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Weekend escapes for Southern Californians

Between the rocks and the river on a weekend escape to Marble Canyon, Ariz.

The scenery and setting are grand, but don't expect speedy Wi-Fi and high-thread-count sheets. Instead, you'll find plenty of hiking, rafting and fishing in the Colorado River.

Savor live music on a weekend escape to Saratoga, Calif.

The stunning hilltop Mountain Winery serves up vintage rock concerts from late May through mid-October. Tom Jones, anyone?

Join the bull ropers and steer wrestlers on a weekend escape to Pendleton, Ore.

The town in the eastern part of the state is home to a huge rodeo as well as talented leather workers and those wool blankets. Plus a historic inn's home-cooked breakfast fuels you for the day.

Try beach camping on a weekend escape to Carlsbad, Calif.

My husband wanted to go camping and, in the interest of marital harmony, I agreed. My price? No campfire cooking for me -- we went out for every meal.

Is Murphys, a village in the Sierra foothills, the new Napa?

Come to this little speck of a town, in the foothills of California's Gold Country, for the wine and stay for the art. The town is still low-key, approachable and fun.

Paddle and play on a weekend escape to picturesque Pinecrest Lake in the Sierra

Camping, hiking and plenty of water play are among the summer pleasures at this central Sierra Nevada retreat. It offers many campsites and a resort.

A weekend escape to Colorado's deep, steep Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Visitors will find various vantage points for peering 2,000 feet into the magnificent, raw beauty of this gorge. Best of all, they'll have little company in this often-overlooked national park.

Be sure to bring a good raincoat on a weekend escape to Olympia, Wash.

Family and friends, hiking and kayaking, and, of course, a brewpub are the draw in this corner of the Pacific Northwest.

Have some pie, spend time with wolves and hike in the wilderness near Julian. Did I mention the pie?

A visit to the California Wolf Center; pie, pie, and more pie; fresh air; and hikes in the hills make for a sweet getaway.

A wine lover's weekend escape in Paso Robles

No need for Napa. There are fine choices here for every oenophile, with quaint tasting rooms and more than 400 wineries. Downtown is a throwback to simpler times.

A mystical weekend escape in New Mexico

A visit to Quarai at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument makes for a sublime connection to nature and the past. A new hotel, which pays homage to Chaco Canyon, enhances the experience.

A new excuse to escape this weekend to Catalina Island: blown-glass sculptures

Dale Chihuly's dazzling works shimmer in the sunlight and, later, glow under the star-filled sky. You can see these pieces at the island museum until Dec. 11.

Roam with the wild horses on a weekend escape to Reno

Thank Velma Johnston, better known as “Wild Horse Annie,” for the thousands of mustangs that roam the high desert of northern Nevada. Take a tour or explore on your own.

A frilly, frothy weekend escape to the Lavender Festival in Sequim, Wash.

Stroll, sniff, taste, clip and sip your way through five heavenly-scented farms during the popular July event. And there's serious shopping at the accompanying street fair.

Who books a weekend escape in an Arizona retirement community? Smart people, that's who

Green Valley might be mostly age-restricted enclaves, but the takeaway is that Green Valley is attractive for its setting and outdoor bounty.

Why visit this 'desert beach'? Get back to nature for a weekend escape at the Salton Sea

A visit to the area is a mash-up of Audubon meets Venice boardwalk, where wild creatures -- winged and human -- abound.

Here's something you didn't know about Tijuana: It's a great weekend escape for food lovers

Terrific new restaurants are serving delectable organic Baja fare, wine and craft beers, and artisanal mescals that are becoming the connoisseur's alternative to tequila.

A weekend escape to Tucson, that Arizona outpost with a culinary heart and an artsy soul

In the intrastate rivalry between Phoenix and Tucson, guess who wins?

Santa Barbara? That's a familiar face and place for a weekend escape. Or is it?

