Find Your Perfect Southern California Getaway

published on July 8, 2021 by

The Golden State is back! In mid-June, California lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions — which means you can start planning an unforgettable trip to the destination. In Southern California, you have an array of options, from family friendly, theme park-centric spots to old-school glamour in the Sonoran Desert. We love this part of the world, and we’re here to help you find your perfect Southern California vacation destination. 

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The Newport Coast

Ideal For: Coastal Elites

Just a short drive from Los Angeles, but a world away. The Newport Coast — also known as the “Pacific Riviera” — is one of California’s most upscale enclaves, located beachside in Orange County. The landscape here is lush year-round, with acres of open space and rolling golf courses spread throughout the area. Take a scenic ferry ride out to Balboa Island, a charming community packed with chic coastal shops and unique dining options — don’t forget to enjoy a Balboa Island original, the Frozen Banana. Explore Crystal Cove State Park, where trails take hikers along 3.5 miles of uninterrupted coastline. Of course, you don’t have to hike for spectacular views: the luxury-driven Crystal Cove Shopping Center complements your shopping spree at such spots as Levik’s Jewelers by the Cove and Aston Martin with dazzling Pacific Ocean views. Finally, golfers flock to the Newport Coast to enjoy a few rounds at Pelican Hill, a 36-hole championship course designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio. Named the No. 1 Golf Resort in the World by Condé Nast Traveler, Pelican Hill’s oceanside location is as awe-inspiring as the golf is challenging. Just try to keep your eye on the ball. 

Where To Stay: Perched atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific and Laguna Beach, Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas feature spacious, two-bedroom, two-bathroom villas, each with a private balcony — the perfect spot to watch those glorious California sunsets.  

Palm Springs

Ideal For: Desert Luxury Seekers

Away from the coast, Palm Springs offers travelers a different — but no less enticing —Southern California getaway. Located in the ruggedly gorgeous Sonoran Desert, the destination has long been a favorite escape among the jet-set. Palm Springs boasts some of the best golf in the Golden State, with rolling green fairways that emerge out of the desert. For a challenge worthy of the champions, try the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, an 18-hole masterpiece designed by the legendary golfer himself. Take a self-guided tour of Palm Springs’ fascinating mid-century modern architecture (some of which was built by Hollywood legends of days gone by). Venture into the outdoors at the Indian Canyons Nature Preserve, where hikers will find spectacular scenic beauty (including a 60-foot waterfall) and striking Native American rock art carved into the cliffs centuries ago. You’ll also want to take advantage of Palm Springs’ shopping options, which range from vintage treasures (don’t miss the 12,000-square-foot Antique Galleries of Palm Springs) to pure luxury at the Shops on El Paseo, AKA “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert.” And, when it’s time to eat, head straight to Lulu California Bistro, where to décor is as colorful as the cuisine is delicious. 

Where To Stay: Located in shadows of the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Gorgonio Mountains, Marriott’s Shadow Ridge – The Villages delivers a soothing and scenic family friendly getaway. The resort is home to an eight-hole championship golf course, four outdoor pools, and an indulgent on-site spa. 

San Diego

Ideal For: Outdoor Adventurers + Cultural Explorers

San Diego is a spot well-known for its postcard-ready beaches, but it’s much more than just sun and sand. Journey to the city’s Old Town to immerse yourself in early Mexican American California heritage, with an array of living history-style performances and demonstrations (not to mention plenty of great Mexican restaurants to choose from). Explore the sprawling Balboa Park, home to 16 museums, several performing arts venues, blossoming gardens, winding trails, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Truth be told, you could probably spend your entire San Diego vacation here. Meanwhile, the city’s downtown is thriving these days, thanks to Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), the lively dining scene of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, and the quaint seaside shops at Seaport Village. Outdoor adventure is never far away in the city. Check out some of nearby Carlsbad’s best hiking trails where you’ll find everything from secluded beaches to wildflower filled landscapes, or head north to La Jolla to say hello to the seals and sea lions who reside in the city’s coves. 

Where To Stay: Set upon the idyllic island of Coronado, Coronado Beach Resort is just minutes from everything San Diego has to offer, but also provides a soothing respite. Part of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, it offers easy access to the famed Coronado Beach, plus ocean views, a rooftop deck perfect for sunsets and relaxing one- and two-bedroom villas. 


Ideal For: Theme Park Fanatics

Travelers from all over the world flock to Anaheim daily — with good reason. The city is home to Disneyland and its associated theme parks: California Adventure and the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge experience. As one of the most popular attractions in the U.S., Disneyland can be a very crowded spot, so we recommend the FASTPASS program, which lets you skip long lines.   Disney is just the beginning of the fun in Anaheim, of course. Nearby, there’s the less well-known, but just as fun, Knott’s Berry Farm. This 57-acre park features some of California’s best roller coasters and rides, plus family friendly Peanuts-themed attractions. The city is also home to Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who play home games at the classic Angels Stadium, March through September. It’s not all about the big-ticket spots here, however. For example, don’t skip the Anaheim Packing District, a former citrus packing warehouse that’s been retrofitted to become one of Southern California’s coolest food markets. 

Where To Stay: Less than a mile from Disneyland, Dolphin’s Cove Resort is a mellow option for cooling down after your Anaheim theme park adventures. The resort’s one-, two- and three-bedroom units feature private balconies, oversized bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and more.

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