I was born in California, live and California and will probably never leave it, aside from vacations. I think that makes me a bonafide Californian to my core. I love this state and the older I get the more I appreciate all it has to offer—from the desert to the beach. Throughout my thirty-something years I’ve logged some serious miles from San Diego to Napa and can quickly name off my top weekend getaways. This summer has been all about those mini escapes so I wanted to share our favorites, and a few things not to miss. 

1. Ojai. The easiest escape from our home base, Santa Barbara (a quick 40 min). It’s small enough for a day trip but the longer you can stay the more relaxed you’ll leave. There’s something incredibly peaceful about the tiny little town that makes you feel far removed from the hustle and bustle—key to getting that R&R. I live for pasta at Nicciola, the hot weather and the spa at Ojai Valley Inn. You can check out our latest visit here and a list of ten things not to miss here.

2. Lake Tahoe. That Americana vibe gets me every time. The landscape, blue water and idyllic summer feeling is enough to fill my cup any weekend. Last summer we spent a whole week there and I’ll never forget waking up, sitting on the patio and admiring that sparkling lake with a cup of coffee in my hand. It’s literally on my to-do list to plan our next getaway here.

3. Santa Ynez. Just over the hill above Santa Barbara is a mini version of Napa. We have family here so it’s a frequent day trip for us and every time I leave obsessing over the idea of living on a ranch some day. It’s full of amazing wineries, good food and rancher vibes. Be lazy, drink some wine and take in the view—my kind of speed. Some favorites to check out—Alisal Ranch, Folded Hills, Refugio Ranch and SY Kitchen.

4. Palm Springs + Palm Desert. I’ve been weekend-ing here since I was Elin’s age (2, maybe minus a little) so this destination actually feels like home. I love hopping from pool to pool (my favorites here), cooling off with a cold (probably spiked) beverage and sitting outside in that nighttime heat—there really isn’t anything better than that. Renting a house is always a good idea here, but if room service is your jam these are my two favorites—La Quinta Resort & Club or The Parker.

5. Napa. I mean you can’t go wrong with wine, cheese and luxury hotels? I caught the Napa bug last year when we went to Solage Calistoga—easily one of my favorites. In a nutshell, it’s pure romance. From the food and wine to the weather and landscape, it can easily change up your speed in an instant. And even though its 6+ hours in the car for us, the reward at the end is 100% worth it. More of my favorite spots here.

Photo by Arna.