As 2020 gives way to 2021 and, mercifully, Covid-19 vaccines appear to be on the horizon, getting away from home and traveling may well be on more and more people’s optimistic radar. It’s important still, though, to err on the side of caution, of course. And that’s why – wherever you’re going, but especially in a big, expansive and extremely beautiful state like California – road trips are a very good idea to maintain social-distancing as much as possible.
So then, what road tips are tops in the Golden State…?
Joshua Tree National Park
Distance from L.A.: 100 miles
Space is king here, that’s for sure – so, to say this national park’s ideal for social-distancing is putting it mildly. It’s also a haven for rock climbers sampling hotels in California open, what with its numerous, awesome climbing and bouldering sites.
Moreover, hikers’ll be very much at home here, thanks to the terrific trails offered by the likes of Hidden Valley, Barker Dam and the usually crowd-less 49 Palms Oasis trail. A word to the wise, though, even in our pandemic-afflicted times and despite all its space, Joshua Tree can get busy, so use your head and take appropriate safety measures when and wherever necessary.
Sequoia National Park
Distance from L.A.: 200 miles
Serving up spectacular and majestic views is what Sequoia National Park’s all about. Driving through this awe-inspiring natural habitat is just the tonic to get you over those ‘2020 blues’; the Giant Forest with all its kingly trees is a sight to behold – and you don’t even have to leave your car (if you don’t want to)! For something even more impressive, though, get yourself a permit and head to Kings Canyon for some simply stunning glacial lakes.
Big Sur/ Monterey
Distance from San Francisco: 145 miles/ 120 miles
Great destinations for a weekend road trip if you’re taking advantage of a Goodnite Inn promo code at one of our San Francisco hotels, Big Sur and Monterey are wonderful coastal venues, whatever the time of year. Offering everything from the cascading tumult of McWay Falls to Monterey’s dog-friendly beaches and those of neighboring Carmel (where Clint Eastwood was once mayor – fact of the day!), these two cities are the stuff of true Californian paradise – not least when you hire a bike for a sublimely scenic ride along the coast.
Distance from L.A.: 70 miles
Blessed with some blissful scenery, Ventura’s a fine destination for a drive along the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, should you have made L.A. your vacation base. Actually, given its proximity to the City of Angels, it’s also ideal if you’re driving *to* L.A. – it’s easy to take in the place and still make it to your hotel for Good Nite Inn check in time.
Don’t miss experiencing all of Ventura’s charming old-fashioned boutiques and eateries. Although, if you are looking to mill about in town and, to an extent, mix with the locals, do check what’s open and when and be sure, of course, to abide by their safety procedures.
Distance from San Diego/ L.A.: 35 miles/ 90 miles
Finally, ideal for a stop for those who can’t resist that traditional Californian drive between San Diego and L.A. (perhaps having stayed at one of the Seaworld hotels San Diego), the surfer town of Carlsbad is unmissable for those after an ocean get-away from it all in these uncertain, unsettling times.
Mind you, this city’s not just about hitting the waves. Its Aqua Hedionda Lagoon’s a must-visit, especially for those to whom stand-up paddle-boarding sounds appealing. Moreover, there’s many a marvelous hiking trail to try, with the area’s lagoons and wildflowers making for a stunning backdrop to an idyllic Californian experience. Enjoy!