Four Weekend Getaways Near San Diego

Catalina Avalon Casino

The weekend is coming up and you want to get outta of dodge! But you don’t want to spend the better part of the day driving over mountains or sitting in traffic all the way to LA.

Where can you go from San Diego in less than a tank of gas, and still feel like you went on a vacation? From Temecula to Catalina and Dana Point, fill up that tank, pack your carry-on bags, and getaway to one of these four nearby destinations that will surely transport you away from reality for a weekend.


No need to get on a plane to Napa Valley to go wine tasting. Temecula is located about 65 miles north of downtown San Diego, and has made a name for itself as Southern California’s Wine Country.

South Coast Winery

There are about 40 wineries nestled in the rolling hills of Temecula Valley. You can take guided or self guided tours. If you don’t want to drive while visiting the wineries, there are several transportation services available.

Alejandro and Suzette Temecula Vinyard

We stayed at the Temecula Creek Inn for a weekend a few years ago, and it was quite pleasant and comfortable. After a short drive to a couple of wineries each day, we had dinner in the quaint Old-West inspired town of Temecula.


If you’re up for a little more adventure, then drive up from San Diego to Dana Point, CA and catch the Catalina Express to Catalina Island. You’ll be there in about two hours and change.

This fabled island is still popular with SoCal residents. There are tours that take you around the island where you can still see bison roaming in the protected area of Catalina. Other tours feature the homes of some of Catalina’s more illustrious residents like the chewing gum king’s home, the Wrigley Mansion.

Catalina View from Wrigley Mansion

We’ve stayed at the Avalon Hotel and the Hotel Metropole. Both properties are right off the boardwalk and near restaurants, shopping, and the Avalon Casino.


You may have caught photos of us during the Catalina Island Film Festival in 2014.

CFF William H. Macy and Suzette Valle

CFF William H. Macy and Suzette Valle

This star-studded event brings some of the best talent in Hollywood to experience the charm of this relaxing island escape!

Dana Point

If you don’t want to jump on a boat, then head to the Monarch Beach Resort. As of June 1, 2016, the former St. Regis Resort’s name changed to Monarch Beach Resort.  This Five Diamond and stunning property underwent a $40 million renovation by KSL Capital Partners, and will be managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

From San Diego, a quick hour + drive up the 5 Freeway is all it takes to be in one of Southern California’s premier resorts. With five dinning options, a spa, and never-ending ocean views, this is the getaway of all getaways!


We visited the Monarch Beach Resort/St. Regis a few years ago and felt we were in the lap of luxury then!

St. Regis Dana Point

One evening, during our summer weekend trip there, we took a spontaneous 20 minute drive up to see The Festival of The Arts Pageant of the Masters in nearby Laguna Beach. So worth it!

Artists held this pose for the tableau vivant of Edward Eyth's Olympic Spirit

Artists held this pose for the tableau vivant of Edward Eyth’s Olympic Spirit

Dining at Mastros Ocean Club in Newport Beach is almost required. It’s a culinary masterpiece!

Mastros New Port

Mastros New Port

Laguna Niguel

The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel offers guests the perfect balance of old-world charm and elegance with casual beachfront living. This compact property packs a punch with a cozy beach just below the bluff, six restaurants, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

We took our children on a family trip and just loved the peaceful feeling all around us. Listening to the waves crashing as we overlooked the ocean beneath our balcony was soothing and relaxing.

A spa, an Eco-Adventure Center, and a host of activities available close by, make this seven-mile stretch of scenic coastline the perfect weekend getaway!

What are you  waiting for? Head to any of these four places this summer for a quick and rejuvenating mini-vacation.













  1. Samantha says:

    Such a beautiful place! Definitely on my travel wishlist. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    xoxo, Sam |

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