Looking for the most iconic weekend in California?

There are more weekend getaway destinations in California than you can fit on this list. The Golden State is full of fun activities wherever you go: the desert, the redwood forest, the mountains or the coast.

But if you’re looking for some of those incredible weekend getaways that immediately come to mind when you think of California, you’ll find them in this county, with suggestions on the best things to do and the best places to stay.

California’s most famous places can (understandably) get crowded during the season, so we recommend visiting them in the off-season or off-season if you want a more relaxed vacation. If you are not into live music, you should visit this place during the season to see the amazing shows!

CONTAINMENT STABLE
Weekend on the California Coast
Weekend in California Wine Country
Weekend in the California Mountains
Weekend in the California Desert

Weekend on the California Coast

Mendocino County

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend filled with natural beauty, great food and drink, and interesting places to explore, Mendocino County in Northern California is the place to be.

The Mendocino Coast offers a relaxing weekend getaway in California.

The village of Mendocino has beautiful Victorian architecture and a stunning location on a spit of land on the Pacific Ocean. Hike through the redwoods and dwarf forests in nearby state parks and canoe on the Big River.

A little further north you’ll find the beautiful botanical gardens of the Mendocino Coast. Most of the year you can enjoy the colorful flowers and scenic walking trails overlooking the ocean.

Fort Bragg is known for its glass beach, where the ocean has traded treasure for trash. You can also take the Skunk Train, an old railroad, to the Redwoods and explore other state parks and coastal trails.

Inland, you’ll find Anderson Valley, the wine region of Mendocino County. The wineries are small and unpretentious, and many are family-owned. Enjoy a relaxing wine tasting and admire the soothing beauty of the valley.

Tip: There are many state parks in this area waiting to be explored. Bring comfortable indoor shoes for hiking or trekking and enjoy the fresh air!

Location

The Noyo Harbor Inn is a historic bed and breakfast overlooking the Fort Bragg marina. Treat yourself to a room with a bathtub and a view of the boats! The on-site restaurant is exceptional. Book your stay here!

The Little River Inn is a short drive from the village of Mendocino. The hotel has rooms for every budget: some rooms have sea views, fireplaces, steam showers and Jacuzzis, but there are also cheaper options. Book your stay here!

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most exciting weekends in California, with its many museums and gardens, world-class restaurants (think long brunches!) and culturally rich neighborhoods to visit.

San Francisco is a popular vacation destination in California.

Nature lovers can visit the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A walk or bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and a visit to Muir Woods National Monument are a must if this is your first visit to the city.

Garden lovers should visit the Conservatory of Flowers (the building is beautiful and lit up at night!) or the Japanese Tea Garden, both in Golden Gate Park. The San Francisco Botanical Garden also has world-class collections.

Stroll through the many neighborhoods, from Chinatown to Japantown to Mission. There is street art and decorations to admire, and you can watch the people. Explore San Francisco’s colorful tiled staircases if you’re into photography.

There are more brunches in SF than you can count, but some of our favorites are Nopa (advance reservations!), Plow (prepare to wait!), and Brenda’s French Soul (don’t miss the crowds!).

Tip: San Francisco is one of our favorite places in California in December, with the Illuminate Light Art Trail, the Fairmont Gingerbread House and the festivities in Union Square.

Location

The Fairmont San Francisco, located in the upscale Nob Hill neighborhood, is the perfect place for a luxurious getaway. Rooms are elegantly decorated with luxurious bedding and Le Labo toiletries, and there is a full-service spa. Book your stay here!

The Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is located in the Financial District, close to Union Square and the Ferry Building. The interior is elegant and modern. Choose a room on the top floor with a view of the bay or the city! Book your stay here!

Monterey Peninsula

The Monterey Peninsula on California’s central coast is made up of several charming towns that are close enough to each other that you can visit or spend a weekend in one of them.

The 17 mile drive is very scenic!

Monterey offers exceptional whale watching and a world-class aquarium. Kayak, enjoy marine life or explore the sights of Monterey State Historic Park. Pebble Beach has world-class golf courses and is 17 miles away.

In the quiet and charming town of Pacific Grove, you can enjoy breathtaking water views from the Asilomar Coastal Trail or kayak and engage in other water activities at the scenic Lovers Point Park. Take a tour through the old houses of the city and see the many colorful murals.

Carmel-by-the-Sea has a beautiful crescent-shaped sandy beach, ideal for walking or playing in the sand. Stroll through the quaint cobbled streets of the village and explore the many shops and art galleries. Take a tour of the Carmel Cottages storybooks and enjoy farm fresh food.

