The charm of Old Quebec City never gets old. Old Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and is designated as a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO. It’s a mix of history, architecture, heritage, art, and culture and is widely viewed as the home of French civilization in North America.
I’ve been to Quebec City a few times. The first time as a youngster on a driving vacation with the family. The first overnight stop from Toronto was Quebec City. I remember walking through the gates of the old city and feeling like I had stepped back in time. Thankfully the old city is still there today. And it’s a real treat.
Early Canadian and French history abounds with numerous historic buildings and museums including the Musée de la civilisation . There are many art galleries and boutiques with a French flair. Restaurants and pubs have a warm and intimate feel and most feature Quebec fare including rabbit, deer, and duck confit poutine.
While there’s a variety of hotels to choose from within Old Quebec and Quebec City itself, my favorite is the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Auberge sits on an historic site dating back to the 16oos. As a member of Relais and Cheataux, the hotel has a strong focus on service and luxury. There are only 60 rooms with no 2 rooms alike, and each contains artifacts that were found on site. Their Panache Restaurant is incredible with Michelin star chef and a very imaginative menu.
Quebec City is like 2 different destinations in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it can hit -30c. So cold it’s painful but beyond beautiful especially during the Carnaval de Québec (the annual Winter Carnival runs from late January to the middle of February).
In the summer, there’s the Festival d’été de Québec in July, Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Quebec City is warm and inviting with quaint streets to wonder down and walking trails to explore along the St.Lawrence River. Outdoor cafes abound and you’ll find yourself stepping back in time… and thinking about your next visit.
If you’re up for some California dreamin’, there is no better place in the world than San Diego for the ultimate Californian Weekend Getaway. The city’s sunsets and surf is so laid-back that no one would ever believe it to be the nation’s 8th largest city. Still, that’s exactly what it is, and it’s everything you would expect it to be: bikinis, khaki shorts, raucous and ritzy beaches, sunny days and, of course, Legoland. If you’re planning to spend a weekend in San Diego and don’t know how to make the most of it, here are some tips that will help you.
San Diego – LaJolla Shores
If you’re looking for the ultimate stretch of sand in San Diego, you must definitely visit the La Jolla shores. You’ll enjoy several different beaches with dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and sandy expanses. No matter what your interest – swimming, surfing, sunbathing or watching the adorable baby seals, you will find a beach that’s for you. Windansea Beach is secluded and picture-perfect. Couples go to enjoy romantic scenery there, and surfers go to enjoy the waves. La Jolla Children’s Pool is not that convenient for kids (although this was its original intention), but more for families of seals. If swimming, diving and snorkeling are your hobbies, than you should head out to La Jolla Cove. Beautiful and isolated, Black’s Beach is ideal if you want to get a nudist experience.
San Diego – Gaslamp District and Little Italy for Dining and Partying
Great food and fun nightlife are common things in San Diego, but when you have only one weekend in this fabulous city, you want to try only the best. And for that, you’ll have to go to these two neighborhoods.
Gaslamp District is San Diego’s historic neighborhood with Victorian-era buildings and skyscrapers side by side. It hosts more than 100 of the city’s retail shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. You can dine fine at a rooftop lounge or try some delicious street food on the sidewalks. Live music and dancing after your belly is filled are a must.
Little Italy is, as it name implies, the best quarter in the city to eat authentic pizza, pasta and gelato. This eclectic neighborhood has a number of adorable sidewalk cafes, charming little shops, and specialty stores.
San Diego – The Best Neighborhoods for Shopping
Sure, you can just head to one of San Diego’s numerous shopping malls, but where is the fun in that? Instead, try searching through some of the most charming shopping neighborhoods (La Mesa, Encinitas, Chula Vista, Coronado, Solana Beach and South Park). Who knows how many unique things you can find in the charming local shops? From artisan jewelry to vintage clothing, San Diego has it all.
San Diego – Visit the City’s Top Attractions
Sometimes, you must do things by the book and be a true tourist. For that you will have to visit some of the best San Diego’s attractions.
USS Midway Museum offers not only indoor exhibits, but also local tours around the city’s most famous historic sites.
Belmont Park will not only welcome families with kids, but it will also awaken your inner child, when you take a ride at the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.
San Diego Sports Museum is a sentimental journey through the history of the city’s sports.
Museum of Photographic Arts reveals fascinating, moving and surprising images which are witnesses to the history of photography.
Seaport Village is a charming and quiet part of the town, where you can go to shop, explore art and drink wine.
