7 Labor Day Weekend Destinations in California that Won't Be Packed
As summer comes to a close, we have one last chance to soak up the sunshine and take in those long lazy days before we start to set our sights on fall. I don't know about you guys, but the thought of the three-day weekend traffic in LA has me wondering, "Where can I go to avoid the gridlock?"
We've put together a list of less crowded, yet truly amazing places to book a last minute trip for a holiday weekend if you're looking to take advantage of the time off, but don't want to deal with throngs of people.
1. Carlsbad - While most of the San Diego area - namely La Jolla, Downtown SD, Del Mar, and Coronado will likely be busy, Carlsbad is a less tourist-centric option that has a great little downtown area and stunning beaches that won't be filled with wasted college kids. It's also an ideal option if you have little ones as it's located right near Legoland! The Hilton Garden Inn is steps away from the beach and has rooms available for $249/night.
2. Lake Shasta - This off-the-beaten-path gem is home to one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the country - Burney Falls - called the "eighth wonder of the world" by Teddy Roosevelt. Shasta Lake has also seen over 61 inches of rain this year, which has made for a full lake with 370 miles of shoreline. You're sure to find a spot of your own that won't be impacted with tourists. Stay in a cozy cabin right on the lake via Tsasdi Resort or grab 3 other couples and rent a house boat for a weekend of fun!
3. Ventura - While Santa Barbara hotels are booking at $350+ per night for the weekend, Ventura has a similar beach-town vibe and nightlife without the hefty price tag. Though not as picturesque as SB, Ventura is sure to be less crowded and more affordable. Our top pick for hotels is the Cliff House Inn by the ocean. It has a great view, reasonably priced, and a unique B&B feel that's cool and casual (read: not stuffy).
4. Big Bear - If you're kind of over bathing suit season, but still want to enjoy the long weekend, then Big Bear is the place for you! While the daytime temps are perfect 70-73 degrees, the evenings are cool enough to warrant a sweater and maybe even some boots! Take in the sweet smell of pine as you hike one of Big Bears many trails in the day, sip hot cider while you stroll through town at night, and enjoy the fresh mountain air all weekend long! For your stay, we recommend the Holiday Inn Lodge. It's centrally located right in town and has comfortable rustic cottage rooms, some of the suites even have fireplaces - talk about a romantic weekend!
5. Monterey - If you're willing to brave the 101 freeway to get there, Monterey is a quaint little town with enough to see and do for a 2-3 day vacation and less foot traffic then you'll get in other beach towns. Pebble beach is one of the more private beaches - you have to pay to drive down the path to access the beach - with plenty of space to picnic on the sand if you wish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is packed with colorful sealife exhibits and shows to keep you entertained for an afternoon, and there's some spectacular wineries in the area as well!
6. Palm Springs - Take a page from the Rat Pack playbook and stay in the old Hollywood playground for the weekend. This desert oasis is not as busy as you'd think for the holiday as most people flock to the beaches instead. As long as you don't mind the 100+ temps, Palm Springs has plenty to offer between the pool parties at Hard Rock and Ace Hotel, boutiques, art galleries and museums, there's plenty to do all weekend long!
7. Ojai - With several adorable inns, spas, art galleries and more, you're sure to find sanctuary in this small yet artsy town. The sunsets here are something out of a dreamworld and the orchard lined streets make perfect paths for bike-riding. It's a great spot if you're looking for a relaxed, unique weekend!