Summer is finally here! You've packed up the car and are ready to head out on a great adventure, but you may find yourself wondering exactly where to go. North, South, the beach, the mountains...? The questions are endless. Don't worry though - California has everything (and more) that you'd want for the best summer vacation! Below you'll find 25 amazing California road trip destinations as well as some fun places to stop along the way to add to your list.
It’s very easy to live an eat-drink-and-be-merry lifestyle in the west coast, particularly in California, where craft breweries are abundant. In fact, with the amount of establishments that serve delicious brews of various flavors, it makes total sense to make a road trip out of it with your very own California brewery tour!
21st Amendment Brewery, San FranciscoAs one of the most diverse and interesting cities in the country, San Francisco is home to a myriad of brew pubs to visit for the first time. One of the most essential stops a beer tourist must hit to begin an enjoyable beer expedition is 21st Amendment, conveniently located downtown. Among the variety of beers they have on tap, the most popular one of their year-round brews is the Brew Free! Or Die IPA, a hoppy golden IPA that surprises you with an initial kick but goes down real smooth. Saison fans might like to try out the Sneak Attack, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale and 21st Amendment’s version of a winter beer that’s only available till end of March. Upcoming Event: Homebrew day in the BG! Visit 21st Amendment on March 16, 2014 (Sunday) between 12nn and 4pm and hang out at the beer garden to learn about the establishment’s brewing method.
Lagunitas Brewing Company, PetalumaOnce you’re done trying out the brews and sampling 21st Amendment’s delectable lunch menu, you can get on Highway 101 and head to your next stop, another one of California’s pride and joys when it comes to great beer. Lagunitas is well known in the craft beer circuits for its IPA, more than anything else – it’s the number one IPA in the state of California for a reason. With a perfect balance of malt and hops, this beer’s tried-and-true combination of sweet and bitter definitely deserves seconds (or thirds). Upcoming Events: Daily tours of the brewery that require no reservations, hell yeah! Beer Dinner! On March 18, 2014 (Tuesday), the company’s head chef will be creating a series of coursed meals designed to complement a variety of Lagunitas brews. Enjoy a night of good food, great beer, and live music and buy tickets here.
RussianRiver Brewing Company, Santa RosaContinue up Highway 101 until you hit Santa Rosa, where the microbrewery responsible for Pliny the Elder – a popular double IPA that’s best enjoyed fresh – gets a regular onslaught of beer tourists every year. Russian River has a long list of brews – super-hoppy California ales, Belgian ales, and barrel aged beers, among others – for you to try, so getting them all via sampler (along with a meatball sandwich or a pizza, which they also serve) is highly recommended. Upcoming Event: Anniversary Party! Celebrate Russian River Brewing Company’s tenth anniversary on April 5, 2014 (Saturday) from 8pm to 11:30pm by coming for an evening of entertainment and some aged brews from the pub’s cellar.
BearRepublic Brewing Co., HealdsburgIf you’re approaching the limits of your beer-tastin’ capabilities, then make Healdsburg your last stop and visit Bear Republic, medal recipient at the recently concluded 2014 Good Food Awards held in San Francisco, California. Its award-winning brew Café Racer 15 double IPA is a must-try for its bold, aggressive, and hoppy aromas that ends with dry, malty smoothness. This brewery also has a long list of brews and all of them are high on the hops, so be sure to bring your booze-drinkin’ A-game and end your brewery tour on a high note with one of their selections. Upcoming Events: Beer tours are every Saturday at 10am, by appointment only. Weekday Happy Hours at 3pm St. Patty’s Day! Come to the Bear Republic Brewpub on March 17, 2014 (Monday) and enjoy a specially crafted menu that includes succulent corned beef simmered in the brewery’s own Big Bear Black Stout.
