Debi spent a week in Southern California for a Travel Agency retreat and added a few more nights to check out more resorts. I love SoCal, where sun-kissed beaches, vibrant culture, delicious and fresh food, and luxurious resorts await. Whether traveling with your family, as a couple, or with friends, there is something for everyone here.
We enjoyed beautiful weather – September and October are some of the best months to visit, but Southern California is pretty temperate year-round. I could not get enough of watching the sunsets and sunrises – and the full moon made the view and ocean tides even more dramatic.
Start your adventures by visiting the iconic Southern California beaches such as Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, or Laguna Beach. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, or taking a leisurely stroll along the picturesque coastline. Each beach and town has unique vibes, so you can definitely beach-hop and not get bored. For instance, Newport has great shopping and a long boardwalk for beach-watching and people-watching. Laguna is known for being an artistic haven and having good hiking options and a beautiful walkable and swimmable beach.
Theme Park Magic
If you’re traveling with your family or friends, don’t miss out on the theme parks. Whether you’ve been to Disneyland many times or it’s your first visit, it always feels nostalgic yet fresh. My son had such great memories of going to Disneyland every few years as a kid that he decided to propose to his girlfriend there and start making new Disney memories with her.
Southern California boasts countless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a hike through the stunning trails of Joshua Tree National Park, rent bikes and cruise along the boardwalk in Santa Monica, or surf in Malibu and catch some waves. In Laguna, I stayed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach which has an executive golf course and hosted two beautiful weddings while we were there. We went for a great hike through the neighborhood and up the trail at Laguna Beach. The views were stunning!
With 87 Michelin-starred restaurants in California, it’s easy to find a wonderful restaurant to fit your preferences. We enjoyed daily seafood from caviar and sushi to sea bass and shellfish. I also had some great Mexican food. With long growing seasons, SoCal can offer many farm-to-table experiences. I spent a few nights at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, where they have their own farm with fruits, vegetables, flowers, and chickens.
Nestled on the picturesque Newport Coast, Pelican Hill offers a luxurious retreat with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Families can enjoy spacious accommodations, a dedicated kids’ club, and various poolside activities, including a “tranquility pool.” The lively Coliseum Pool is one of the largest circular pools in the world. Couples can indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, romantic dinners overlooking the ocean, and rounds of golf at the renowned Pelican Hill Golf Club (two 18-hole courses). They have very large hotel rooms and a variety of multi-bedroom villas. Pelican Hill embraces “La Dolce Vita” and you’ll notice Italian touches throughout the resort.
A coastal haven in Dana Point, the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach caters to all travelers. The resort recently completed a full renovation of all the suites and penthouses. It offers over 40 complementary fitness classes each week including aerial yoga and sound meditations. Families can take advantage of the beach activities at the private Beach Club like surf lessons or tide pool explorations, spend time together at the family-friendly pool, and give the parents a little break while the kids play in the exciting Kids’ Club. Couples can unwind at the adult quiet pool and in the 30,000 square feet world-class spa, play golf on the nearby 18-hole Monarch Beach Golf Links, use the resort e-bikes to explore the property, or simply relax on the pristine beach. The food (including the Michael Mina restaurant Bourbon Steak), room quality, views, and service are top-notch.
If you are looking for an easy getaway for a long weekend or an extended stay in Southern California, let me know, and I’d love to help match you to the right resort and secure extra perks and amenities for you! Several of the resorts still have rooms and multi-bedroom suites available for the upcoming holidays.