SoCal Fall Destinations

Approximately a 3 minute read

Even as working adults, it seems like fall and the beginning of the school year can cause a shift in everyday routines. Back to business. Back to apple cider and focusing on cozying up the home. Just because school is back in session doesn’t mean it’s time to hunker down until Thanksgiving and Christmas travel! Sneak in a weekend trip here and there while the weather is crisp but not too cold. There are plenty of great Southern California getaways within driving distance of the main major cities.

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Big Bear 1
Big Bear, CA boasts its beauty during any season you visit.

Last weekend we took a trip to Big Bear Lake, CA which was wonderful. I surprised Doug with a cabin filled with 10 of our friends (!!) for his birthday. I’ve been to Big Bear many times in the summer, where I’ve water-skied and zip-lined, and I’ve been up there to snowboard (many years ago) but this was my first time chilling in the wonderful pre-fall weather. It was mild the whole time we were there, and on Sunday when we drove down the mountain it was over 90° in San Bernardino! What a shock.

Julian, CA, known for apples and apple pie.
Enamel Camping Mug
Malibu State Park, CA

Other excellent Southern California fall destinations are Lake Arrowhead, the other main getaway from LA, which is similar to Big Bear, Julian and Ramona (closer to San Diego), or camping in the Malibu Canyon, which I’d like to do again. Of course, the beach is nice in the fall after the tourists have gone; beach bonfires with cozy hoodies and beanies are one of the best parts of fall evenings.

If you’re into wine, drive on up to Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Temecula. Napa Valley no longer corners the market on excellent wine and wine-tasting experiences. Perfect for an overnight weekend trip, any of these destinations are easily driveable from Southern California and have lovely fall weather.

Visiting Temecula Wine Country on The Voyageer

Someday I’d like the chance to view the fall foliage on the US east coast. My parents are headed to Nova Scotia (similar tour) this month and I am so jealous! I’ll just have to be satisfied with constant 75° weather here in San Diego (wink) and live vicariously through friends’ instagrams of leaves changing color.

What cities or small towns in your local area do you always associate with fall? Do any of them have apple festivals or other fall activities? Let me know in the comments! 

All photos by Staci Jackson for The Voyageer, unless noted. 


Staci blogs about travel at


3 Responses

  1. Every fall I visit Blacksburg, Virginia for a Virginia Tech football game, and the scenery in that area of the state is just stunning (mountains and rivers).

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