Memorial Day Weekend is almost here and you know what that means—long-weekend fun! While Memorial Day itself is definitely a time for reflection, the weekend leading up to it is all about barbecues, sparkling pools, and of course—mini-getaways. We’re all for the latter. And since we live in one of the most beautiful states in the nation, we say: get your cars revved up and take a quick trek to one of these five great California Memorial Day Weekend escapes.
1. Ship Out To Catalina
Living in Los Angeles is grand, but every once in a while, city folks crave some tranquility—and Catalina Island is filled with it. This picturesque retreat is perfect for anyone looking for fun in the sun, without the interruption of car horns, idling engines, or smog. Snorkel on a dolphin/sea lion excursion or explore nature on the Garden to Sky Hike. Play 18 holes on Catalina’s oldest golf course or enjoy a fantastic dinner at one of the island’s great restaurants. By the time you have to ferry back to the mainland, you’ll be rested and reinvigorated for your jaunt home.
2. Spring Into Summer In Palm Springs
Nothing says relaxation like Palm Springs and Memorial Weekend is a great time to go since it’s the beginning of “off-season” in the desert. While much of SoCal is settled into the beginnings of “June Gloom,” Palm Springs is as hot, sunny, and summery as ever. Celebrate Memorial Weekend with a day of golf, followed by some pampering at one of the world-class spas like Agua Serena Spa (Palm Springs Life magazine’s Best of the Best Spa Resort). When the hunger pangs start, forget the traditional Memorial Weekend BBQs and dine out instead—you’re in Palm Springs afterall, home to some of the best restaurants in Southern California. By the time Monday rolls around, you’ll be feeling as tranquil as a desert sunset.
3. Get Your Family Fix In San Diego
San Diego is a great getaway stop—especially for families. Not only do you have 70 miles of coastline to explore (including Coronado’s Beach—one of The Travel Channel’s picks for “America’s Finest Beaches”), but you can also explore charming Old Town, the famous Gaslight District, and attractions like the San Diego Zoo. The one must-do for Memorial Weekend though is a visit to Sea World’s “Summer Nights,” where the park extends their hours for special nighttime shows and hosts a spectacular Memorial Weekend fireworks show.
4. Enjoy Your Wine Country Windfall In Napa Valley
What better place to usher in summer than gorgeous Napa Valley? Memorial Weekend is the official beginning of high season in Napa and that means there are some great holiday-events happening all weekend long. Start your getaway off at the FreeMark Abbey Winery for the Memorial Weekend Food Truck Frenzy then head over to Rock the River for live music and art. Or if the pure Napa wine-tasting experience is more your speed, visit Beringer Vineyards for its Memorial Weekend Passport or head over to Luna Vineyards for their Luna Over Havana Memorial Day celebration. Last but certainly not least, make sure to stop at Beaulieu Vineyards for their Saturday-only Memorial Weekend Cellar Sale; you’ll find some excellent deals on their top wines.
5. Get Your Fun On In Santa Cruz
The beautiful thing about Memorial Day Weekend in Santa Cruz is that there are so many options for everyone. If you want to relax on the beach, go for a hike, sample some regional wines, or indulge the foodie in you, no problem—Santa Cruz is overflowing with possibilities. But if you’re more in the mood for some festive Memorial Day celebrating, you’re in for a real treat because Santa Cruz has a lot going on. If you’re a music lover, you won’t want to miss the two-day Santa Cruz Blues Festival happening Memorial Weekend with “The Steve Miller Band” and “Tedeschi Trucks Band” as headliners. Another good option (particularly for families) is to head to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where summer is already in full swing with live music, rides, mini-golf, laser tag, and much more. And for surf-lovers, make sure you make it to the Santa Cruz Longboard Memorial Day Invitational, the largest, longest-running longboard contest in existence! You’ll see over 100 amazing surfers competing, plus you’ll be helping out two great kids’ charities: Jacob’s Heart and the Ride-a-Wave Foundation.