River always brings back good memories. Perfect for families or young couples and friends looking to immerse themselves in nature. Rafting trips and BBQ’s are what Lake Isabella is all about.
10. Big Sur
Big Sur is by far one of the most impressive coastlines in the world. Whether you’re camping or shacking up in a plush resort, beauty surrounds you in every direction. Lucia Lodge has an outdoor deck to enjoy food and beverages with some spectacular views that are certainly worth the inflated price tag. Don’t let the drive deter you, its absolutely worth the trip. Don’t forget your camera!
11. Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo
Madonna Inn should be pictured in the dictionary under ‘unique hotels’. Whenever I find myself in the area, it’s impossible not to stop, if even for just a quick bite at Copper Cafe. Should you decide to stay, enjoy one of their 110 whimsically themed rooms or lounge with a cocktail at the poolside terrace. The hotel is situated on over 1,000 acres of lush rolling hills and offers horseback riding on the property itself. If saddling up isn’t your thing, wine country is just at your fingertips.
Solvang was amongst my favorite California destinations growing up, and not much has changed. This quaint little town is only about 2 hours away from Los Angeles but transports you to a Danish village with plenty of culinary delights and a relaxed atmosphere. There is no shortage of bakeries or ice cream parlors, but if you’re craving something out of the norm, stop by the aptly named, Solvang Restaurant, for some piping hot Aebleskivers. You won’t be disappointed.
13. Crystal Cove Beach Cottages, Newport Beach
Crystal Cove Beach Cottages were built in the 1930’s as a small seaside colony. Today, 21 cottages have been restored to reflect the period between 1935 and 1955, when the Cove transformed into a community. However, don’t expect anything cookie cutter, each cottage is themed differently and range from individual to dorm style. Located on the ocean side of PCH in Newport Beach, guests can enjoy the beach, local restaurants and spectacular views.
14. Harrahs Resort and Casino, Valley Center
Harrah’s Resort and Casino sits tucked away in the beautiful rolling hills of Valley Center, just south of Temecula. There are not many local restaurants or activities to partake in outside of the resort but why leave when you’ve got 2 pools, including a lazy river and 21+ section with a swim up bar? They also host pool parties on the weekend both day and night, live shows and feature nine restaurants and cafés for you to choose from. However, if you prefer to stay in your robe and catch up on your Zzz’s, room service will work just fine, just don’t forget to hit up the spa!
15. Glamping Hub, Various California Locations
Glamping, camping, treehouses, tipis and yurts. Glamping Hub has got to be one of the coolest sites to visit if you’re up for unique, naturalistic adventure. From tree houses to airstreams…yurts and eco-villas…this site offers more than 200 accommodations in California alone.
*This is not a sponsored post