In half of the country, it’s still winter. So, for those of us still waiting for the warm weather to come around, start planning a trip to get out to sunny Southern California, where a day without sunshine is like peanut butter without jelly. Let Thousand Trails be your home base for your SoCal adventures!
San Diego, CA
Widely known as “America’s Finest City” for its abundance of white sandy beaches and agreeable weather, San Diego is the perfect place for a day trip! Pio Pico RV Resort and Campground is about a 35 minute drive west to the heart of San Diego. If you head out early in the morning, you’ll get a full morning’s worth of history and activity by checking out the USS Midway Museum. This maritime museum is aboard one of the longest serving Naval aircraft carriers of the 20th century. Admission allows visitors to tour over 60 different exhibits of this “city at sea,” plus a self-guided audio tour, flight simulators, interactive exhibits, and more! Plan to spend about 3 to 4 hours here, there’s so much you’ll want to see.
After all that time at sea, you might find yourself suffering from a bit of cabin fever. To cure your fever, take a walk down Harbor Drive to visit the “Unconditional Surrender” statue. This statue is a giant replication of the famous soldier kissing a nurse image, and many couples visit the statue to replicate the image in a photograph for themselves. Originally, the statue was only supposed to be a temporary fixture along the San Diego Harbor, but it became a permanent statue after the citizens of San Diego fought to keep it there. Also, be sure to check out Torrey Pines State Park, a classic San Diego destination for taking an afternoon hike. Or hang out on the soft, sandy beaches of La Jolla Cove. If you happen to start your day at La Jolla Cove, you’ll likely catch the sea otters sunbathing on the beaches.
Palm Springs, CA
Imagine a beautiful green oasis in the middle of a desert. That’s the gist of Palm Springs, CA! We know you’ll never get tired of hanging out at the Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort, the golf courses, hiking trails, and facilities are hard to beat. But, when you do want to venture out, the town of Palm Springs is a very enjoyable place to spend the day.
Ever been so intrigued by the seemingly endless amount of wind turbines that greet you at the entrance of Coachella Valley? Well, now you can actually learn what they are all about by taking a Windmill Tour. On this tour, you’ll learn all about the history of wind energy in the US, and have the opportunity to get up close to the wind turbines to see and feel how powerful they can be. The tour guides are there to answer many of your questions, and it seems there’s nothing you can’t ask about wind turbines that they won’t know the answer to! The tour will take approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. Afterwards, head over to the Parker Palm Springs, a kitschy, cute hotel that is home to the outdoor restaurant, Norma’s. This restaurant has chic 1960s decor and offers views of the Palm Springs desert and palm trees.
Before heading back to Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort, try stopping into the Palm Springs Art Museum. Exhibiting both modern and contemporary art from American artists, donations to the museum usually come from the collections of affluent Palm Springs residents. The museum also has two outdoor sculpture gardens, and inside it’s always a very comfortable 75 degrees, a nice respite from the often brutal desert weather. Bonus! The museum offers free admission on Thursdays from 4- 8pm.
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara offers a plethora of outdoor activities to help residents and visitors stay active. With over 300 days of sun each year, popular daily activities for residents include running, hiking, biking, and active walking. There’s no doubt it’s one of the healthiest places you’ll ever visit – restaurants in the area are even known for featuring a ton of vegetarian options. Nicknamed “The American Riviera” for a climate similar to the Mediterranean with striking coastal views, Santa Barbara is an ideal location for a day trip.
If you’re staying at Rancho Oso RV Campground, take a 26.2 mile drive to Lotusland. This incredible 37 acre botanical garden was created by former socialite, musician and artist, Madame Ganna Walksa. What was originally intended to be a space for Tibetan monks to congregate (the monks never showed up), turned into an opportunity for Walksa to put her design skills to work. So, she created Lotusland, an incredible garden where you can view giant and exotic desert plants. Take a two-hour guided tour or explore the garden on your own.
Wind down in the evening at Santa Barbara Winery before heading back to Rancho Oso RV Campground. This spacious winery, with both indoor and outdoor areas to explore, is one of the Santa Barbara’s finest. Established in 1962, the winery offers two wine tastings, and occasional olive oil tastings, food pairings and cooking classes. This particular winery also offers spaces to hold events, and a food menu so you can soak up all the wine you’re tasting. Be sure to take a bottle or two home for yourself!
Where do you like to hang out in Southern California? Tell us in the comments!