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One-day vacations

Make the Labor Day weekend easy

Posted: September 2, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: September 2, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Laguna Beach is a perfect destination for a one-day trip out of the SCV.

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If you are going away for the Labor Day weekend, you know, this weekend, your plans should have been made long ago. However, if you are like me, and have trouble with commitment, you've been turning down invitations left and right because the locations or events or people involved were not up to your standards of perfection - and you're still hoping someone will drop the ideal trip in your lap at the last minute.

While hope is a good thing, and the official "weekend" doesn't start until you get off work today, those few hours left are probably not going to bring in the big one, and so you and I would be better served by considering day trips this weekend.
Just last week Escape brought you a day trip to Ventura. Not to overdo a good thing, then, we'll rein it in and consider some day trip locations from just below Ventura (i.e., Oxnard) and on down south, turning around before we get to San Diego. And yes, of course, all these trips will be toward the coast, so you can get away from the heat.

Oxnard
Less than an hour's drive to the north, Oxnard is a gem that is often overlooked by those seeking a weekend getaway. And yet, there is a wide variety of activities to choose from. Whether it's biking, fishing, hiking, sailing, lawn bowling or any other outdoor sport, the season is always right and the activity options are plentiful in Oxnard.

More than seven miles of public beaches and several residential parks provide the perfect environment for picnicking, kite flying, sand sculpting, walking, jogging or volleyball.

Hikers will enjoy the more than 100 miles of trails in the Oxnard area. Ranging from easy to difficult, the trails include easy strolls to ones that require difficult backcountry skills. Cyclists will also enjoy the area's nearly 35 miles of designated bike paths and lanes.

For more information visit www.visitoxnard.com.

Huntington Beach
To the south, explore the Huntington Beach Pier. Light up a beachside fire ring, build sandcastles or just feel the sand between your toes on the West Coast's longest stretch of clean, uninterrupted beachfront.

Surfing is king at Huntington, and evidence is found through its famous surf events and legendary landmarks such as the Surfing Walk of Fame, Hall of Fame and the International Surf Museum.

Dog Beach, a dog park, dog-friendly hotels and restaurants that feature dog-only menus have led to the area's reputation of being one of America's top spots to bring man's best friend.

Shop until you drop or dine and unwind. Chow down on California beach-style food or wine and dine at upscale eateries. Let loose with downtown nightlife or relax in an abundance of parks and preserves - including the famed Bolsa Chica Wetlands preserve.

This Saturday and Sunday, Huntington Beach is host to a Civil War reenactment.

For more information visit www.surfcityusa.com.

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is southern California's premier, seaside destination midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beachgoers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and the sound of the surf. Hidden coves, spectacular views, chic restaurants, unique shops and one-of-a-kind art galleries await you.

Why not visit Laguna Canyon Winery? It's Orange County's only winery with a public tasting room.

Try an easy hike or, for the more adventuresome, a three-hour trek in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Picnic on the hill with a cliff-top view from Heisler or Alta Laguna Park. Explore the tidepools at Shaw's Cove, Picnic Beach, Treasure Island Park or Crystal Cove State Park.

For more information visit www.lagunabeachinfo.com.

Del Mar/La Jolla
A bit farther down the coast, yet still within easy day trip distance, Del Mar and La Jolla can make an afternoon seem like a week's vacation.

If you remember the line, "where the turf meets the surf," you'll also recognize Del Mar as a haven for horse racing. This is the last weekend for the Del Mar race season.

Del Mar Dog Beach is a popular pet-friendly beach with a nearby park for Labor Day picnics.

La Jolla's legendary cove shouldn't be missed. It offers a cliff-side coast walk for romantic strolls, a sheltered cove for swimming and parks for picnics. And the cove is within walking distance of downtown La Jolla.

Scripps Park is immediately adjacent and an excellent area for picnicking. Kayaking is also popular in the area. La Jolla Cove lies within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which helps to ensure that marine life remains plentiful.

Also in La Jolla you will find the Children's Pool, a popular location to view seals on the beach. You can visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, museums, or the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Visit www.sandiego.org/nav/Visitors/Regions/NorthCounty.

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