Who doesn’t love a three-day weekend? It may have been on the calendar for months or you may just feel like playing hooky on some random Friday — we’re not here to judge. Sometimes the best way to chillax is to get the hell out of town. But whether you’re feeling adventurous and ready to explore or simply self-indulgent and just want to drink wine all day (again, no judging), here are some great suggestions for long-weekend road trips from Los Angeles. (Because driving is half the fun. And if you were flying, you could conceivably go anywhere for three days, right?)
While Solvang is only two-and-a-half to three hours from L.A., you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Denmark upon arrival. And Danes are hot. Founded in 1911 by immigrants who wanted to bring some of their homeland to California, Solvang has lots of Danish bakeries, great hotels and plenty of wine tasting. Take some time to relax in a spa, ride a bike around town or go see some ostriches. (You may even recognize the ostrich farm from the movie Sideways.) Don’t miss the Elverhøj museum. This town is a delightful and romantic way to spend a few days and drink some wine in the Santa Ynez Valley. Cheers!
San Diego and La Jolla
This destination is also just a two-and-a-half hour drive and, in our opinion, has some of the best weather on the planet (outside L.A., of course). You’re pretty much guaranteed sunny and pleasant weather here all year long. San Diego has a vibrant gay community and Hillcrest is the center of it all. If you dare, try to get to Black’s Beach, where you and your friends can get naked (and unabashedly stare at others who are naked), but it’s a bit difficult to get to. There are so many things to do here: You can walk around Old Town, visit the Zoo (one of the country’s best) or the world’s first gay brewery or Sea World, go whale watching, play golf or just stroll along Harvey Milk Street (another first). It’s a truly beautiful part of southern California that — consider yourself warned — will be difficult to leave.
Bisbee is a good eight-hour drive, but seeing as how quaint and gay-friendly it is, it’s totally worth it. There aren’t any gay bars per se, but the artsy locals are definitely welcoming. (By the way, Bisbee was the first place in all of Arizona to legalize same-sex civil unions.) You should tour the copper mine and take a walking tour around town — maybe even a ghost tour. To call this place quirky doesn’t quite do it justice, but we’re at a loss for a better word to describe its cool, unassuming vibe. Nearby is the town of Tombstone, famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral which is reenacted daily.
Coming from L.A., Cambria feels like another world (though in reality it’s less than four hours away). If nature, beaches and stars are your thing, you’ll love this seaside village in San Luis Obispo County. Hearst Castle is nearby, so is the Northern elephant seal rookery and the Piedras Blancas lighthouse (pictured above). Cambria itself is great for antique shopping, stargazing and, of course, trips to the beach. This is an eclectic little town with lots of artists and artisans who are welcoming and kind. We can’t think of a more travelicious spot to decompress and renew.
If you’re a wine lover (and since you are reading Queerty we suspect you are), a trip to Napa is a must. Driving will take you somewhere’s around six-and-a-half hours, so plan to hit the ground running upon arrival. There are many wineries to choose from, so do your research before you go (especially since some require reservations). We highly recommend Chateau Montelena, which put the Napa Valley on the map as far as wines go. Book a car and driver, then pick six or so wineries to visit for a day of guilt-free imbibing. Just be sure to pack a picnic lunch and ask the driver to find you a nice spot place to enjoy it; the scenery is so good for your digestion. There’s also an amazing market in Napa where you can get great oysters, cheese, olive oil and various other foods. For the complete Napa experience, check out the wine train. While you’re there, you can also visit nearby Sonoma.