Get Out of Town: Where You Can Safely Travel for the Weekend

With stay-at-home orders lifted and outdoor dining once again given the green light, many in Southern California are ready to emerge from the confines of home. However, with state guidelines mandating that residents stay within 120 miles of home, traveling still has its limitations—and not every hotel is ready to reopen at the drop of a hat. Here, your guide for where you can safely travel for the near future.

La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, La Quinta

Property: Set against the backdrop of the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains and celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2021, the property is the longest-running resort in the Palm Springs desert region. Its 45 acres include 617 guest rooms, 161 villas, and 41 swimming pools, plus championship-caliber golf and tennis facilities and programs, award-winning dining, and a variety of boutiques and shops.

Currently open: Outdoor dining at Adobe Grill and Twenty6; pick-up and to-go coffee, pastries, beer, wine, spirits, and more at The Marketplace; golf, tennis, and pickleball.

Nearby: Hike in Joshua Tree National Park; hit the links at the nearby PGA West; shop the upscale boutiques in Indian Wells and Palm Desert. 

Why now: With temperatures down, winter and spring are ideal times to visit anyway, but La Quinta is also offering a $75 daily resort credit via its “Sweeten Your Stay” booking package.

Pricing: From $245 

Guest rooms at La Quinta all open to the outdoors.

The private pool at the 1,970-square-foot King Hacienda Grande Suite.

San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara

Property: The grounds feature 500 verdant acres with just 41 intimate bungalow-style cottages offering a variety of views and locations throughout the lush hillside gardens and along the winding San Ysidro Creek. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the property rests above the marine layer, offering an enticing microclimate that is pleasurable year-round, even when the region’s beach resorts are battling fog and gloom. The grounds feature 400-year-old olive trees; fields of lavender; and rosemary, wild roses, and vines of night-blooming jasmine, all canopied by eucalyptus and sycamore trees. Guests are encouraged to pick from the lemon and orange trees on property to bring citrus home with them.  

Currently open: The year-round heated swimming pool, putting green, and croquet lawn, access to 17 miles of hiking trails, private wine tastings, and biking around town. The resort’s restaurants are also open for outdoor dining. 

Nearby: The area is prime for wine tasting. Folded Hills Winery offers an array of unique experiences, while Crown Point features some of the best Bordeaux-style blend and Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the area. Horseback ride on the beach (or ridgelines of mountains behind the property); take a sunset sailing ride; or golf at the nearby Sandpiper golf course. On Sundays, find a souvenir to take home from the Art Walk along Cabrillo Blvd.  

Why now: Privacy, social-distancing-friendly grounds, and a tranquil environment are the perfect reprieve after months of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Plus, the resort is offering complimentary in-room dining for the month of February.

Pricing: From $1,295 (no parking or resort fees).

San Ysidro Ranch features 500 acres of lush grounds, including an expansive vegetable garden.

The uber-private, two-bedroom Ty Warner Suite, which includes its own pool.

Malibu Beach Inn

Property: The 47-room boutique hotel is nestled on Billionaire’s Beach, on an iconic piece of Malibu coastline. The one-bedroom suite, which offers floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and comes with a private dual balcony with ocean views, feels as though you’re staying on a yacht. The hotel’s restaurant, Carbon Beach Club, sits directly on Carbon Beach overlooking the waves and wildlife of the Pacific Ocean and features menu items inspired by the Pacific and Mediterranean coasts. 

To do: Book the Private Dining Suite package, which features a stay in the oceanfront junior suite and a customized, four-course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings. 

Around town: The best part about Malibu is the outdoors. Hike any of the local trails; rent kayaks from the nearby outfitter; walk to Nobu for dinner.

Why now: Winter and spring in Malibu are romantic and quiet. Even on a rainy day, watching the waves crash and hearing thunder strike while cozied up in bed with room service feels like a dream. Plus, during February, guests can stay for three nights for the cost of two. 

Pricing: From $525 

The resort is just steps from the iconic Malibu Pier.

Rooms carry a cozy/beachy feel.

Skyview, Los Alamos

Property: Nestled within Santa Ynez wine country, Skyview’s five acres host 33 boutique hotel rooms overlooking vineyards. Many offer private decks featuring outdoor showers and firepits overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley. A central garden space leads to separate entrances for each accommodation. The hotel also includes a working vineyard, gardens, and an original 1950s-era pool.

To do: A full-service bar and restaurant—Norman—serves local wines, herb-infused cocktails, and farm-fresh fare outdoors with nods to the country roots of Los Alamos. Wine at Norman is locally driven, with a boutique collection of 50 bottles curated to highlight Santa Rita Hills and Old World varietals. Additionally, the property’s two-acre, on-site vineyard produces the house rosé.

Several communal spaces throughout the property offer guests a place to gather, while Linus bikes are a nostalgic way to explore the downtown area of Los Alamos and surrounding wineries. Guests can gather around firepits in the central garden area, shop the lobby boutique, and lounge by the pool overlooking the iconic “Motel” sign.

Around town: Outdoor dining at farm-to-table restaurants, wine tasting at local wineries, and art galleries offer a lot to explore. A 1920s gas station houses a boulangerie (Bob’s Well Bread) producing loaves on par with Paris bakeries. Farm-to-table restaurant Bell’s is helmed by Daily Bell, named one of the “Best New Chefs” for 2020 by Food & Wine. The town’s former General Store is now home to PICO, a delicious farm-to-table restaurant that draws travelers from up and down the coast for its inventive food and wine pairings. 

Why now: The landscape! This time of year, you’ll experience fewer crowds and the rolling hills are blanketed in green—a breath of fresh air from city life.

Pricing: From $199

Skyview’s 33 rooms overlook a vineyard.

The grounds include a working vineyard, swimming pool, and multiple options for enjoying the outdoors.

Montage Laguna Beach 

Property: The acclaimed luxury brand’s flagship property is set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific in the heart of the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, offering 30 acres of oceanfront luxury. While each of the 258 guest rooms, suites, and villas is well-appointed, those seeking extra privacy will rejoice in the Founder’s Suite, an extra-spacious two-bedroom suite offering dramatic and unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean, fully equipped gourmet kitchen, two marble bathrooms with deep-soak tubs, sliding doors with extra-large patio and lawn area access, and more.

To do: Outdoor dining at The Loft and Mosaic Bar & Grille will resume February 3 along with Spa Montage, which will offer select treatments (massages, facials, and nail services) indoors. On-site, guests can enjoy the Mosaic Pool, a delight in any weather.

Around town: Laguna Beach is home to a plethora of art galleries and charming boutiques. Guests can also explore the spectacular tide pools and marine life—from the deep, secluded pools at Thousand Steps to the easily accessible rock shelf at Crescent Bay; hike one of the more than 40 trails at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park; or indulge in a shopping spree at the nearby South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island.

Why now: We all need a change of scenery. Throughout the month of February, the resort is offering a Romantic Getaway package, complete with accommodations in an oceanfront guest room, evening amenity of sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petal turndown, $100 dining credit for dinner or breakfast in bed, and complimentary upgrade at check-in (based on availability). Guests also have the option to book Montage Academy, a back-to-school program that enables families to work and learn remotely during this time through an array of services, from an all-day monitored study hall and 24/7 access to tutors through, a service of The Princeton Review, to art and history electives and daily stretching breaks.

Pricing: From $895

The Montage Laguna Beach rests on 30 oceanfront acres.

Among the property’s current offerings is a Romantic Getaway package, which includes sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petal turndown, and a $100 dining credit for dinner or breakfast in bed.