Summer may be ending in most places, but that’s not the case in the Golden State, where the autumn months bring both plenty of sunshine and lots of good deals and discounts. It’s also prime time to book your California ski season, when early-bird sales offer excellent rewards.
Any time of year, it’s wise to check out the local tourism boards of your destination: Visit Temecula Valley offers coupons on anything from hotels to hot air balloon tours, while the Big Bear Visitors Bureau has easy coupons for, say, 33 percent off your hotel or discounts on gear rentals. Here are 13 great reasons to plan a fall (or winter) trip to California right now.
Disneyland Resort: Save Big at the Hotels
With the kids back at school, it’s an excellent time to make the most of Disneyland Resort. You can book rooms for up to 30 percent off—or even get one night free—at the three Disneyland Resort hotels. Book by Sept. 13: Deals are good for stays through Sept. 29—so you can combine the discounts with an early peek at the parks’ Halloween festivities.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows: 30–45% Percent off Slopeside Lodging
Get ready for 2019 ski season by booking your lodgings now. When you book by Sept. 7, you can save up to 30 percent on slopeside lodgings at The Village at Squaw Valley, with rooms that sleep up to 6 and have the added perks of a private balcony, fireplace, and a full kitchen. The deal is good for stays from Sunday through Thursday nights from Jan. 6 through May 27, with a few holiday blackout dates.
Mammoth Mountain: Early Bird Ski Season Deals
Book your Mammoth trip now and you can lock in lift tickets for $84/day—or $109/day during holiday periods—or bundle lodgings with lift tickets for $126 per person (and kids stay/ride free). You can also get a $100 resort credit if you book at least three nights for stays, from Nov. 8 through May 27. Can’t wait that long? Check out the Tamarack Fall Color Package, which includes a stay at Tamarack Lodge, a bottle of wine, and bike rentals, and is good from Sept. 3–Oct. 14.
Greater Palm Springs: Free Nights and Lower Rates
Fall means shoulder season in the desert, a sweet spot when temperatures start to drift downward but deals still abound. Two cool examples: You can get a third night free at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells through Sept. 28 (great for both tennis and golf fans) or stay at the retro-chic Ingleside Inn for just $149 a night through October.
Explore Santa Catalina Island—off the coast of Southern California from both L.A. and Orange counties—where you can walk, bicycle and lounge on the beach that feels farther away than it is. This deal includes a stay at Avalon’s Pavilion Hotel and includes your ferry ride on the Catalina Express, use if bicycle, daily breakfast and even a jaunt into the island’s protected wilderness (keep an eye out for the local buffalo).
San Luis Obispo County: $149 at Apple Farm Inn
Nothing says autumn like a good inn stay—and one that’s apple-themed is just a bonus. The Apple Farm Inn, near San Luis Obispo’s Mill Street Historic District, has gas fireplaces in rooms and an on-site bakery (where Sept. 17’s is National Apple Dumpling Day). The weeknight deal through SLOCAL is just $149 a night, with restaurant credits added as you stay longer (summer rates, meanwhile, are closer to $300 a night). Deal is good through Nov. 15.
Check out this unique deal that takes you to Coronado Island in cutting-edge style: You get picked up in L.A. by a Tesla (with wi-fi, travel pillows, device chargers, and snacks) and driven to San Diego County and the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, which sits on both a beach and a private marina with sailing and kayaking. The deal also includes a $50 resort credit, and lasts through Dec. 31.
Burbank: Hotel and Theme Park Packages
Right next to Hollywood, the town of Burbank makes an excellent launching pad for classic L.A. excursions and the Visit Burbank site is a good spot for finding packages with hotels and theme park admission, and help you get early access to the rides. We found great deals that bundle area hotels with tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood—some including entry to Halloween season attractions. The packages are pretty evergreen, but fall is prime time to enjoy the parks and shorter lines.
Rancho Palos Verdes: 50% Off Your Second Night at Terranea
Early fall is a great time to take advantage of the beach, pools, and spa at Terranea Resort in L.A. County’s Rancho Palos Verdes—along with the hotel-garden-to-table cuisine, spa, and cool activities, from twilight golf to sea salt workshops and falconry. There’s enough to do you’ll want at least two nights, so the fall in SoCal deal (50 percent off your second night) comes in handy. Good for stays from Sept. 7–Nov. 5.
Santa Barbara: Car-Free Deal
The Central Coast hub of Santa Barbara makes an easy car-free getaway, with a nearby airport and a train station right in the heart of downtown. Visit Santa Barbara ups the ante by offering the deal that gets you 20 percent off a range of hotels, and adding niceties like a bottle of sparkling wine, bicycle use, and often a pickup at the station. The deal runs through Dec. 31. Check out the Santa Barbara Car Free site for more discounts and tips.
Monterey County: Discount on Quaint Inn in Carmel
The 17-room Carmel Green Lantern Inn is a quaint way to experience the Central Coast town of Carmel-by-the-Sea: Carmel Beach is only 2 blocks away and the 1927 inn is just one block from the walkable downtown of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Booking ahead through See Monterey’s deals page gets you up 25 percent off your fall rate, depending on how long you stay.
Napa Valley: Harvest Season Special at Meritage
In Wine Country, autumn enticements extend well beyond September’s California Wine Month. On Visit Napa Valley’s site, the Harvest Season Special offers up to 25 percent off at The Meritage Resort & Spa, in the town of Napa which has lobby wine tastings and a spa located in an underground cave. Good for stays through Dec. 31.
San Diego: Anniversary Sale at the Grand Del Mar
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar in north San Diego County knows how to do luxury—from its Forbes Five-Star Addison Restaurant and its Forbes Five-Star spa, along with its golf course, equestrian center, and four pools. Even its deals are fabulous: the Grand Anniversary sale offers rates starting at $299 per night—nearly half off the usual rates—coupled with a daily $50 resort food-and-beverage credit, and a bottle of bubbly to welcome you. Book by September 30 for stays through January 31, 2019.