As seen in the San Diego June, Orange County July, and Los Angeles August 2014 issues of Locale Magazine.
Mini Road Trips—
Only have time for a speedy overnight voyage? Want an easy jaunt that’s close by? Take your pick from these world-class mini-excursions that will have you feeling replenished and adventurous without being too far away from home.
For the Historian: Downtown Santa Barbara
Go back in time at the intimate 18-room Villa Rosa Inn (villarosainnsb.com) built in 1931. The cozy Spanish-style bed and breakfast just 84-steps from the beach will have you feeling like a well-versed old timer. Visit the Santa Barbara County Courthouse (santabarbaracourthouse.com) for a history lesson and a panoramic view from the Observation Tower. For dinner try Arnoldi’s Café (arnoldis.com), one of the oldest restaurants in town where the maple banquet floor has hosted numerous orchestras and dancers since the ‘40s.
For the Kidlets: Palm Springs
Turn the AC on high, prepare for heat, and drive along Highway 111 until you reach your desert Oasis. First things first you’re going to want to cool the children off. Take them straight to Wet ‘n’ Wild (wetnwildpalmsprings.com) where they can fight giant waves in the Rip Tide Reef wave pool while you float the day away in the Sunset River. After they have properly worn themselves out check in at The Saguaro (thesaguaro.com), and bask in the bright architecture inspired by the vivid indigenous flowers. Get ready in your poolside room then take the Palm Springs Aeriel Tramway (pstramway.com) up the mountain for a family dinner at Peaks Restaurant or Pines Café, both located at the top of the peak.
For the Winos: Old Town Temecula
Stroll along Main Street with your fellow wine aficionado while you browse through the farmers market and peek into the picturesque boutiques. Order a Rack of Lamb and bottle of Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial at the upscale Baily’s (oldtowndining.com) along Front Street. Stop in for a wine flight while you listen to live music at Lorimar Loft (lorimarwinery.com). Then make your way back to the Palomar Inn Hotel, a quaint 10-room, historical landmark built in the 1920’s (palomarinntemecula.com). But fear not, there will be no stopping now, the Temecula House of Wine is located inside the hotel and exclusively offers local wines (temeculahouseofwine.com).
For the Sweethearts: Lake Arrowhead Village
Cruise the windy Highway 18 up the San Bernardino Mountains and into the clouds for a weekend getaway to remember. Check in at the Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (lakearrowheadresort.com), and head to the resorts’ private beach where you can roast marshmallows as the sun disappears. When you’ve said goodbye to the majestic hues of a Lake Arrowhead sunset, meander over to the village (thelakearrowheadvillage.com) where you can catch a free live concert on the main stage. The Summer Concert Series boasts 37 bands, including Aerotrain (a tribute to Aerosmith), and The PettyBreakers (self explanatory). Once your hungry, head to the cozy and romantic Grill at Antlers Inn (thegrillatantlersinn.com) where you order Macademian Crusted White Seabass. A rustic log cabin complete with real fireplaces will have you cozied up to your sweetie, far, far away from city life.
For the Part-Fish: Pismo Beach
Take a small detour and turn your car onto the beach. Pismo State Beach (slostateparks.com) is the only beach in California where you are actually allowed to drive your car on the sand. Get out and hunt for sand dollars before checking in at The Cliffs Resort (cliffsresort.com). Take a dip in the pool overlooking the ocean, then trek along a private cliff trail back to the sea for more fun. To wind down, and for even more water, head to the Sycamore Mineral Springs just a short drive away in Avila Beach and marinate in the open-air Hillside Mineral Spring Tub (sycamoresprings.com). After all that soaking you’ll be very hungry and want to relax at Ventana Grill (ventanagrill.com). The dining room sits on a coastal bluff providing unparalleled views of the ocean blue. Order the Diver Scallops and Prawns and douse it with a fine tequila from their vast selection.
For the Outdoorsy: Malibu
When hanging out in the ‘Bu it’s best to do it in nature. Rent a board at Malibu Surf Shack (malibusurfshack.com) and brush up on your surf skills at Surfrider Beach, one of the world’s most famous surf breaks. Stroll along Zuma Beach and reminisce of its famous Baywatch Days. Order Banana Bread French Toast at Malibu Café (themalibucafe.com) and eat it on a couch in the garden under a chandelier-adorned tree. Follow up with a glass of wine at Malibu Wines (malibuwines.com), which is just up the road and features wine-barrel tables in the “tasting room” (a big wide lawn.) Keep the vibe outside with some camping at Malibu Creek State Park (malibucreekstatepark.org), home to every kind of outdoor adventure you can imagine.