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After a year of staycations and just staying-home, it’s time to hit the refresh button on your travel plans. While staying close to home is still the name of the travel game, lucky for us there are hidden gems all around California waiting to be discovered. From rustic mountain towns to quaint villages reminiscent of Europe, there’s a Golden State adventure for whatever kind of getaway your family craves. Scroll on for some inspiration for your next family vacation off the beaten path.

Wrightwood

Looking for big time mountain fun without the scary drive? The mountain town of Wrightwood is approximately two hours from San Diego and offers families a back-to-nature getaway without the white-knuckle trip to get there.

In winter, spend the day with your little shredders exploring the three separate mountains of Mountain High Ski Resort. When the snow melts, enjoy a hearty diner-style breakfast in town before hiking the great outdoors. Check out the picturesque Blue Ridge Trail for a four-mile round trip hike. Or, for a more advanced adventure, seasoned hiking families can enjoy stunning views and a former mine to explore on the Big Horn Mine trail. When it's time to settle in, cozy up at Grand Pines Cabin where families can stay in a thoughtfully renovated family suite with fireplace, separate bunk-bed room and vintage arcade game.

photo: Tanveer Badal

San Luis Obispo

With tree-lined streets, a shop-local attitude and darling downtown, San Luis Obispo (SLO, as the locals call it), offers families a getaway that's equal parts outdoor adventure and downtown fun. Spend the day hiking one of the many family-friendly trails, like the Lemon Grove Loop on Cerro San Luis, before noshing on homemade pita bread and Mediterranean eats at local-favorite Petra.

Stay in the heart of downtown at the gorgeous new Hotel San Luis Obispo. Families will love the modern, relaxed luxury of this hotel gem. Its ideal location means families can explore this walkable city by foot and pit stop back in the room for a nap or splash in the modern pool. While the kiddos take five, parents can too. Enjoying luxurious details like oversized soaking tubs, rosemary shortbread cookies from local cafe Linnaeas and complimentary sparkling water refill stations throughout the hotel. For dinner, look no further than the hotel's onsite restaurant, Piadina. A mouthwatering destination in itself, Piadina puts a spotlight on local ingredients inspired by Italy. Choose a spot on the garden patio and savor dishes such as Grilled King Salmon and artisan pizzas for the kids.

Los Alamos

Small town charm with great eats and nearby family-friendly wine tasting? Sign us up! The historic tiny seven-block town of Los Alamos mixes an Old West attitude with a modern new spin. Located just off the 101 freeway north of Santa Barbara, Los Alamos is centered in the region's coveted wine country.

Spend the day strolling the quaint downtown shops, a mix of modern bohemian and antiques, and sampling the local flavor. Grab lunch at hidden gem Bob's Well Bread for freshly-baked, small batch artisan bread and an outdoor picnic-style lunch. Or, head over to Full of Life Flatbread who has been serving up locally-sourced (and kid-approved) wood-fired pizza since 2003.

Solvang

For "A little slice of Denmark in California," head to the European-style village of Solvang. Soak in the old-world atmosphere with windmills, Danish bakeries and a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. Stay at boutique hotel The Landsby for Scandinavian aesthetic, modern decor and a prime location. For dinner, walk next-door to the patio of Peasant's Feast, where kids and grown-ups alike will love the mouthwatering Atterdag Smash Burger.

Read our guide on what to do in Solvang with kids here.

photo: Ren Fuller

Hope Valley

Looking for a less crowded option to Lake Tahoe? Check out Hope Valley outside of South Lake Tahoe. From Nordic skiing and snowshoeing to mountain biking and wildflower mountain trails, this year-round outdoor paradise offers plenty to do while enjoying the local landscape.

While you're there, make Wylder Hope Valley your exploration home-base. Wylder Hope Valley has been welcoming guests since 1926 and offers back-to-nature accommodations with a touch of modern amenities. Families can choose to stay in a variety of unique cabins, yurts or tent camp under the starry skies. Stop by Sorensen's Cafe for home-style meals and complimentary hot cocoa and coffee for Wylder guests.

La Quinta

Though Palm Springs often comes to mind for sun-loving vacationers, an upscale modern desert getaway also awaits in nearby La Quinta. With resort-style hotels, like the coveted La Quinta Resort & Spa, La Quinta offers visitors a relaxing vacation with first-class amenities and less crowds. Whether you spend your days exploring the area's ample hiking tails, teaching your kids to golf or savoring local flavor in beautiful Old Town La Quinta, you'll enjoy the picturesque views of palm trees, mountain vistas and sun-soaked days splashing in the pool.

Sacramento

While often overlooked as a vacation destination, California's capital city of Sacramento offers a wonderful opportunity for families to learn about the Golden State through history museums, the State Capitol Building and farm-to-fork eats. Planes, trains and lions, oh my! Kids will have a blast exploring the recently re-opened California State Railroad Museum, Aerospace Museum and Sacramento Zoo

With a history in agriculture, it's no wonder that Sacramento is touted as one of the great farm-to-fork cities. Parents and kids alike will love dining at local favorites like Selland's Market Cafe and Mikuni Sushi. For a home-base with a view of the California State Capital, book a room at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento with a prime location, outdoor heated pool and views of the majestic Capital dome.

Two Harbors

Though Avalon is Catalina Island's most popular destination, an island adventure also awaits on the island's rustic west end at Two Harbors. Hop aboard the Catalina Express and enjoy beautiful Pacific views as you cruise from San Pedro to Two Harbors. The trip takes under two hours and once you're there, outdoor activities are the name of the game.

Enjoy activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing or spend a memorable day snorkeling the clear blue waters. Two Harbors also offers a unique opportunity for a family camping trip––island style! Bring your tent and gear on the ferry or rent a tent cabin at Two Harbors Campground. No need to haul over all your supplies, you can pre-order from the Two Harbors General Store. They'll deliver food, drinks and other items straight to your campsite for a $5.00 fee.

––Kerry Cushman

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Three cheers for spring break! While family vacations are still looking a little different right now, we’re lucky to live in paradise with a ton to explore right outside our front door. From snow-covered adventures to fun-in-the-sun, there’s plenty of ways to safely spring break around SoCal. Check out these top trips that are ideal for a socially-distanced getaway. Hip hip hooray!

photo: Welk Resorts

Underwater Adventure at Welk Resorts San Diego

A (virtual!) underwater adventure awaits in the foothills of Escondido at Welk Resorts San Diego. Through their new INSPIRED For You activities program, guests can book a 30-minute virtual adventure in the pool and experience the City of Atlantis, the Great Barrier Reef or an exhilarating skydiving experience without leaving the resort. Book a villa with room for the whole family to stretch out while enjoying amenities like fireplaces, kitchens, private patios and large soaking tubs. 

