By: Lindsey Kasprzak
This month I decided to write about my trip to Southern California. I know what you’re thinking, “why would anyone want to go there?” Well, Southern California isn’t the devil’s playground the media makes it out to be. It’s actually a pleasant and family friendly place to visit if you know the right spots to go.
Most people think if you’re going to visit Southern California, you would just fly into LAX. Although maybe a bit cheaper, you’ll fight traffic at any time of the day just getting out of the airport. We actually choose to fly into Palm Springs, which is a quiet, easy-going airport where you don’t have to pop a Xanax right before you get there. Because it’s not a very popular airport, there are less travelers- which means shorter lines, easier to be picked up, and cleaner restrooms.
Once you’ve landed in Palm Springs, you are just a 40-minute drive to a quaint and historic town called Redlands. Redlands is the place you want to make your home base. Why? Because Redlands is centrally located between the high California mountains and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
I know what you’re thinking, “why would I go to Southern California to stay in some town I’ve never heard of?!” Here’s why. Redlands is that classic town with a theme and that theme is oranges. Orange trees are all over Redlands and if you visit in the spring you can roll down your windows while driving and the sweet smell of orange blossoms will fill your car.
Redlands is the type of town that has a wonderful market night every Thursday evening where you can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables or a creative art piece from a local artist. Market night is also a great place for “people watching” while you set at one of the open-air local craft cocktail bars or Mexican food restaurants like Don Orange, but I will warn my fellow Texans, while “people watching” in California you may spot a lady pushing a stroller with her cat in it... you’ve been warned.
Aroi Mak Mak!
So where should you stay in Redlands? Air BnB it! Why? Because Redlands is full of great deals ranging from $49 a night and up. You could even stay in one of the historic homes from the early 1900’s that is absolutely beautiful!
Historic Southside Bungalow! 3 bedrooms, 2 baths For more information click here:
Once you’ve done market night and you’re ready to see a little more of as they call it “SoCal” you’re only an hour drive up the mountains to Big Bear where you can shop, eat and relax by the lake or, if you go during the winter months, get in some ski time. Not feeling the mountain air? No problem, you’re only an hour and thirty-minute drive to the ocean, L.A., and Hollywood where really one day is the perfect about of time because it can get a little crowded around those areas.
Some of you may be thinking, “what about Disneyland?” Yes, Disneyland is also close to Redlands, I’d say without that wonderful L.A. traffic you can get there in a little over an hour and if you’ve never been then you should go. But the hidden gem that no one really knows about is Knott’s Berry Farm. If you have kids that are out of the Disney phase, then this is the spot for you.
Knotts has so many rides that are for kids of all ages plus roller-coasters that will make you lose your voice because you’ll be screaming so load. The park is much cheaper for admission and there are hardly any lines. The theme for the park is Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang so if you do have a little one, you can find Snoopy walking around the park and get a picture with him.
That’s my advice on how to do “SoCal” the right way. Like the name of this column “Come and Explore It”. Go and Explore Southern California and what it has to offer. Don’t just stay in a hotel in L.A. and have a horrible time because there are too many people, Disneyland is $150 a ticket and you’re stuck standing in lines the whole time... that sound horrible. No wonder no one from Montgomery County wants to go.
Don’t do it like that, explore Southern California my way, it will be a great time and you’ll love the people you meet along the way.