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The Top 10: West Coast Weekend Getaways

From otherworldly natural landscapes to bustling big cities and relaxing spa resorts to beachfront escapes, there are plenty of ways to make a quick escape on America’s West Coast. Here are a few of our favorite places for an easy West Coast trip right now.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized weekend getaway.

Palm Springs 

This desert oasis has been a beloved getaway since Hollywood’s golden years, and today it remains the perfect all-season escape.

Where to stay: Options include the adults-only L’Horizon Resort and Spa, a 1952 hotel that was transformed into a premiere luxury hideaway; the hip and low-key Arrive, with a youthful ambience and deep connection to the cool zeitgeist of the modern Coachella Valley; and the Colony Palms Hotel, a bohemian boutique hotel with Moroccan-inspired décor.

What to do: Visit Sunnylands, the 200-acre estate of philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Guided tours are the only way to enter the historic house (reserve in advance), but no tickets are necessary to explore the Impressionism-inspired gardens.

Where to eat: The bustling Birba is a go-to for an al fresco meal, thanks to its large outdoor patio. Head here for top-notch pizza, homemade pasta and Thursday night live music.

Getting there: Palm Springs is about a two-hour drive from L.A. (without traffic) and a 1.5-hour flight from San Francisco.

Sedona

Arizona’s preeminent wellness destination remains a favorite for its relaxed New Age-y vibe, art scene, stunning nature and world-class spa resorts. 

Where to stay: One of the 16 casitas at Mii amo spa, which come equipped with soaking tubs, heated floors, fireplaces and a private patio or balcony. 

What to do: All-inclusive stays at Mii amo come with credits for daily spa treatments, all manner of fitness classes and activities like stargazing, guided meditation and Full Moon ceremonies.

Where to eat: You don’t have to venture far for a meal at Tii Gavo at Enchantment Resort, where you can sample Southwestern-inspired dishes at a table with views of the surrounding red rocks.

Getting there: Sedona is two hours by car from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and 45 minutes from the regional airport in Flagstaff. 

Related: Top 10 Fall Weekend Getaways

Jackson Hole

The laid-back resort town, tucked into Wyoming’s national park system and surrounded by thousands of acres of protected land, has some of America’s most stunning landscapes, which draw dare-devil skiers in the winter and nature enthusiasts in the summer.

Where to stay: Caldera House, in Jackson’s Teton Village, offers prime access to the tram leading to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s slopes. The impeccably designed boutique property has eight suites, with either two bedrooms (1,500 square feet) or four bedrooms (5,000 square feet).

What to do: Guests of Caldera House can take advantage of custom adventures, such as fly-fishing excursions and Yellowstone wildlife safaris in the fall and summer or a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the National Elk Refuge when winter sets in.

Where to eat: The trattoria Glorietta, located in the Anvil Hotel, for Italian favorites such as cacio e pepe and eggplant parmesan, plus a craft cocktail menu by New York’s Death & Co.

Getting there: Fly to Jackson Hole Airport (it’s two hours from San Francisco and only 1.5 hours from Denver).

Napa Valley

California’s preeminent wine region is an iconic getaway—a place where days are spent visiting wineries, biking the winding roads and savoring incredible food.

Where to stay: The current talk of the town is the Four Seasons Napa Valley, in Calistoga, which will welcome its first guests in early 2020. Expect spacious rooms with fireplaces and vineyard views, an on-site winery and two pools (one for families). The sprawling Meadowood feels like a family-friendly country estate with low-key aristocratic charm and several outdoorsy activities, while Auberge du Soleil offers a relaxing romantic escape that is the essence of rustic luxury.

What to do: Taste the fruit of the vine, of course. Some of our favorite vineyards include Calistoga’s historic Schramsberg Vineyards (known for its sparkling wines), Quintessa in St. Helena (which makes organic, biodynamic vintages) and the 100 percent solar-powered Frog’s Leap.

Where to eat: The innovative tasting menu at the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood spotlights the bounty of California.

Getting there: The easiest route is to fly to San Francisco and then drive the 70 or so miles to Calistoga. 

Denver

The Colorado capital gets more than 300 annual days of sunshine—and with buzzy restaurants and plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors, it’s more than just a place to fly through on your way to the slopes.  

Where to stay: The new 50-room Ramble Hotel in the River North Art District (RiNo, for short), where guests can sip cocktails at the on-site outpost of New York’s beloved drinking den Death & Co.

What to do: Catch a concert a bit outside of town at the open-air Red Rocks Amphitheatre, so named for the rock formations that surround it. Nothing you want to see? It’s still worth a trip for the great hiking trails in Red Rocks Park.  

Where to eat: Beckon, a chef’s counter with just 17 seats that serves a pre-paid, prix-fixe dinner just four nights a week. Everything from the floral arrangements to the dishware is designed by local artisans.