Online: welkresorts.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Coastal Glamping at El Capitan Canyon

Just north of Santa Barbara is hidden glamping gem, El Capitan Canyon. Here, yurts, safari tents and cabins to accommodate all family sizes are peacefully situated in nature for the ultimate retreat. On-site, there's plenty of contactless things to do (or not!). A short hike to the resort's Llama Farm and you'll mingle with llamas, baby sheep and goats while taking in stunning ocean views. Or, take the trail down to El Capitan State Beach for sandy toes and wave jumping. When you've worked up an appetite, the resort's Canyon Market has fantastic food options, from kid-approved pizza to tri-tip kits with all the fixings (s'mores included!). Order online and have dinner delivered straight to your own private cabin paradise.

Online: elcapitancanyon.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Desert Adventures in Palm Springs

With ample al fresco restaurant patios, hiking trails and Airbnbs with private pools, the greater Palm Springs area is a terrific option for a pandemic-era spring vacation. For contactless things-to-do, check out Escape Room Palm Springs, where families work together in their own private room to uncover riddles and solve a themed mystery, like the popular Bank Heist and Titanic games. The Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert also has new contactless guidelines for guest safety, including online timed reservations. While you're there, make sure to experience the new Australian Adventures exhibit where you'll get up-close to friendly wallabies.

Online: visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

photo: Hotel Cerro

Central Coast Getaway at Hotel Cerro

The charming city of San Luis Obispo is the perfect home-base to explore California's beautiful Central Coast. The surrounding landscape offers ample opportunities for contactless things to do, like hiking one of the many mountain trails, exploring nearby beaches or toasting the area's famous (family-friendly) wine region. Stay at the beautiful new Hotel Cerro, in the heart of downtown SLO, where small-town vibes mix with relaxed, modern luxury. After a day exploring the beautiful outdoors, relax by the hotel's heated rooftop pool with picturesque vistas of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy artisan pour-over coffee in guest rooms and private balconies overlooking the idyllic tree-lined streets of downtown.

Online: hotelcerro.com

photo: Terranea Resort

Starry Nights at Terranea Resort

Enjoy picturesque ocean views during the day and cozy nights around the fireplace with a spring vacation to Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Select villas have private outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces and outdoor fire pits, which means you won't need to leave the stunning property to relax in paradise. S'mores kits, stargazing kits and family activity kits will keep the whole family happily entertained. Check out their Terranea Promise for enhanced standards of care and cleanliness.

Online: terranea.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

The Mountains Are Calling in Big Bear

Escape to the mountains of Big Bear for a spring vacation that hits the refresh button with some big-time winter fun. Get into nature, while avoiding crowds at popular attractions, by renting snow-shoes and hitting one of the many (free!) mountain trails. Try Towne Trail on the South Shore for picturesque views of Big Bear Lake and an easy 2.5 mile loop. When it's time to settle in for PJ's and hot cocoa, choose one of the many AirBnb options or book a rustic cabin with kitchen and room for everyone at Grey Squirrel. Or, opt for a tiny cabin surrounded by nature at Getaway in nearby Running Springs with contactless check-in, deep cleaning between guests and private firepits.

Online: bigbear.com

photo: The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

Luxury Dude Ranch at The Alisal

Take a drive through the quirky Danish-style village of Solvang before you settle into a luxury family dude ranch experience at The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Here, your family will stay in a private cottage with wood-burning fireplace and western-chic flair. Ample opportunities for family fun, while maintaining social distancing, can be found on-site. Enjoy activities such as kayaking, fishing, barnyard animal visits and over 50 miles of beautiful horseback riding trails.

Good to know: The resort has implemented UV-C disinfection technology to ensure the highest level of safety and cleanliness in guest room spaces.

Online: alisal.com

––Kerry Cushman

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If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling by RV for a family vacation, now is the perfect time to give it a try. RV rental and RV travel has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, and for good reason. While traditional travel is on pause, traveling in a recreational vehicle means adventuring while staying safe in your own home-base. From mountain views to ocean vistas, there are many stunning SoCal RV stops for your crew to explore. Ready to hit the road? Check out these cool RV parks and RV resorts for your next big adventure.

photo: Costa Vista

Costa Vista RV Resort in San Diego

Calling all glampers! You don't have to travel far to experience an epic RV getaway. San Diego newcomer Costa Vista is turning RV life into an upscale resort-style experience. Opening April 2021, on-site amenities at this modern RV destination include a juice and breakfast bar, on-site cantina, fitness center, pool with cabanas and splash pad and access to the Sweetwater Marsh bike and walking path. No RV? No problem. Costa Vista also has modern, fully-furnished vacation rentals.

Online: sunrvresorts.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Cava Robles in Paso Robles

Say cheers to a wine country getaway that's not only stunningly beautiful, but family-friendly! With more than 200 local wineries, Paso Robles is a picturesque gem on California's Central Coast, and Cava Robles RV Resort is at the center of it all. With vineyard vibes, modern pools and on-site restaurant, this upscale RV resort is a great spot to park your home-on-wheels while you soak it all in.

Parents will love exploring nearby wineries such Eberle Winery and Vina Robles, while kids will love getting their giggles out at the expansive playground in Downtown City Park. After exploring the charming downtown square, snag a seat on Thomas Hill Organics' patio or order to-go and experience the local flavor of this coveted farm-to-table restaurant.

Online: sunrvresorts.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Ocean Mesa in Goleta

Take a trip to the American Riviera with a vacation to Santa Barbara's spectacular coast. With stunning views and glamping amenities, Ocean Mesa RV Resort is a great choice to explore this coastal region. Get into the outdoors on one of the nearby hiking trails or head to downtown Santa Barbara for a guided family kayak session with Santa Barbara Adventure Company. Kids will love looking for sea stars and seals while you take in the stunning scenery.