Nearby, in the Carmel Valley and along the riverfront road in the Santa Lucia Mountains, you’ll find several quaint wineries where you can enjoy wine tasting with a view.

Tip: If you are looking for a quiet base to explore the Monterey Peninsula, we recommend Carmel Valley: It is rural and beautiful in all seasons and has no tourist core.

Location

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is within close proximity of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium. The hotel offers stunning views of the bay, a full-service spa, a hot tub with breathtaking views and a private beach. The rooms are spacious and well equipped. Book your stay here!

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa is a great hotel in Carmel Valley for a relaxing weekend getaway. The hotel has beautiful grounds, a pool and gardens, and a full-service spa with balneotherapy treatments. Book your stay here!

Big Sur

Big Sur is one of the most popular weekends in California for nature lovers. The rugged beauty of the Big Sur coastline is known for its spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and steep cliffs.

Big Sur is a great weekend destination.

Your weekend in Big Sur can be as relaxing or as active as you like. The luxurious resorts, as well as the recreational and camping areas, offer the opportunity to relax and simply enjoy the beauty of the region, day and night.

You can also hike the entire Big Sur coastline, take epic hikes to the waterfalls, stroll through the Redwoods and take scenic photos at iconic locations like Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls. Point Lobos State Reserve has scenic hiking trails and Garrapata State Park has a sandy beach and many hiking trails.

Pfeiffer beach is a magical place to spend the beautiful days. Although you can’t swim here (the currents are too dangerous), the beach is ideal for walking and playing in the sand. And the keyhole bow is awesome!

Tip: In spring, Big Sur is dotted with wildflowers and the hills are a vibrant green. It’s a great time to visit. However, California Highway 1 in the Big Sur area may be closed for various reasons, so check before you go.

Location

Ventana Big Sur is an adults-only resort located on a hill in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Rooms have ocean, canyon, forest or meadow views. There are two heated pools and a Japanese hot tub. A restaurant and a terrace bar are available on site. Free courses and activities are offered. Book your stay here!

Big Sur Lodge is located in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, surrounded by redwoods. The lodge is well protected and has spacious and comfortable rooms with terraces. Lunch is available on site. Book your stay here!

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is a Goldilocks-sized city on the central coast that has something to offer every type of traveler. It’s not so big or so full of attractions that it becomes overwhelming, and it’s not so small that there’s not enough to do on the weekends.

The Spanish Mission of SLO Center

SLO has a very charming city centre, ideal for strolling around and discovering the many shops and galleries. The restaurants offer many cuisines and you can enjoy wine, beer, spirits and cider tastings. If you haven’t tried Santa Maria’s BBQ yet, downtown SLO is the perfect place to do so.

The Spanish Mission, in the center of SLO, is a peaceful place to visit. There are also a number of art and culture museums. If you want to enjoy wine with a view, head to Edna Valley, near town, where there are picturesque vineyards. If you like hiking, try climbing Bishop’s Peak.

San Luis Obispo is near several charming beach towns on the central coast. Morro Bay, Avila Beach and Pismo Beach are ideal for water sports activities. The Bluff Trail in Montana de Oro Park is a must.

Tip: Planning a family weekend or a girls’ outing? Visit La Lomita Ranch in Edna Valley: Hacienda is a beautiful 3 bedroom home on a lot, perfect for a special weekend getaway!

Location

Hotel Cerro is located just steps from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, in the center of SLO. It offers a rooftop pool and a chic on-site restaurant, as well as a garden and a terrace. Well appointed rooms with modern decor. Book your stay here!

The San Luis Obispo Hotel is also close to the SLO Spanish Mission and downtown shops and restaurants. The rooms have modern furnishings in light colours. The hotel offers bikes to borrow during your stay, as well as a terrace and a hot tub. Book your stay here!

Santa Barbara

Beautiful and gracious Santa Barbara is the quintessential California coastal city. The tiled roofs, warm walls draped with bougainvillea, and tall palm trees are so inviting that we think you’ll be happy for more than just a weekend in Santa Barbara.

Walk down Cabrillo Boulevard at sunrise !

Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Presidio are a must for history buffs. The Spanish Mission of Santa Barbara is known for its beauty as the queen of missions. El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park is home to two original adobe-style buildings.

The Funk Zone is home to vibrant artwork and an eclectic mix of unique shops, tasting rooms and restaurants. A food and photo tour with a local guide is the perfect way to get the most out of your visit to the Funk Zone. MOXI, a fun museum in the Funky Zone, is a must for kids and adults alike.