You may think you know the city that's often called the jewel of the American Riviera, but there's much that's new, including the Mill, which is becoming a hip design district with a distinct flair.

Here's the inside story on what to do if you can't enjoy the outdoors on a Palm Desert weekend escape

Maybe it's too cold. Or too hot. Either one is possible in the desert. But you can outwit the weather here at these restaurants and cool (as in fun) museums.

Did Al Capone sleep here? Never mind: You can rest easy at Two Bunch Palms, a peaceful desert escape

This hideway emphasizes wellness--but that doesn't mean you'll be be served cardboard food. Quite the opposite and quite the variety too. Add wildlife encounter, and it's a welcome change of pace.

Art galleries, angels and red rocks -- where else but in Sedona, Ariz.?

There's something for everyone in Sedona,Ariz.: archeological sites, art galleries and, yes, don't forget the vortexes

Five ideas for the perfect Hawaiian getaway

Hop on a flight and you can be on the beach by noon. Or sampling cocktails. Or exploring fascinating towns. Here are some ideas for a quick trip to paradise.

Weekend Escape: A whale of a time in Victoria, B.C.

An all-day flower tour at Buchart Gardens, whale watching and splendid summer Canadian summer weather highlight a girlfriends' weekend in Victoria, Canada.

Spend some quiet time with giant redwoods in Felton, Calif.

In Felton, Calif., visit Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and the Roaring Camp Railroads.

Weekend Escape: The new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a sight to behold

A Weekend Escape to the improved and expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a stay at one of the city's venerable landmarks.

Weekend Escape: Visiting Avalon's little sister on Santa Catalina Island

My continuing search for secret hideaways by the sea took me to tiny Two Harbors on Catalina Island last month, where I hiked and biked, explored quiet coves and overdosed on spectacular views

Fascinated by the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve near San Simeon

Curious about the vociferous elephant seals I heard bellowing last fall as I drove Highway 1, I returned in May to Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve near San

Good times light the nights in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter

Once home to gambling halls, saloons and bordellos, San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter can still kick up its heels. Packed with cocktail lounges, restaurants and pulsating nightclubs, on the weekend it’s a virtual playpen for partying.

Where ocean meets ranch meets forest meets enchantment in Fort Bragg, Calif.

Waves crashing on the rugged Mendocino Coast offer a striking contrast to the bland urban landscape of Los Angeles. So when I felt the urge to escape and read about the recently opened seven-room Inn at Newport Ranch, 20 minutes north of Fort Bragg, I booked a stay. My husband, Paul, and I flew to Santa Rosa and drove three hours northwest, a long, but scenic trip, and well worth it: The Inn sits on a 2000-acre cattle ranch that stretches from spectacular ocean cliffs to a forest where redwoods were logged in the 19th century.

A day out in hipster-haven Oakland, the 'West Coast Brooklyn'

After hearing so much about how Oakland has become a new hipster haven, I made a day trip from San Francisco and found it lived up to the hype.

Monterey's historic sights, seafood and simple pleasures turn into lasting memories

My family's go-to weekend escape -- Monterey -- has become a true memory maker. Whether it's walking along Old Fisherman's Wharf, exploring the renowned

If you're looking for a weekend escape, Newport, Ore., is quite the catch

I recently packed my favorite writing pen, sketchbook and camera for a solo trip to Newport, Ore., which was a study in contrasts at every turn. Newport is on

In Flagstaff, Ariz., it's easy to get immersed in the town's rowdy — and scientific — past

In Flagstaff, Arizona, visit the Lowell Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Buffalo Park, and eat at Black Bart's Steakhouse.

Here's your new favorite fishing spot in California: Lee Vining

As fishing season nears in California, the secluded and serene hamlet of Lee Vining is a prime spot for a weekend of angling.

Get your kicks on Route 66 in Oatman, Ariz.: Feed burros, cheer gunfighters

It used to be a stop on Route 66 but then it got bypassed. Now Oatman, Ariz., is a little haven, unless you're bothered by nosy burros.