Ocean Mesa guests are also invited to enjoy amenities from adjacent sister property, El Capitan Canyon. RV life here includes seasonal concerts, outdoor movies, heated pool, playground and an on-site spa. Forget something? Head to the resort's market and grab a bottle of wine, s'mores supplies or goodies from local purveyors.

Online: oceanmesa.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Indian Wells RV Resort in Greater Palm Springs

Whether you're headed to the desert for some fun in the sun or to hit nearby Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Wells RV Resort is well-situated for a sunny desert getaway. Grab a famous date shake at nearby Shields Date Garden or enjoy patio dining on El Paseo before heading to the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert. Rated in the top 1% of U.S. attractions by Trip Advisor, the Living Desert Zoo is home to giraffes, an Australian Adventure exhibit where you can intermingle with wallabies, cheetahs, big horn sheep and a popular G-scale model train exhibit with 3,300 feet of track. After a day at the zoo, splash at the resort's heated pool while epic sunsets color the desert sky.

Inside scoop: Book a site on Mountain Vista (pictured) for new concrete pads and palm trees!

Online: sunrvresorts.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

Pineknot Campground in Big Bear

Ready to hit the mountain trails of Big Bear? Pineknot Campground, open this year from Apr. 23-Oct. 30, 2021, is the perfect spot to explore this destination. Whether you've come to hike, bike, or just soak up the mountain views, Big Bear is an outdoor lover's paradise.

Additionally, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a must-visit for animal-loving families. The zoo has been saving wildlife since 1959 and has a beautiful new facility in Moonridge. Families will love getting up-close to well-cared-for animals including grizzly bears, bobcats, snow leopards, bald eagles, foxes and mountain lions. While 90% of the animals treated by Big Bear Alpine Zoo get re-released to their native environments, animals who are too injured or unable to care for themselves in the wild can be seen in the new facility.

After you've worked up an appetite, make sure to check out Visit Big Bear's list of open places for takeout!

Online: recreation.gov

photo: Kerry Cushman

Sand Hollow State Park

Buckle up those seat belts because this epic road trip destination is worth the drive. A 7-hour trip from San Diego brings you to Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane, Utah. Just 45-minutes from majestic Zion National Park, this breathtaking state park is comprised of red sandstone rock and warm, blue swimming holes. Bring your tent or RV and boat, fish, and dive from the popular rock formations at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Ready to go off-road? Ride the dunes of Sand Mountain in an off-highway vehicle before you retire to your RV site for an epic Utah sunset over the unworldly red rocks.

Online: stateparks.utah.gov

photo: Kerry Cushman

Port San Luis in Avila Beach

Hello beachfront! Can't get much closer to the ocean without a boat at Port San Luis RV Camping in Avila Beach. This beautiful spot on California's Central Coast is just past Avila Beach and steps from the sand. Here, you'll enjoy endless ocean views, a pier with restaurant and seafood market, charter fishing and a dog beach where Fido can frolic freely. The kids will love the gentle waves and a front row view to sea lions basking in the sun. All RV Camping is currently by online reservation only.

Online: portsanluis.com

photo: Kerry Cushman

China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore

Looking for first tracks with your little shredders? China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore is one of a few ski resorts in California that offers overnight RV parking. Wake up mountainside for an epic day on the slopes and settle back into your RV for après-ski naps and snacks. Rates are $49 for non-holidays and all RV's must have a reservation. 

Online: skichinapeak.com

––Kerry Cushman

featured image via Kerry Cushman

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Order Up! Local Healthy Family Meals To-Go

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Do your New Year’s resolutions include eating more healthy family dinners? After a season of indulging in endless quarantine snacking and cookie and banana bread baking, it’s time to kick off 2021 with some healthy takeout from local restaurants. Healthy family meals are just a call or click away. Read on for how to make healthy eating at home a snap!

photo: Flower Child

Flower Child

Eat the rainbow and capture that sunshine state-of-mind with a to-go order from Flower Child in Del Mar. This delicious and veggie-centric menu includes tasty favorites like the Glow Bowl with sweet potato noodle, Vegan Massaman Curry, Turkey Sausage & Zucchini Lasagna and fresh salads with organic ingredients. Have a hungry crew to feed? Opt for their Family Pack Bundle with family-sized protein, choice of 2 sides and a large chopped vegetable salad. Keto, gluten-free, vegetarian and a healthy kids' menu are all available.

Good to know: Download the Flower Child app and make ordering quick and easy for stress-free dinnertime.

Online: iamaflowerchild.com

Juice Alchemy

Get your juice bar fix and make the kids happy with a pick-up order from Juice Alchemy. This family-owned business serves up juices, smoothies and Acai Bowls along with feel-good fare like the fully-loaded Power Toast and Alchemy Club Sandwich. Online ordering and pick-up is available until 2 p.m.

Online: juice-alchemy.square.site

The Henry

Trade your regular Taco Tuesday for 25% off Takeout Tuesday at The Henry in Coronado (use code Tuesday25). Opt for entrees like the Harvest Bowl with tasty ingredients like melted sweet potato, caramelized cauliflower, Marcona almond pesto and cashew harissa. Or feed the whole family with The Henry's Rotisserie Chicken Family Meal for $29 (takeout only), which includes a large Caesar salad and roasted winter vegetables.

Online: thehenryrestaurant.com

Our Green Affair

Newly opened Our Green Affair in Pacific Beach is putting a fun spin on salads, loaded sweet potatoes and healthy bowls. Check out the Taco 'Bout Us with roasted salmon, UniCorn with soy chorizo and veggies or the Thai Me Up salad with roasted chicken, Thai-inspired toppings and a spicy cashew dressing. Have a picky eater in your crew? No problem, Our Green Affair also offers a build-your-own option. Online ordering and pick-up is available.

Online: ourgreenaffair.com

Tahini Street Food

Authentic Middle-Eastern street food is served up fresh and tasty at Tahini. Say good-bye to bland cheese sticks and introduce your future foodie to fresh-made Halloumi Cheese stix and Tahini's coveted fresh pita bread, baked daily without preservatives. Order online and choose falafel, chicken or steak shawarma on pita, bowl or salad. Delivery available via UberEats, GrubHub and others.

Good to know: You can also feel good about their commitment to the environment. Tahini uses eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging for to-go orders.