Getting there: Flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix are all under 2.5 hours.

Related: A Long Weekend in Denver

Montecito, California

A-Listers like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres own homes in this community about five miles from Santa Barbara—and now there’s a stunning new place to spend the night.

Where to stay: Rosewood has outdone itself with its latest property, the 161-room oceanfront Rosewood Miramar Beach. Set on 16 acres sandwiched between the beach and the mountains, it has a scallop-shaped pool with cabanas, seven restaurants and a Goop-branded boutique.

What to do: Check out Lotusland, a 37-acre estate where the late opera star Madame Ganna Walska created her own personal (and eccentric) Eden. Advanced reservations for tours are a must.

Where to eat: Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery is a favorite for breakfast, thanks to fresh-baked pastries, delicious challah French toast and classic egg dishes.

Getting there: It takes about two hours by car from Los Angeles, and flights from San Francisco to Santa Barbara are a little more than an hour.

Albuquerque

New Mexico’s largest city is rich in history—from the Old Town, established in 1706 by the colonizing Spaniards, to the shops and museums celebrating Native American culture.

Where to stay: The 118-room Hotel Chaco, whose design by the renowned firm Gensler was inspired by nearby Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its extensive collection of pre-Columbian ruins. Local materials such as sandstone were used, and works by Native American artisans decorate the property.

What to do: Visit Petroglyph National Monument, where you can observe more than 25,000 rock carvings dating as far back as 2,000 B.C.E. And if you’re there in October, don’t miss the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to see the sky teeming with colorful hot-air balloons.

Where to eat: Make a reservation for dinner at the recently renovated Los Poblanos, an inn and organic farm located on land first inhabited by Pueblo Indians in the 1300s. The restaurant Campo is field-to-fork at its finest, featuring ingredients grown on-site.

Getting there: Albuquerque is a quick and easy flight from major West Coast cities. 

Wanship, Utah

Park City is a gateway to weekend-worthy getaways, including Deer Valley and this scenic small town with big natural beauty (and a lodge that shows it off well).

Where to stay: Auberge’s Lodge at Blue Sky, set on a 3,500-acre private ranch, opened to much fanfare in summer 2019 and offers hiking, horseback riding and fly-fishing in the warmer months, as well as snowshoeing and heli-skiing come winter.

What to do: Park City Mountain Resort is a 30-minute ride away (and has a special lounge for Blue Sky guests). Depending on the season, there’s mountain biking, scenic gondola rides and, of course, epic skiing. And spirit drinkers should tour High West Distillery, which makes small-batch rye and bourbon.    

Where to eat: Settle in for lunch or dinner at Twisted Fern in Park City, where the chef works magic on local ingredients in dishes like Utah elk with broccolini-potato hash and black garlic vinaigrette.

Getting there: The closest airport is Salt Lake International Airport. From there, it’s about 45 minutes by car to reach the lodge.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Mexico’s popular beach getaway is earning a new place in the spotlight thanks to a wave of luxury resorts and a locavore dining scene.  

Where to stay: The Four Seasons Los Cabos opens in fall 2019 as part of the Costa Palmas complex and offers the ultimate luxury experience with no shortage of amenities, such as a swimmable beach (a rarity in Cabo), four pools, a sprawling fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, a golf course and several restaurants, including an outpost of Estiatorio Milos. Instagrammers, meanwhile, will be captivated by the Viceroy‘s sleek, larger-than-life design.

What to do: Water activities abound, including whale-watching (from December to April), snorkeling and boat rides to the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, a rock formation that emerges from the water where the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California meet.

Where to eat: Cocina del Mar at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort recently debuted a new design and menu featuring ingredients from the Sea of Cortez and nearby farms.

Getting there: Fly to Los Cabos International Airport.

Related: Cabo’s Best New Hotels and Restaurants

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island is rich enough as a region to entertain you for a week, but also makes a superb destination as a long weekend. Its beaches and rainforest trails are great for kids, while its sheer remoteness makes it unbelievably romantic.

Where to stay:The area is home to two refined wilderness lodges: the secluded, family-run Nimmo Bay Resort promises a remote and extremely private retreat with only nine cabins, while Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a tented camp offering a unique wilderness experience with sublime food and service in an unforgettable setting.

What to do: Adventures range from bear-viewing and whale-watching to guided kayaking and boat tours of the Broughton Archipelago.

Getting there: To reach Nimmo Bay, visitors fly to Vancouver, take a one-hour flight to Port Hardy, and then a seaplane or helicopter to the resort (half-hour charter flight). Clayoquot has set guest arrival dates of Thursdays and Sundays and schedules an afternoon sea plane to collect incoming guests from Vancouver Airport. The flight is about an hour and is a gorgeous aerial introduction to the region.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized weekend getaway.

– Brooke Katz on September 11, 2019

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