California & the West
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Travel

Weekend Escapes for Southern Californians

Forty-eight hours of fun? You've got it. Here are weekend escapes that offer rest for the weary and restoration for the body and soul. Map

  • Unwind naturally at Yosemite National Park

    Unwind naturally at Yosemite National Park

    When you need a quick escape to recharge, there's no better place to find inspiration than among the towering granite spires of Yosemite National Park. On two recent trips to Yosemite, my family and I managed to do just that: first in May for a friend's wedding in Yosemite Valley, then a month...

  • Everything's bigger at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo

    Everything's bigger at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo

    Those who know nothing about Amarillo, Texas, might assume it's nothing more than the sort of town where cross-country drivers get gasoline, stretch their legs and dream of being home. Although the Panhandle city is an ideal location to fill 'er up, there's one, shall we say "big," reason to visit...

  • What's shaking in San Andreas? Plenty of California history

    What's shaking in San Andreas? Plenty of California history

    San Andreas, the slow-paced town southeast of Sacramento, might share a name with the recent blockbuster "San Andreas," but don't expect any earthquakes here. Instead, you'll find a small historic district, charming Turner Park and an old courtroom and jail cell that once held "poet bandit" Black...

  • Navigating the madness surrounding Comic-Con

    Navigating the madness surrounding Comic-Con

    Carnaval with Wookiees. That's Comic-Con International, San Diego's celebration of all things comics-science fiction-fantasy. The pop culture feast July 9-12 attracts fans from around the world who jam the convention center and join costumed aficionados whooping it up in the streets, bars and nightclubs...

  • Dana Point a fun-filled family getaway and a romantic rendezvous

    Dana Point a fun-filled family getaway and a romantic rendezvous

    Go nose-to-nose with a bottlenose. Or plant your flag in a pirate cove. Dana Point, a hiccup of a harbor where ranchers once slid cowhides into sailing ships from the nearby bluffs, offers a range of family activities yet is quaint enough for a romantic getaway. The tab: A night at the Laguna Cliffs...

  • Los Prietos Campground is a pleasant place to rough it

    Los Prietos Campground is a pleasant place to rough it

    Los Prietos Campground, nestled among the massive old oaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains, feels worlds away from city life. It's about 19 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, off California Highway 154 along Paradise Road in Los Padres National Forest, one of a few campgrounds near the Santa Ynez River....

  • Arroyo Grande's vintage village is toast of Central Coast

    Arroyo Grande's vintage village is toast of Central Coast

    Nestled on both sides of Highway 101 just south of Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, or A.G. as it's known locally, would be just another town were it not for three blocks of turn-of-the-20th-century charm on East Branch Street — the historic Village of Arroyo Grande. The tab: A weekend stay at the Casitas...

  • Bats, birds and caving in Benson, Ariz.

    Bats, birds and caving in Benson, Ariz.

    Lots of people think of Benson, Ariz., along Interstate 10 about 40 miles east of Tucson, as just the exit for Tombstone. You won't find gunslingers toting six-shooters here, but this town is rich in natural attractions. There's a sprawling subterranean cavern into which bats first led humans just...

  • A storm-free splurge in Wailea, Hawaii

    A storm-free splurge in Wailea, Hawaii

    What I wanted: Sunny days, balmy breezes, umbrella drinks and pupu (appetizer) platters. What I got: an oncoming hurricane, a hotel pool closed because of rain and lightning, and patio dining out of the question. After a few days in Kaanapali on the western side of Maui, I was ready for a break....

  • A high-season refresher course in the Arizona desert

    A high-season refresher course in the Arizona desert

    After a trying few months, I announced to my family that I was taking us somewhere to lift our spirits. My wife and our two boys guessed Florida. Nope, we weren't risking rain. I planned two nights in Scottsdale, Ariz. After a flight delay wrecked the first day, I doubled down and made it four...

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