One thing’s for sure: Travel never goes out of style. But thanks to industry innovation and shifting norms, certain sorts of exploration are hotter than the rest. We examined the world’s top travel trends as identified by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Pinterest, and more to deliver the freshest ways to see California in 2019. From eco-friendly adventures through a bioluminescent bay to cycling tours through wine country, here are a few ideas to stoke your appetite for on-trend travel this year.
Trend #1: Climate hopping
Vacationers with a love of both the beach and the mountains will appreciate this trend. The idea is to explore multiple climates within a single trip—which you can definitely do in many places in California. Start your morning snowshoeing in North Lake Tahoe before driving two hours to sunny Sacramento for an alfresco lunch. Or try the classic surf and ski trip following this itinerary from Orange County to Big Bear.
Trend #2: Eco-tourism
The Golden State offers limitless opportunities to get in touch with Mother Nature. Take a road trip to Yosemite to visit the Mariposa Grove, which reopened last year, or see mind-bending bioluminescence with an evening kayak tour in Tomales Bay. For a taste of eco-luxury, stargaze before bed at one of these great glamping destinations.
Trend #3: Hot springs
Both an ancient form of relaxation and an eminently Instagrammable experience, hot springs were a hot search on Pinterest leading into 2019. California has no shortage of geothermal activity: Dive into these eight soak-worthy hot springs found at resorts, in meadows, or surrounded by mountains.
Trend #4: Solo travel
Solo travel continues to increase in popularity, and on a recent episode of the California Now Podcast, author Stephanie Rosenbloom shared her best tips for feeling fulfilled while flying solo. Listen to learn how to avoid “spotlight syndrome” when dining for one and the pleasures of window shopping. If you’re searching for inspiration, take advice from US News & World Report, which named San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco in the top 30 places for solo travel last year.
Trend #5 Bus adventures
Buses are back in style with chic options for group and no-need-to-drive travel. Enjoy a rockstar-style trip through Southern California's deserts and cities on a luxury coach complete with sleeping pods with Roadies. Explore Napa and Sonoma wine country aboard a vintage VW bus with West Valley Wine Tours. If you want to get behind the wheel, rent one of VW Surfari’s kitted-out campers and chase the endless summer up and down the coast.
Trend #6: Cycling getaways
Temperate weather year-round means any time is a good time for a California-based bike trip. Stay active as you travel by putting one of these fun and challenging events on your calendar. Think everything from a 136-mile technical ride through the hills of San Diego County to a three-day event for two-wheeling foodies in Napa Valley.
Trend #7: Surprise destinations
The ultimate trend for the true trendsetter: Gather your favorite people and plan a trip without telling them the destination. The reveal at the beginning of the trip is only the start of the fun. Go off the beaten path for an even more enticing surprise. Try a road trip through undiscovered wine regions or remote beaches. To stay on top of the hottest hidden gems, subscribe to the California Now podcast where each week California experts of all kinds divulge their best-kept secrets.