If you want to spend some time at the beach, head to Butterfly Beach in Montecito : The west beach is a great place to watch the sunset and the sand is ideal for walking. Lotusland, also in Montecito, is a resort with beautiful themed gardens.

Location

The Harbor House Inn offers highly rated studio rooms a block away from the West Beach, between Stern Wharf and Santa Barbara Harbor. Each unit is equipped with a queen-size bed. The hotel provides bicycles and beach equipment for you to use during your stay. Book your stay here!

The Santa Barbara Inn is located across from East Beach. The rooms are spacious and well equipped, some with partial or full sea views. Sitting outside by the fireplace is relaxing. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool. State Street and the Funky Zone are a short drive away. Book your stay here!

Malibu

Malibu is known for its miles of beautiful coastline, but it’s also a great place for hiking and other outdoor adventures. This coastal paradise of Southern California is also known for its wine tastings and excellent aperitifs.

The sea stacks on El Matador Beach make for a great photo opportunity!

Malibu has a beach for every type of visitor. If you like taking pictures of the landscape and exploring the sea caves and cliffs, head to El Matador beach. Surf Beach, as the name suggests, is the place to surf in Malibu. Zuma beach is ideal for sunbathing, swimming and whale watching.

At Point Dume, follow the trail through the nature preserve to the observation deck, which offers stunning views of the Malibu coastline and the Santa Monica Mountains. Solstice Canyon and the Grotto Trail lead to the falls. You can also hike to Escondido Falls, one of the best waterfalls in California when it’s flowing.

History and art lovers will want to visit the historic Adamson House and its beautiful gardens, and the Malibu Lagoon Museum. If you are looking for a little getaway, the Getty Villa, located near Pacific Palisades, offers beautiful art, architecture and gardens.

Malibu has several upscale restaurants for this special dish. Make a reservation at Nobu for excellent Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, but be prepared to pay a rather high price. Jeffries offers seafood with ocean views. Tony’s Tavern, in the Malibu Country Mart, serves delicious Greek food.

Location

The Surfrider Hotel is located across the street from the famous Surfrider Beach in Malibu. This boutique hotel has just 18 rooms and 2 suites, and a rooftop bar and restaurant for guests only. The furniture is in California style. Book your stay here!

The Malibu Beach Inn is located on Billionaires Beach. The hotel offers unparalleled ocean views and you will wake up to the sound of the waves every morning of your stay. The rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished. Book your stay here!

Hollywood

With the famous Hollywood sign and many historical attractions, Tinseltown is an ideal weekend destination for couples, families or solo travelers. The area is one of the largest in Los Angeles, with excellent food and endless entertainment.

The Hollywood Sign is an iconic landmark!

Paramount Pictures, Hollywood’s oldest working studio, offers tours that take you behind the scenes of the working studio and show you the famous props. The Hollywood Walk of Fame stretches 15 blocks from Hollywood Boulevard (plus three blocks from Vine Street). The TCL China Theatre has a beautiful exterior and is home to the world’s largest IMAX theatre.

A visit to the Hollywood Sign is of course a must, whether you’re hiking, biking or taking a helicopter ride! The sign is 45 feet high and 350 feet wide. If you just want to take good pictures, Hollywood and Highland is a good option, where there are also many shops and restaurants.

Universal Studios Hollywood has enough to offer to keep you busy for a day (or more!). The park offers exciting attractions, a studio tour and excellent restaurants. Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Jurassic World – The attraction is fun for both children and adults.

Musso & Frank Grill is the place to go if you want to dine in a historic Hollywood restaurant. You can even reserve a Chaplin booth here, where Chaplin and his friends sat and watched their horses while they ate. Yamashiro has a centuries-old pagoda and the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tip: Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica offer other weekend getaways in the Los Angeles area if Hollywood doesn’t appeal to you. The best way to enjoy a weekend in Los Angeles is to choose activities that are close to each other and close to where you live, so you don’t have to spend the entire time in traffic jams.

Location

The historic Hollywood Roosevelt offers two different types of accommodations, with a tower and cabanas. Rooms are well appointed and the hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and a hot tub. The location is ideal for tourism. Book your stay here!

The Loews Hollywood, located at Hollywood and Highland, is perfect for visiting Hollywood. Some rooms offer views of the Hollywood sign. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The hotel has a swimming pool. Book your stay here!

