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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

  • Relax with the horsy set in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

    Relax with the horsy set in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

    You won't find Rodeo Drive glam here: Residents of bucolic Rancho Santa Fe in north San Diego County prefer to live under the radar, hidden behind gates in multimillion-dollar estates. Its quiet, spotless downtown (there aren't any visible trash cans) is classic and understated with Spanish-style...

  • A weekend's taste of cruise life: Santa Barbara and Ensenada, Mexico

    A weekend's taste of cruise life: Santa Barbara and Ensenada, Mexico

    My siblings, my husband and I went to Santa Barbara for a long weekend — and to Ensenada. As the trip planner of the family, I had none of the stress of driving to either. Instead, we were transported, literally and figuratively, on a short-hop cruise that not only gave us a change of scenery but...

  • A slice of hipsterdom, a scoop of cool in Goleta, Santa Barbara

    A slice of hipsterdom, a scoop of cool in Goleta, Santa Barbara

    Traveling with a teenager doesn't often offer appealing options for keeping parent and child equally entertained. Laid-back mom avoids commotion; high-energy kid craves action. The (sneaky) compromise? A vacation that can do double duty as an introduction to college. A two-hour drive to the town...

  • Chips a must along Arizona's Salsa Trail

    Chips a must along Arizona's Salsa Trail

    The closer you get to the border, the more passionate people become about Mexican food. In southeastern Arizona's Graham County, where tomatoes and peppers grow in abundance, folks are downright competitive about their salsa. A dozen mom-and-pop restaurants in Graham County, about three hours east...

  • La Quinta Resort & Club is an oasis for human and dog

    La Quinta Resort & Club is an oasis for human and dog

    When it comes to pet travel, the Palm Springs area really knows how to throw a dog a bone. In fact, some people say hoteliers in the region are more likely to roll out the welcome mat for dogs than kids. I'm not sure about that, but during a weekend visit, my pups were wined and dined and treated...

  • San Francisco's Lands End is an excellent starting point

    San Francisco's Lands End is an excellent starting point

    Lands End, at the northwestern tip of San Francisco, is the antithesis of the typical experience here. No cable cars, crowded streets or souvenir tchotchkes. I was forced to think outside of the city box in August when it was impossible to find a room. Instead of a hotel near tourist magnets such...

  • Weekend Escape: Morro Bay, anchored to rock

    Weekend Escape: Morro Bay, anchored to rock

    Morro Bay is tough to miss. It's that beach burg off Highway 1 where the 576-foot rock (actually a volcanic landform) looms offshore. The rock is colossal, the vibe very small-town — the sort of charm I've come to expect in communities along the Central California coast. The tab: $538 for two nights...

  • Weekend Escape: Sebastopol exudes artisanal, organic, family-owned charm

    Weekend Escape: Sebastopol exudes artisanal, organic, family-owned charm

    Highway 101 divides Sonoma County neatly in half. East County tends to be sophisticated, and if it had a capital it would be Sonoma. West County is more laid-back, more bohemian. It's where terms such as "organic," "artisanal," "family-owned" and "locally grown" are taken seriously. And if West...

  • Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast casts a bright glow

    Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast casts a bright glow

    Where can you stay in a historic sentinel — rumored to be haunted — on a rugged coastline? Or watch a towering beacon cast beams of light that extend 21 miles out to sea? Nowhere, except at Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast on Oregon's central coast. My husband and I explored this icon and...

  • Visiting San Francisco? Say yes to NoPa

    Visiting San Francisco? Say yes to NoPa

    A late-summer trip to San Francisco with my wife, child and parents had all of us wanting to check out different parts of the City by the Bay. With some planning, we were able to combine touristy highlights with lesser-known areas, including where we stayed — the city's NoPa neighborhood. NoPa,...

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