Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa
Credit: Rancho Bernardo Inn
Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa
Credit: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Elevate Your Summer With Our 8 Favorite Socal Playcations

Rediscover What Makes SoCal One of The Most Sought-After Summer Destinations

There’s no reason why a staycation can’t be as thrilling as a far-away trip. Southern California is one of the most sought-after vacation spots for all types of recreation, so make the most of our sun-soaked state with an all-out playcation. The truth is, we could all use a little more play in our lives, and boundless activities turn basic staycations into core memories. Rooftop pools, pickleball matches and theme-park adventures are what we like to call playcation hotspots. Find out where to stay and play at these seven SoCal summer destinations.


Rancho Bernardo Inn

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Credit: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Tucked away among the rolling hills of San Diego’s North County, Rancho Bernardo Inn is perfect for those who enjoy a little play with a side of relaxation. This 286-room resort (about 30 minutes from Downtown San Diego) offers plenty to do during your stay. From its championship 18-hole golf course and beautiful spa to its seasonally-driven signature restaurant AVANT, Rancho Bernardo Inn embodies all things leisure and luxury.

Start your playcation with an alfresco breakfast at Veranda (we recommend the Cast Iron Cinnamon Roll for something sweet or the Good Morning Burger for something savory) and an 80-minute Holistic Wellness Massage in one of the indoor-outdoor casitas at The Spa. Then, play the day away with daily yoga, a dip in the pool or an off-property excursion. Rancho Bernardo Inn offers everything from beach picnics and E-bike coastal tours to ride-and-dine horseback brunches! And when the sun begins to set, enjoy live music (every evening!), dive-in movies (every Friday and Saturday night in the summer at the family pool), curated culinary dinners and more! You’ll also be happy to know that each guest room has been refreshed, and ground-level studio suites now feature fire pits, so you can cozy up and enjoy the lush beauty of this San Diego retreat.

Location: Rancho Bernardo


Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

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Credit: Avenue of the Arts

Experience the essence of New York in the heart of Orange County this summer—all while staying at the luxurious Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Costa Mesa. Immerse yourself in the magic of Broadway and entertaining performances as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents captivating shows all summer long. And if you’re a shopping enthusiast, South Coast Plaza, an internationally renowned retail destination, awaits you just a few blocks away.

Spend the night in a music-inspired lakeside suite at Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel adorned with electric glamour, and start your day with a delectable breakfast at the acclaimed Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, courtesy of Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Hotel‘s Stay for Breakfast Package. Let your taste buds rejoice as you savor the decadent lobster omelet, complemented by the flavors of garlic aioli and creamy gruyere, setting the perfect tone for a blissful playcation. Ignite your imagination with a complimentary tour of the Orange County Museum of Art, immersing yourself in a world of creativity and inspiration. Whether you choose to spend your afternoon catching waves or exploring the local shopping scene, ensure you return in time for some R&R at the hotel!

Location: Costa Mesa


Mr. C Beverly Hills

Best SoCal Staycations
Credit: Mr. C Beverly Hills

Jet off to a European summer—but in Beverly Hills! Live La Dolce Vita, “the sweet life,” in the timeless elegance of this European-inspired hotel. Old-world class and contemporary LA trends meld for a polished design that is perfect for a girls’ getaway. At Mr. C’s, play starts right on property. Take the elevator to the rooftop Yacht Club pool deck. Designed to feel as if you’re sailing away, the club pool deck is finished with teak flooring, sleek banquets and an olive tree grove. Order an Aperol spritz from poolside service, take a sip and keep your worries at bay! Grab the girls for a walk to the iconic Los Angeles County Museum Art or take a drive to Rodeo Dr for a designer addition to your wardrobe—you deserve it. 

Location: Beverly Hills 


Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Best SoCal Staycations
Credit: Fairmont Grand Del Mar

In the valley of Los Peñasquitos Canyon, five miles off La Jolla’s shore, sits the timeless estate-like luxury of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. This quintessential coastal resort is a couples playground. The 18-hole golf course, designed by legendary landscaper Tom Fazio, and 37 miles of hiking trails ensure entertainment never ceases. Rejuvenate from the day’s adventure at the five-star on-site spa. Organic clays and handcrafted chocolates will set the mood for date night. San Diego’s only three Michelin-Star restaurant, Addison, rests right on property. Indulge in Chef William Bradley’s nine-course menu and global wine pairings that excite all five senses for an unparalleled culinary experience.

Location: San Diego



The Georgian

Credit: Douglas Friedman

Art-deco design and impeccable Gatsby architecture characterize The Georgian, a recently renovated and revamped hotel in Santa Monica. This timeless venue has been winning over the hearts of LA travelers since the 1930s due to its breathtaking waterfront location. Play around town and across the street at the Santa Monica Pier. Grab yourself a vacation cotton candy, enjoy the views and take off to shop the latest fashion at Third Street Promenade! As the sun starts to set, grab a table at Santa Monica’s landmark restaurant, Back on the Beach, for dinner on the sand. Walk back to the hotel to discover The Georgian’s rich cultural context at the on-site art gallery and library. Gallery 33 showcases up-and-coming artists with rotating pop-ups, and the classic-filled library serves complimentary wine and limoncello 24/7. Cheers!

Location: Santa Monica


The Cassara Carlsbad

Best SoCal Staycations
Credit: The Cassara Carlsbad

“Are we there yet?” will mostly likely be a common question as kids brim with excitement on your way to Cassara Carlsbad. This family-friendly vacation hub sits just minutes from Legoland and will undoubtedly win over every member of your crew. Two resort pools, neighboring golf courses and nearby beaches check off everyone’s vacation wish list. Make a splash at the main pool with sweeping coastal views, poolside service and shady cabanas after check-in, then spend day two at Legoland and day three on the soft sand of Terramar Beach. You’ll be awarded parent of the year for this playcation, so reward yourself too at the Ocean Pearl Day Spa while the kids and play the day away at the on-site children’s center.

Location: Carlsbad



La Quinta Resort and Club

Best SoCal Staycations
Credit Tanveer Badal

For all our desert dwellers, head to La Quinta Resort and Club for an escape from the busyness of everyday life. We know what you’re thinking, but don’t sweat about the heat. With 41 sparkling pools, it’s never been easier to cool off! La Quinta Resort is a desert oasis best known for its charming Spanish style casitas, championship-level golf courses, world-class tennis courts and newly added pickleball courts. It’s a one-stop shop for all things active! Improve your pickleball game with a lesson from certified professionals who will refine your swing and clue you in on what “the kitchen” is all about. The property is also dog-friendly, so no member of the crew gets left behind.

Location: La Quinta 

Azure Palm Hot Springs


Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club

Credit: Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club

Founded on the motto “boundless adventure,” Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club is committed to the play part of playcation. Their new members club ensures guests get all the playtime perks, and we love this family-friendly escape for locals. Head to the beach for a day of surf or paddle your way along Malibu’s beautiful coast! Make it a hot-girl summer with pickleball matches and private guided hikes, then recover like a pro at one of the three on-site pools. If the beach is more your speed, don’t be shy about requesting a beach butler to set you up for a full day of sun.

Location: Malibu

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!
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