Catalina Island

Catalina Island is located off the coast of Southern California and is the only permanently inhabited island of the Channel Islands. Catalina Express offers year-round ferry service to the island in just one hour one way. You can also come by helicopter. Catalina Island is one of the best romantic getaways in California.

Santa Catalina Island is the perfect weekend getaway!

Located in the southeastern part of the island, Avalon has been a popular tourist destination for over a century. This charming town offers many hotels, restaurants and spas, as well as your choice of water and land adventures.

A walk down Front Street is a must: Don’t miss the Wrigley fountain and the serpentine wall. The Green Jetty offers plenty of options for boat trips, while the Tour Plaza is the place to go for an inland adventure.

Take a golf cart to the Catalonia Botanical Gardens and the Wrigley Memorial for great waterfront views. Relax with a drink at the famous Descanso Beach Club. Take a tour of the Catalina Casino, which is not a gambling establishment but houses a beautiful theater and ballroom.

On the west side of the island, Two Harbors offers serious adventure, from kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to snorkeling, scuba diving and mountain biking. The Cyclone motorboat will take you from Avalon to Two Harbors in just 40 minutes. So it is quite possible to visit both places in one weekend!

Location

The Avalon Hotel is one of the most popular boutique hotels on Catalina Island. Most rooms have sea views and you can sleep to the sound of the waves. Rooms feature luxurious bedding, unique artwork and beautiful hardwood and tile accents. The roof terrace is fantastic. Book your stay here!

The Atwater Hotel is a historic hotel founded by William Wrigley, Jr. in 1920. The renovated hotel is elegantly decorated with ocean-inspired furnishings that combine the old with the new. The hotel is centrally located, close to the shops and restaurants of Avalon. Book your stay here!

San Diego

San Diego is located in the southern part of the state and is known for its many beautiful beaches and the San Diego Zoo. But there are also unique museums, vibrant neighborhoods, and food and drink offerings that are a delicious blend of California cuisine and Baja honey.

San Diego is a fun urban weekend in SoCal.

Outdoor enthusiasts will want to explore Cabrillo National Monument, home to some of San Diego’s best tide pools, as well as the historic monument dedicated to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, leader of the first European landing expedition to California.

History buffs should visit Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of 21 missions built by Spanish missionaries along the California coast. Museum-goers can visit the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier turned museum, or choose from the many offerings at Balboa Park. Kids will love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum!

Balboa Park is also home to a number of beautiful gardens, including a rose garden and a Japanese garden. The architecture of Balboa Park is also worth seeing. You can see local artists at work in the Spanish Village or enjoy a concert in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Take a stroll through Little Italy, where you’ll find many fine restaurants, and enjoy the lively Gaslamp Quarter, known for its nightlife. And for a fun time at the beach, cross the breathtaking Coronado Bridge to the shimmering sands of Coronado Beach : Afterwards, make time for a drink at Hotel Del Coronado.

Location

The Pendry San Diego is located in the Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego. It offers a rooftop pool and full-service spa. The rooms are elegantly furnished with super comfortable beds. Book your stay here!

U.S. Grant is also located in the Gaslamp district, in a historic building. The Luxury Collection has beautiful public areas with huge chandeliers and decorative furniture. The rooms are spacious and elegant. Book your stay here!

California Weekend Wine Tours

Napa Valley

Like Paris, Napa Valley is always a good idea. And not just because of their wines, which are justly famous. Even if you’re not into wine, there’s plenty to do during your weekend getaway to Napa Valley, from fine dining to exciting activities.

Domaine Chandon is a beautiful winery in Napa Valley.

If you really want to enjoy a wine tasting, you can choose from dozens of wineries that offer tastings in the vineyards: some even offer picnics on their premises. But you can also sip on drinks at walking tasting rooms in downtown Napa : Stop by the tourist office to see what there is to do. Also check out the Priority Wine Pass to save on tastings!

The Napa Valley has so many top-notch restaurants that you could plan a few weekends away to check them out. From Michelin-starred restaurants and other top-notch eateries to the exciting C Casa in Oxbow Public Market and Gott’s Roadside in Napa or St. Louis, the city has it all. Helena, you’re spoilt for choice. Don’t forget a treat from Bouchon Bakery!

In Napa Valley, you can choose from a wide range of activities. Adventurers can take a balloon ride over the valley, while outdoor enthusiasts can hike at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park or challenge themselves on Mount St. Helens. St. Helens Trail. A tour of some of Napa Valley’s best wineries showcases art, architecture and gardens.