San Diego Zoo is basically a huge park with animals and plants.
Two days are not enough to enjoy all the wonders of San Diego, but if you plan everything carefully, you can see the best it has to offer.
This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.
If you don’t like winter, it’s definitely a good idea to travel somewhere warm and nice. And as the rest of the country is mostly covered with snow in winter months – California seems like a perfect getaway option. Warm temperatures, empty beaches and not busy tourist spots make this place even more amazing to visit. That’s why you should pack your bags – we’re taking you to California. Here are the best places in California for a winter getaway, and you try to choose the best one for you and your family.
Winter in San Diego
When it comes to the best places in California for a winter getaway, San Diego comes as the first and one of the most popular options. Being a popular tourist spot in the spring and summer months, San Diego is a great getaway place in winter since it’s not as busy and crowded. You can visit the beaches and watch whales on a perfect sunny December day and have the time of your life. December is also the month of holidays, and in San Diego, you can experience a true Christmas spirit. Festivals, festive lighting and decoration, and many other attractions will make this winter perfect.
Even though it’s a very different location from the previous one, Lake Tahoe is also one of the best places in California for a winter getaway. This time, we’re talking about some of the best ski spots in the area – luxurious resorts for both beginners and experienced skiers. So, if you’re looking for an idyllic, snowy winter experience, Lake Tahoe can offer everything you need.
A complete opposite to Lake Tahoe – Death Valley is a hot place most of the people won’t visit during summer. But in winter, this can be an amazing winter getaway, with temperatures finally dropping at around 73° F. However, don’t forget to plan this trip in advance, since it can be pretty busy during winter months.
Yes, the most popular place in California can be truly enjoyed during winter months. The reason why it’s one of the best places in California for a winter getaway is that you can finally enjoy it without having to wait hours in line. The crowds are much smaller after the holidays, so you can really have fun and plan your Disneyland day just the way you want it.
New Year’s Day in Pasadena can be truly something spectacular. You can watch the Pasadena Rose Parade which is a true spectacle but also join some other activities related to the event. Again, be sure to book your trip months/weeks in advance, since this is a very popular event and many people rush to Pasadena for the New Year holiday.
Mammoth Mountain and Yosemite
Another amazing place to spend a true winter day skiing and enjoying the sun. What’s also great about it is the proximity to the Yosemite National park. You can make a trip and visit both of the locations when coming here. You can easily reach it by Mammoth Yosemite airport, which is great if you don’t live in California.
Christmas in Orange County is the best
Winter is all about the holidays, and one of the best places in California for a winter getaway and also a perfect Christmas location is definitely Orange County and Newport Beach. Here you can see an amazing Christmas Parade, decorated yachts and houses, etc. Sink into the festive spirit and enjoy your amazing winter getaway!
Running away from any sign of winter and cold can really happen in Palm Springs. Here, December is the coldest month with over 68°F – can you imagine spending your winter holiday in a t-shirt? In Palm Springs, there’s a lot to do, even in winter – visit the zoo, go hiking, ride a bike, go around the city to see local arts and architecture, etc. Palm Springs is one of the best places to visit in California during winter for a good reason!
General California getaway tips
Whatever the location(s) you choose, you need to get ready for your trip. If you’re well-prepared, you will enjoy California even more. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with some of the places from the list and decide to move here. Many people experience the same thing. In that case, relocation will not be a problem – you can move to any part of California with ease. Choosing a local moving company will make everything smooth and fast.
And now, let’s go back to the getaway preparations. Depending on where you’re coming from, and who you’re traveling with, your preparations will be more or less complicated. However, make sure you don’t forget these things:
do some research on the place you’re visiting – check all the attractions and places you want to see and get the tickets in advance.
book accommodation beforehand – check the hotels or other accommodations you want to stay in and book your rooms in advance. Even though you’re visiting in winter, some California locations can be very busy.
check the weather forecast and pack accordingly – since you’ll be traveling in winter, make sure you check the weather forecast a couple of days in advance. This will help you pack properly and be ready for your trip.
check your cellphone plan or put your phone on airplane mode
book a day or two more – you’ll probably want to stay longer.
It can be very difficult to choose only one out of the many best places in California for a winter getaway. That’s why you should definitely expect coming back again since California gives the best winter holidays! Enjoy!
Jeffrey Wilson is a book lover who really enjoys traveling. That’s why he uses his experience to write blog posts related to travel organization and destinations. His big passion is nature photography.