Online: tahinistreetfood.com

photo: Sun Basket

Sun Basket

Say adios to grocery shopping and menu planning and let Sun Basket do the heavy lifting for dinnertime! Created by chefs and filled with healthy, organic ingredients, dinner will be ready to go in 6 minutes or less with their Fresh & Ready meals. A stress-saver for busy weeknights, these meals feature a complete dinner that is pre-cooked and packaged with no additional prep required.

Have a little more time on the weekends? Get the kids in on the dinnertime action with their Classic Meal Kits, which include pre-measured ingredients for meals ready in 15-40 minutes. Sun Basket meals can be tailored to your family's nutrition needs, including vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and Quick & Easy, perfect for busy parents.

Order online: sunbasket.com 

The Greenspot Salad Company

Mealtime is served up healthy and fast from Greenspot Salad Company with three locations around San Diego. Choose between superfood salads, wraps, flatbreads and bowls. The kids' menu includes healthy options like the Turkey Cheese Roll-Up on a whole-wheat tortilla with kids' sized salad or veggie dippers. Online ordering, delivery, takeout and curbside pick-up options make healthy family meals a breeze.

Online: greenspotsalad.com

Plumeria Vegetarian

Give your usual Thai takeout a vegetarian (or vegan!) spin at Plumeria Vegetarian in University Heights. Your most carnivorous family members won't miss the meat with satisfying flavors in Thai favorites like Green Curry, Pad Thai and mock "chicken" satay. Entrees are available with tofu, vegetables or vegan duck, vegan chicken or vegan beef. Plumeria Vegetarian is MSG-free and uses organic, non-GMO and gluten free tofu locally produced by San Diego Soy Company.

Online: myplumeria.com

photo: Ranch 45

Ranch 45

When choosing meat as part of your family's healthy lifestyle, opt for high-quality and humanely raised. For this farm-to-fork philosophy, look no further than local purveyor Ranch 45 in Solana Beach. Taking care to know the source of their foods, Ranch 45 sells butcher boxes of Brandt Beef as well as mouthwatering meals prepared in their restaurant. Breakfast and lunch is served daily until 4 p.m. and dinner is available Thurs.-Sat. Order online for pick-up or delivery via Door Dash.

Online: ranch45.com

––Kerry Cushman

featured image via iStock

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Into the Woods! 9 Nearby Cozy Airbnb Cabins

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Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, doesn’t it sound grand to unplug from the stresses of everyday life and snuggle up with a hot cocoa and board games at a cabin in the woods? A cabin rental is the perfect place to capture the peacefulness of winter. So pack those comfy sweaters and revel in the delight of simple pleasures––from chilly days exploring nature to unplugged evenings with big family fun. Check out these nearby Airbnb cabins in Big Bear, Idyllwild, Lake Arrowhead, Ojai and Julian that are perfect for a cozy cabin getaway this winter.

Modern A-Frame—Big Bear Lake, CA

With a mix of mid-century modern and Scandinavian style, this cozy A-frame on the north side of Big Bear Lake is the perfect retreat to the mountains. Soak up the sunshine from the large deck or watch the snow fall while you snuggle up beside the wood-burning stove. Whether you head out for a hike in the nearby National Forest or just enjoy the mountain views from the loft reading nook, this peaceful cabin will feel worlds away from the bustle of city life.

Sleeps: 5 guests 
Cost: $186/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/20875230

Golden State Cabin—Big Bear Lake, CA

Escape to the mountains of Big Bear to ski Snow Summit or just soak in a little winter SoCal-style. Either way, the Golden State Cabin is ideal for a cozy winter family getaway. Located minutes from the lake, slopes and village, this renovated cabin has modern decor, fireplace and a hot tub to enjoy après-ski or snowboard. Two comfortable bedrooms make it perfect for families with a king-sized bed and plush robes in the loft and bunk beds for the kiddos in the second bedroom. 

Sleeps: 4 guests 
Cost: $250/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/36889548

Little Bear Cabin—Lake Arrowhead, CA

There's room enough to bring your whole quaranteam to this cozy mountain retreat in Lake Arrowhead. With 3 bedrooms, a large kitchen and beautiful mountain views, the Little Bear Cabin has room for 10 guests. The multi-level floorplan lets the kids have playtime in the downstairs living room while the adults cozy around the fireplace in the living room upstairs.

Sleeps: 10 guests 
Cost: $293/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/41213446

Whiskey Creek Cabin—Idyllwild, CA

Relax beneath the tall pines and let the kids run wild at the Whiskey Creek Cabin in Idyllwild. This multi-level Airbnb is surrounded by nature and a welcome respite from city life. Cozy nights can be spent around the fire stargazing at the night sky or on the upper deck with a glass of wine while the kids play on the spacious property. Don't forget Fido on this family getaway, The Whisky Creek Cabin is dog-friendly.

Sleeps: 4 guests 
Cost: $298/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/33246578

The Far Out A-Frame Cabin—Idyllwild, CA

Sleeping loft for the kids? Check. Deck with hot tub surrounded by nature? Check. Retreat to this cozy A-Frame cabin in the San Jacinto mountains that checks all the boxes for a relaxing family getaway. Situated on an acre of land, this mountain cabin has plenty of nature to explore yet is only one mile from the restaurants and shops in the center of town.

Sleeps: 4 guests 
Cost: $290/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/43170251

The Red Door Cabin—Idyllwild-Pine Cone, CA

Enjoy modern touches with the serenity of nature at The Red Door cabin in the wooded community of Pine Cove. Just minutes from the village of Idyllwild, this 3-bedroom cabin is at an elevation of 6,000-feet with 4-acres of forest to discover. After a chilly winter day exploring with the kiddos, soak into the modern free-standing tub in the master bathroom or the sunken jacuzzi on the deck.

Sleeps: 8 guests 
Cost: $345/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/32696759

Bohemian Cabin—Topanga, CA

Hidden from the hustle of the city, this bohemian cabin in the Santa Monica Mountains will feel like it's worlds away from the stresses of city life. Spend quiet evenings in the outdoor cedar soaking tub, read a book with the kids in the hammock or watch for deer that frequent the property. With plush furnishings and luxurious details, this bohemian cabin will feel like a magical retreat.

Sleeps: 4 guests 
Cost: $585/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/42118047

Caravan Outpost Tiny House—Ojai, CA

Ready for a cozy cabin, but urban dwelling is much more your thing? Check out this comfy bohemian tiny house at Caravan Outpost in Ojai. This unique property has 10 Airstreams and one tiny house available for rent surrounded by lush botanical gardens and stylish chill spaces. Families will love the plentiful assortment of games available and nighttime s'mores around the campfire.

