Best & top visiting Places in California, Top Family Vacation spots & Destination in California, Most Beautiful romantic getaways Traveling Wallpapers & Popular Pictures HD resorts images for Desktop backgrounds, California is the Golden State, known for its beautiful natural parks, exceptional coastline and beaches, and some of the most expensive shopping areas in the world. It’s a big state, too, which means that there are a lot of great travel destinations from which to choose.
If you’ve only got a weekend, it might seem too daunting a prospect to find somewhere that’s great fun, with all the choices that are available. To help in your quest to find somewhere for your weekend vacation, here’s a list of 15 great getaways. All you need to do is decide where you want to go, and pack your bag.
Kings Canyon National Park
Only 90 minutes away from Fresno, this national park has the biggest and oldest trees in the world. Probably the most impressive of the flora are the giant Sequoias in Grant’s Grove. These massive trees don’t grow anywhere else on the planet; and you’ll be speechless when you stand next a 3000 year old Sequoia that is so large your car could fit into it comfortably. You might think you need to be a very outdoorsy type to enjoy this spot for a weekend break; but you’d be wrong. The majestic canyon offers you the best place to relax and read a book; or just sit and contemplate the world as you dangle your feet in the ice cold water of the Kings River. Try one of the lodges near Road’s End, and you’ll have one of the best weekend getaways of your life.
Carmel by the Sea
As its name implies, Carmel is on California’s beautiful central coast; and is an ideal destination when you want a couple of days away from it all. The city has been on weekend travelers’ lists of best places to go for years; and that you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with something it doesn’t have to offer. It is renowned for its high-end shopping boutiques, its stunning collection of art galleries, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Point Lobos State Reserve Park. For those who are interested in architecture or literature, there is the Frank Lloyd Wright House or the National Steinbeck Center. Another must-see site is the Carmel Mission, one of 21 historic Spanish missions for which California is known. If nothing else appeals to you, you can always get a sandwich, and go watch the sea otters at play.
Here’s another central coast location that is a delightful getaway spot for the weekend. There are so many hotels and lodgings from which to select that you are sure to find something that suits your pocketbook, although it does get busy during the summer and school holidays. One of the things most highly recommended is the West Cliff Drive, which is one of the best ways to see the beautiful Monterey Bay. The 2 mile drive is a must for seeing the breathtaking splendor of the Pacific Ocean; it’s slow, however, as the road follows the curves of the coastline. If you’re unable to get in your car, there are pedestrian and bike routes; and everything is wheel chair accessible. Then there’s the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, with dozens of rides and amusement attractions, not to mention some great places to get something to eat.
With its crystal clear waters, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places to go for that weekend away. Straddling the state boundaries between California and Nevada, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to the south or the north portions of the Lake. Regardless, however, you’re going to be staying near the largest alpine lake in the North American continent, with awe-inspiring views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range that surrounds the entire area. Tahoe North is particularly well known for skiing; but the South offers great skiing and other outdoor facilities as well. Its beaches and marinas are the perfect place for you to enjoy glorious sunrises and sunsets that you’ll be experiencing. Of course, the night life is also spectacular: just moments away, you can cross the state line into Nevada, and find some of the best casinos in the world.
There is a lot that’s been written about the City by the Bay—cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, China Town, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge. But, there are other less familiar things to do that will make your weekend stay really memorable. One, go to Japan Town. Only one of 3 in the country, Japan Town offers the Japan Cultural and Trade Center, or the Japan Center mall. The underground location has loads of specialty shops and restaurants where you can sample not only delicious cuisine, but also procure delightful arts and crafts. Next, take the time to visit the Morrison Planetarium, where you can travel to the outer ends of the Universe. Your jaw will drop when you watch the projection of over 3,800 stars on the 70 ft screen, and make you even more in awe of the cosmos.
Literally just across the bay from the City, this quaint seaside town offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere; and likely better weather. Your best way of getting there is either across the Golden Gate Bridge, for which you’ll have to pay a toll; or a boat ride from San Francisco. Once there, you should try the Sausalito ferry: cheaper than most, it’s rated as the 2nd most exciting in the world according to The Society of American Travel Writers, surpassed only by the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. There’s also a chance to see some of the world’s most expensive houseboats, docked in the harbor. You can even go on board, either during the annual Floating Home Tour, or the Floating Art Show, and get a glimpse of how the extremely wealthy live. Quiet and tasteful, Sausalito will become one of your favorites for a weekend getaway.
Located in the East Bay, Berkeley is a tremendous place to go if you want to get away for the weekend. You’ll want to take a stroll through the famous University of California campus; and see such renowned sights as the Campanile (Sather) Tower, Sather Gate, and the Free Speech Movement Café. The grounds of the campus are beautiful, featuring secluded streams where you can sit and eat your lunch. Along Telegraph Avenue, you can find a range of excellent book shops, and cafes that have a distinct European flare. If you’re interested in arts or theatre, the city also has a lot to offer, featuring more than 100 cultural arts organizations and production companies. For those with a taste for hand-crafted beer, the Berkeley Brew Trail guide provides you with a map, detailing where you’ll get award winning beers and great pub food.
