[Photo:San Ysidro Ranch]

San Diego is an amazing city to live in, with its own host of attractions and fun things to do, including beaches, whale watching tours, the famous Zoo and Sea World. If you are looking for something new outside of the city, there are many great destinations just a short drive away. From scenic mountain spots, wine tasting and family resorts, there is something for every taste and budget. You can plan a romantic trip to one of the inns overlooking the dramatic Californian coastline or check into a five star spa resort where you will get pampered in a luxurious setting.

San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara

 

If you are looking for a secluded weekend getaway with luxury service and beautiful guest accommodations, spend your weekend at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, Southern California. For those celebrating a honeymoon or a special occasion, you can't go wrong with this historic hideaway where John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned after they tied the knot in 1953.

Book the hand-carved stone cottage named after the Kennedy family which features two master suites with fireplaces, two luxurious bathrooms and a cozy living room with a third fireplace. Classic French doors lead to a spacious deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The upper deck has a large raised hot tub where you can relax with a view. The resort has just 41 cottages set on 500 acres of land which means plenty of privacy for their guests. Take romantic walks through the manicured gardens or go hiking in the vast area surrounding the hotel. Each cottage is individually decorated and features a hot tub, deck and outdoor rain shower. Spend your weekend taking romantic walks, enjoying great views and sampling mouthwatering cuisine. Nightly rates at the ranch start at $785.

The Oaks at Ojai

 

The Oaks at Ojai is a destination health spa, offering a holistic approach to wellness. The resort offers an all inclusive program of fitness activities and spa cuisine. Guests may participate in as many activities as they wish, many of which are suitable for all fitness levels. Delicious cuisine is prepared for guests, including three meals, snacks and beverages that incorporate natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings and soup. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs from the resort gardens.

The scenic Ojai valley is home to a community of artists. It's a beautiful area for exploring the outdoors and spending your weekend surrounded by nature. The property often offers special events, such as yoga & meditation retreats, mother-daughter events and music festivals. Packages at the Oaks at Ojai start at $240 per person per night with a 2-night minimum stay. The rate includes meals, fitness classes, evening seminars, wifi, parking and tax and service.

Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

 

An innovative hideaway that merges contemporary design with classic mid-century style, Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills offers guests a stylish home-away-from-home experience that embraces Southern California's relaxed lifestyle. If you are looking for a weekend getaway that combines shopping, style and relaxation by the pool, check into the Avalon.

The focal point of the hotel is a stylish pool terrace with private cabanas. There are several different room types, including Classic Rooms, Premium King Rooms, Studio Penthouses, One-Bedroom Suites, and Canon Villa Residences. Rooms feature custom-designed furnishings including pieces by such notable designers as George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Charles Eames. Guestrooms feature high-speed Internet access, Italian designer linens and in-room spa treatments. Enjoy outdoor dining or order 24-hour room service. Located at the crossroads of Beverly Hills' shopping district and an intimate residential neighborhood, the property is also near many Southern California attractions. The Sunset Strip, Santa Monica beaches, and Los Angeles International Airport are a short drive away (310-277-5221, website).

The Parker Palm Springs in Southern California

 

Every couple needs to get away once in a while for a romantic weekend of relaxation and bonding. The Parker Palm Springs is a stylish getaway in Southern California, offering spacious suites, patio rooms and estate rooms. For a touch of history, book the Gene Autry Residence who used to live there. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence has a private enclosed patio, a large living area, dining space, terrace and kitchen. You'll also be just steps away from the resort pool.

The property has a spa where you can book a couples massage and relax in a calm setting. The spa offers a selection of body treatments, facials, scrubs, wraps and packages. Work out at the Psyc fitness center which has a yoga studio offering complementary group weekend classes and private lessons. Rates start at $159 per night (760-770-5000 , website). Click here for more ideas from Los Angeles.

