For many of us, Labor Day is that special treat of a long weekend that hits just as the grind of the new school year is starting to get to us, providing a welcome respite from early rising and preparing lunches for THREE GLORIOUS DAYS. (Can you tell we’re slightly excited about it?)
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get away with the brood–whether your brood means a car full of kids, just you and your other half, just you and your best friend, or even you and your best dog. This year you can go with the tried and true, hunkering down in the spot where you’ve been making memories for years (or even generations), packing in as much excitement—or as much relaxation—as you can handle. Or, you can explore the unknown and discover a new treasured place among the vast California landscape.
Come with us, as we explore a few secret getaway spots, California style.
There’s the beach getaway you know. The one your family has been inhabiting for lost weekends as long as you can remember. Old haunts are wonderful. But if you’re looking to uncover a new gem, try Cayucos, between Cambria and Morrow Bay, one of Travel and Leisure’s Best Secret Beaches on Earth. “The tiny surf town of Cayucos—210 miles north of Los Angeles—is dotted with 19th-century western buildings, vintage shops, and a pier that stretches nearly 1,000 feet into the ocean,” they said. “While Cayucos’s Ocean Avenue is chockablock with antique boutiques, other sleepy American beach towns have boardwalks that take a kid-friendly approach.”
Looking for something truly unique? Take a trip to Africa…without leaving California. Vision Quest Ranch in Salinas offers accommodations in an African tent-style bungalow with the added bonus of getting up close and personal with the neighbors. And, in this case, the neighbors happen to be “wild things.” Guests can choose to stay overnight in a bungalow overlooking the elephant playpen and can also add an elephant bedtime or big cat-feeding package.
You can also take a day trip to San Clemente Island for a different kind of wild adventure—the untamed natural beauty of California. A favorite dive site for its variety of sea life, especially on Pyramid Cove with its large kelp beds, fish including yellowtail and sea bass, harbor seals and California sea lions, San Clemente is a naval island. It is open for exploration but contains no accommodations or restaurants. At the other end of the island, the Naval destroyer the USS Butler, as well as the Koka, a Navy Tug, are located in a protected harbor.
If your Labor Day weekend is a getaway for two, Le Faux in Mendocino might be for you. So named for its intricate faux finishes, the cottage is set in a romantic pine forest with old world finishes and views out to the Pacific. Cozy up in the Louis XVI bed or stroll out among the six oceanfront acres; either way, the Le Faux experience is hard to forget.
When people think of the Pacific coast just north of Los Angeles, they often think of Santa Barbara. But just inland is one of California’s most stunning spots in which to unwind and take in some beautiful scenery. “Ojai draws visitors from near and far to the majestic valley filled with citrus groves and surrounded a mountain range. Spending a weekend there offers a chance to unwind in a town filled with fun outdoor activities and a thriving arts community.
The Ojai Valley Inn offers the city’s most luxurious getaway options with “picturesque views of their world-class golf course and the surrounding Topa Topa mountains…and so many amenities and activities including golf, tennis, bikes, art classes spa treatments, and five restaurants,” said CBS.
For a taste of the southwest in the heart of the desert, check out Borrego Springs and the Borrego Valley Inn, one of Sunset Magazine’s nine off-the-grid getaways. “Eighty miles from San Diego, tucked among ocotillo and barrel cactus, is the pueblo-style Borrego Valley Inn, where there are two pools, and many of the 15 rooms have private patios for night-sky viewing, in-room fireplaces, and kitchenettes,” they said.
Are you looking to discover a new getaway spot? Which one piques your interest this Labor Day?