“Do I pack golf shoes or snow gear?” my wife, Terri, asked. “Yes,” I replied. We have a thing for shoulder-season travel, so last year we headed to Whistler, Canada, in early October. It is the Pacific Northwest after all, and the weather could do most anything.
At Carlsbad's Legoland, a plethora of plastic bricks, stimulating interactive exhibits, interesting food choices and the recently opened Castle Hotel are more than enough to hold the attention of two young boys — and their grandparents.
The little-populated, rugged county between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite is a delight, with interesting pioneer history, good fishing spots, rugged hiking and brilliant fall color
A last-minute summer getaway ticks all the boxes for an active family. Just make sure you leave enough time to try surfing.
There are activities aplenty: You can tour a Navy warship, search for whales and dolphins off the coast and get a look at mega-ships bound for destinations around the globe.
He likes to fish and she likes trees. They compromised over tangy barbecue as they sat at a roadside picnic table in full view of U.S. 395. He would get a new back country creek said to be full of trout and I would get a new, all-day hike.
The unfussy little beach community offers plenty of opportunities for stress relief: window shopping on Ocean Avenue, strolling on the pier, exploring the tide pools and hiking along the bluffs as the sun sets.
Cool mountain air, bristlecone pines and towering limestone cliffs will greet visitors to this getaway about half an hour northwest of Sin City.
If the weather isn't cooperating in the famed Orange County coastal town — too cloudy, too cool — you can turn to other delights, including a rehab center for marine mammals.
Just $30 gets you two front-row seats over the Quakes dugout and an interaction with the team mascot, After Shock. You would pay $1,100 for the same view in Los Angeles. And at this Inland Empire venue, there's not a bad seat in the house.
San Diego’s Pacific Beach has a split personality. On the ocean side, the energy is as pumped up as the surf during a southwest swell. But cross Mission Boulevard, the town’s main drag, to Mission Bay, and it’s a different story. Crowds are sparse, and the mood is as calm as the water.
Often overlooked, the wine-country getaway town of Livermore, Calif., has concerts and fine dining at hand
The small Bay Area town offers enticing attractions with a theater festival (Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” through July 15; “The Winter’s Tale” July 12-29) as well as concerts (Steve Martin and Martin Short Aug. 23) under the stars.
Military history, scenic state parks and tasty shellfish make for a rich weekend escape on Whidbey Island, Wash.
Just 30 miles from Seattle, you can sleep in the officer's quarters at a historic fort, slurp Penn Cove mussels or catch the views from 200 feet up a tree.
With the grandkids in tow, a trip to Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Preserve proves, in places, roller-coaster scary but oh, so fun. At the end of the 90-minute ride, the prevailing sentiment was "More, please."
Only about 90,000 visitors come to this park each year. That means unspoiled campgrounds and quiet alpine trails devoid of the crowds you might find elsewhere.
Summer or winter always seemed like the right time to be in this Sierra favorite. But by going at a different time, you may just find the peaceful retreat you need.
Never heard of Windsor? The charming town, between Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, has cute shops, excellent restaurants and a lovely town green. Better yet, it's evolving as the microbrew capital of Sonoma County.
Wineries and Wild West charm are the big draws in this little-known cowboy town. Need to get some shut eye? Head to the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.
It seemed like a tall order: A four-day window filled with history, hiking, good eats, an interesting hotel and pleasant weather. And it had to be somewhere neither of us had visited. Prescott, Arizona, fulfilled our wishes
Want an unusual camping experience? Consider the Oak Flat fire lookout tower, which is for rent. The upside? An incredible view of the Kern River Valley. The downside? You must bring your own food, water and gear.
The small city in the foothills of Tuolumne County was incorporated in 1851, making it one of the oldest in California. Its historic buildings now house art galleries and antique stores, a taproom and a tea lounge.
A twisted ankle meant rewriting the script for a getaway that had included hiking. No problem, thanks to the national park shuttle-bus system. There's history to learn, ever-changing vistas and even good shopping.
A classic beach burger at the Spot, cupcakes galore at Crushcakes and, for those with green thumbs, two nurseries that make the drive to Carpinteria worthwhile.
Clear mountain lakes, pine forests, wild elk and afternoon monsoons. Your first guess wouldn't be Arizona, would it? Amazingly, it should be. A rolling green-foliage-and-red-earth swath midway between high-plateau Flagstaff and hot-desert Phoenix is an oasis.
Weekends are precious — hey, there are usually only 52 a year. If you want to optimize one, try getting far, far away from it all on a mini-cruise in the Gulf of California, a wild, pristine body of water off eastern Baja.
It’s a spunky little town with a lot going on: a walk of fame honoring the 90 or so movies and TV shows filmed in the area, a retro-cool motel and lots of restaurants to choose from.
For our family, Lone Pine was the road-trip stop with the fast-food-adjacent park. Later, it was where we got sweet treats at the Frosty Chalet. But recently, I’d heard about restoration efforts and public access at dry Owens Lake I wanted to explore.