Okay, so summer is over, you’re back to the daily grind, and all you can think about is your next vacation. Only there’s one problem … you already used up your vacation days (and your budget) on summer travel. Sound familiar?
Enter the autumn weekender — In my opinion, fall is one of the best times a year to do a weekend road trip. Whether it’s with your girls or significant other, the most you’ll need is a Friday off and if you’re lucky, you don’t even need to get on a plane. No matter where you live in the country, with a short online search, you’re likely to find a magical place you can get to by just spending three to five hours on the road. And when you fire up those playlists or podcasts, the journey becomes half of the fun!
Now, 48 hours doesn’t seem like a lot, and it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of your few days away. After my many years of successfully road trippin’, I find the three most important components of a successful weekender are:
Always think about who you are going to take with you. An old friend who makes you laugh hard? Your significant other? Perhaps a new group of friends you’re getting to know? Whomever you land on, make sure it’s company you want to spend quality time with and that feeds your soul. Nothing is worse than awkward silence on a long road trip. I actually prefer traveling with someone where silence isn’t awkward. You don’t have to be chatting the entire time to have a blast. The point is, make sure you love spending time with your travel buddies!
2. Change of Scenery
What’s the point of going away if you don’t have a change of scenery? With only a couple of days to spare, you still want to feel like you ‘got outta town’. I find the best way to do that is to venture to a place that is different from your usual surroundings. Live in the mountains? Perhaps try heading to a desert town or towards the ocean if you can get to it. Maybe you’re like me and live near the water — I try and drive anywhere wooded and mountain-like whenever I get a weekend away. We are pretty lucky in America; finding either a lake, river, ocean, creek, pond, national park, desert, mountain (you get the idea) often isn’t too far away. If you live in nature normally, flip the script and drive to a city for a fun urban weekend!
3. Unique Accommodations
Your heart may say, “It’s only TWO NIGHTS! Splurge!” However, your bank account says the opposite. Have no fear — Refurbished hotels are becoming a new trend to take advantage of throughout California, and for all of you out of staters, listen up! You can take advantage of these places too. If you’re heading to California for a limited amount of time, don’t limit yourself to just the touristy locations (and prices!). Think outside of the box, and consider taking a weekend road trip after landing at LAX or SFO. And if you can’t make it to California, I recommend researching your area for places like the below examples in your home state. It’ll be a trip you can afford and accommodations you won’t soon forget.
3 Great California Hotels to Check Out:
Ojai Rancho Inn
(Image via http://ojairanchoinn.com/)
Poolside wine out of a can … Surprisingly good!
Rooms at this chic redone hotel are rustic, wood paneled and will make you feel like you’re in a log cabin! Many rooms have private jacuzzis, kitchenettes and fireplaces. For only $120/night you can take advantage of the communal fire pit, free bikes, and beautiful outdoor surroundings. There’s a bar/social club onsite, incredibly friendly staff, and being only 2 hours away, it’s the perfect getaway from LA! Every time I visit this place I love it more and more. It has such a fun vibe, including pool-side teepees and wine served out of a can (which was actually delish!). It also has great people watching, and if you hit the right weekend, live music (complete with people dancing under the stars)! Bonus: They allow pets!
The Surfrider Malibu
(Image via http://www.thesurfridermalibu.com/)
For me, Malibu is only a 30-minute drive away, but once you are there, this beach city can make you feel like you are miles away and on vacation. The Surfrider Inn just opened this past Labor Day, and is a restored version of the 1950s Surfrider Beach Club. It’s decor is light and airy, and each room comes with a balcony and a hammock. As a guest you have access to the roof deck with a fire pit and unobstructed views of Surfrider beach. It’s the perfect quaint beach experience without having to break the bank. Rooms can start at $250/night and since space is limited, you’ll want to book soon!
(Image via http://www.phoenixsf.com/)
One of my favorite jaunts up the coast is to San Francisco, and to the awesome and restored Hotel Phoenix. Covered in rock n’ roll history, this place is located at the intersection of some of the most iconic music venues of the city — and the decor totally reflects that. Starting at just $150/night, you can take advantage of poolside yoga, the onsite restaurant and bar, and of course, you are in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The musical history feels like it’s seeping through the walls of this place, and the energy of the city is right outside your door! They even offer guided tours of San Fran’s rock n’ roll history.
Alright, it’s time to start booking! There’s still plenty of weekends left before the holidays start to escape for a couple of days, and feel just refreshed enough to come back to your responsibilities on Monday. You can split the hotel and gas between you and your travel buddy, and all you need is a little spending money for an unforgettable trip. And don’t forget my recipe: great companionship, a change of scenery and unique accommodations!
Let us know some of the cool places you’ve gone on a fall road trip by tagging #TheSweetLife! We’re always looking for new adventures!
The Sweet Life By Brittany + Cynthia Daniel