Tip: While any time of year is ideal for visiting the Napa Valley, consider Napa in November to enjoy the vibrant fall colors in the vineyards and the delicious menus at area restaurants….. And it’s cabernet season!

Location

The Archer Hotel Napa is centrally located in Napa, just steps from wine tastings, shops and restaurants. This luxury boutique hotel offers spacious rooms and well-appointed suites. The rooftop spa offers beauty treatments and a rooftop restaurant and bar. Book your stay here!

Good weekend? Visit the romantic Auberge du Soleil Resort in Rutherford (Middle Valley) with decadently decorated rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an adult pool and yoga pavilion, and beautifully manicured grounds and gardens. Book your stay here!

Santa Ynez Valley

All the towns in the Santa Ynez Valley are charming, and you can’t go wrong if you choose one of them as your base for a relaxing weekend. They are very close together, so you can explore more of the valley by car or bike.

Danish Architecture in Solvang

Solvang is known as the Danish capital of America. The center has many unique shops and galleries, restaurants and tasting rooms. For those with a sweet tooth, there are five authentic Danish bakeries in town to buy pastries from!

Los Alamos has a western atmosphere, a saloon-style bar, a renovated hotel and many western facades. There are some famous restaurants here: Bob’s Bread is probably one of the best artisan bakeries in Southern California.

Santa Ynez and Los Olivos are known for their wine tasting. Ballard has a nice historic hotel, and also nice historic architecture. Buellton is known for its ostriches and craft breweries. Many cities have only a few museums.

The Santa Ynez Valley offers many opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and outdoor golf. Lake Cachuma, nestled in the mountains, offers boating and hiking along its shores.

Location

The Ballard Inn in Ballard offers fifteen individually decorated, opulent rooms. All apartments are quiet and stylishly decorated, some with a fireplace. The inn offers free Wi-Fi and parking, made-to-order breakfast, evening wine and cheese receptions, and cookies at sunset. Perfect for a luxury weekend away. Book your stay here!

Hotel Corque de Solvang is a beautiful boutique hotel near the old mission of Santa Ynez. It offers an outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as spacious and well-appointed rooms. Some rooms offer views of the village of Solvang or the Santa Ynez Mountains. Book your stay here!

Paso Robles

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend in wine country, with beautiful vineyards and quiet tastings, head to Paso Robles in Central California. With over 200 wineries in the region producing dozens of varieties, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Paso Robles makes for a relaxing trip across the country.

In the city you can admire the historic architecture and visit many unique shops and antique stores. Enjoy California cuisine (our favorite restaurant is Thomas Hill Organics!), visit local farms and gardens, do olive oil tastings or relax in the hot springs.

Lovers of the outdoors can go hiking, biking and horseback riding. California’s Highway 46 is a pleasure to drive year-round, but especially in the spring, when the hills turn a fresh, bright green, the wildflowers along the roads and trails bloom, and the vines begin to bud.

Take a day trip to Lake Nacimiento for water sports or to Hearst Castle on the coast to explore the lavish estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. In nearby San Miguel, the Spanish Mission offers a glimpse into California’s past.

Location

The Allegretto Vineyard Resort is located in the middle of the vineyards, close to town. This beautiful Mediterranean-style resort has beautifully decorated rooms and offers walking opportunities in the resort. There is an outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as an on-site spa. Book your stay here!

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is a boutique hotel with spacious rooms and suites. The hotel features Mediterranean architecture, a swimming pool, a jacuzzi and a lounge with a fireplace. Located a short drive from downtown Paz Robles and close to the CA 46 highway, which offers tours of the vineyards. Book your stay here!

Sonoma Valley

Next to Napa Valley is Sonoma Valley, another wine region in Northern California that offers a wonderful getaway, whether you’re a wine drinker or not. The landscape is beautiful, the towns picturesque and the gastronomic offer excellent.

Sonoma Vineyard Autumn Sunset

Healdsburg, located on the north side of the valley, is our favorite vacation spot in Sonoma Valley. Near Healdsburg Plaza you’ll find several bakeries, tasting rooms and enticing restaurants with farm-to-table menus. The Spoonbar offers creative cocktails inspired by local produce. SingleThread offers a tasting menu inspired by Japan and local Sonoma produce.

To the south, Sonoma Village is as picturesque as its historic square with its rose gardens and topiaries. Around the square are bakeries, cafes, restaurants and tasting rooms. Near the square are also several sites in the Sonoma State Historical Park, including the Spanish Mission in Sonoma, the last to be built by Franciscans.

