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This desert playground has so much more to offer beyond being the home of Coachella. When the festival stages are packed away and the worldwide revelers have headed home, the city is a peaceful destination. New restaurants seemingly pop up every week, and its palm-lined avenues are full of glamorous hotels and mid-century homes that wouldn’t be out of place in a Slim Aarons photograph (stay in this one, said to have been built in 1948 for the head of a major Hollywood studio). Long a favorite with LA dwellers looking for an escape, this is one place where your best bet is to follow the crowd.
Explore the Indian Canyons that surround Palm Springs on this guided half-day tour. You’ll cover the 17-kilometer loop on bike and foot, on a route that takes you through dramatic desertscapes and lush oases. Along the way you’ll be provided with extensive information about the region’s history, including an insight into the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, whose ancestral home is in the region. The terrain can be challenging in parts, but you’ll be rewarded at the end with an ice-cream stop at a boutique creamery.
Life in this inland town runs at a sleepy pace, with a dash of liveliness thanks to the students of the CalPoly University. Its proximity to popular spots such as Pismo Beach make it the perfect base for those wanting to explore the coast without dealing with the heaving coastal towns. With an abundance of Spanish-Colonial architecture and a lively food scene to boot, it’s easy to see why this town makes an attractive weekend getaway. If you need a place to stay, this spacious, ocean-view home is nestled between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.
Spanish settlers named this town ‘The Jewel’ when they arrived in the 1700s. Now, with its much-loved surf breaks and collection of incredible restaurants, it continues to live up to the moniker. While this is an affluent town – the mansion-dotted cliff sides should give that away – there is still a laid-back beachside vibe, which you can make the most of by staying in the quaint coastal cottages that lie a short walk from the ocean.
Enjoy the sublime coastal scenery and spot abundant marine life during this kayaking trip in La Jolla’s sea caves and ecological reserve. Paddle along with your expert guide and observe the numerous species of birds, dolphins, sea lions and even orcas that inhabit the area. You’ll be able to drift among the reserve’s sprawling kelp forests and, if conditions permit, venture inside the sea caves that dot the rocky coastline. Perfect for both experienced kayakers and beginners, this is a delightful few hours on the ocean.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Yosemite is a jaw-dropping and otherworldly place that must be seen in person. Towering sequoias, shimmering lakes and world-famous hiking trails are all overlooked by neck-craning mountains – standing among it all, the magnitude of Mother Nature feels overwhelming. Get a head start on the day trippers by staying in one of the homely cabins that fringe the edge of this majestic national park.
You may recognize Monterey Bay as the setting of Big Little Lies, where the sweeping cliffs and white-sand beaches were the backdrop to small town murder and intrigue. The reality of Monterey Bay is much less noir, drawing you in with its incredible coastline, down-to-earth vibe and storybook forests where you can sleep among redwoods.