Sleeps: 5 guests 
Cost: $269/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/39053999

Deerwalk Retreat—Julian, CA

Located in the back-country of San Diego, Deerwalk Retreat offers a peaceful getaway for the whole family. With two bedrooms, a cozy fireplace and ample access to nature, guests will feel right at home. While this Julian cabin is conveniently close to town, it's surrounded by nature with deer and wildlife abound. 

Sleeps: 4 guests 
Cost: $189/night
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/22909893

––Kerry Cushman

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The school year and travel plans certainly took a left turn in 2020. On the bright side, hotels (and parents) are getting creative on how to safely mix in a little vacation time with the newfound freedom that comes with working from home and remote school. Take virtual learning to paradise with an education-vacation (aka: an edu-cation!) at one of these California hotels offering remote work and school promotions that will be a welcome refresh from your homeschooling routine. Read on for the details!

photo: Terranea Resort

Terranea

Relax into resort life while you leave the preschool activity planning to Terranea. Along with their stunning panoramic ocean views, Terranea is offering locals a 25% discount and fun activities for kids at their picturesque Rancho Palos Verdes resort. While the Kids' Club is temporarily closed, Terranea has created contactless DIY activity kits for guests including Stargazing Kits, Coastal Kite Flying, Kids' Club Activity Boxes and S'mores Kits. When the work and school day is done, enjoy a dinner and a movie night with in-room dining and complimentary movies. Book one of Terranea's spacious Villas and Casitas for living room, full kitchen and up to three bedrooms. 

Details: Use promotion code LALOVE for 25% off their best available rate through December 30, 2020.

Online: terranea.com

photo: San Diego Mission Bay Resort

San Diego Mission Bay Resort

After a multi-million dollar luxury renovation, parents and students will love relaxing poolside (and bayside!) at the gorgeous new San Diego Mission Bay Resort. The hotel's Recess at the Pool package includes complimentary WiFi for Zoom classes, a $25 daily food and beverage credit, two complimentary bike rentals to explore the Mission Bay waterfront and a complimentary S'mores Kit for the perfect after-school treat. 

Details: Rates begin at $215 per night, use promotion code RECESS.

Online: missionbayresort.com

photo: Courtesy of The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Balancing daily work and life tasks while overseeing remote schooling can be a challenge for even the most organized parent. La Jolla's The Lodge at Torrey Pines is now offering a Learn at the Lodge: Arts & Crafts Kids package that will take stress off parents and caregivers while the kids have a blast. The customizable child care program allows parents to schedule a qualified childcare professional to be an Activity Guide, helping children with remote learning, completing schoolwork or organizing outdoor games and art projects. Booked in 4 or 8 hour blocks, the interactive program includes lunch, snacks, a private study space and activities such as painting, seasonal decorating and guided botanical walks.

Details: Pricing for the first child 4-hour program is $120 and 8-hour program is $240. Additional children are $30 with a maximum of 5 children per group. Get the full details here.

Online: lodgetorreypines.com

photo: The Portofino Hotel & Marina

The Portofino Hotel & Marina

Add some seaside marina views to your daily grind with a stay at The Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, California. The resort's new Seaside Students program offers unique activities and incentives for your little learners. Start the school day with kids' to-go breakfasts from the hotel's onsite restaurant, BALEENkitchen, and then get to work utilizing the in-room desks.

Recess for Seaside Students includes two water activities at the Dockside Adventure center or grab complimentary bikes for a self-guided field trip that includes kids' snack packs and a list of educational spots. The Portofino Hotel is giving students an extra incentive to ace their school work. When students earn a perfect score on three or more tests, they can present their results to the front desk for a sweet treat!

Details: The Seaside Students package starts at $359 and is valid through December 30, 2020. Use code STUDENT when booking.

Online: hotelportofino.com

photo: Paradise Point

Paradise Point

Is there anything better than sand between your toes in-between classes? Take virtual learning to paradise while you remote school and work from San Diego's island resort, Paradise Point. With their Work from Paradise promotion, guests receive up to 20% off room rates, complimentary resort fee and parking plus a $15 daily resort credit.

School time will feel like island time while you take in those gorgeous bay views, resort-style pools and waterfront dining. Opt for a Bungalow Room with enough space for the whole family to get their work done before it's time to play on the bay.

Details: Promotion details can be found here.

Online: paradisepoint.com

photo: Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort

Take remote learning to the beach with an education-vacation at Dana Point's Monarch Beach Resort. The AAA Five-Diamond luxury resort is offering an 'Edu-Cations' package which includes a dedicated study room with high-speed internet, stand-up desk, seating area, printer/scanner, restroom and private terrace.

The program also offers your little learners one hour of online on-demand K-12 homework help from Tutor.com, a welcome tech gift and a $100 daily resort credit. When the school day ends, the fun begins with complimentary activities like outdoor family fitness classes, sparkling pools and private beach club access. 

Online: monarchbeachresort.com

photo: Bob McClenahan

Carneros Resort & Spa

Get out of the house and into Wine Country with a Resort Learning package at Carneros Resort & Spa in Napa, California. With 28 acres of rolling vineyards, remote work and school life here comes with a picturesque backdrop and luxurious details. Families will love free of charge activities such as Kids P.E. with exercise and games, Mommy Meditation and Recess at Otto’s Pool, a zero-edge wading pool with toys and floaties for little swimmers.

Need to get some work done while the kids play? Opt for their Work from Wine Country package where complimentary add-ons to the resort’s Harvest Cottage include a work-friendly office space with a desk, monitor, keyboard and office supplies.

Details: Find the details of their Resort Learning package here.

Online: carnerosresort.com

––Kerry Cushman

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Fall is here and so are the season’s best goodies. Whether you’re all about pumpkin spice or you prefer cinnamon and apple everything, there’s a San Diego sweet spot serving up delicious desserts for every kind of sweet tooth. Grab the kiddos and your favorite cozy sweater and read on for the best places to get fall-inspired sweets and treats!

photo: Haley Hill

Stella Jean's Ice Cream

A new season means new flavors at Stella Jean's Ice Cream. This small batch ice cream shop is offering scoops and pints to-go in creative and drool-worthy flavors like Pumpkin Cornbread + Pepita Brittle, Apple Butter + Crumble and Salty Caramel Corn. Don't forget the waffle cones! Waffle cones are available to-go and made with hints of maple, brown sugar, gluten-free flour and flax. Stella Jean's has many vegan and gluten-free options at their University Heights and Costa Mesa locations.