In Windsor, you can fly in a hot air balloon. In the Russian River Valley you can hike in the redwoods, and you can boat or canoe on the peaceful Russian River. Take a hike, a bike ride or a horseback ride and plan a tour of the wineries, some with beautiful architecture, gardens and grounds. In the spring, be sure to visit the lavender fields of Sonoma County!

Location

The Ledson Hotel at Sonoma Plaza has just six rooms, each a unique blend of elegant antique furnishings and modern luxury. The bathrooms are equipped with whirlpool tubs and separate showers. The rooms overlook the square or the charming side streets. Book your stay here!

Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg is a Relaix & Chateaux hotel. The rooms are spacious and luxuriously furnished (guests leave feeling like they are in Paris!!) and the building is beautiful. The on-site restaurant is excellent. Book your stay here!

Mountain Weekend in California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is beautiful year-round and is the epitome of a weekend in California for nature lovers. The legendary scenery will leave you breathless, and the park offers many exciting activities when you decide to visit.

Worship scene in Yosemite National Park

Most of Yosemite’s iconic attractions are concentrated in Yosemite Valley. You’ll find Yosemite Falls, which plunges 2,425 feet into a granite cliff; El Capitan, a towering monolith; and Tunnel View, one of the park’s most iconic viewpoints. Yosemite Village offers accommodations, restaurants and several shops.

Mariposa Grove, in the south of the park, is home to giant sequoias. The Tioga Highway, open in summer and fall, offers an array of spectacular views, from Olmsted Point with panoramic views of Tenaya Lake, a serene alpine lake, to Tuolumne Meadows, perfect for early summer hikes among the wildflowers.

From scenic drives to epic hikes, photo walks and wildlife viewing, Yosemite National Park offers many activities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. But you can also enjoy the park and the beauty of the place without having to spend the whole weekend sightseeing.

Tip: If this is your first visit to Yosemite, come in late spring or early summer to see the falls at their best. But this is also the time when the park is busiest. So, if you’re looking for a quieter experience, visit the park in the off-season or stay in the less-visited parts of the park. And book your accommodation in time!

Location

This beautiful VRBO home is a romantic retreat for two and is located in a park-like area, about 30 minutes from the valley floor. The high elevation makes for a pleasant stay in the summer, and the house is nicely furnished, with a king-size bed, full kitchen, and spacious patio. Book your stay here!

This VRBO 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is about a 30-minute drive from the main attractions of Yosemite National Park. The house has two double beds, a fully equipped kitchen and a beautiful view of the forest. Ideal for a family or two couples. Book your stay here!

Evergreen Lodge offers cabins about 20 miles from Yosemite Valley. The lodge’s restaurant is highly regarded and there is a games room, solarium, children’s play areas and evening entertainment. Book your stay here!

Rush Creek Lodge is located on Highway 120, just 0.5 miles from the western entrance to Yosemite National Park. The resort offers hilltop villas or rooms and suites in the main pavilion. The accommodation has a swimming pool, a hot tub and a spa, as well as a restaurant and a tavern on site. Book your stay here!

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the perfect California mountain vacation destination for all types of travelers: Couples looking for a romantic getaway, adventurers, families looking for a fun vacation and those who just want to relax in nature.

A magical lupine meadow at Lake Tahoe in the spring

Lake Tahoe is huge and there are several communities nestled along its shores, so you can choose exactly the environment you want for your vacation. South Lake Tahoe, for example, offers a more urban nightlife and environment, while Tahoe is a much quieter, charming mountain town.

If you visit the lake from late spring to fall, you can enjoy a variety of hiking opportunities around the lake, with some trails leading up into the mountains for aerial views. You can also take the gondola to the top for a panoramic view. A cruise on the lake is another fun activity, or you can go kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding.

In winter there are several ski areas around the lake if you want to ski or snowboard. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow games are other fun winter activities. Winter is also an ideal time to enjoy the beauty of the countryside without having to practice winter sports!

Location

This luxury VRBO cabin is located just south of Tahoe City. The cabin has a steam shower and hot tub overlooking the forest, which is especially beautiful in the fall. This two bedroom cottage is perfect for a couple or small family. Book your stay here!

This beautiful cottage in South Lake Tahoe has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, each overlooking a peaceful meadow or forest. There is a kitchen and a terrace with a Weber grill, just 10 minutes from the beach. Book your stay here!

Marriott Grand Residence Club is located in South Lake Tahoe and offers studios with 2 bedrooms. Located in the village of Nebesnaya, close to shops and restaurants, ski lifts and beaches. Book your stay here!

