Visit California: A West Coast Paradise That Doesn't Break the Bank
California Dreaming? Stop dreaming and start planning. We've sourced a variety of very real flights, hotels, and food and entertainment deals for you, in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Anaheim — the home of Disneyland. There's no time to lose in setting sail (proverbially) for the Pacific coast.
There's a good reason why people spend their time dreaming of America's third largest state. In fact, people have been dreaming about it since the sixteenth century, when the Spanish writer, Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo wrote about a mythical Amazonian paradise. Upon arriving in California, the Spanish believed they had found Montalvo's mythical land and named it after the queen of the story, Calafia.
These days, arriving at your dream destination is a little bit less involved, especially when you consider the fact that 1-way flights are available from both JetBlue (from $47, a low by $74; expires September 3) and Southwest Airlines (from $54, a low by $11; expires August 25). Depending on your itinerary, you can choose to fly into Los Angeles' LAX or the San Diego International Airport.
Los Angeles is a natural starting point for any trip to California, with more attractions than you could realistically hope to see in a single visit. If you don't feel like traveling for miles to get from your hotel after a long flight, then head to the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel (from $95, a low by $70; expires September 25). There's even a complimentary shuttle from LAX that runs every 15 minutes or so.
After you've settled into your hotel, you'll need to eat. Head to LA's downtown to Trader Vic's at L.A. Live to make use of this $50 Credit ($25, $25 off; expires Aug 24). The tiki-style restaurant has been going strong since the '30s, and even claims to have invented the mai-tai. If you don't mind a bit of a drive, then consider snatching up a $60 Credit to the Sunset Room in the Agoura Hills ($30, $30 off; expires Aug 26). About a 40-minute drive from the airport, this restaurant/club harks back to LA's golden age of Hollywood glamor, with crystal chandeliers and live bands. On the other hand, if you find yourself in Pasedena, then don't miss this $20 Credit at Crème de la Crêpe ($10, $10 off; exp Aug 25). Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Crème de la Crêpe has sweet or savory crepes to suit any taste.
If LA isn't really your scene, then head south to San Diego, the birthplace of California. The Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel (from $139, a low by $30; expires August 24) is situated in the heart of the Old Town and a perfect base to begin exploring the city's many beaches and parks. If you're on a tighter budget, then the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina (from $99, a low by $20; expires December 31) offers good value for your money, without sacrificing the location. Right on the waterfront of San Diego Bay, this hotel is close to the airport, as well as the famous San Diego Zoo and the historic Gaslamp Quarter. The latter fittingly acquired its name during the nineteenth century, when the area was lit by gaslamps (then the height of sophistication). Today, the 16-block quarter is pleasantly devoid of skyscrapers, instead featuring mainly Victoria-style architecture. Several gaslamps, too, can still be found throughout the area.
Perhaps your California dreams are a little more extravagant, in which case a two-night stay at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa (from $260, a low by $20; expires August 24) may suit you. This resort sits on 44 acres of private island Mission Bay, surrounded by tropical gardens and meandering lagoons. It's located close to downtown San Diego, as well as Sea World. Also be sure to check out Hotel.com's sale (from $29, 30% off; expires August 31) for more hotel choices in San Diego.
There's plenty to do in San Diego and grabbing one of these 1-hour car2go electric car rentals ($17, a low by $31; exp August 26) is a quick solution to getting around the city. Take advantage of the water and use your vacation to get your PADI diving certification at Rick's Diving Locker ($139, $160 off; expires August 25) or get a 2-hour watercraft rental to canoe, kayak, or aqua-cycle on the Carlsbad Lagoon ($23, $27 off; expires August 25). If you've had enough of San Diego's beautiful waterfront, you can nip over to Bellmont Park for a round of laser tag ($9, $11 off; expires August 25).
And lastly, for those of you trying to get in touch with your inner child, you may want to take a trip that puts you closer to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Check into the Anabella Hotel (from $78, a low by $11; expires August 24) to stay on the edge of the park, or choose from one of the many other discounted hotels in the area, starting at $59 per night.
California has all the excitement and sunshine to make your holiday a dream come true. But perhaps a different destination is on your mind. Check out our weekly roundup of the top travel deals for additional discounted flights, hotels, and vacation packages.
At the time of publication, these travel deals offered the lowest prices we could find. Deals may include blackout dates, additional taxes, and fees. Some of our prices may be based on mandatory double occupancy.