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The Playbook

Ready to plan that spring weekend away?

These six getaways, from a 1949 hacienda in the Joshua Tree desert to John Steinbeck’s cabin near Monterey, offer easy access to the best the state has to offer.

Joshua Tree: The Joshua Tree House

Use this Joshua Tree two-bedroom as your jumping-off point for exploring the neighboring national park. Just a 10-minute drive from the park's entrance, you'll be ideally suited to beat the sunrise and sunset crowds. The 1949 hacienda offers a small wonderland of mid century design pieces and a high desert take on minimalist appeal. This home is also just a stone’s throw from the Joshua Tree strip of shops and restaurants. If you're looking for a more remote experience—or dinner on your porch, under the stars—book in a few days at the sister property, a 10-minute drive (ideally with a 4X4) into the desert.

Sonoma County: Sophisticated Wine Country Cottage

This Sonoma County cottage is perfect for wine country veterans looking to avoid the day-trippers and tourists (it's an easy drive to Napa or Sonoma). Once you've had your fill of wine tastings, head to Trione-Annadel State Park for mountain biking or trailside horseback riding, followed by brunch at Spinster Sisters in Santa Rosa's up-and-coming arts district. Note that while this cabin officially provides two bedrooms, it's open-plan, so book travel partners accordingly.

Inverness: True Silent Path

Take a walk through a garden full of blooming flowers and edible plants for picking, slip into the yoga studio or spend the afternoon spinning in the pottery studio. The location, a couple miles from historic Inverness, is ideal for exploring the town itself, or the incredible nearby Point Reyes National Seashore. Looking for a longer excursion? San Francisco is under two hours away. 

Malibu: Rustic Romantic Beachfront Apartment

If you're looking for an oceanside stay in Malibu, it would be hard to do better than this beachfront apartment that's so close to the ocean that the surf actually sweeps under the deck. You'll be a quick walk from Malibu's beachside restaurants—that said, we’d vote to bring your own (or plan on ordering in) so you won't need to go anywhere but the beach during your stay. If you do feel like exploring, the apartment is located at the foot of Tuna Canyon Park—and if you don't mind getting on the highway, the exquisite Getty Villa is just a five-minute drive.

Monterey: Historic John Steinbeck’s Traveler’s Cottage

Few writers are as associated with California coastal living as John Steinbeck—bacon thief, subsistence fisherman, The Grapes of Wrath author, and Nobel Prize winner—and Monterey. Steinbeck actually purchased this property in 1940 - its now been gently developed to include three cottages, including this one. From here, you'll be well-positioned to explore charming Monterey, which boasts restaurants and bars that well exceed what you might expect from a town of its size—like Cindy's Waterfront, which sources all its seafood from within 25 miles. For drinks, try Sovino, which manages to offer both an ambitious list and a relaxed atmosphere.

Santa Barbara: Downtown Victorian

This three-bedroom retreat above Santa Barbara is all about the light-soaked rooms, outdoor space, and modern furnishings. Everything in this apartment feels clean, which makes it a choice base for exploring the nearby wineries. Spend the afternoon exploring the farmer’s market, gourmet groceries in town, and nearby vineyards; at night, come home and prepare a meal in the fully remodeled kitchen. (Or, you know, just book a table at The Lark.)

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