North & South: 6 of California’s Hidden Spring Break Gems

California boasts nearly 1,000 miles of beautiful western coastline ranging from rocky and rugged to picturesque, palm laden and sandy. Bordered on the east by the San Gabriel Mountain range, southern desert and northern forests, there is a wide range of regional differences in the Golden State. So this spring break, take the family for a week, your friends for a weekend, or yourself for a day to get away and explore some of California’s hidden gems.

We’ve picked out three beautiful, relaxing, exciting and interesting locations in Northern and Southern California that are sure to give you some R&R this spring.

Northern California
Wine Country – Sonoma & Napa Valley
For a grown up weekend away with your S.O. or a weekend with your closest friends, head to Sonoma and Napa counties. Taste local wines, take a hot air balloon over acres of beautiful vineyards (or zip-line over them at some wineries!), see a concert at the many amphitheaters and concert venues, or visit Mount St. Helena.

Pioneer Towns – Coloma Gold Rush
Looking for something off the beaten track to get to your California roots? Visit Coloma, California. Pan for gold, participate in “Living History Day” exhibits, tour old mines, horseback ride through the hills like James Marshall and John Sutter. Besides getting in touch with the natural beauty that this regions offers, you and your family can learn the history behind one of the biggest Western Hemisphere movements in America.

Visit this picturesque seaside town for delicious restaurants, phenomenal coastal views, and visit their undersea neighbors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Along the coast you’ll see sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters. Check out Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, Fisherman’s Wharf, and enjoy a day trip along the winding road to Big Sur.

Southern California

Joshua Tree
Camp under the stars, hike among towering cacti, horseback ride through canyons and rock climb to your heart’s content. Joshua Tree National Park’s spring weather sits comfortably in the high 70s and low 80s, dropping to the mid 40s at night–perfect for a campfire and marshmallows!

Catalina Island
Some 20 miles off the coast of Orange County lies the small island getaway of Santa Catalina Island. Previously owned by Mr. Wrigley, the island boasts two towns–Avalon and Two Harbors. Dine at great seaside restaurants and chat with locals, watch a movie or dance the night away at the Casino ballroom and theatre (no gambling here!), snorkel and scuba dive off any number of coves, waterski, fish, or visit the Botanical Gardens overlooking the town of Avalon. Accessible by ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach and Dana Point, private boat or private plane.

Palm Springs
Go play in the desert playground of luxury. Concerts under the desert night sky, golfing at a number of highly acclaimed courses, a night at a casino, or relaxing by the pool are all on the docket for this desert oasis. On the way you’ll see wind turbines turning through the canyon breezes, and even meet some Dinosaurs on the side of the road!

Whether you’re looking for a day trip, a weekend trip or a whole week away from work and school, California has a variety of things to do, places to go and experiences to enjoy. What are your favorite spring break memories and where are your favorite places to visit in California?

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