Southern California is a relatively easy jaunt from Charlotte Douglas; fly to San Diego directly in under 5 hours or fly into the charming Palm Springs airport with a quick connection in Dallas or Phoenix. We flew Charlotte to Palm Springs with a connector in 6 hours flat of easy travel.
“California has a little bit for everyone,” Ashley Theis, the travel consultant behind Charlotte-based travel firm, The Constant Wayfarer. “Palm Springs appeals to the architecture and art lovers who want to get in touch with their inner aura in the desert. I always suggest clients take in some hiking time in Joshua Tree, do an architecture tour for some mid-century modern or celebrity home site seeing and take advantage of the amazing wellness and golf opportunities in the area.”
For a quiet, intimate stay, try Korakia Pensione. The boutique inn offers a unique and relaxing getaway that has been carefully crafted after a Mediterranean-style pensione.
Begin the day with a full breakfast in the Moroccan courtyard. relax poolside, enjoy a free, on-site yoga class, or pamper yourself at the spa.
Downtown Palm Springs is easily accessible on foot or on one of Korakia’s bicycles. You’ll also be able to enjoy thoughtful touches like vintage books, Moroccan tea service each afternoon, heated pools, and showings of classic or foreign films. Nightly turn-downs are done in the European tradition, and each room has its own completely unique, stunningly detailed style. Many of the units offer full kitchens and living areas.
If you’d like a more lively feel, stay in the heart of downtown at the only hotel with a rooftop: Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. The 153 spacious guestrooms and suites offer a restorative retreat with sweeping views.
Spend your days at the rooftop pool and bar, and dine at one of the two chef-driven restaurants. Juniper Table and 4 Saints feature seasonal, shareable small plates made from fresh, local ingredients. From vista points like the rooftop deck or the two-story cinematic window in the lobby, the views are stunning and unsurpassed.
“For those who want to relax and unwind,” Ashley shares, “the coast offers amazing beaches and opportunities to surf and whale watch. A day cruise out to Catalina Island, Surf Lessons, exploring Crystal Cove state park or the history of Balboa island are all must-dos.”
If you start your trip in Palm Springs, San Diego and Orange County are both within two hours.
In Laguna Beach, try a stay at La Casa del Camino, located on one of Laguna’s main drags. One of the favorite hotels among the stars of Hollywood’s golden age, the historic La Casa del Camino was built in 1929 and features Spanish-style guest rooms, each with their own individual design, and houses an iconic rooftop bar and downstairs restaurant.
Downtown Laguna is quaint but vibrant, and the beaches are iconic for good reason: These are some of the most beautiful coastlines we’ve ever seen.
Want to explore the beaches of San Diego? The Kimpton Palomar in the Gaslamp District is a great spot to set up shop to be able to access several of San Diego’s best beach towns.
The boutique hotel is in walking distance to all of San Diego’s hot spots, and offers a rooftop outdoor pool and a vibrant Mexican restaurant (don’t miss the late-night taco window). Downtown is walkable and vibrant, but getting 15-20 minutes outside the city allows you to access the coast, which is where San Diego really shines. Check out the many farmer’s markets, Little Italy, and chase some sunsets.
So, when should you go?
“I love booking clients to Palm Springs during the fall and early winter, think October to December,” Ashley says. “While the SoCal coast is great in early Spring or Early fall. This part of California has something to offer year round.”
Want more tips from Ashley on local or distant travel? Check out more of her advice here: qcexclusive.com/the-explored/charlotte-travel-advisor