The end is near, but it ain’t over yet! While it feels like summer is rushing by, there’s still plenty of time to get in one last getaway before the fall begins. I love a good weekend turn around trip and I’ve done almost everything the California coast has to offer in under 3 days.
Today, I’m sharing my favorite (and easy) weekend getaways… including how I managed to travel to Dallas for four days with just a backpack! Seriously.
Highway 1 offers some incredible views up and down the Pacific Coast, making the drive to your destination an absolute dream. Here’s a list of my favorite places to visit in California for a quick getaway.
La Jolla is a hilly seaside community within the city of San Diego, California, that sits on 7 miles of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean. It’s a cute little town that offers stunning views and ample walking and water activities. One of my favorite places to eat (in the entire state) is George’s Ocean Terrace, a mainstay in La Jolla. Its right in the heart of downtown village and boasts oceans views and amazing seafood.
Stay at the La Jolla Cove Suites, where you will enjoy a view of the ocean, easy access to the park that overlooks the cove and even more convenience in walking around the village. This is where I stay when I visit! La Jolla has something for everyone, and it’s family friendly. Here is a short list of what I recommend doing when you get there:
Explore La Jolla Cove by kayak. Rent kayaks in La Jolla or enjoy a guided tour of the Seven Caves and the La Jolla Underwater Park with tour companies like:
These kayaking tours are a priceless way to understand the beauty of the La Jolla ecosystem. The guides add extra fun when they explain the types of treasures found in the caves or how to swim with leopard sharks.
Visit Ellen Scripps Park
• Visit Ellen Scripps Park to fly kites, enjoy picnics and much more
• Stop by Sunny Jim Sea Cave Store
• Walk to the Children’s Pool
The Children’s Pool
This arena was created with children and their safety in mind. Local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps donated funds in 1931 to form the seawall you see today, which helps creates an open ocean pool with safe, serene waters. Use this area to:
• Build sand castles
• Sun bathe
La Jolla is one of my favorite places to visit, and if you live in Southern California, it’s only a couple hours away. Ready to pack your bags? I am!
This majestic town must have been created in heaven…it’s simply breathtaking. I stumbled on it some ten years ago on my way up to San Francisco and have been smitten ever since. This wonderful little town sits on the coast between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. Everything you want to enjoy is within one square mile, including hotels, shops, restaurants, and the incredible ocean.
Stay at the Normandy Inn, right in the heart of downtown and just three blocks from the famed Carmel Beach. Wake up and head to Carmel Belle for some farm to table freshness, then take a stroll through the shops and end up with your feet in the sand where you will find the most exquisite sites of the ocean and Cypress.
Carmel-By-The-Sea is known for its quiant shops and hometown feel. This beach town offers boutique hotels and eateries you will adore. And, for the shopping enthusiast, head over to Carmel Plaza for everything from Anthropologie and Sur La Table to Tiffany & Co. and L’Occitane.
Once you visit Carmel-By-The-Sea, you instantly fall in love; it’s a wonderful place to visit anytime of year. I think I just convinced myself to plan a trip!
Wine country. Enough said? If you love wine, nay, if you enjoy a glass here and there, plan a trip to Paso Robles and fall head over heels. This charming town is home to several wineries and vineyards that supply a great deal of wine to California and the nation as a whole. El Paso Robles, or “Pass of the Oaks” is nestled in the coastal mountain ranges of central California, just 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo, and just a three hour drive from Downtown Los Angeles.
This is the perfect weekend getaway destination for those looking for a quick retreat. Come for the wine, stay for the relaxation and slow pace. Jump start your vacay in Downtown Paso Robles with lunch at La Cosecha, a Spanish influenced kitchen with craft cocktails and hand tossed pizza you will die for! Once you’ve had a bite, you’re ready for some wine tasting. Downtown is home to dozens of world-renowned wine producers, making your tasting experience convenient and easy. You don’t need to head to the hills to taste wine in this town!
I had the pleasure of visiting Paso Robles last fall during their annual wine festival. It was exciting to discover all different variety of wines, including hybrids I had never tried before. Every shop had a unique offering of wines from whites and reds to viogniers and many others. Tastings in downtown are extra special because you might have your wine poured by the proprietor of the vineyard themselves!
What makes wine tasting extra special in a town like Paso Robles is the fact that you might be sipping labels you would find in restaurants that are harvested within a few miles of where you’re sitting.
Pack Up & Head Out
Did you pull out the luggage yet? All you need are a couple of outfits, I swear! As a woman, I’m very in-tune with my over-packing nature, heck, I’ve embraced it. But, sometimes it’s nice to just throw a couple outfits together and get on your way. I recently journeyed to Dallas, Texas, to visit my cousin and her family who I haven’t seen in over 10 years. My trip was all of four days in the month of June, a pretty hot time to visit this all-American town. I was flying Spirit Airlines, which means everything outside of a backpack will cost you extra. I was determined to make that backpack work!
I managed to squeeze 4 outfits, 1 pair of pajamas, flip-flops, and a makeup bag into my JanSport. A feat that continues to bring me joy every time I think about it. The real secret to packing light is eliminating things you can find at the place you’re staying. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or with family/friends, you can leave the toiletries at home. If you know what kind of weather you’re going to experience, pack two bottoms that can work for daytime and evening. Depending on the number of days you’ll be gone, pack one top for day and one for the night. Dresses and rompers/jumpers are a great options as well…and, my current favorite styles for summer. Shoes are a huge space hog. Wear the heavier/bulkier shoe on the road/flight, and pack a sandal for versatility. Narrow down your makeup to just the essentials: compact, blush, mascara, and moisturizer. The fun of a quick getaway is being able to whisk off – this means less time getting ready and more time out exploring new things. If packing light gives you a panic, rest assured all the towns I’ve recommended have (tons of) shopping at every turn. What ever you don’t pack, you can just buy…and, there’s your souvenir!
If you just can’t find the time to visit one of these wonderful places before summer ends, you can plan on experiencing them in the fall. Each destination makes for an amazing trip regardless of season!