A weekend getaway to Palo Alto finds old-fashioned fun amid the high-tech frenzy

Fancy cars, vintage diner food and a hike at nearby Stanford University cap a weekend in the Silicon Valley hub of Palo Alto.

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A weekend trip to Brenham means bluebonnets, BBQ, Blue Bell and a drive to the birthplace of Texas

Brenham, Texas, between Houston and Austin, is a spring flower destination and year-round supporter of its local ice cream maker.

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Truckee is a charming ski-town getaway where you can ski downhill and stay uptown

Truckee, Calif., offers all the ski-town charm without the glitz and bustle of nearby Lake Tahoe.

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is a vibrant weekend getaway

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site enlivened by bright colonial buildings and a budding food scene.

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Downtown Salt Lake City is a place to play after hitting the slopes

Salt Lake City has craft beer, City Creek Center and the Leonardo museum. You might even overhear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

An enlightening weekend in Mendocino's romantic seaside surroundings

Mendocino is a charming, historic hamlet perfect for weddings and romantic weekends. And as a Maine setting for 'Murder, She Wrote.'

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Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel, is surrounded by natural wonders

Many travelers to Las Vegas also visit Hoover Dam. The dam area and Lake Mead offer activity aplenty for outdoorsy types.

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This San Gabriel Valley 'staycation' for the holidays includes a night at the lavish Langham

Guests coming for the holidays? Keep them busy with noshing and horse racing at Santa Anita Park, the natural world (and shopping) at the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia and R&R at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena.

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Ski Lake Tahoe without breaking the bank

With a thrifty eye you can take advantage of the expected El Niño-fed snowfall for a modest sum that doesn't skimp on creature comforts.

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Surf the waves or stroll the galleries in arty, authentic Todos Santos, Baja California

Tiny Todos Santos in Baja California has art galleries, seafood finds and an adult-only resort where you can learn to surf, or just watch the waves roll.

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Downtown Las Vegas is now a place to stay, shop and play after a glitzy makeover

Las Vegas, trying to do the time warp in downtown Sin City is increasingly challenging.

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Foodies are hungry for San Diego's Little Italy, a hub for top chefs

Beef cheek tacos in San Diego's Little Italy? It's part of the hot food scene that's drawn big-name chefs to the area.

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For $300 you can live two nights like a bird in Big Sur (BYO pillows)

Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California, offers lodging in yurts and in a "nest" above the Pacific. A visitor describes her stay.

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Avoid crowds but indulge your inner teenager in a weekend getaway to Oregon beaches

Cannon Beach and Seaside are Oregon beach towns that can satisfy a variety of tastes. Get to Ecola State Park early.

For a tranquil weekend getaway, try wine country -- in Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley, just inland from Carmel, has sophisticated wines, innovative cuisine and a hidden Central Coast spa.

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The hotel that inspired Stephen King's 'The Shining' awaits you in Estes Park, Colo.

Estes Park, Colo., by Rocky Mountain National Park, is home to bugling elk and Stanley Hotel, basis for 'The Shining's' Overlook.

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Avila Beach's gentle charm makes for a relaxing Central Coast getaway

Get your fill of sand and surf, wine and seafood at Avila Beach, a quaint but lively town on California's Central Coast.

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Chill out at Big Bear Lake

When it's time to chill, think Big Bear Lake, where you can take a breather from the Southland heat in the San Bernardino Mountains.

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Boats, sea breezes, sunshine and food, food, food on Shelter Island

San Diego's Shelter Island boasts marinas, hotels, restaurants and a bayside park. Best of all, it's not an island so you can drive to it

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

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is home to the famous 72-ounce steak dinner, plus a shooting gallery and beer garden.

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

Dana Point Harbor in Orange County is small but offers ocean views, dolphin and whale watching and hotel and camping options.

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