Even if you’re not in college anymore, spring is a great time to take a trip! It’s the perfect excuse to take a vacation, and we all need a little break sometimes! I don’t know about you, but having a trip to look forward to, even if it’s just a weekend, keeps me super motivated. Since the stretch between the end of March through the end of May is pretty bleak (there are no three day weekends or holidays to be seen until Memorial Day), you deserve a getaway! Whether you’re local or across the country, Southern California has some of the best spring vacay spots around. If you time your trip when kids aren’t on spring break, most places are pretty empty, which is great! You get the gorgeous pretty-much-summer weather without the crowds. So put up your out of office email, grab your swimsuit, and let’s go!
Here are my favorite spring getaway destinations in SoCal:
Image via Bright Bazaar
I know Santa Barbara is slightly pushing SoCal, but it’s close enough. With Santa Barbara being so close to SLO, I’ve spent lots of time there, and I absolutely love it. And really, what’s not to love? Sweeping ocean views, fabulous restaurants, perfect beaches, wine tasting… I mean, come on. It’s basically heaven on earth. It isn’t called the American Riviera for nothing!
It’s perfect for a girls weekend or a romantic getaway with your significant other! Definitely don’t miss shopping on State Street (there’s something for everyone, so even your man won’t mind), taking a walk on the pier, or spending the day under the sun at Butterfly Beach. Driving through the hills of Montecito is always a great idea. See if there are any estate sales in the area so you can actually go inside some of the houses! Another thing I love to do is wine tasting. Sitting outside and sipping rose is an ideal way to spend an afternoon in Santa Barbara. Check out a full list of wineries here! Make sure you stop at Jeannine’s for breakfast (or lunch, or both…it’s that good). You also can’t go wrong at Jane for a leisurely lunch. For your caffeine fix, don’t forget to grab an iced coffee at The French Press. It’s the best! For a healthy meal, you can’t go wrong at the Natural Cafe. There are only a few in California, so it’s a must-do! Get the Old Town Salad (you can thank me later).
Image via Elizabeth Anne Designs
Santa Monica is always a great idea! Even though I’ve been there countless times, the Santa Monica pier still makes me giddy. I don’t go on the rides, but it’s fun to wander around and take it all in. The pier is over 100 years old, which is just crazy to me!
Waste an afternoon and take a stroll along the boardwalk on the beach. It’s some of the best people-watching you’ll ever see! Don’t forget to take a photo with the pier in the background 😉 Grab brunch at M Street Kitchen, or if you want to be right on the beach, try 1 Pico at the Shutters Hotel (a bit of a splurge, but the views can’t be beat!). If you haven’t experienced Urth Caffe, it definitely lives up to the hype and is worth checking out, especially if you’re from out of town. Grab a matcha latte and one of their freshly baked pastries and your life will be changed forever.
If you’re ready to hit the town, grab your girls and head to the Bungalow for sunset cocktails on their gorgeous rooftop patio. It’s worth your whole trip, right there! If you’re looking for something less beachy and more hipster, you need to try the Misfit. They have some strooong cocktails, and the sangria is to die for!
Last but not least… the shopping. Third Street Promenade is a shoppers dream! Any and every store you can imagine has a spot along the promenade. It can be a little overwhelming, but it’s definitely worth it. If you’re a Nasty Gal fan, make sure to hit up their storefront while you’re there, since there are only two!
Image via Studio DIY
If you haven’t seen my travel guide to Palm Springs, check it out here. I won’t repeat everything I just wrote in my guide, but Palm Springs is a perfect spring destination because the temperature is just right! There’s a small window of time where it’s perfectly warm, which ends right about near May. So, while the timing is right, I couldn’t suggest the desert more! It would be perfect to grab a bunch of friends, get an Airbnb, and just spend the weekend by the pool (extra points if you bring swan, pizza, or donut pool floaties). Make sure to bring sunscreen and lots of champagne!
Image via Road it Up
I know, I’m a littttle biased on this one 😉 But hey, San Diego is a top spring destination! Like I mentioned before, make sure to take a look at college spring break schedules and plan your trip at a different time- I mean, unless college spring break craziness is your thing. Spring is also a perfect time for San Diego, because the weather is seriously perfect. In my opinion, it’s way nicer in spring than summer. Summertime means June gloom, and sometimes the beach doesn’t even clear up! But in the spring, there’s none of that. It’s the best.
Have brunch in Pacific Beach at Isabel’s Cantina, and don’t miss the pineapple orange kale mimosas (you’re definitely going to want to order a pitcher)! Walk around the beach and top off with a bloody mary from Firehouse. Snag a spot on the patio and waste the day away! If you want brunch even closer to the beach, try Caroline’s Seaside Cafe and burn it off by hiking Torrey Pines afterwards. Bring a blanket and catch a magical sunset at Torrey Pines gliderport in the evening!
Renting beach cruisers and biking around Mission Bay is the best way to spend a sunny day! Reward yourself afterwards with an acai bowl (Swami’s is my favorite). If you have time, make your way over to Coronado and explore the famous Hotel Del and walk on the beach. Or, try one of San Diego’s famous breweries! If you don’t have time to do a full day brewery tour, try to at least stop at either Stone or Ballast Point. End your trip in San Diego style with a California burrito at El Indio!
Are you heading anywhere fun for a spring vacay?