Sun, Surf, Sand, and Snow: Weekend Getaways in Southern California

February 28, 2018 by

I’m riding 130 feet in the air at the top of the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel. From my vantage point above the Santa Monica Pier at Pacific Park, I have a panoramic view of the surrounding Southern California coastline. 

Straight ahead, the majestic snow-capped Mount Baldy, the highest peak in California, rises in the distance while blue waves roll onto the sandy shore below me.

Where else can you build sand castles at the seashore in the morning, and in less than two hours, be trekking through rugged mountain trails or lounging by the pool at a desert oasis by afternoon? In Southern California.

The Palisades bluff overlooks the Pacific in Santa Monica.

After sunset, the pier is aglow, illuminated with changing colors in a spectacular light show visible for miles.

Variety is the spice of life in SoCal, where you can sample a taste of the region’s diversity during a weekend getaway to the vineyards in Ojai and Paso Robles…

 Stay the night at the SummerWood Inn, Paso Robles.

…or dig in to the urban dynamism of star-studded Los Angeles where art surrounds you in the museums and on the street.

 Exploring the graffiti at LA downtown art walk.

Commissary greenhouse restaurant at Line Hotel in downtown LA.

Gardens at The Getty Center, LA.

Relax and unwind at the shore in the small artist village of Laguna Beach, then take a short detour to San Juan Capistrano whose old town maintains its historic charm.

Lounge by a mid-century modern style pool in Palm Springs.

Take in the exotic desert foliage, wildflowers, and stars (the kind in the sky) in Anza-Borrego.

Paradise Cove beach in Malibu.

Hit the rolling surf and watch celebrities in Malibu.

Shopping for home and garden on Abbott Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles.

Head to hipster heaven to sample the food trucks at Venice Beach, then head to the farmers market in my home town, Santa Monica. And while you’re there, say hello for me.

Tip: If you want to blend in with the natives, don’t refer to the state as “Cali.” Just sayin’. Enjoy your time exploring the left coast!

Unless otherwise noted, all images by Robin Plaskoff Horton. Sponsored by Trivago.

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