2015 Weekend Getaways Contest

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2015 Getaway Contest prizes will be awarded by Reader editors, but to help break any “ties,” so to speak, you can use the thumbs-up icon (next to the title in each article) to show love for contest winners. Winning articles will be published here over the next six weeks, and we’ll award prizes after all articles have been published.

Check “Gather No Moss” in print for Getaway Contest winners starting 4/9.

Weekend Getaways submissions

Escape the Go: Fiesta Island

You don't have to go far to travel, Mission Bay reveals.

We didn’t have anything like this in Chicago. We didn’t have a jutting piece of terrain you could drive out on, pull your car off the road wherever you felt like it, and set up ...

Baja zen: Guadalupe Canyon's oasis

Hidden palm oasis and hot-springs camping 4 hours southeast.

It's midafternoon, and the hot sun beats down on a remote desert road laying before me. I'm deep in the Mexican desert, thinking of shinrin-yoku. Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese practice of "forest bathing" to enhance ...

Wining & dining through Santa Ynez Valley

Winery-hopping, foodie draws, and Solvang's charming kitsch.

You want to go wine tasting. You’re craving somewhere one notch up from Temecula, but closer than Napa. Enter Santa Barbara wine country: a quick four-hour drive along scenic Southern California coastline to the Santa ...

Backpacking in the Santa Rosa Wilderness

"It seems as remote as you can get in Southern California."

My boots grate loudly over the gravel as I shuffle onto my crinkly tarp. After manhandling spare clothing into a fussy Sea to Summit stuff sack, I rustle into my Kelty down sleeping bag. With ...

Cheap fun in artsy L.A.

A weekend of free concerts and exploring the Los Angeles Museum of Art.

Zip, chug, or plod your way up the 405 for a long weekend clustered around LACMA, the Los Angeles Museum of Art. Friday Sneak out of work early on a Friday, or take the day ...

Daytrip to the Salton Sea

DIY tour of Salton wildlife refuge, Slab City, Salvation Mountain & more.

Crunching fish bones. Foul-smelling water. Skin-scorching sun. It may not sound like an enticing adventure, but in fact one of the most interesting and unexpected getaways to be found in Southern California is a day ...

Art meets nature in Idyllwild

Find mountain-town charm just two hours north of S.D.

Just two hours north of San Diego, nature and art commingle: Idyllwild is a quick mountain getaway for those of us in low-lying Southern California cities, but also a haven for artisans who want to ...

Playa y vino: best bets for a Baja weekend

Escape to La Misión (K-59) and these Guadalupe Valley vineyards.

Like many other folks, my wife and I like tasty wines and panoramic ocean views, especially if they’re less than an hour away. So we often head out to La Misión, a tiny Baja village ...

Joshua Tree for the uninitiated

Reasons to make the nearby national park your next weekend adventure.

There are few things as graceless as someone begging for help with pure and unbridled fear in their eyes. Which about sums up my position at Indian Cove Campground during the waning hours of a ...

Get away, stay local: a weekend in Uptown

Staycation in Hillcrest, Balboa, North Park and environs.

My best weekend getaway is when I leave my car parked on the street outside my apartment in Hillcrest from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon til Monday morning at 7: Friday Friday afternoon I go ...

Catalina's calling

Your guide to a weekend – and world – away on island time.

Santa Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands (but not included in the Channel Islands National Park), lies 22 miles off the southern California coast. Though it is privately owned by the Santa Catalina Island ...

Why Mount Laguna?

Escape to wilderness just an hour east in Cleveland National Forest.

Forget the hustle and bustle of the town. Grab a tent, pack the cooler, and head out east to Mt. Laguna. Only an hour away from San Diego proper, once you turn onto Sunrise Highway ...

Car-less in Mission Bay

The case for a waterfront bike-cation (take the Green Line trolley).

A former wetland dredged in the 1940s to create a water playground surrounded by public parks, San Diego’s Mission Bay is nirvana for those who like easy, scenic bicycling. Paved trails that line much of ...

Cheese dreams in Baja's Ojos Negros

One-of-a-kind foodie escape just 40 minutes east of Ensenada.

It’s a holdover from Baja's Gold Fever days. A hideaway from the bustle of Ensenada. Drive an hour inland through curvy roads, past an ashram and a blue Madonna painted on a boulder, and eventually ...

L.A. in a day (by train)

Make it a Metrolink day trip and see Olvera Street, MOCA, and more.

If you like variety, follow me to an L.A. experience that will challenge your senses – not your purse. The walking exercise on this day trip approximates six miles; I took all day, but you ...

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