Fairmont Newport

 

Plan a relaxing spa vacation to the Fairmont Newport Beach. The hotel's day spa has been selected as one of Southern California's best Day Spas by Allure and LA Times. The spa will welcome you with plush robes, slippers and soothing ambiance. Amadeus Spa and Salon has 8,000 square feet of space, 8 treatment rooms, and offers an array of relaxing treatments. Before and after your treatment, relax next to the hotel's outdoor pool which offers yellow-colored cabanas providing shade. There are 440 renovated luxury guest rooms and suites, many with scenic ocean views. There is a diverse selection of suites, including One Bedroom, Executive, Junior Suite to Vice Presidential and Presidential. Rooms at the Fairmont Newport start at $220. VacationIdea.com Tip: Remember to check for packages.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

 

If you are looking for unique trips from San Diego, Estancia La Jolla is a stylish hotel with a full-service spa, heated outdoor pool and landscaped gardens just 20 minutes from the city. The Spa will leave you pampered and refreshed. Choose from treatments such as massages, facials, Vichy and Swiss Showers, body treatments, aromatherapy and reflexology. For ultimate indulgence, book your massage in one of the private outdoor garden suites. After the treatment, relax by the pool. It's easy to stay active, surrounded by miles of hiking and biking trails in the area. You can also join one of the daily fitness classes at the hotel, such as sunrise yoga, guided hikes and circuit training.

The property offers organized activities for kids, teens and families year-round. Camp and Craft programs, movie nights, surfing and trail adventures can be enjoyed by the whole family. Visit nearby beaches, play golf on championship courses in the area, visit a museum, and go shopping. There are 210 guest rooms and suites furnished with a reading chair, leather ottoman and a work desk with internet access. Guest amenities include Italian linens and comforters, robes and slippers, and 24-hour room service. Restaurants and bars serve Southern California cuisine that incorporates fresh local produce. Spa packages start at $329 per night for two, depending on the season (877-4-ESTANCIA, website).

The Hilton San Diego

 

If you are looking for a quick getaway with a sandy beach and family-friendly facilities, visit the Hilton San Diego. The hotel is located just six miles from the airport on Mission Bay. Enjoy newly renovated guest rooms and a 18-acre park with beautiful gardens, lawns and sandy beaches. Each guest room has a large balcony or patio and a 42 inch television with in-room movies.

There is a sandy beach, outdoor swimming pool and activities for kids. You can also go biking, play basketball and work out at the resort gym. Spa Brezza offers a menu of international healing treatments and services, incorporating cross-cultural rituals from Indonesia, Thailand and India. The 7,500 square foot facility features 9 treatment rooms, boutique, full hair and nail salon, private men's and women's locker rooms with steam and shower, an indoor/outdoor meditation relaxation lounge and a private outdoor sundeck on the roof. In addition to relaxing at the spa, vacationers can play tennis, wakeboard, sail, swim in the pool and taking a bike ride along the boardwalk of Mission Bay. Room rates start at $220 per night (619-276-4010, website).

Hotel Maya in Long Beach

 

Hotel Maya - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Long Beach, California, is a vibrant getaway with a waterfront restaurant. Guest accommodations feature balconies and patios with bay or skyline views. You will get a chocolate-chip cookie at check-in. The design of the building draws its inspiration from ancient Mayan pyramids. Relax next to the heated outdoor pool and whirlpool. Rent one of the oceanview cabanas for extra relaxation. Each guest room has a view of the bay or the gardens. Ask for a room with a private balcony to enjoy the outdoors. Accommodations are equipped with a 37-inch HD TV, free internet access, and soothing aromatherapy products in the bathrooms. The property is located next to the Queen Mary and Carnival Cruise Line terminal and within minutes of downtown, the Convention Center, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. The hotel is located on the complimentary shuttle line to downtown Long Beach, giving you easy access to many things to see and do in the area.

Fuego is a waterfront restaurant and bar where guests can dine with a view of the ocean. The property offers waterfront event space for almost any size meeting, wedding or special event. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific which houses over 500 different species of animals, including pet sharks and stingrays at Shark Lagoon. There are also seals, sea lions, otters, an earth-friendly garden and several permanent exhibits which are fun to visit with kids. The retired ocean liner Queen Mary is a major attraction in the harbor. You can go whale watching or visit the Disneyland Park, a short drive away. If you are planning a business meeting, the hotel has six flexible meeting spaces with ocean views. Facilities include high-quality AV equipment, onsite tech-support staff and a complimentary Business Center. The hotel is pet-friendly. Room rates start at $159 per night (562-435-7676, website).

