Credit: Shaun Fenn
Credit: Shaun Fenn

7 Places to Vacay in California This Summer for Every Type of Traveler

Nothing Beats a Summer Spent in the California Sun

From sandy beaches and sprawling deserts to rolling hills and bustling cities, there is something for everyone on the Golden Coast this summer. California is as diverse as its people and as beautiful as any exotic destination, so cruise up PCH or fly down to Orange County this summer to take in everything the state has to offer. A California vacay has it all this year, whether you’re a single foodie, a hiking family man or a couple of beach-loving besties.


For the Foodies: Costa Mesa

Here’s the perfect Costa Mesa eat-cation: wake up at a luxurious hotel, grab a latte at Nook Coffee Bar, hit up the new Orange County Museum of Art and catch a show at Segerstrom before grabbing cocktails at an exquisite hotel restaurant and bar. Stay at the enchanting Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, a theater-inspired hotel just 15 minutes from the beach and only a couple miles from John Wayne Airport. The dog-friendly hotel is known for its delicious food and cocktails along with its proximity to even more incredible dining options (some favorites include Vaca and Outpost Kitchen). And when you’re not out exploring Costa Mesa’s diverse culinary scene, there are also poolside cabanas and lakeside views. Whether vacationers are in the mood for a trendy brunch spot or a cozy hole-in-the-wall, Costa Mesa has something to suit all visitors’ tastes. Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel is offering a Foodies’ Escape Package, which includes a bottle of sparkling wine and a $75 food credit per day to use at the hotel’s AAA Three-Diamond restaurant Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar. This year, Costa Mesa is rightfully getting its place in the spotlight as an ideal vacation spot in coastal Orange County. 


For the Nature Lovers: Ojai

Where to Vacay in California
Credit: Ojai

Ojai is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring hiking trails, bike paths and rock climbing adventures all within easy reach. This idyllic town is surrounded by natural beauty with opportunities for outdoor adventure all around. Take a misty morning hike to Rose Valley Falls, a waterfall down a mile-long trail just a short drive from Ojai, and it is sure to be flowing beautifully after this winter’s rainfall. Have an afternoon picnic in the 58-acre Ojai Meadows Preserve, a peaceful wetland where you can spot a variety of native flora and fauna. After a long day in the sun, unwind at Hotel Capri. This newly renovated midcentury oasis offers sublime relaxation, letting guests continue their outdoor excursions with its pristine pool, fire pits and complimentary bikes.


For the Night Lovin’ Millennials: San Diego

Where to Vacay in California
Credit: Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego boasts a vibrant nightlife scene for anyone looking to have some fun after the sun goes down this summer. After checking into Andaz San Diego, a trendy hotel with a boutique feel and a rooftop pool, explore the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s hub for after-dark dining, drinking and dancing. It’s the place to be on hot summer nights. Try rooftop restaurant Rustic Root for great views and Southern fare (Mary’s Roasted Half Chicken is out of this world). Then, venture to the outskirts of this downtown district to cheer on the Padres at Petco Park, grabbing some ballpark food and a beer before moving onto Coin-Op Game Room, an ‘80s-themed classic arcade bar, for late-night libations and new high scores. 


For the Pickleball Partners: La Quinta

Credit: Josh Dixon

The summer activity taking the country by storm is a great reason to head out to the desert with your pickleball partner. Sweat it out with some morning singles or partner up with other resort-goers for a mellow doubles game before the sun gets too high in the sky. Stay at La Quinta Resort and Club for a private suite, villa or casita experience. Warm nights in the pool under the desert stars feel worth it after spending your day on the pickleball or tennis courts or on one of the resort’s five golf courses. And there is no need to leave the grounds thanks to the 41 pools, spa and salon. Make the most of summer here—and perfect your third-shot drop while you’re at it.



For the Wine Lovers: Santa Ynez Valley


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In the rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley sits Sanford Winery—the oldest producer of pinot noir grapes in the area. Take a scenic drive through the vineyards for a 60-minute tasting experience with the winery’s friendly experts. For an intimate wine-tasting experience, Lincourt Vineyards is the place to be. This boutique winery specializes in small-batch wines, and its tasting room is set in a picturesque garden. Make a reservation and enjoy a glass of vino while learning about their sustainable farming practices. Start and end the day in the new, pristine 20-room boutique hotel—The Genevieve. It has charming rooms and offers a made-to-order breakfast menu and fine outdoor dining nightly at The Victor.



For the Whole Family: Palm Springs

Where to Vacay in California
Credit: Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

Palm Springs is known for its leisurely vibe and amazing golf courses, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as a family destination for summer fun. Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs offers tons of poolside fun and activities for the little ones. There’s so much for families to do in the area, such as taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the top of San Jacinto Peak for stunning views of the valley, or you can visit the Living Desert Zoo to catch a glimpse of the black rhinos and have an unforgettable experience feeding the giraffes. A family trip to the desert isn’t complete, however, without a trip to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, where kids and parents alike can marvel at these massive likenesses of our favorite ancient animals.



For the Beach Babes: Laguna Beach 

Where to Vacay in California
Credit: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Laguna Beach might just be the best vacation spot there is. From its art galleries and annual Sawdust Festival to its meandering trails and cliffside views, this funky beach town offers more than just your average coastal getaway. The best thing about Laguna, though, is how it features so many options for a perfect summer beach day. Main Beach allows for classic fun on the sand—volleyball, crowds and proximity to restaurants and bars—while Table Rock and Thousand Steps give secluded, romantic vibes. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel sits atop a beach-facing bluff, making it the vacation spot of our dreams. With any luck, you might be able to book the Fireside Ocean Front Guestroom to catch a stunning sunset that you’ll remember for life.


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