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Best of the East Bay: Travel

Plan the perfect day trip, Weekend, or long getaway.


© Disneyland

The Ideal Three-Day Weekend

Plan your escape based on your travel goals.

1. Surprise the kids

Reader Pick: Family Resort
Disneyland is upping the ante this summer to celebrate its 60th anniversary (the park opened July 17, 1955) with three new nighttime shows. Expect plenty of Disney magic: over-the-top fireworks and special effects; a parade with more than one million lights; and a trip down memory lane, using a 19,000-square-foot projection screen and 1,200 fountains. 1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 781-4565, disneyland.disney.go.com.

2. Explore the off-season

Editor Pick: Resort Revamp
Almost 80 years after Sun Valley Resort opened as the country’s first destination ski resort, the lodge has undergone an extensive revamp, reopening this June with serious off-season appeal. In addition to more luxurious rooms—including Celebrity Suites named after famous faces that have graced the hotel—the lodge now boasts a 20,000-square-foot spa, where you can indulge in treatments with views of Baldy’s iconic peak. 1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho, (208) 622-4111, sunvalley.com/lodging/sun-valley-lodge.

Courtesy of Churchill Manor

3. Reconnect in Wine Country

Reader Pick: NorCal Bed and Breakfast
Built in 1889 and located a block from downtown Napa, the historic Churchill Manor feels like a step back in time, with its hand-painted doors, restored redwood interior, and old-world craftsmanship. For quality couple time, pick up downtown Napa tasting passes from the front desk, and take one of the hotel’s complimentary tandem bicycles out for a spin to your choice of more than 15 tasting rooms. Or relax with a three-course breakfast on the property’s expansive veranda. 485 Brown St., Napa, (707) 253-7733, churchillmanor.com.


Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Season

Three fun ways to celebrate summer in ski country.

Sample S’mores and See Stars

Reader Pick: Tahoe Hotel/Lodge
Get a sugar rush with daily complimentary s’mores at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Or explore Tahoe after dark with a mountainside viewing of the night sky through high-powered telescopes on the resort’s new Tahoe Star Tours, which also offer plenty of opportunities for snacking on s’mores. 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Ct., Truckee, (530) 562-3000, ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/laketahoe.

Get on the Water

Reader Pick: Place to Rent a Boat
Set your course for South Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Keys Marina, where you can find everything from sailboat rentals to the South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic, July 24–25. 2435 Venice Dr. E., South Lake Tahoe, (530) 541-2155, tahoekeysmarina.net.  

Watch the Sky Light Up

Reader Pick: Destination for the Fourth of July
Book a room at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort for the Fourth of July, and as the crowds pack the beach, you can float in your own private boat on Lake Tahoe. Bring your own picnic and drinks to Pier 111, where you can pick up and drop off the boats­—no shuttle required. There’s no better place to watch the fireworks than right underneath them, on the water—just keep an eye out for falling sparks. 111 Country Club Dr., Incline Village, (775) 832-1234, laketahoe.hyatt.com.


The Park Bistro and Bar / By Mitch Tobias

Choose Your Overnight Adventure

Relax at the spa, or sleep steps from the beach.

Stress-Free Overnighter

Reader Pick: NorCal Hotel
After one of Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa’s luxurious spa treatments—ranging from a couples’ candlelit massage to a wildflower wrap—keep the indulgence going with an aged-beef filet mignon and a champagne-topped cocktail from The Park Bistro and Bar, and a night in La Grande Suite, an 850-square-foot room with a working fireplace.
Tip: Plan your overnight for July 31, when The Park Bistro and Bar welcomes Napa Valley’s Grgich Hills for a multicourse meal highlighting the winery’s offerings. 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 263-1725, lafayetteparkhotel.com.

Easy Beach Access

Reader Pick: Place for a Staycation
Book a room at Capitola Hotel, a cozy 10-room hideaway with a garden courtyard. Located on the city’s main esplanade, it’s an easy walk to the beach or Paradise Beach Grille’s bay-side patio.
Tip: Ask for a room in the back of the hotel if you want to avoid the noise from the bars letting out on weekend nights. 210 Esplanade, Capitola by the Sea, (831) 476-1278, capitolahotel.com.


Courtesy of Guaymas

Explore Tiburon

Reader Pick: NorCal Restaurant Worth the Drive

For a weekend day away, explore the former railway town of Tiburon in the North Bay. Start at Guaymas, a nearly 30-year-old Mexican restaurant with killer views of the Bay. Aim to arrive around opening at 11:30 a.m. if you want to score a seat on the outdoor patio, where you can choose from goblets of ceviche, nine different margaritas, and house-made churros—and don’t skip the new mariscada dish of pan-seared mussels, clams, shrimp, and fish.

To work off your meal, rent a bike from nearby Demo Sport (1690 Tiburon Blvd.), and cycle the Old Rail Trail. The roughly 2.5–mile paved trail hugs the coast, and passes a playground and a statue of a horse named Blackie, who used to be a fixture in the area. Better yet, walk out the restaurant’s back door, and hop on the Angel Island Ferry to bike around the island, which is home to World War II barracks and other monuments. 5 Main St., Tiburon, (415) 435-6300, guaymasrestaurant.com.


Reader Picks

California Park
Yosemite National Park
(209) 372-0200, nps.gov/yose.

Desert Escape
Palm Springs
(800) 347-7746, visitpalmsprings.com.

Destination/Place to Unplug
(831) 624-2522, carmelcalifornia.com.  

Golf Course Resort
Pebble Beach Resorts
17 Mile Dr., Pebble Beach, (800) 877-0597, pebblebeach.com.

Hawaiian Island Resort
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Maui, Hawaii, (808) 874-8000, fourseasons.com/maui.

Scenic Drive
Pacific Coast Highway

SoCal Beach Town
Laguna Beach
(800) 877-1115, visitlagunabeach.com.

Tahoe Ski Resort
Northstar California Resort
5001 Northstar Dr., Truckee, (800) 466-6784, northstarcalifornia.com.

Wellness Retreat
Rancho La Puerta
Tecate, (800) 443-7565, rancholapuerta.com.

West Coast Destination
(831) 624-2522, carmelcalifornia.com.  

Wine Country Resort
Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena, (707) 531-4788, meadowood.com.

Winter Escape
Lake Tahoe/Truckee
visitinglaketahoe.com; truckee.com.

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