Great places to take a summer road trip in California

by Christopher Kim

With the pandemic starting to wind down and ample time still left in the summer, there’s plenty of opportunities to make the most of the last month of summer. Everyone is eager to go on some kind of vacation at the moment, and what better way than to have a little getaway in sunny California. Here are five awesome vacation locations to check out right now.

1. Monterey Bay

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There’s plenty to do at this coastal vacation hotspot located on the central coast. From the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium to the scenic 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach to the delicious food at the Old Fisherman’s Wharf, you simply can’t miss out on the countless activities at Monterey Bay. From personal experience, one thing everyone should definitely consider trying is the whale watching. While a typical whale watching trip ends in disappointment with not a single whale in sight, you are guaranteed to spot not one but possibly hundreds of humpback whales migrating through Monterey during the summer months. It is an enlightening, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Solvang

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The Danish-style village located in the Santa Ynez Valley is perfect for a day of shopping for authentic Danish gifts, discovering tasty foods at the many bakeries and restaurants, or simply just strolling around the several Danish-themed edifices. The month of September, when “Solvang Danish Days” takes place, is an especially great time to visit. During this signature event, you get to experience parades of people dressed in traditional Danish outfits riding horse-drawn wagons, Viking re-enactments, lots of beer and wine, and for younger people, stories told by a re-enacted Hans Christian Anderson!

3. Yosemite

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Care for a real nature-oriented summer vacation? Yosemite National Park is the perfect spot to engage in various outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. There are many majestic sites to check out in Yosemite, like Half Dome Rock, the Merced River and Glacier Point. For true dare-devils and adventure-seekers, you can challenge yourself to climb the famous El Capitan formation. You may even recall the professional rock climber, Alex Honnold, free-climbing the El Capitan, not even using a rope in his daring challenge.

4. San Diego

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The list of possible activities to do in San Diego is endless. Though there are attractions for all age groups, specifically younger individuals will find much to do here. A few critical things to do are to explore the world-famous San Diego Zoo, visit the many beautiful beaches including the La Jolla Cove, and stay at the Welk Resort (a great getaway location for families or maybe even a group of friends). Overall, there’s something for everyone of all ages to enjoy when visiting San Diego.

5. Los Angeles

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For those of us living in Los Angeles, myself included, this might sound like an odd place to take a vacation over the summer. But sometimes, what better way is there to spend our summer vacation than having a staycation and exploring our own city of angels? There’s plenty to do in Los Angeles, from having a fun day at Universal Studios to shopping all day at The Grove. Learn about the prehistoric era of our city at the La Brea Tarpits or marvel at the view of the whole city from the Griffith Observatory. Indulge yourself in the wide variety of cuisine LA has to offer, from Korean to Japanese to Mexican. There is plenty that LA offers to tourists and residents alike.


There are many other places in California not on this short list of go-to vacation spots. Let us know in the comments some other places you would recommend as the perfect summer vacation spots in California.

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