the-best-socal-staycation-destinations-to-end-the-summer

In recent months, vacations feel limited in everyone’s best interest; however, you can still safely enjoy a staycation! A staycation is a day trip to a destination close enough to still spend the night at home. Because we live in Southern California, we have so many staycation options to choose from. In every direction there is a new set of destinations with restaurants to eat at, things to do, and places to see. While it’s still a great idea to stay at home as much as possible, you can always take advantage of living close to so many travel destinations. Check out our list of the best SoCal staycation destinations.

Courtesy of Unsplash/ Tom Carroll

Joshua Tree

When you’re looking for something to spice up your Instagram feed, Joshua Tree National Park is always a great choice. Only two hours away from Los Angeles and Orange County, Joshua Tree is a desert haven. The town of Joshua Tree has many restaurants, shops with local culture, and outdoor museums to experience. Take a tour of the famous Crochet Museum, Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, and Pioneertown to experience the local culture and arts.

Once you get into the park, hike at the trails list that has experience levels ranging from beginner to expert! Whether you wear your best hiking or hipster attire, your photos are going to come out unique. When you finish your hike, stop by the Joshua Tree Saloon’s outdoor patio for a drink and hot meal because you deserve it after such an active day. Then when the sun goes down – look up! You’ll have one of the best views of the stars and the Milky Way you can’t see in the city.

Courtesy of Unsplash/ Nathan Dumlao

Palm Springs

The desert oasis is never too far from the city when driving to Palm Springs. It’s a beautiful place to stay for the weekend, but even a day trip is worth the drive. Make a pit-stop at Casino Morongo to test your hand at Black Jack, Roulette, or any slot machine. You never know when it’s your turn to get lucky! Then pass the giant windmills to get into the town that has so much fun in store for you. Palm Springs holds every kind of adventure you can hope for. Have something to eat and drink in their endless list of restaurants with food from all over the world. Then go for a hike on their many trails that can take you into the desert’s mountains. And finish the day with a swim in their many resort pools with a daily swim pass. The city’s purpose is to relax and slow down, so take advantage of everything you can while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Courtesy of Unsplash/ Leslie Cross

San Diego

The west coast has so many beautiful cities – and San Diego is one of the best. Take the 5 freeway two hours south, and you’ll hit Old Town San Diego. Have breakfast at any of the authentic Mexican food restaurants – I recommend getting something with their homemade tortillas! Then walk that meal off in the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with everything from a real haunted house to an old western town with historic buildings and stables.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Head to Balboa Park for a lovely walk with a view of the San Diego skyline. Make a trip out of the San Diego Zoo or keep walking around through the dog park and museum options – because there are so many things to see. Del Coronado is also a great place to take a trip to when you want to check out the San Diego beaches. When the sun comes down, the Gaslamp Quarter is where you want to be. The endless list of restaurants is excellent for eating, drinking, or just sightseeing the great city of San Diego.

 

Courtesy of Unsplash/ Alonso Reyes

Solvang

A couple of hours away from Los Angeles, Solvang is a Nordic-inspired town with so many options for food, drinks, and fun. Stop by the Old Mission Santa Ines for a tour of the grounds with religious artifacts for sale in the mission store and tour the beautiful architecture. Walk through the town to see the famous Danish-style buildings with bakeries, gift shops, restaurants, and beer gardens that will make you happy you got out of the big city. Many wineries have amazing tasting selections for every pallet if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous just outside of town. Drive to the famous Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch, where you can stop and see all the beautiful little ponies eating their afternoon lunch. Or on the opposite side of town is the incredible Ostrichland USA, where you can feed ostriches and emus until their bellies are full – make sure to watch your fingers!

 

Courtesy of Unsplash/ Kelsey Knight

Temecula

Why go all the way to NorCal wine country when we have some of the best wine right in our backyard? Temecula is a short drive away where you can find many wineries that would love to have your business right now. If you want a tour, a tasting, or a bottle of wine to take home – this is the city to visit. Many of these locations have outdoor patios, dining, and tours through the grapevines so you can experience it all with a nice breeze. On top of that, there are many restaurants with food that pairs nicely with your bottles so you can pay a corking fee to have your glass right then and there. Drive safe, and your staycation will have you home by dinner time.

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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