Online: stellajeans.com

photo: The Gluten Free Baking Co.

The Gluten Free Baking Co.

A gluten-free diet doesn't mean missing out on the season's best goodies. Check out delicious fall-inspired flavors from The Gluten Free Baking Co. like Cinnamon Rolls and Mini Pumpkin Loaves. Customers can also find Cranberry Lemonade Bars, Stuffed Apple Donuts, Cranberry Bread and lots of other gluten-free treats at their North Park shop.

Online: thegfbakingco.com

photo: Haley Hill

Pop Pie Co.

Nothing says fall like a slice of pie and Pop Pie Co. has a delicious fall line-up sure to please. Fall flavors include Pumpkin PieSalted Caramel Apple Crumble, Vegan Apple Crumble and the Honey Bourbon Pecan Pie with pecans, honey, orange zest and spiced bourbon on their signature crust. Grab a whole pie for a special occasion or a single slice for an after-school treat.

Online: poppieco.com

photo: Natalie Warr

Moniker General at Liberty Station

We'd be remiss not to mention the coveted fall coffee––the pumpkin spice latte. Moniker General at Liberty Station not only has this caffeinated classic, but also some other swoon-worthy beverages like the Campfire Cappuccino, a s'mores inspired drink with honey, chocolate syrup and topped with a graham cracker and toasted marshmallows. Or check out the fall take on a Moniker classic, the Apple Chai Latte with house-made chai steeped in local Julian apple cider. Need another coffee break? Take a peek at our other favorite kid-friendly coffee shops here.

Online: monikercoffee.com

Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw is bringing cozy autumn vibes to their delicious hand-crafted ice cream with a seasonal assortment of flavors. Head to their Little Italy and Del Mar locations where they're serving up dreamy concoctions like Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Beecher's Cheese and Apple Pie or grab a scoop of their best-sellers like Honey Lavender and Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Can't make it to a shop? Salt & Straw ships nationwide.

Online: saltandstraw.com

photo: Sugar & Scribe

Sugar & Scribe

Chef Maeve, winner of Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship, gives the classic Rice Krispie Treat a fall makeover at Sugar & Scribe in La Jolla. Her decadent Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispie Treat is topped with M&M's, marshmallows, candy corn and gold sprinkles and is sure to be hit with the kids. Pair with a seasonal fall-inspired cocoa or coffee like their scrumptious toasted marshmallow, gingerbread or white chocolate pumpkin spice lattes.

Check out some of our other favorite spots to sip cocoa with the kiddos here.

Online: sugarandscribe.com

photo: Azucar

Azucar

Azucar, a Cuban-style patisserie, offers goodies perfect for settling into fall, like their popular Caramel Apple Scone made with fresh chopped apples, toffee bits and drizzled with a dulce de leche sauce. Get this and other fall-inspired treats like these s'mores tarts and pumpkin flan cake at their Ocean Beach location.

 

Le Parfait Paris

Transport yourself to a fall day in Paris with an afternoon splurge at Le Parfait Paris. Seasonal specials include a pumpkin spice and caramel seasonal tart and a fall brunch menu including a pecan, banana and caramel crepe. And, of course, no trip to Paris is complete without a macaron. Try fall flavors like the Bourbon Pecan Macaron or Campfire S'more Macaron.

Online: leparfaitparis.com

photo: True Photography

Babycakes

Sweeten up your weekend plans with a trip to Babycakes in Hillcrest or Imperial Beach. Cupcakes here are served up in flavors like Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Red Velvet and the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Cupcake.

Online: babycakessandiego.com

Extraordinary Desserts

Splurge-worthy desserts are on the menu at Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy and Banker's Hill. Check out delicious seasonal offerings like the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar with layers of pumpkin and cheesecake on a pecan cookie crust. Or go sweet and salty with their Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pecan Cake with butterscotch mousse, salted caramel and a rim of fresh flowers.

Online: extraordinarydesserts.com

The Presley

Capture all those campfire vibes with the Roast Your Own S'mores dessert at The Presley restaurant in Point Loma's Liberty Station. The kids will love getting into the ooey-gooey DIY action with mallows, chocolate, graham crackers and tableside cast iron roasting station. Need more s'mores? Check out some of our other favorite spots to indulge in this camp classic.

Online: thepresleysd.com

photo: Sweet Revenge Bakery

Sweet Revenge Bakery

From Mini Pumpkin Pies and Pumpkin Cheesecake to Banana Pudding Pints and Bacon Maple Cupcakes, Sweet Revenge bakery has all the drool-worthy fall flavors for your next holiday gathering or weekend treat. Have a fall birthday? Sweet Revenge Bakery also offers gorgeous made-to-order designer cakes. Currently open for pick-ups only Mon.-Sat. from noon-4 p.m.

Online: sweetrevengesd.com

––Kerry Cushman

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This just in––new restaurants, chic new staycation spots and family fun experiences are all opening in San Diego! After months of hunkering down, it’s time to hit refresh on both your daily routine and vacation time while you show some local love to new businesses making it work. After all, opening a business is an uphill battle no matter the circumstances. But during a pandemic? Mount Everest. Scroll on for a list of noteworthy new spots launching in San Diego.

photo: Kerry Cushman

Town and Country Resort

After a multi-million dollar renovation, the iconic Town and Country hotel in San Diego's Mission Valley is back with a whole new look. Capturing those sunny, Southern California vibes, the new Town and Country resort perfectly mixes chic mid-century modern style and an outdoor pool paradise.

Families will love the zero-entry pool, four-story Twister waterslide and a shallow pool perfect for little swimmers. Onsite eats include wood-fired pizzas that can be delivered poolside, grab-and-go options from The MRKT and the destination-worthy ARLO, serving up fresh and innovative Cali-Baja fare (don't miss the epic S'mores Cheesecake!).

Inside scoop: Want to spend a sunny day at Town and Country's resort style pools? The hotel offers daily pool passes on Resort Pass.

