Weekend Getaways

Posted: April 19, 2015 in Camping, Live Locally, Planning Post, Weekend Getaways
Tags: , , , ,

Lunch in Laguna Beach

We had already planned to schedule fewer vacations in 2015. We ended up having to turn down opportunities to do things with friends and family because we were so busy in 2014. Then early this year, I changed employers and as usually happens the new job will start with fewer hours of vacation for the first few year. Luckily we had only planned a couple of vacations this year. Unfortunately, due to the new job, we might still have to turn down other opportunities. Next year I will have some hours “in the bank”, so we will be able to plan more. We are glad the two vacations we have planned are with family and friends to Yosemite this summer and with friends to Maui this fall.

Although I’ll get much fewer hours of vacation the first few years, I do have an alternate work schedule that will give me every other Friday off (usually). We don’t want to plan out something for every one of those weekends… there are times when being so busy can start to seem routine. However, we will plan and do a lot more weekend getaways over the next few years than we have in the past. We live in Southern California and there are tons of things to do over a 3 day weekend.

Weekend getaways are very flexible. They can be a romantic getaway or a getaway with family or friends. They can be road trips or regional flyaway trips. You can hotel it, car camp, or backpack into the wilderness over a weekend. Over the past few years we’ve gone on several weekend getaways to Los Angeles, Santa Catalina, and Las Vegas. So this won’t be a new thing for us, just something we will plan to do more often.

Romantic getaways are a great way for a couple to recharge their love life away from the day to day routines and distractions. Although this kind of getaway does not have to have a fancy destination or any events planned, after all the idea is to spend time together, it doesn’t hurt. I like to plan for a romantic location and a shared experience like a play, a concert, or a unique destination.

Los Angeles is a great place to getaway with your significant other. The possibilities are unlimited. There are tons of plays at multiple large and small (my favorite) venues. Los Angeles also has some very unique concert venues. I love the Hollywood bowl…

Hollywood Bowl

and so do a lot of big name acts. We’ve seen both Fleetwood Mac (2013)…

Fleetwood Mac at the Hollywood Bowl

and James Taylor in 2014.

James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl June 2014

There are also some great smaller venues and tons of great music throughout the year. Some of these venues are iconic like the Palladium and the Greek Theater. We’ve been to the Palladium to see Sara Bareilles in December of 2011, but the Greek Theater is on the list for a future getaway (hopefully soon).

The Los Angeles area also has some great destinations. We’ve only been to a few so far: Santa Monica…

Santa Monica Pier

Griffith Park…

Hiking near Griffith Observatory

The Reagan Library (Republican or Democrat who can argue with a place that has Air Force One hanging from the ceiling)…

Air Force One at the Reagan Library

and the Getty Museum.

The Central Gardens at the Getty Museum

We won’t have to look too hard to find lots more to do in Los Angeles.

Another favorite destination for us over the past couple years has been Catalina Island. It is a quiet place, but an undeniably beautiful place to spend a romantic weekend!

View of the Yacht Club and Casino Avalon

You can hang out in Avalon or go on tours to other parts of the island. There are hiking trails near Avalon, or you can hike all the way across the island. The trails are well maintained and the views are spectacular.

Hiking on Catalina 2013

There are lots of other places I will be planning romantic getaways to over the next few years. We’ve been through some of them like Santa Barbara…

Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara

and Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach

I would also like to spend more time touring local and not so local wine countries. For weekend getaways there are wine countries in San Diego County, a couple of areas in Riverside County, and then all along the central coast from Santa Barbara to San Francisco and California’s most famous wine countries just north of San Francisco. All of these would work for either a road trip, or a flyaway long weekend.

For getaways with family and friends those same areas will work, but we also like to get out of the hotel sometimes. We’ve tried beach camping nearby, but many of the beach camping sites between San Diego and Los Angeles are very near the coastal train right of ways. Sharing the views with the trains is OK, but them sharing their noises all night long can be a problem. I guess we could try this again, but with earplugs? A little further up the coast may be a better choice. Pismo Beach has tons of fun things to do, although it may be a bit overcrowded. I’ll be doing some more research for beach camping locations that we can enjoy over a long weekend.

A weekend backpacking in the mountains is a great way to getaway. We’ve backpacked the Vivian Creek Trail on San Gorgonio a couple of times as training trips for other backpacking trips. Although we went there to train, the beauty of the place makes it worth going just to go.

Backpacking San Gorgonio

There are two campgrounds on the Vivian Creek Trail, Halfway Camp and High Creek Camp. We’ve backpacked to high creek camp twice, but either camp would work as a starting point to do an easier day hike to the summit. There are also other trails on San Gorgonio and several other Southern California mountains we could easily go backpacking on over a long weekend. There are also a few longer trails on my list of San Diego County hikes that would be better done as at least 2 day backpacking trips. Here’s a short and incomplete list of other backpacking trips I hope to checkout as weekend getaways over the next few years.

– San Jacinto (we have considered this in the past but never done it)
– Agua Tibia Mountain (a long Afoot and Afield Hike)
– Eagle Crag (another long Afoot and Afield Hike)
– Indian Canyon & Borrego Palm Canyon Traverse (a shorter hike but recommended as a 2 day backpack in Afoot and Afield in San Diego)
– Trans-Catalina Trail (we loved hiking on Catalina and would love to do more of it)

Since all of our kids will be over 21 next month, Las Vegas can be a fun place for a family weekend. There are lots of good shows, good food, and more than a few good pools. None of our kids are big gamblers, so Las Vegas is fairly safe for us!

View of the Bellagio during dinner in Las Vegas

Although I’ve lived in Southern California a total of 19 years, there are still many places I have yet to explore. I’m excited to start planning and taking more weekend getaways!

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