Longing to travel again? We are too! While the exact date for your next trip may still be in flux, there’s a day coming up where you can at least start planning that trip: January 26 is National Plan for Vacation Day—the perfect time to dream up your next adventure.
“It’s never too early to start planning, and we can all use something on the calendar to look forward to,” says Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. (Want to share your ideas with friends on social media? Use #PlanforVacation.)
Here are 9 fun ways to kick-start your brainstorming:
1. Order the free California Visitor’s Guide.
The latest issue features tips on visiting California’s ski resorts, as well as an A-to-Z guide to surfing, 150-plus restaurant recommendations, and detailed insider tips for the state’s 12 travel regions. We’ll send it right to your door, or you can browse it online. (And did we mention it’s free?)
2. Subscribe to the California Now Podcast.
Hosted by NPR veteran Soterios Johnson, each podcast features travel experts, authors, chefs, and other insiders who share tips about the best experiences around the Golden State. Recent episodes highlight the current ski season, fun ways to explore Greater Palm Springs, and unique ways to play in California’s wide-open spaces.
3. Stay in the loop with our newsletter.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for more regular doses of inspiration: deals, upcoming events, and fun trip-planning fodder—like great pet-friendly hotels, new al fresco dining options, and unique marketplaces around California.
4. Find your dream road trip.
The Road Trip Republic hub features more than 50 highway adventures, including a little something for every taste or interest. Want a scenery-loaded trip along the coast? We’ve got you covered. We’ve also got fascinating drives designed for movie buffs, culinary-themed treks, and excursions designed for anyone who loves quirky sights in the desert.
5. Plan a fresh-air adventure.
You already know that California is loaded with beachy fun and mountain bliss, but there are countless terrains and awe-inspiring views to enjoy. Check out these 13 fresh ways to enjoy nature in California, from remote camping sites to adventures in the Channel Islands, aka “the Galapagos of North America.” For some urban exploration, check out these hikes and outdoor adventures in California cities.
6. See the world without leaving the state.
International travel may not be in the cards for a while, but California’s abundance and variety mean you can span the globe without crossing state lines. Check out these 16 California destinations that mirror—and sometimes even improve upon—iconic sites around the world. You can also rediscover favorite spots in new ways: Our So You Think You Know? series showcases the hidden gems and local favorites in San Francisco, San Diego, the Napa Valley, and beyond.
7. Splurge on a private tour.
If you feel like making up for lost vacation time from last year, consider treating yourself to a VIP-level experience for you and your travel companions. For instance, see the sights of Yosemite with a knowledgeable guide, go forest bathing in the redwoods, or get a personalized tour of Hollywood.
8. Make the most of a “nearcation.”
Want to stay close to home? We’ve mapped out 10 great spots that feel “away from it all” that are pretty short drives from California’s major hubs. Think wine tasting in El Dorado County or Temecula Valley, kayaking in Gualala, or strolling the charming town of Cambria.
9. As always, stay safe—in part by getting the latest information.
Visit California’s Responsible Travel Hub has travel alerts, resources, and the Responsible Travel Code, so you can be up to date on reopenings and guidelines around the state. Then, peruse our What You Need to Know tip sheets for the latest information on restaurants, shopping, national and state parks, zoos and aquariums, wineries, and more—all helpful as you plan adventures in the not-too-distant future.