When it’s time to take a weekend trip with your family to relax and unwind, head to Riverside, California. From Riverside, you can embark on a short road trip to exciting destinations like Las Vegas, Nevada and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. As for accommodations, there are plenty of California vacation rentals to choose from for your upcoming weekend getaway. With your home base in Riverside, you can explore these great cities and towns nestled in neighboring counties and states.
1. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
With a drive time of a little over four hours, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, is a great place to unwind and enjoy a few days on the lake. While visiting this quaint town, your family can walk across the original London Bridge. When the United Kingdom replaced the bridge, this town paid to bring it here piece-by-piece. Spend a day on London Bridge Beach, soaking up the sun and playing in the water. Rent a boat from Sandbar Powersports to spend at least one day zooming around the water or book it for the entire weekend. Take older family members to the Desert Bar. This place to grab a cool drink is powered by solar panels and made from unique materials, such as old refrigerator doors.
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2. Yuma, Arizona
Relax and rejuvenate in the charming town of Yuma, Arizona, after a three and a half hour drive. Learn more about the area’s rich mining history at the Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town. The ghost town is made up of around 30 buildings brought from different locations to give visitors a feel for what life was like here in the Old West. Tour Martha’s Gardens Medjool Date Farm to find a blooming oasis in this arid area and stop by the gift shop to pick up some of these sweet treats. Kids love the Saihati Camel Farm with its petting zoo and the chance to feed a camel.
3. Visalia, California
Explore the great outdoors and go hiking in the Sequoia National Forest when you find a vacation rental in Visalia. The drive time is a little over four hours, and the town is within easy driving distance of the forest. Stop by the visitor’s center at the Sequoia National Forest to get trail maps and enroll your kids in the Junior Ranger program. Race go-karts at the Adventure Park. After declaring a winter, play games in the arcade and a few rounds of mini golf. Dine al fresco with a picnic lunch at Mooney Grove Park, and after eating, rent one of the boats to paddle around the large lagoon.
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4. Santa Maria, California
Play and reconnect with your family in the lovely Santa Maria, California, a mere four drive from your home. Kids want to spend an entire day at Boomers! Funpark with its bumper boats that let their competitive side shine through along with go-karts, mini golf, and an indoor rock climbing wall. Step back in time and see a blockbuster movie at the Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre, where you watch from the comfort of your car. Stretch your legs on one of the numerous paths in Waller County Park that wind their way past small ponds and water features. Older family members enjoy a wine sampling at the Rancho Sisquoc Winery.
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5. Las Vegas, Nevada
In three and half hours, you can cruise into the glitter and glam of Las Vegas. Even if gambling isn’t your thing, this city has a lot to offer, even kids. In the evening, head over to old Vegas for the Freemont Street Experience, where a light show illuminates the overhead lining. You can even hop on a zip line and zoom over this street. Hike in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and check out the wildlife and unique plant life that grows in this arid climate. Everywhere you look in Vegas, the city is awash in neon signs, and at The Neon Museum, you can see the ghosts of signage past.
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6. Venice Beach, California
Drive a little less than 2 hours to reach Venice Beach, California. There’s always something fun happening in this laid-back little town. Bike riding is one of the most popular ways to explore the area, and Legends Historic Bike Tour offers a two-hour tour and allows you to keep the bikes for an hour longer to explore on your own. Visit the Mosaic Tile House to see a home that is uniquely Venice in that it’s still being built. Enjoy an afternoon snack at Schulzie’s, where you can indulge in bread pudding in almost any flavor combination that you can dream up.
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7. Fresno, California
Less than a five-hour drive takes your family to the vibrant city of Fresno. Hike among the redwoods or get your blood pumping with a little white water rafting in Yosemite National Park. Tour the unique Forestiere Underground Gardens that includes flowers, plants, shrubs, grottos, and courtyards to sit and appreciate the beauty around you. Kids love a visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The zoo has a public giraffe feeding each day and a touch tank of stingrays.
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