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

 

It's not an easy task to get a AAA Five Diamond Award (just 125 hotels in the world hold this honor), but to keep it for 10 years is an even bigger challenge. The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California has been awarded this honor for the 10th year in a row. The hotel is located in the elegant La Jolla neighborhood and overlooks the Torrey Pines Golf Course (the lodge is located along the 18th fairway). It offers 170 luxury guest rooms and suites with Pacific Ocean views. The spa is a popular weekend getaway on the West Coast, offering an extensive menu of treatments and products from the European lines of Phytomer.

The famous golf course has hosted the PGA Tour championship since 1968, with rounds split between its North Course and South Course (the South Course always hosts the final round). Room rates start at $400 per night (858-453-4420, website).

The Grand Del Mar in San Diego

 

Whether you are looking for a quick trip, an idea for a proposal, or a family reunion, The Grand Del Mar in San Diego is a unique place to visit. The resort offers championship golf, a luxury spa and four swimming pools, ideal for lounging in the sun and relaxing Southern California-style. The spa has a relaxation pool with a jacuzzi and outdoor dining. Choose from an extensive menu of treatments that incorporate a custom organic product line found only at this resort. Try a rejuvenating facial, detoxing mineral mud wrap or a soothing stone massage.

Spa guests receive many complimentary amenities, including free fitness classes, adults-only Relaxation Pool, saunas, snacks & teas and plush relaxation lounges with fireplaces. Guest rooms measure at least 550 feet in size, giving you plenty of space for lounging and in-room dining. For the ultimate indulgence, book one of the 31 luxury suites with a view, or a luxury villa. VacationIdea.com Tip: look for packages to save on your trip. The "3rd Night Complimentary" package starts at $495 per night and gives you the 3rd night free. The "Grand Escape" starts at $525 per night and includes a $50 Credit per day for use in The Spa, Golf Club or six dining venues. Rooms at start at $395/night (858-314-2000, website).

More Great Trips from San Diego

San Diego is an amazing city to live in, with its own host of attractions and fun things to do, including beaches, whale watching tours, the famous Zoo and Sea World. If you are looking for something new a bit out of the city, there are many great destinations just a short drive away.

Ojai

Ojai is one of the most famous artist communities in Southern California, about 3.5 hours from the city. Stay at the luxury Ojai Valley Inn and Spa or at The Oaks at Ojai. Enjoy massages, delicious cuisine and calm ambiance. Stroll through the town, visit Bart's Books and stylish boutiques.

Idyllwild

Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains is a 2-hour drive from the city. Perfect for outdoor adventure lovers, the area overs over 50 scenic hiking trails and great rock climbing spots. There are several inns and cabins in the area where you can spend your trip surrounded by nature. The town has a choice of restaurants, including Chinese, Mexican and casual cafes.

Los Angeles

Just 2 hours away, downtown Los Angeles is a fun destination for couples who want to do some sightseeing, shopping and shows. There are many great hotels to choose fromwhich often offer discounted rates on weekends. Spend your savings at the designer boutiques in Beverly Hills.

Pasadena

Pasadena, a 2-hour drive, is home to the Rose Bowl flea market, art galleries, museums and botanical gardens. The city hosts the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, a tradition that started in 1890.

Hearst Castle

The 250,000-acre estate featuring Hearst Castle is a 6-hour drive from the city. Take a guided tour of the castle gardens, pools, libraries and other attractions.

Phoenix, Arizona

The full-service resorts in Phoenix are a 5-hour drive from San Diego, offering vacationers great spas, golf and sparkling pools. Stay at the Arizona Biltmore which features Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture and an outdoor movie screen which you can watch from the pool.

