Even though the long summer holidays of your childhood have been replaced with endless days and nights at the office, you can still carve out a little time to enjoy that much-deserved break this year. Turn that long weekend into the summer getaway you’ve been daydreaming about. Without the need of a passport, you have quick access to some of the greatest adventures this side of the earth has to offer. Just a few short hours outside of Orange County is a world of activities and adventures waiting to be explored. From close encounters with wild animals to ocean kayaking to wine tasting, here are five of the best weekend getaways near Orange County.
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
1260 Channel Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Live in the lap of luxury, even if it’s only for a few days. The Biltmore is a Four Seasons Resort in the scenic coastal city of Santa Barbara. This stunningly majestic resort channels Spanish colonial influence with winding pathways through lush green gardens. It’s the perfect base camp to your getaway in this city dubbed the “American Riviera.” Santa Barbara offers a different take on the sun and surf that even Orange County residents will appreciate. Spend your days shopping and dining along the city’s famous State Street. This gorgeous retreat for the stars is situated between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, giving visitors access to a wide variety of ocean and mountain sports, sightseeing and wine tasting.
Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages
4500 Ocean Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
A single weekend isn’t long enough to see and do everything San Diego has to offer. You can escape to the museums and galleries of Balboa Park, experience a close encounter with a giraffe at the Wild Animal Park or dance the night away in the historic Gaslamp District. Dream up the kind of weekend getaway you’re pining for and this historic and cultural Southern California destination will deliver.
Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa
27984 Highway 189
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
Fresh air is just what the doctor ordered to bring your stress level down this summer. Take a retreat in a beautiful mountain community surrounding Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains. This picturesque getaway offers great hiking and biking adventures. If you need a little retail therapy far from the crowds of South Coast Plaza, check out the Lake Arrowhead Village Shops in the downtown area.
The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island
124 Whittley Ave.
Catalina Island, CA 90704
If your idea of a great getaway involves water sports and off-roading in the same weekend, consider a scenic boat ride to Catalina Island just off the coast of Orange County. Stay at the Avalon Hotel in the heart of the island’s only incorporated city and spend your days taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful California treasure. Enjoy a round of golf, get a bird’s eye view of the island from a helicopter, kayak with the sea lions or take a Jeep tour of the rugged west end of the island. In the evenings, treat yourself to an elegant seaside dinner and then retreat to one of the island’s premier hotels. The Avalon offers rooms with breathtaking views of the ocean and Avalon harbor.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
34843 Rancho California Road
Temecula, CA 92591
Who needs to drive all the way to Napa to indulge in a wine tasting tour? Some of California’s finest wineries can be found right here in Southern California in the rolling vineyards of Temecula Valley. Thornton Winery, Callaway and Van Roekel all call this wine country home. You can rent a limo with a handful of your closest friends and taste test flights of wine all along Rancho California Road. Make it a romantic escape with your significant other and stay in one of the luxury villas or suites of the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Enjoy the mesmerizing sunsets across the vineyard-lined valley as you stroll through the resort’s terraced rose gardens and palm tree-laden grounds.
Truc Dever is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.