Mammoth lakes

Mammoth Lakes, a resort town in eastern California, is a wonderful weekend getaway year-round. This picturesque town is surrounded by towering mountain peaks and is an incredible outdoor playground in every season.

Mountains at Mammoth Lakes, visible from Highway 395

If you visit it when it is open (usually in the summer and early fall), be sure to explore Devil Postpile National Monument! Not only are the basalt columns a breathtaking sight, but also the walk to the beautiful Rainbow Falls, named after the rainbow that appears in the mist on a sunny day.

The Mammoth Lakes Basin includes several scenic lakes. On some you can sail, on others you can camp. Outlaw Lake, south of town, is our favorite lake in the Eastern Sierra. You can take a boat ride on Outlaw Lake or hike the trail around the water. If you can get up early, Convict Lake is a great place to take sunrise photos.

In the winter, Mammoth Lakes is known as a ski resort. Mammoth Mountain is home to the highest ski lift in the state. Even if you don’t ski, the climb to the top is worth it for the stunning views of the snowy landscape. Autumn is another great time to visit, with the beautiful foliage of aspen, willows and poplars.

Location

This lovely corner apartment is perfect for a couple or small family. The apartment is nicely furnished and has a full kitchen. It is within walking distance of the village, the cable car, restaurants and bars. This is a lower level unit with no ladder. Book your stay here!

The Westin Monache Resort offers kitchenettes in studios and suites. A heated outdoor pool and 2 hot tubs are available on site. Ski passes and snowboard rentals are available on site. The hotel is within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The restaurant is also very popular. Book your stay here!

Bishop + Lone Pine

While Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lake get more attention, some of the Eastern Sierra’s most iconic attractions are near Bishop and Lone Pine, two communities in the Owens Valley to the south. Both are excellent starting points for a weekend full of adventure.

View of Mount Whitney at sunrise

Alabama Hills is located in Lone Pine. Managed nationally by the Bureau of Land Management, the Alabama Hills consist of rounded hills and rock formations at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are many natural arches to explore and photograph, and you can hike, take scenic drives and camp.

Whitney Portal Road is one of the most beautiful roads in the state. The road leads to the highest peaks of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Of course you can also hike to the top!

In Bishop, you can rock climb at Buttermilk or explore the beauty of Bishop Creek Canyon, where you’ll find numerous lakes and scenic landscapes. You can fish, sail and hike here. Bishop and the surrounding area are particularly picturesque in the fall.

Location

Hotel Cielo in Bishop offers spacious and well-appointed rooms. It has a garden and a terrace. Located within walking distance of the shops and restaurants of downtown Bishop. Book your stay here!

This beautiful VRBO vacation rental in Lone Pine offers views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is about a 10-minute drive from the center of Lone Pine. The 2 bedroom house has a nice garden and a fully equipped kitchen. Book your stay here!

Tip: If you are looking for an RV adventure, Bishop and the hills of Alabama offer some very scenic places. If you don’t have an RV, check out Outdoorsy: They offer a variety of vehicles that you can choose to rent for your trip.

Red

Located in northeastern California, Redding is the gateway to many beautiful natural areas in the Shasta Cascades, including Lassana Volcanic National Park, Mt. Shasta and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. If you love the outdoors, Redding should definitely be on your weekend California list!

View of the beautiful Mount Shasta

About an hour’s drive from Redding is Lassen Volcanic National Park, an exciting day trip. Visit hydrothermal trails like Hell and Sulphur Works in Bumpas, hike to the top of Lassen Peak or take a boat ride on Lake Manzanita. The park is easiest to visit in the summer when the roads and trails are open.

The Whiskeytown Recreation Area is a 15-minute drive from the Redding Hotel. Whiskeytown Lake is famous for its crystal clear waters. You can swim, wade or dive. There are some beautiful waterfalls that are worth visiting. Bring a picnic to enjoy!

Hike around Mount Shasta to see the breathtaking peak and beautiful surroundings. A walk along the McCloud River with three beautiful waterfalls is a must. Take a tour of the beautiful Shasta Lake Caves: You’ll also enjoy driving around the lake to get to the caves!

Location

The Sheraton Redding Hotel in Sunny Bridge offers spacious and comfortably furnished rooms. There is a swimming pool and hot tub, as well as a restaurant and bar on site. Book your stay here!

This beautiful VRBO home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms can accommodate up to 8 people. The ranch house sits on five acres and has a pool with slide in the backyard, as well as a patio and deck. Book your stay here!

