Weekend Roadtrip
January 25, 2016 9:56 AM   Subscribe

You want to take a weekend off...where should you go?

Say you and a few of your coworkers want to escape for a weekend in early March (first or second weekend). You're traveling out of LA and will either take Friday off or leave work early, and will come back on Sunday. It'd probably be nice to keep budget under $400/person, this weekend is more about exploring and seeing beautiful sights/nature than staying in fancy hotels or spas (will probably look at staying in budget options). The destinations being thrown around so far are::

1) Point Lobos/Monterey/Carmel--most interested in exploring Point Lobos, almost everyone has already been to the aquarium.

2) Yosemite/Mono Lake/Devil's Postpile/Mammoth-- definitely not expecting to stay anywhere in Yosemite given the spontaneous nature of the trip, yosemite would be more of a daytrip. Not sure if certain roads might still be closed in early March.

3) San Diego/La Jolla--beautiful coastline, good food, zoo??

4) Joshua Tree/Palm springs--relaxation, rocks to climb on, beautiful stars

5) Death Valley--Wild flowers blooming by early march?

6) ___?????____option that hasn't been considered

The main goal is to go out and see more of California/nature. It'd be nice to get some good photography in, too...notably some astrophotography. One person has some physical limitations and can do easy hikes, but no long strenuous hikes. Aside from one person in your group (me) most everyone has not been to these places.

Which of these options would you choose and why? Or which options would you drop and why? Help narrowing the field would be good, organizing the logistics has to happen fairly soon.
posted by sprezzy to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That is a beautiful, beautiful time of year to go to Joshua Tree. Just gorgeous. A few years back I was there with a friend with a broken leg, and we found a few hikes (walks, really) that were on totally flat land or paved paths. One is near the Visitor Center -- it has a name like "Oasis Trail" or something like that.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:18 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Easy, San Luis Obispo, with a side trip to Hearst Castle.

The drive is spectacular, you can do some driving up 1 into Big Sur.

Stay at the Madonna Inn.

If you take 101 up, you can connect to 1 via State Road 84, and check out the ACTUAL Hidden Valley Ranch!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:18 AM on January 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

Last time I took a road trip, I picked four destinations, one each north, south, east and west. I wrote them down and literally picked the winner out of a hat.
posted by easily confused at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would go to San Luis Obispo and take a day to visit the elephant seals. And wine tasting in Edna Valley.

(Point Lobos is fantastic but a much longer drive. San Luis has lovely coast too, a nice compromise.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:30 AM on January 25, 2016

I've done all of these trips from LA and though I love the upper part of Big Sur and Yosemite, both are probably a little too much time in the car for a single weekend, I think. I love Joshua Tree that time of year. And the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, though it's more of a single day trip. Maybe could combine with Sequoia. There are so many great places to explore in California, you should make it an ongoing series...
posted by three_red_balloons at 11:48 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely Joshua Tree/Palm Springs - March 9 is a new moon so the sky will be great for stargazing; Jupiter should be particularly visible around March 8 ("Jupiter at Opposition"). The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs is affordable, fun, and has good food. Seconding Sequoia/Kings Canyon for a future trip - I'd maybe go a bit later in the year, since it will still be quite chilly (and possibly snowy) in early March.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:21 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also chiming in to recommend the trip up the coast to SLO, Hearst Castle, and Big Sur through to Carmel.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:40 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Joshua Tree.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:28 PM on January 25, 2016

The high-elevation roads in and around Yosemite will almost certainly be closed (especially 120, which would get you from the Mammoth side of the Sierras into the park). I was there at the very end of March last year. The southern roads were opening the following weekend, and all the park staff commented on it being the earliest road opening they could remember. Last year was a no-snow year. This year is not. And 120 was still going to be a couple more weeks.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:15 PM on January 25, 2016

« Older WTF is up with this maddening lamp?   |   Ow, she bit me! What'd you expect fairies to do? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.