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Brian Stevens

Idyllwild

Idyllwild
Nature and the arts find a perfect balance in this quaint mountain hamlet

Backed by mountain wilderness and filled with galleries, Idyllwild is a haven for both outdoor recreation and the arts.

Steep forested slopes broken by granite domes make a dramatic setting for this pine-shaded community of less than 4,000 year-round residents. Trails near town (try the Deer Springs Trail) lead into the San Jacinto Wilderness, including both day hike routes and the challenging ascent to Mount San Jacinto (elevation 10,834 feet/3,302 meters). The area’s granite outcrops helped turn Idyllwild into an early center for American rock climbing and it’s still one of the sport’s top destinations.

"The area’s granite outcrops helped turn Idyllwild into an early center for American rock climbing and it’s still one of the sport’s top destinations."

Culture plays a big part in local life too. Idyllwild was once named one of America’s top art towns; browse galleries displaying works by local as well as nationally renowned artists and craftspeople. It’s also home to the famous Idyllwild Arts Academy, and each summer leading musicians come to these mountains to perform on three outdoor stages during the Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines festival.

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Discover the Inland Empire

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59
November
Average (°F)
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Dec - Feb
68°
High
39°
Low
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low
June - Aug
94°
High
55°
Low

With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

Riverside
John Bilous

Riverside

Visit this Inland Empire city to learn about its citrus past, stay in a world-famous inn, and tour gardens and galleries

Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside boasts a number of firsts, including...

SPECIAL FEATURE
There are tons of reasons why you might plan a winter trip to Big Bear. Here are some you might not have thought of

With plenty of groomed runs and terrain parks at Big Bear Lake’s two alpine resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, it’s easy to see why skiers and boarders head here when the snow flies. But this...

Big Bear Lake in Winter
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts
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Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is home to Club Mud, California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath.
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Harriot Manley

Temecula Valley Wine Country

Taste your way through Southern California's leading wine region

For many visitors, the Temecula Valley wine country is still a surprise. After all, a lot of people just don’t expect to see gently rolling hills...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

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John/Flickr
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Temecula Valley is known for its variety, growing and producing over 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay.
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Big Bear Lake

Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. At an altitude of 6,759 feet (2,060 meters), Big...

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Dave Lauridsen

Route 66

Get your kicks on America’s legendary highway

Back in its glory days, Route 66 began in Chicago and ended along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, a 2,451-mile journey through farmlands,...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway

Auto Club Speedway

Rev up for racing action at this classic track

Whether you’re into NASCAR, INDYCAR, or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed...

March

Get into the checkered-flag spirit at this big and loud NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Cheer for your favourite drivers as they zoom for the front in this 5-wide race event. The action kicks off...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
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Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
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Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

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On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

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The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people attended, as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza.
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Inland Empire Outlets

Find bargains on brand names at major outlet centers

The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to save on Gucci, Versace, and other big-name brands

With bucket-list magnets like Rodeo Drive and Union Square, California has undeniable star power when it comes to shopping. But all those fashion finds and gifts for everyone back home don’t have...

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Robert Sheie/Flickr
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Brian Stevens

San Bernardino Museums

Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums

Two local museums let you experience everything from the natural side of the Inland Empire to the treasures of ancient Egypt.

The San...

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San Bernardino National Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States.
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Alex Farnum

Lake Arrowhead

Escape to an exclusive mountain haven

The drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead is a quick one—just 23 miles/37 km. But as you twist and climb from the busy valley and into the...