Weekend in the Californian Desert

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park in the California desert offers a relaxing weekend getaway during the cooler months of the year, when pleasant daytime temperatures allow for exploration in less scorching heat. Even in high season it is easy to find quiet spots because the park is so large.

Badlands at Zabriskie Point!

The main attractions of Death Valley National Park are mainly found along California Highway 190, which runs east-west through the park. The park includes not only amazing natural attractions, but also historic mines, charcoal ovens, and even a twenty-horsepower double turntable.

Zabriskie Point is a must for the views of the moors and ridges from the viewing gallery. Dante’s View offers breathtaking panoramic views of the valley. At Dam Basin, you can pose for the sign of the lowest place in North America and hike through the vast salt marshes. The flat mesquite sand dunes are perfect for playing on the golden sand.

Mosaic Canyon, in Death Valley, is a pleasant and moderate hike. Artist’s Drive has beautifully colored mineral deposits. Don’t forget to visit the park at night: As a Golden Tier Dark Sky Park, Death Valley has one of the darkest skies in the country and offers spectacular views of the Milky Way on clear, moonless nights.

Tip: Death Valley National Park requires a lot of traveling if you want to see all the sights. Staying in the park will allow you to see as much as possible, especially if you come in the winter, when there is little daylight.

Location

For a luxury stay in the desert, with a terrace and pool, choose the Inn at Death Valley. Located in the heart of the park, the hotel has its own restaurant and bar. You can get rooms in a hotel or in independent casitas. Book your stay here!

The Ranch at Death Valley is also centrally located on Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park. The hotel offers spacious and comfortable rooms, an outdoor pool and its own restaurant, terrace and bar. Book your stay here!

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is an ideal starting point for exploring the desert of Southern California. You can hike in the nearby Indian Canyons or Tahquits Canyon, or on the many trails of the Coachella Valley Preserve. A popular excursion from Palm Springs to San Andreas Folt is also available.

Coachella Valley Hiking Preserve near Palm Springs

In the city, you can tour famous mid-century modern architecture, see contemporary art at the Palm Springs Museum of Art, visit the Gates Botanical Gardens or pamper yourself at one of the city’s many spas. Stroll down Palm Canyon Boulevard and browse the many shops and art galleries.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you from the desert floor to the heights of Mount San Jacinto in minutes, with breathtaking views along the way. Once at the top, you can take different trails to admire new views or relax with a meal with a view: You can choose between a gastronomic restaurant and a cosy café.

There are many other desert communities to explore near Palm Springs, such as Palm Desert, Indio, La Quinta and Desert Hot Springs. If you like scenic drives, the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway is a fun day trip or part of a day trip.

Location

The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel is located in the heart of Palm Springs. The rooms are beautifully decorated, with large windows, and the restaurants and public areas are wonderful. The rooftop pool is ideal for relaxing. Book your stay here!

Planning a girls’ or family weekend in Palm Springs? Discover this beautiful VRBO villa with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Outside, you’ll find a sparkling lagoon-shaped saltwater pool and spa surrounded by large terraces and lush landscaping. Book your stay here!

Joshua Tree National Park

California has not one, but two breathtaking national desert parks. Joshua Tree National Park is easily accessible from Los Angeles, San Diego or Palm Springs, making it a convenient weekend getaway from any of these cities. The park is famous for its huge boulders and the eponymous Joshua trees.

Moonrise behind Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Hiking and rock climbing are two popular activities in Joshua Tree National Park. One of the best hikes in Joshua Tree, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, is short (about a mile) and relatively easy. If you’re looking for a little challenge, head to the top of Mt. Climb Ryan for a panoramic view of the park.

History buffs can visit Barker Dam, a reservoir built by the first ranchers in the area, or the Lost Horse Mine, one of the richest gold mines since the gold rush. Visit the Case Ranch, a collection of buildings built by Bill Case, a prominent 20th century rancher.

North of the park you’ll find the cheerful towns of Joshua Tree and Twenty-Nine Palms. There are picturesque museums to visit, and you will also find restaurants and shops.

Location

This beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath VRBO home is perfect for a family weekend or group getaway. Located on a bluff overlooking the desert, it offers breathtaking views of the outdoor hot tub and cowboy spa. The interiors are spacious and comfortably furnished. Book your stay here!

Sacred Sands is a luxury accommodation located at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Rooms have provocative terraces with mountain views and outdoor bathrooms. Book your stay here!

*****

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