If you live in Southern California and want to get away to somewhere awesome this Thanksgiving weekend, BUT you don't want the crowds of the top 5 busiest travel destinations, I have 5 others that you'll absolutely love!
5. Ojai - the sleepiest choice on the list, but if you want peace and relaxation, this is the place. Get a massage, take a nature walk and bring a book! You can also enjoy the artistic flair, quaint boutiques and tasty restaurants in the Downtown area. About 2:20 from Laguna Beach.
4. Julian - I hesitate to mention it, because we in the know want to keep it a secret, but it's a great spot for the whole family. Bring your elastic-band pants and an appetite for sweets - fresh pies, delicious apple cider (regular for the little ones and hard cider for the grown-ups!), a fabulous candy store and so much more. You can even pan for gold! About 2 hours from Laguna Beach.
3. Catalina Island - Take a cruise on Catalina Express (free on your birthday) or Catalina Flyer. Temperatures are still nice this time of year, but bring a jacket! Try the new zipline eco tour, rent bikes or a golf cart and tour the island, check out the sealife in a glassbottom boat or see wildlife up close. Don't forget to grab some saltwater taffy before heading home. About an hour and a half ride across the ocean from Dana Point.
2. Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead - Don't wait for ski and snowboarding season! Go now! Take in the gorgeous fall colors and crisp, clean air. Go fishing in the lake, mountain biking, hiking. You can even take a scenic sky chair at Snow Summit. My favorite part? Playing board games in a cabin, drinking hot cocoa and wearing my UGG boots! About 2 hours from Laguna Beach.
1. Palm Springs/Palm Desert/La Quinta - When you're not laying out at the pool and soaking up the sun, you can take the Aerial Tramway up the mountain for a major weather and scenery change, explore the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and enjoy plenty of live entertainment. If you're brave, you can visit the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, but pack your patience. WARNING!!! I highly recommend coming home first thing Sunday morning to avoid HOURS of stopped traffic. About 2 hours away from Laguna Beach.
Don't forget to ask about off-season discounts; you could save some serious cash!
Whatever you do, wherever you go, be happy and be safe!!!