Online: towncountry.com

photo: Patrick Samokhvalof

The Presley Restaurant at Liberty Station

Now open at Liberty Station is The Presley, a family-friendly restaurant from San Diego-based hospitality group Good Time Design. The new restaurant boasts 2,000 square feet of outdoor dining space, swing seats and fire pits. The menu offers elevated American classics like Lobster Sliders and Wood Fired Veggie Skewers and a kids menu complete with Roast Your Own S'mores and house made Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert.

Online: thepresleysd.com

California Taco Club

Pacific Beach has a new spot for apre-beach tacos. California Taco Club is now open on Mission Boulevard next to sister restaurant, Breakfast Republic. The walk-up window serves a variety of tacos, burritos, ceviche and homemade horchata. A small outdoor patio with major PB beach vibes is available for outdoor seating. Check out their Instagram for specials like $2 Taco Tuesday. 

Online: californiatacoclub.com

photo: Triton Charters

Sail on Triton Charters' Catamaran

Looking for a splurge for an anniversary or milestone birthday? Triton Charters has San Diego's newest (and largest!) catamaran available for private rental. This floating venue is 75-feet long and can accommodate up to 105 guests with waterslide, trampoline, dance floor and wrap around bar. Leave the driving to the Coast Guard-certificated captain and crew, while you and your crew have a night to remember. 

Or, Triton Charters also offers 2.5-hour charters that will be running through the San Diego Bay Thurs.–Sun., at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Ticketed charters guests will have access to all of Triton’s amenities. Tickets are $55 for adults and $15 for children. They can be purchased here. 

Online: triton-charters.com

Family Fun Center in Kearny Mesa

The Family Fun Center is newly opened in Kearny Mesa. Following the closure of Boomers! last June, the original owners of the land relaunched Family Fun Center, a business originally opened on the site in 1974 where it operated for 20 years before Boomers!. The new and improved Family Fun Center reopened in early September and offers bumper boats, go karts, miniature golf, an arcade and Bullwinkle's Restaurant.

Online: familyfuncenters.com

San Diego Zoo Cheetah Safari Brunch

Rise and shine at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with a new one-of-a-kind brunch and wildlife encounter. This reservation-only safari takes groups of up to four household members to Shiley's Cheetah Run to watch a cheetah hit speeds upward of 50 miles per hour. Following other up close animal encounters, guests will enjoy brunch including coffee, tea and mimosas. The Cheetah Safari Brunch is available before the park opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Online: sdzsafaripark.org

photo: Birch Aquarium

New Virtual Education with Birch Aquarium

Just when we could all use a refresh to our virtual learning tool belt, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has launched a new suite of virtual education programming. Based on their successful summer camp program, Birch Aquarium is now offering a Virtual After School Series for students in kindergarten through grade 8. This 6-week series will be available in the fall, winter and spring. Registration is now open.

Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

photo: Fotility Photography

Coming Soon: Upscale RV Resort Costa Vista

Summer 2020 was dubbed the summer of road trips and newcomer Costa Vista is turning things up a notch with its launch in 2021. Sun RV Resorts is bringing modern style and amazing amenities to San Diego with their new upscale RV resort, Costa Vista. Located on the San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, on-site amenities include juice and breakfast bar, poolside cabanas, splashpad and fitness center. No RV? Not to worry, fully-furnished modern vacation rentals are available complete with full kitchens and bunk beds for the kiddos. Costa Vista is set to open in early 2021, reservations are now available online.

Online: sunrvresorts.com

––Kerry Cushman

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Go local and save big on summer fun! From restaurants offering take-out discounts to hotels with some of their lowest prices (ever!), San Diego businesses are offering some sweet deals too good to pass up. With many still recovering from Covid-19 closures, it’s the perfect time to support your family’s favorite local spots and save a buck while you’re at it. Now that’s a win-win! Ready to eat, play and stay for less? Scroll on for the details.

photo: Cohn Restaurant Group

Take-Out Tuesday

While the status of in-restaurant dining remains fluid, takeout is still the name of the game this summer. Cohn Restaurant Group has joined the The Great American Takeout movement and is currently offering 20% off pick-up takeout orders on Tuesdays. Participating restaurants include Zig Zag Pizza Pie, Draft Republic La Jolla, C Level, Pacific Social, Coaster Saloon and Del's Hideout. No cooking for you and saving money is a dinnertime score.

Online: cohnrestaurants.com

photo: Zack Benson

Happy Hour at Liberty Public Market

If there's anything we could all use right now, it's a little more happiness in our life. Enter Liberty Public Market's Famous $5 Happy Hour. Every Monday from 3-6 p.m., $5 offers can be found from Liberty Market Vendors, Messhall Bar and Bottlecraft. With so many good eats available, even the pickiest eater in your crew will be full and happy.

Online: libertystation.com

photo: LEGOLAND Hotel

Last Minte LEGOLAND Hotel

While LEGOLAND theme park has been closed due to Covid-19 this summer, LEGOLAND Hotel has reopened and is offering some of their lowest summer room rates ever. Your LEGO-loving kid will flip for themed rooms including Ninjago, Pirates, Adventure and LEGO-Friends. While those coveted bricks won't be in the communal areas, they will be in guest rooms and in a welcome gift for each child. Families can still enjoy the pool, LEGO decor everywhere and fun activities like the in-room treasure hunt. Better move quick on this deal, room rates are $169 for most nights through September 3rd. 

Bonus! For a limited time LEGOLAND Hotel guests, Annual Pass Members and customers who make a $25 minimum purchase at The Big Shop will have an opportunity to explore three cities in Miniland U.S.A.

Online: legoland.com

Half-off at Humphrey's Half Moon Inn

What's better than a night away? Two! Humphrey's Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island is offering a 'buy one night, get the next night at 50% off' hotel deal on travel dates through December. Settle into tropical resort-style vibes with marina views, sparkling pool, lush foliage and nights by the fire pit. Paradise at half off!

Online: halfmooninn.com

Freebies at Belmont Park

Belmont Park in Mission Beach is reopened and ready for family fun! Head to this beachfront amusement park on Thursdays when you'll receive a free beach towel with the purchase of an attractions wristband. Before you plan your family fun day out, order a Belmont Park Restaurants gift card online and receive a $100 value for $75 (allow 7-10 days for delivery). That way you can nosh on good eats at a discount after you've played the day away. Gift card is good at Draft, Cannonball, Beach House, Draft Coffee or El Jefe Tacos.

