Fall Activity Ideas in California: Finding Food, Visiting Beach Hotels

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Hello, dear escapees.

With the summer tourist season in California behind us, it’s worth keeping an eye out for off-season discounts when you book your trip for the rest of the year. In this edition of Escapes you will find accommodation with special offers as well as outdoor excursions to enjoy now that it is cooler outside.

Where do you plan to go this fall? My inbox is always open for travel ideas and recommendations. Drop me a line anytime.

?? Get your sculpture solution in Borrego Springs

Once the chilly weather sets in in Southern California, head to Borrego Springs to get your fix of desert art.

Borrego Springs Road’s famous tin sculptures made the list of Times traveler Christopher Reynolds. 40 best experiences in California to try in the fall. Since 2008, artist Ricardo Breceda has placed over 120 sculptures around Borrego Springs in the shape of dinosaurs, bighorn sheep, horses and more. You won’t miss the “Subaru-sized scorpion and an even bigger snake, a 350-foot-long Loch Ness sand monster,” Reynolds wrote.

Visitors can get a detailed map of the area at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Assn. store before exploring art. Reynolds also recommends staying at La Casa del Zorro, drive along Palm Canyon Drive and have a drink at Carlee’s, a desert roadhouse. The Palm Canyon Hike, a 3.25-mile loop in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is another crowd-pleaser to try in Borrego Springs.

?? Learn to forage in San Luis Obispo

Bay leaves, elderberries, and prickly pears all grow wild in San Luis Obispo County. You can learn to identify these ingredients – and many more – at Central Coast Distillery Foraging Tours.

Eric Olson, who runs the distillery, learned to research plants while hunting with his uncles and while in the Marine Corps. Times contributor Brian E. Clark took a tour with Olson, who explained how to harvest plants such as wild fennel and how to make pine needle tea.

Olson told Clark he was searching all over San Luis Obispo County. “I guess if there isn’t a fence or a ‘no trespassing’ sign, it’s fair game, especially if a plant is next to a road.”

If you want to learn how to forage, it is best to book a visit. “Rummaging alone can be dangerous unless you know what you’re doing,” Olson said. “And why I recommend going with a guide.”

Ride on the Wild Side outings of the distillery costs $ 125 per person.

Eric Olson, who runs the Central Coast Distillery with his wife Anna, offers foraging tours in San Luis Obispo County.

(Photo illustration by Jade Cuevas; Photos by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

🏖️ Seven beachfront hotels to visit in Southern California

Now that summer is over, the beaches are emptying and hotels are rolling out deals, making it the perfect time to book a luxury beachfront hotel.

Times contributor Rosemary McClure has plenty of recommendations for where to stay. “For anyone who thinks life is better at the beach, we’ve rounded up a tantalizing group of coastal treasures to explore this fall,” she wrote in a recent story.

Here are two gems of his list:

The seabird complex in Oceanside: This hotel “exudes the charm of an upscale Maine fishing village,” McClure writes. “I expected to see schooners on the horizon and golden age mansions along the shore.” The biggest advantage of all? It’s only a block from the Amtrak station, so you don’t have to sit in traffic to get there.

Venice V in Los Angeles: This newly renovated boutique hotel on the Venice promenade has a serious history. The building, originally built in 1915, “hosted Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Clara Bow and other luminaries as long-term tenants during the 1920s, Venice’s heyday,” writes McClure. “In the 1960s, it became a meeting place for Doors lead singer Jim Morrison.

Need more recommendations? Discover McClure’s complete list here.

A photo of a hotel swimming pool with a jetty in the background.

In Oceanside, view of the Seabird Hotel swimming pool with the Seaside Town Municipal Pier in the background.

(Jim Edwards)

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🛥️ Stay in the “barge capital of the world”

Speaking of waterfront accommodations, it’s hard to beat Shasta Lake – it’s called the “Houseboat Capital of the World” – if you’re hoping to get as close to the waves as possible.

Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake is just one of the companies offering houseboat rentals, and now that fall has arrived, you will enjoy a reduction in prices. From around mid-August through April, the smaller houseboat (which can comfortably accommodate up to eight people) can be rented for $ 1,200 for a three-day, two-night visit.

If you’re traveling with a larger group, you can opt for Bridge Bay’s largest houseboat, the Grand Sierra Ex. It can accommodate up to 16 people and includes a slide on the top deck.

A photo of moored boats with spots shown in the upper right and lower left corners

The Centimudi boat launch on remote Shasta Lake.

(Photo illustration by Jade Cuevas; Max Whittaker / For The Times)

What i read

  • “I mapped out a route that would take me through wide open spaces and small towns. I was going to write about the parts of America that I saw along the way. Do not miss this powerful story about a trip across the country of Times editor Diana Marcum.
  • “Air rage” is a growing problem when traveling by plane. Times business journalist Hugo Martín reports the solution of an airline.
  • Airport employees are replaced by robots and automation, writes Times columnist Nicholas Goldberg. “How long before pilots are replaced by robots that fly planes more safely?” ” he asks.
  • Georgia’s Ocmulgee mounds could be America’s next national park, wrote Stéphanie Vermillion in Condé Nast Traveler.
  • A mysterious sign on California Interstate 5 has puzzled drivers for years. Joshua Bote explores Where can it come from in SFGate.
  • Locals work to restore coral reefs in beloved travel destinations. Sunny Fitzgerald explains how you can help in the Washington Post.
    A mobile display of road trip photos.

    Scenes from across the country from LA Times writer Diana Marcum’s road trip.

    (Photo illustration by Jade Cuevas; Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times)

Photo of the week

A river, a bridge and a city in the dark

A view of the Hawthorne Bridge which spans the Willamette River at dusk in Portland, Ore.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Song of the road

Song: “Stay away” from Muna

Favorite Lyrics: “If I drive then I’ll put on music / if I put on music then I’ll play your song.”

Best place to listen: California 62 on your way through Yucca Valley

An illustration of the California polaroid 62.

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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