No plans for Memorial Day weekend? 5 great places to play if you gotta get away

Weekend escape: Fort Bragg
Glass Beach at MacKerricher State Park, Fort Bragg, Calif.
(Paul Boorstin)

The Sierra back country is still covered in snow, and landslides blocking parts of Highway 1 are still sliding. That means many high-elevation campsites in Yosemite and some coastal parks near Big Sur will remain inaccessible over Memorial Day weekend.

Still, there are still plenty of other outdoor spots to enjoy. Here are five places in California to drive to for a nature fix during the holiday weekend.

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

If you’re ready for a road trip to Northern California, make sure you stop at Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park. As the name suggests, the shoreline near Mendocino sparkles with wave-polished sea glass, which is far more special than it sounds. The source? The beach used to be a dump. How to get there.

The Sunset Cliffs neighborhood in San Diego.
The Sunset Cliffs neighborhood in San Diego. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Sea Cliffs in San Diego

You’ll find erosion at work at these crumbling cliffs in an upscale residential neighborhood in San Diego's Point Loma area. They offer amazing ocean views and arresting sunsets — and then there’s that phenom called the green flash. How to get there.

Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos.
Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos. (Getty Images)

Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos

Sea and bluffs collide on the craggy coast of Montaña de Oro State Park in Los Osos, near Morro Bay. It’s a good place to camp overnight, walk along beaches and bluffs or even paint. And it’s only a half day’s drive away. How to get there.

The Marine Room restaurant at La Jolla Shores,
The Marine Room restaurant at La Jolla Shores, (Kevin Dillard)

Marine Room at La Jolla Shores

This restaurant surrounded by the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is all about crashing waves too, except with different effect. The La Jolla Shores eatery right on the beach has been open since 1941. Go during high tide, and you’re guaranteed to see a show. How to get there.

Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Lake Tahoe

The best way to get around this lake on the California-Nevada border with a circumference of more than 70 miles is to drive — or paddle. The lake’s shore is studded with beaches as well as little historic sites and homes to visit. How to get there.


The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

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