Aside from getting some sun on your face, some sand between your toes, and the seas to splash happily in, you can make your trip to the golden state worthwhile by getting some shopping in. And while you’re getting a cardio workout hopping from one shop to another, a great time and money saver is checking out the numerous outlet malls in California. Don’t knock it till you try it – shopping in outlet stores doesn’t mean you have to go into messy warehouses to peruse defective or damaged products and settle for cheap-price-for-cheap-quality goods. Outlet malls these days are exactly like your usual retail malls, minus the fancy-schmancy décor and hoity-toity ambiance. If you’re a seasoned and serious shopper who’s on a mission to find more bang for your buck, these outlet malls are crammed with stores you can check out:For people with a heightened appreciation for designer fashion, bargains from brands like Armani, Coach, Kenneth Cole, and Ralph Lauren may be too hard to pass up. Sporty adventurous types will just love checking out last season’s athletic shoes from shops like Nike, New Balance, Puma, Reebok, and Saucony. Boasting a total of 160 stores, this outlet mall located North of Los Angeles is a popular stopover for out-of-town road trippers and locals alike. Looking for something to give your mom? Get her classic pieces to wear from Ann Taylor, shoes from Aldo, a handbag from Kate Spade, or lotions and fragrances from L’Occitane. Check out Bose and give your dad the gift of home gadgetry. Is your gal-pal beauty conscious? Get her a goodie bag of assorted cosmetics and skin care products from Clarins or Crabtree & Evelyn. Whoever it is that you’re shopping for, there’s a little bit of something for everybody in this outlet mall comprised of over 130 stores located within the Los Angeles area. If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, this outlet mall located South of San Jose is one of the more popular outlet malls to hit – you’ve got over 140 stores to choose from. Go nuts and hoard your favorite scented products at Bath & Body Works for both yourself and your friends. Binge-shop for baby’s clothes at Carter’s, OshKosh B’gosh, Gymboree, and The Children’s Place and never come empty-handed to baby showers, birthdays, and baptisms. And for the teen girls in your life, you can get cute outfits from shops like Juicy Couture, Justice, Rue21, and Wet Seal – you’ll surely be a hit! San Diego is a major surf city and home of the very first triathlon held in the country, making it the ideal destination for athletic adventure-lovers. So of course, if there’s anything you should shop for in this outlet mall, it would be tons and tons of sports apparel and accessories! Go to Adidas for their latest discounts on footwear. Head to O’Neill or PacSun for your surf apparel. If you need sunglasses, there are at least 5 stores you can check out for that. Out of over 125 stores, you can rest assured that you will come out of your shopping spree decked in your sporty best.
What is there to do in Yosemite National Park? The question is, what isn't there to do? With it's breathtaking scenery and abundance of outdoor activities year round, once you visit Yosemite you will wonder why you don't make it a regular trip. Whether you're from out of the state, or live a few hours away, it is more than worth it to take a trek to this protected land for almost 1,200 miles of play room. Check out the Sequoias nestled in the valleys, the wildlife prancing around the meadows, hike up a a few majestic waterfalls, camp before backpacking to Half Dome, or climb El Capitan if you have the guts. But one thing is for sure, do not miss out on taking in this beautiful display of nature at least once in your life!
If you are a college student looking for a good time, Spring Break in California is one of the best places to go! Warm sun, sand, water, and tons of other students ready to get their party on in their bikinis will be littering the beaches. Get ready for some beach volleyball, surfing, or whatever your heart desires. How much better could it get? Some of the best beaches to visit for the perfect Spring Break parties:
Street performers, shopping, drum circles, endless food opportunities, and Muscle Beach. Venice is something that anybody in California should experience at least once in their lifetime. With a year-round party atmosphere, Venice would not disappoint for the Spring Breaker.
Can you say beach volleyball? With tons of courts, grass for picnics, and Ruby's on the pier, Huntington Beach is the perfect place for a college student to catch some rays during the day and go out to the bars at night.
Like to SUP? Enjoy relaxing and watching the boats go by? Newport beach is the perfect place for you. Balboa Island offers the perfect backdrop with fun old time games and rides, and stores for shopping.
Enjoy Santa Monica's amazing expanse of beautiful sandy beaches, then play around on their iconic pier and get some lunch and go shopping up on the street level.
If you enjoy the LA vibe, the perfect place to get your surf on is at Manhattan Beach!
Perfectly located near all of the most fun San Diego attractions, Pacific Beach always draws a young and fun crowd ready to have a good time during Spring Break.
If you are looking for an insane party scene where drinks are abundant and music is blasting, make your way over to Lake Havasu. Especially during Spring Break, this is the place to go to get some sun while meeting a ton of new people and letting loose!