Big Bear

Big Bear Mountain Resorts offers hiking and paddleboarding in the lake in the summer, and great skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Visit the rescue facility for wildlife that lives on the mountains and enjoy the quiet nature. Big Bear is a 3-hour drive from San Diego.

Great Weekend Packages

  • Girlfriend Getaway in Ojai Includes Lunch and a Massage: Escape to the charming town of Ojai in Southern California with the Gals Spa Getaway at the Ojai Valley Inn. The offer includes Lunch One 50-minute massage, and a One Welcome Spa Amenity per guest. Spend your trip relaxing at the spa, hiking, playing golf and exploring Ojai town which is home to many art galleries, shops and restaurants. If your travel plans are flexible, take a look at the Midweek Escape rates which are lower than on weekends. The Midweek Escape package includes a $50 nightly resort credit, Two spa day passes and a free room upgrade.
  • 4th Night Free Luxury Deal in San Francisco from $1,350: Enjoy spectacular views and five star service at the luxury Mandarin Oriental San Francisco with one of these packages and deals. The "Suite Temptations" special features rates from $1,350 per night and includes: free fourth night, breakfast daily, A special VIP amenity and A spa credit of USD $50. "Five Star" offer starts at $1,425 per night and includes: 1 hour and 50 minute couples' massage, and 2 free drinks. The "Perfect Pair" package is great for families who plan to book two rooms. It includes: 2 rooms with 1,000 square feet of space when combined.
  • Beverly Hills Shopping Spree from $695: Visit the famous shops in Los Angeles with this great package at the Montage Beverly Hills. The "Shopping Spree" special starts at $695 and includes: breakfast, shopping with a fashion preview, gift and house car. If you want to relax with massages on your trip, ask about the "Relax & Revive" special which starts at $595 per night and includes: Daily $100 Spa credit, breakfast and upgrade. Guests with children can ask about the "Family Escape" offer, starting at $571 per night which includes: half a day of Paintbox for two kids ($140 savings), Children under 12 eat free, breakfast for two adults, and a gift for kids.
  • Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tasting: Book a stay at the Wine Valley Inn and ask for "The Grape Escape" offer which includes a free tasting for two at the beautiful Bridlewood Estate Winery. You get to bring one of their fabulous bottles home! Stay two nights, and you get 2 bottles, stay three nights and you get 3 bottles etc. Nightly Rates start at $94.
  • La Jolla: Grande Colonial in La Jolla is offering a number of great packages. The Free Suite Upgrade special lets you book luxury accommodations with rates starting at just $219 per night. "Stay Three Nights for the Price of Two" is another great option for those who can get away for at least three nights. Rates start at $570 for all 3 nights. It's a Suite Deal gives vacationers the following luxury perks: A $50 food credit, valet parking, free in-room refreshments (garden rooms) and free Domestic telephone calls. The San Diego Bed and Breakfast Package is one of the most popular and includes daily Breakfast for Two

Spas

Check into one of these spas for a day or two of pampering and relaxation The spa at The Grand Del Mar Resort is one of the top wellness centers in the U.S., with its own line of organic products and an extensive menu of treatments.

Spa Tiki in the East Tower of the Harbor Club in downtown San Diego features treatments and rituals of ancient island cultures. The Fijian Stone Ritual (2 hours, $195) is utterly relaxing. There is a private elevator and complimentary valet parking (spatiki.com). Fiji Stone Ritual (2 hours, $195) includes a full body massage with a warm palm stone and Fijian coconut oil. But first you are allowed to relax on top of heated beach stones. The full body massage is followed by a hydrating Coconut Sugar Body Glow exfoliation. The treatment concludes with a relaxing Coconut Cream and Frangipani flower bath by candlelight. The spa is open on Sunday from 10am to 5pm; Monday 9am – 5pm; Tuesday & Saturday 9am – 6pm; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am – 7pm. For more information and reservations, call 619-231-4363.

Beauty Kliniek Aromatherapy (pamperyou.com) offers a comprehensive list of services ranging from therapeutic treatments to pure indulgences. Try the Seaweed Body Pack (50 minutes, $95) to stimulate metabolism and cleanse your body.