Where contrasting stimuli are concerned, Southern California has it all. From the frenetic energy of family-friendly Disneyland to romantic wine country villas in Temecula Valley, Southern California is flush with a range of recreational offerings. And that’s before you throw the beach and water sports into the mix.
The next time you want to get away, consider one of these relaxing and relatively secluded retreats.
Just over 20 miles from mainland California, Santa Catalina Island is an accessible destination for a relaxing and adventurous getaway. If you want to play weekend warrior for your visit, the snorkeling, SCUBA diving, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and zip lining are popular. If you’d rather relax, you can soak up the sun at your resort or B&B, sign up for a glass-bottom marine life tour, enjoy a massage, and feast on high-quality food at The Sandtrap restaurant in Avalon.
Of the two settlements on Catalina Island, the 250-inhabitant village of Two Harbors is the more remote option. At just 4,000 permanent residents, however, Avalon is sleepier than any of the coastal communities found on the mainland. Ferries to Catalina Island depart from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach, and Dana Point. High-speed options take as little as an hour.
Are you craving some desert landscape? Do you relish experiences that border on extraterrestrial? If you answered yes to either of these questions, Joshua Tree National Park is a destination you have to visit. Fire up that old U2 album, pack a backpack for warm days and cool nights, and head due east. Eventually, the lush landscape around you will give way to a desert canvas strewn with, you guessed it, Joshua Trees.
Once you arrive at the park, marvel at the scenery around you. If you’re so inclined, get your photography or rock climbing skills on. The only way to sleep in the park itself is to camp. But if you don’t want to rough it, there are comfortable lodging options in nearby Joshua Tree Village and Twentynine Palms.
Malibu Canyon Hills
Scarcely developed, the hills over Malibu Canyon are an ideal retreat. Inspiring views of the Pacific are punctuated by equally stunning views of the Santa Monica mountains. Seclusion is easy to find, and you have no choice but to relax. Just a 15-minute drive from AMLI Warner Center, you can camp in the hills over Malibu Canyon and return to your apartment’s comforts in no time.
Want to go wine tasting, have a spa treatment, or visit an art gallery? Start planning your Ojai retreat. Thirty minutes from AMLI Spanish Hills, this Ventura County gem is a place people return to time after time. You can unplug, unwind, and live the good life for a couple of days before returning to the demands and responsibilities of your day-to-day life.
It’s possible to spend an entire weekend in Ojai without working up a sweat. If you have a tendency to be restless, however, you can go for a hike, run, horseback adventure, tennis match, or kayak ride. Ojai is also home to a number of festivals, so if you have a strong interest in food, wine, music, film, or other arts, check out the Visitors Bureau calendar and time your visit so it coincides with a festival that interests you.
Everyone needs to fall off the grid and revel in natural splendor from time to time. There may be something to the glamorous appeal that life in Southern California has to people all over the world, but it’s still beneficial to disconnect and recharge your batteries. These breathtaking Southern California retreat destinations make doing so easy.
When you escape your apartment for a relaxing weekend getaway, where do you go?
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