If you’re looking for a weekend of great wine, Napa Valley is the place for you. Located northeast of the Bay area, it has over 400 wineries, ranging from large to small privately owned vineyards. There are several ways of wine tasting. There’s wine bar tasting: for a set fee, you go up to a bar, and sample from the list of wines being provided. Then there’s sit down tasting, which is more expensive: you’ll be seated somewhere stylish to sample the wines, and your wine compere will explain the distinctive qualities of each of the wines on offer. Walk around tasting is also popular, where you are given tours and samples by your host, as you move from one location to another. With taxi and train services readily available, you’ll not have to worry about drinking and driving, which makes the experience safe and enjoyable.
Capitol to the state of the California, Sacramento is packed with interesting things to do over a weekend. You can enjoy a free tour of the Capitol building, which has portraits of all of the past and present Governors. If you’re more interested in the Old West, then visiting historic Sutter’s Fort is ideal. Located in the center of the city, it gives the visitor first-hand experience of what it was like during the 1800’s: people (called docents) walk around in period costumes and reenact daily everyday scenes for the visitor. During these Living History events, you can talk to the local blacksmith forging horse shoes, or spend some time chatting with the owner of the general store. When you want to return to the 21st century, you have your choice of sophisticated restaurants and coffee houses, where you can relax and reflect on the day’s experiences.
This is a lovely little coastal town that is one of the favorite weekend getaways for Californians. Being roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Cambria is known for its delightful boutiques and beaches; and its proximity to the world famous Hearst Castle. Known to be the site of prehistoric Native American settlements, Cambria is located in one of only 3 natural forests of Monterey pines; and wild turkeys can often be found leisurely feeding in the town’s small recreational areas. Burton Drive provides the visitor with chances to see historic buildings and do some gallery shopping; and Moonstone Beach offers access points to observe sea life and do some walking. About 27 minutes away is San Simeon, home to Hearst Castle, where you can easily spend an afternoon marveling at the opulence and lavishness of the estate, which has the world’s largest private zoo.
Small in size, but huge in status, this area of Los Angeles is a tremendous place for a weekend getaway. Beverly Hills is home to the world famous Rodeo Drive, which regards itself as “the epicenter of luxury, fashion and lifestyle”—and it lives up to the hype. Even if you’re unable to afford anything inside, window shopping offer a great way to spend a few hours; and you might even catch sight of one of your favorite movie stars or television personalities. Parking is likely to be difficult, though; so, you might want to take one of step-on/off bus or trolley tours available. These tours show you the area’s main attractions, including mansions from the 1930’s and 40’s that were once residences to movie stars. Once you’re finished rubbing shoulders with celebrities, you can dine at any number of places offering amazingly great food at very reasonable prices.
Its real name is Santa Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California, some 22 miles (35km) south of Los Angeles. At least four boat services to the Island are available from the mainland; but if you’re really in a hurry, you can take a helicopter ride and be on the island in about 20 minutes. Having been inhabited for thousands of years, the island prides itself on its relaxing atmosphere, beautiful Pacific waters, and offers the weekend visitor a chance to unwind. For those who are looking for an adventurous couple of days, you can go ziplining, snorkeling, and kayaking. If you want to discover the local marine life without getting on a wetsuit, there are glass bottom boats or tours in partially submerged, underwater sea vessels. If none of these appeal, you can always book yourself a massage at one of Avalon’s top-notch spa facilities.
Located east of Los Angeles, here’s another place for a great weekend destination. Palm Springs is mainly known for its world class golf courses, but it offers so much more. It has the world’s largest revolving aerial tramway, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which takes you to the top of San Jacinto Peak. Once there, you can walk through some of the most beautiful desert trails you’ll ever find. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens also gives you a great way to spend the day, and learn about indigenous animals and plants. For those who want to stay indoors, the Palm Springs Art Museum offers permanent exhibitions of contemporary art and glass, in addition to a wonderful collection of Native American and Mesoamerican art. At night, you have a selection of top-notch restaurants, and can enjoy live music in many of the bars and dance halls.
You might not think Death Valley would be a great place to go for a getaway; but it is, at least during the Spring, Fall and Winter seasons. It has almost 1000 miles of paved and unpaved roads; so you’ll have to plan your itinerary carefully. What makes Death Valley, and its badlands, so spectacular are the alien-like landscapes. Badwater Basin– the lowest spot in the continental United States–looks surreal enough to lead you to believe you’re on the moon. Artist’s Drive is another outstanding dreamlike attraction, with its striated rocks and hills of multiple shades and hues that look as if someone painted them. But, perhaps the most spectacular place to see Death Valley is Dante’s View. At more than 5000 ft (1524m), this viewpoint will let you see the true grandeur of one of the most awe-inspiring and bizarre landscapes in the world.
Here’s a weekend place to go that’s likely to guarantee you good weather, and lots of things to do. San Diego is known for its temperate climate; and even on a winter’s day in January, you’ll probably get weather in its mid 60’sF (18-19C). Balboa Park, alone, can keep you busy for a couple of days. There you can visit the Botanical Building, the only conservatory in the world that is constructed entirely without glass. The Park also houses the San Diego Zoo, which regards itself as the forerunner for cage-free, natural habitats. There’s also the highly entertaining Bite San Diego, which offers you a guided, walking excursion to some of the best eating places in the city. You’ll get to try a range of different, delicious cuisines as well as being able to sample delicacies from live cooking demonstrations.