9 California staycation destinations worth a trip

CALIFORNIA – You don’t have to travel far to plan your next visit to California.

Maybe a big trip is not in your budget or you want to explore something local. From day trips to short breaks, here are some ideas to help you relax.

Satisfy your wanderlust with a road trip or visit. Whether you prefer to hike in the great outdoors or make yourself comfortable, new discoveries and offers are close by.

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From Northern California to Southern California and the central coast in between, here are 11 ways to relax and explore the Golden State.

Catalina Island

Book a ferry with the Catalina Express from San Pedro, Long Beach or Dana Point to Avalon or Two Harbors on Santa Catalina Island. The island has been badly hit by the pandemic, and a number of packages are now available to travelers, including boat and hotel room packages, a local gift guide, and hiking trail recommendations for all fitness enthusiasts.

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You can visit Avalon, the capital with hotels, spas and restaurants, or take a hike starting at Two Harbors and winding up the hills and switchbacks to the west side of the island. You can even see some wild buffalo left behind by a John Wayne western. Enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the California coast. You can snorkel through beds of kelp and catch a glimpse of a Garibaldi, or explore your adventurous side and zipline. And if you’re in the mood for a party, register for the New Year’s Eve gala in the stylish Casino Ballroom. Reservations are $ 199 per person and include a gourmet buffet and a performance by the Christien Anthony Band.


Temecula is a gem in SoCal north of San Diego. The Temecula Valley wine country has tons of fantastic wineries, activities, and opportunities to relax.

Channel your inner housewife and hop on the cable car or vineyard cart to get around. Cable Car Wine Tours, offering daytime wine tours and nighttime haunted tours, was founded in 2006 with the original aim of restoring an original 1914 San Francisco cable car as a vineyard wagon. See a full list of Temecula Valley wineries and book your hotel, resort, or stay in town.

Paso Robles

If you want to relax and unplug, consider a trip to Paso Robles. You can take an Amtrak train or drive along the coast to this laid-back city. This quaint Central Coast town has plenty of local vineyards, restaurants, and places to explore.

Visit a family winery owned by former LA Laker and basketball legend Aleksander “Sasha” Vujacic, or stay until January 2nd to see the glowing outdoor exhibit, “Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio,” a 15-acre lighting extravaganza of more than 17,000 bottles of wine. The solar system was named # 6 in their “52 Places to Go in 2020” by the New York Times.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has tons of options and nice weather. Soak up the great outdoors and camp under the tall oak trees at Los Prietos Campground, explore local hiking trails, and walk down to the beach to dip your toes in the sand.

Walk down State Street in downtown Santa Barbara and experience the European atmosphere that has been transformed into a boardwalk perfect for strolling to local shops and restaurants. Have a beer at the Modern Times Academy of Recreational Sciences or celebrate Santa Barbara’s Chumash heritage with inspired dishes from Barbareño.

To learn more about Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands, visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The museum has reopened its popular exhibition, Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends – Photography by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends, which features 16 images printed on canvas by Ralph Clevenger and friends. Let your imagination guide you.


If you’re inspired by the vision of misty, blurry coastlines in Big Little Lies, or just curious to see otters in real life, then consider a trip to Monterey. Visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and plan your visit to see jellyfish and penguins. See Cannery Row, a historic neighborhood filled with boutiques, hotels, wine tastings, and restaurants. Grab an ice cream sundae and take a stroll near the waterfront. You can also rent bikes and cruise the waves nearby.

Go slow and cruise. Take the drive to Carmel and walk down the main street. Pick up coffee and delicious pastries on the go.

San Francisco

A view of the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, California (Nicole Charky / Patch)

It might not be the same hippie mecca, but San Francisco is definitely a place to see and experience. Go to the Mission District, pick up a book from Dog Eared Books and a coffee from Ritual Coffee Roasters. From there, walk up the hill and explore Dolores Park. Bring a blanket and snacks and enjoy the city views.

Head to Vital Tea Leaf (three locations are on Grant Avenue) and explore the vegetable markets and stroll around Chinatown. You can also visit the historic landmarks of Cliff House and Sutro Bath, a famous spot on the west coast of San Francisco where visitors can hike the concrete ruins north of the Cliff House.

Santa Monica

Try a bacon wrapped hot dog in Santa Monica, California (Nicole Charky / Patch)

Stop by the famous Santa Monica Pier for a bacon-wrapped hot dog, or grab a soft ice cream from the Korean dessert destination SOMISOMI, and visit Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. Expect plenty of shopping, and for more boutique options, head to Main Street or Montana Avenue and grab a juice of creation to truly experience LA life.

Santa Monica residents also have the option to stay in local hotels or to help host family and friends at local hotels with the Santa Monica Extra Bedroom program, which runs through February 6, featuring 25 participating hotels Discounts for locals.


Visit the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, California (Nicole Charky / Patch)

Spend your day in beautiful surroundings and see what life is like in Ojai. Located in the Ojai Valley, this stunning Ventura County town offers spectacular hiking in the Los Padres National Forest, as well as camping and swimming along the way.

Stop by Ojai Rôtie and sit under the trees to taste French-Lebanese fried chicken, delicious side dishes, and wine. Swing by the Dutchess, a new Burmese restaurant brought to town by the Santa Monica restaurant group Rustic Canyon. Try the fudge at
You can also visit the unique Jones & Company gift shop for a gift or treasure. You can also meditate and practice yoga in the Light And Space.

Palos Verdes peninsula

Go outside and stroll the South Coast Botanic Garden, including the immersive “GLOW (or Garden Lights & Ocean Waters)” with food, drink, music and a transformative garden with thousands of lights near the beach, an imaginary bayou for cocktails and dreamy waterfalls. The exhibition offers interactive experiences and themed evenings.

When it’s time to take a break or have some fun, Terranea has tons of options to start the New Year with a family dinner (Adults: $ 139 | Children 12-20: $ 95 | Children 5-11: $ 40 | Children 2-4: 15 USD) or the adults-only New Years Eve Neon Extravaganza (presale: USD 215; VIP table service available), which includes an open bar, food, live entertainment, and a DJ.

You can also take advantage of an offer for a short break on the coast until January 12th. Use the promo code: TRADITIONS.

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