Online: belmontpark.com

photo: San Diego Zoo

Kids Free at the San Diego Zoo

You'll have to wait until October for this deal, but let's face it - by this point we're all pretty skilled at waiting patiently. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park will again host its Kids Free Month from Oct. 1-31, 2020. Kids, ages 3 to 11, get free admission when accompanied by a paying adult. This popular event will let your little ones run wild with more than 4,000 animals on over 100-acres. In the meantime, check out their website for too cute virtual animal cams, or buy tickets to support the Zoo and Safari Park this summer before you save big in October.

Online: sandiegozoo.org

Daycation with San Diego Sailing Tours

Grab your 'quaranteam' and get out on the water for an epic summer day to remember. San Diego Sailing Tours is currently offering an Endless Summer Special for $599. During this private (and kid-friendly!) sail, the Captain will provide information about local history as you sail past Downtown, Point Loma, and Coronado Island. This 3-hour summer daycation includes refreshing beverages and snacks, with your first glass of wine or local craft beer complimentary. Your personal yacht for the day stretches 36 ft., so there's plenty of room for your whole crew to relax and soak in those Pacific views. Cheers to the good life!

Online: sandiegosailingtours.com

––Kerry Cushman

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Masks? Check! Bathing suits? Check! It’s finally time to get out of the house and into a summer vacation. While travel plans are a bit trickier this year, these hotels and resorts are reopening and ready to (safely!) welcome back families. Many new sanitization and social-distancing protocols have been implemented, which means your family can have a blast and keep everyone safe. Read on for awesome SoCal spots that are reopen and ready to save your summer vacation. Cannonball!

photo: San Diego Mission Bay Resort

San Diego Mission Bay Resort

While business was on pause, San Diego's Mission Bay Resort got some serious upgrades. With new guest registration, pool area and food and beverage facilities, Mission Bay Resort is ready to welcome guests back to a whole new look and a grand reopening. Easy-breezy summer days are here again with kids wading pool, chic waterfront pool, beach access, s'mores nights and family-friendly games. And don't forget Fido, Mission Bay Resort is pet-friendly.

Covid-19 Update: Personal Protective Equipment kits with masks, sanitizer and gloves are available upon request. Read here to learn what Mission Bay Resort is doing to keep guests safe.

Online: missionbayresort.com

photo: Paradise Point

Paradise Point

You don't need to travel far to soak in a tropical paradise. Paradise Point in San Diego's Mission Bay is open and ready to welcome guests with resort pools, island vibes and tons of family activities. Families can enjoy some fun in the sun along with socially-distanced outdoor games like tennis, volleyball, lawn games, putt-putt golf and yoga. Check out their Feed Me @ Tidal family-style themed dinners Thursday to Sunday on the outdoor, waterfront deck at Barefoot Bar and Grill (also available for pick-up!).

Covid-19 Update: Paradise Point has implemented many new procedures for guest safety. Find their sanitation and health guidelines here.

Online: paradisepoint.com

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

Ready to soak in some family pool time? Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in the greater Palm Springs area is reopen and ready to welcome families to a fun-filled resort-style vacation. Guests can reserve a 4-hour time slot at Splashtopia, which includes two 100-foot waterslides and a 425-foot lazy river, to splash and play without overcrowding. Enjoy mealtime alfresco with a spot on the coveted patio of bluEmber with views of the mountains and golf course or grab takeout at one of several nearby restaurants.

Covid-19 Update: Omni Hotels has implemented an Omni Safe and Clean initiative. Get the details here

Online: omnihotels.com

photo: Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn

When the whole family is ready for some major relaxation, a stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn in North County San Diego is the perfect summer splurge. Reopened with new safety protocols, families can sink into luxurious guest rooms, three swimming pools, spa, bike trails, tennis courts and warm hospitality. Onsite restaurant options include patio ding at Veranda Restaurant and Cafe Granada with packaged to-go options for poolside or in-room dining.

Covid-19 Update: Rancho Bernardo Inn has earned the California Hotel and Lodging Association Clean + Safe Certification. Learn more about it here.

Online: ranchobernardoinn.com

photo: Love Catalina Island

Pavilion Hotel on Catalina Island

A summer cruise on a mega-ship is out of the question this year, but you can still get out on the water with a trip to Catalina Island. Hop aboard the Catalina Express, which has implemented advance cleaning protocols and expanded departures, and enjoy some sunshine on the high seas during the one-hour journey. Once you've arrived in Avalon, take a short and picturesque walk to the Pavilion Hotel. The Pavilion Hotel is only 14-steps from the beach, perfect for families to spend a day at the beach and return to their hotel room or snacks and inevitable bathroom breaks. Al fresco dining will make mealtime a breeze with many local restaurants offering patio (or on beach!) dining, click here for a full list. 

Covid-19 Update: Catalina Island is committed to cleanliness and safety, find their Keep Well commitment here.

Online: visitcatalinaisland.com

photo: Alisal Guest Ranch Resort & Spa

Alisal Guest Ranch Resort & Spa

The Alisal is the perfect summer getaway to balance screen time overload. Power down your cell phones and tablets and check into this upscale dude ranch in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Kids will love saddling up for 50-miles of horse riding trails, archery lessons, swimming pool and a spring-fed lake. They won’t even notice the missing televisions from the chic, western-themed rooms when they’re engaged in Lil’ Riders horseback riding lessons and a daily recreation schedule that includes activities like archery lessons, arts & crafts, tennis and engaging with the Barnyard animals. Giddy up for a screen-free getaway!

Covid-19 Update: To follow social distancing procedures, guests can reserve a spot at the pool and book private outdoor amenities. Patio dining (with gorgeous views!) is available at The River Grill. Learn more about their Covid-19 peace of mind commitment here.

Online: alisal.com

photo: Visit Big Bear

The Lodge at Big Bear Lake

With fresh mountain air and lake views, summertime vibes are waiting to happen in Big Bear. A short drive from SoCal, much of Big Bear has reopened and ready to welcome back guests. Whether you choose an afternoon paddling the lake, hiking mountain trails or shredding Big Bear Mountain Resort's downhill bike park, outdoor fun is all around. Stay in the center of town at the reopened Lodge at Big Bear Lake and enjoy modern conveniences with rustic mountain style. Read here about the hotel's commitment to safety and open amenities.

Covid-19 Update: Click here for tips on traveling responsibly in Big Bear Lake.

Online: thelodgeatbigbearlake.com

––Kerry Cushman

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