From Pasadena to Paso Robles, some of our favorite weekend escapes just a drive away from L.A.
Hugged by the Santa Lucia Mountains, with dramatically rocky slopes and stunning coastal vistas, this rustic community five and half hours from L.A. is a nature lover’s paradise. The Post Ranch Inn’s 39 rooms and two private houses feature furniture made from reclaimed wood (for example, redwood that comes from wine casks), woodburning fireplaces and luxurious bed linens made with organic cotton (rooms, from $775; 47900 Hwy. 1; 831-667-220; postranchinn.com). For some extra drama, book the curved Cliff House, which has a deck that hangs over a rugged cliff, giving the impression of being suspended in air high above the water—the glass-walled master bedroom has breathtaking panoramic ocean views.
Fuel up on fresh breads or the signature chili verde pizza at Big Sur Bakery and Restaurantbefore hitting the area’s trails and parks (47540 Hwy. 1; 831-667-0520; bigsurbakery.com). Spread across 456 acres with a 750-acre underwater ecological reserve, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has 14 hiking trails, with both fabulous ocean vistas (ideal for spotting sea lions) and an abundance of wildflowers—double poppies, blue blossoms, white globe lilies—in bloom (Rte. 1; pointlobos.org). The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park features towering redwoods, a chaparral ecosystem and an 80-foot waterfall (parks.ca.gov). For a more cultural pursuit, drop by the Henry Miller Memorial Library, founded more than 30 years ago as a memorial to the infamous novelist and painter who penned Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and spent 18 years of his life in Big Sur (henrymiller.org).