With summer temperatures on the rise, it’s the perfect time to cool off with a long-weekend getaway. Whether you choose to beat the heat by taking a dip in the ocean, connecting with culture indoors, or getting mellow in the mountains, there’s a refreshing retreat with your name on it in cool California.
Cool California Escape #1: Coastal City Sabbatical
Southern California has a plethora of beaches to choose from, including Venice Beach, Long Beach, Santa Monica Beach, and Malibu Lagoon. Whether you prefer floating in the Pacific Ocean or lounging in the breeze along the shoreline, California’s beaches provide respite from the heat.
Southern California beaches offer water activities like sea kayaking and surfing for those who are looking for an ocean adventure, as well as many shops, boardwalks, and eateries for those who prefer to stay on dry land. As the sun sets, feast on the freshest catch of the day at one of California’s famous seafood restaurants, such as Malibu Seafood, which Travel + Leisure magazine named as one of America’s Best Waterfront Seafood Shacks.
Where to Stay
The Malibu Beach Inn, located on the strip nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach, is the only Malibu beach boutique hotel that offers beachfront gourmet dining. This luxury hotel offers 47 well-appointed rooms and suites and private beach access, as well as on-site spa services.
The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica is a chic and elegantly modern hotel with warm earth tones to inspire calm. Located one block from Santa Monica Beach, many of the rooms offer stunning ocean views. Guests may enjoy luxurious amenities, including dinner at the Penthouse, a gourmet restaurant that spans the top floor of the Huntley Hotel. The Huntley is also convenient to Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Malibu.
Cool California Escape #2: Los Angeles Museum Crawl
Los Angeles is full of culture, with museums and galleries galore. Why not plan a long weekend of museum-hopping, staying cool in the comfort of air-conditioned buildings? Popular Los Angeles museums include the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the California Science Center, the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, and the Page Museum. The latter is located at the La Brea Tar Pits, one of the world’s most famous fossil zones, boasting the largest and most diverse collection of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world.
Tip: Look for a package that includes a hotel stay and museum tickets, like the Getty Museum Package offered by the Hi View Inn and Suites in Manhattan Beach.
Where to Stay
Hi View Inn and Suites, Manhattan Beach, California is just minutes from the beach, as well as the boats that can take you to Catalina Island. Clean and comfortable, the Hi View Inn and Suites is close to the shuttle for LAX and conveniently located near Long Beach Airport. Amenities include free premium cable, microwaves, refrigerators, and high speed Internet access.
Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California offers guests historic grandeur and modern luxury within the doors of its European-style hotel in downtown Los Angeles with 683 rooms and suites to choose from. Cool off after a day of museum-hopping in the Roman-style indoor swimming pool or enjoy dinner and drinks in one of the hotel’s fine restaurants.
Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza is a four-diamond, award-winning hotel that is known for the luxurious services offered to its guests. The Omni Los Angeles Hotel, located near many of Los Angeles’ museums, is an inspired mix of old world luxury and modern convenience. Indulge at the on-site spa, dine at the acclaimed Noe Restaurant, and cool off with an evening dip in the outdoor heated pool.
Cool California Escape #3: Retreat to the Mountains
California’s mountains are naturally cooler because of their elevation and the increase in shade from the abundance of trees. The state boasts several parks and outdoor recreational areas to help you keep your cool during the dog days of summer.
Big Bear Lake (San Bernardino County)
Big Bear Lake is a popular recreational spot in the San Bernardino Mountains. The road to get there is very scenic and is known as the Rim of the World Highway. Rent a cabin for the weekend and enjoy views of the seven-mile-wide Big Bear Lake from your balcony. Many cabins come with games, DVD rentals, cable or satellite TV and other amenities to keep you entertained while indoors. Of course, Big Bear Lake offers many outdoor activities as well, including hiking, biking, fishing (bluegill, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and trout), boating, and picnicking. (Swimming is not allowed.) Stop by the Big Bear Lake Visitors Center (or call 800-424-4232) to help plan your stay in this California mountain retreat.
Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
Both of these national parks offer lodges and cabins for your stay in one of California’s old growth forests. Take a leisurely stroll in the shade of giant sequoias, learn about the area’s natural history, and enjoy time with family or friends in nature.
Leisure and adventure abound in California’s Sierra Mountains, especially on Mammoth Mountain. At just over 11,000 feet, the resort town of Mammoth Mountain offers relief from the heat at lower elevation. Visitors enjoy many outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Nearby Sierra Star Golf Course is the highest golf course in California—at 8,000 feet above sea level. The panoramic views of 400 miles of high-altitude peaks as seen from the gondola are breathtaking.
Mammoth Mountain Village has no shortage of places to stay, places to eat, and shops to explore. Mammoth Mountain Inn offers studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and luxury two-bedroom condos. Juniper Springs Resort offers one- and two-bedroom condos, as well as one-, two-, and three-bedroom townhomes. Other popular options include Tamarack Lodge and the Village Lodge.
What’s your favorite place to escape the summer heat? Let us know where you go to cool down by adding a comment below.