A Guide to the Perfect Southern California Staycation - LaJolla.com

A Guide to the Perfect Southern California Staycation

This essay is part of “Discovering California,” a series of content about must-visit locations and businesses in California.

As a resident of Southern California, I know firsthand the beauty and excitement the region offers. Last year, I decided to spend my birthday weekend enjoying everything this great part of the world offers, from surfing and hiking to strolling in La Jolla, watching the seals, and relaxing on the beach. I’ll share my experiences and recommendations for the perfect staycation in Southern California.

Stay at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Staycation in Southern California
Image of Santa Monica Proper Hotel courtesy of the author, Eduardo

My birthday weekend started with a staycation at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel (700 Wilshire Blvd.), a luxurious and stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Santa Monica. The hotel’s unique design and high-end amenities made me feel like I was on an elegant getaway, even though I was just a few miles away from home.

Upon arrival, I was impressed by the visually pleasing decor and design of the hotel lobby, which features beautiful hanging plants and modern furniture. The check-in process was quick and easy, and the staff was friendly and accommodating throughout my stay.

My room was spacious, comfortable, and beautifully decorated with stylish furnishings and modern artwork. I loved the soft, plush bedding and the magnificent bathroom with its deep soaking tub and premium toiletries.

I took advantage of the hotel’s many amenities during my stay, including the rooftop restaurant and lounge. I enjoyed a delicious dinner and drink with an enchanting city view, and I also spent time relaxing by the rooftop pool and soaking up the sun.

Overall, my stay at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel was one of the highlights of my birthday weekend.

Dining Out in Santa Monica & La Jolla

An incredible experience of my birthday weekend was my dining experience in Southern California. On Saturday night, I enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Calabra Restaurant rooftop of the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. The food was exceptional, with each dish perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. The restaurant’s impeccable service and elegant atmosphere made for an unforgettable dining experience that was the perfect way to start my birthday celebrations.

On Sunday night, I had the chance to dine at George’s at the Cove (1250 Prospect St.) in La Jolla with a sunset view. The food was exceptional, focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and creative flavor combinations. The view of the sunset over the ocean was the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable birthday meal.

Surfing in the Morning with Friends

Staycation in Southern California
Image of friends surfing at La Jolla Shores courtesy of the author, Eduardo

I woke up early Sunday morning to hit the waves with my fiance and some friends. We headed to La Jolla Shores, one of the best places to surf in Southern California. The water was warm, and the waves were perfect for beginners like me. I was able to catch a few waves and ride them all the way to shore, which was an exhilarating experience.

Strolling in La Jolla

After our surf session, we took a leisurely stroll along the beach in La Jolla. The scenery was breathtaking, with gorgeous views of the ocean and cliffs. We even spotted a few seals basking in the sun on the rocks, which was a highlight of our walk.

While walking through Girard Avenue in La Jolla, I stumbled upon a perfume store to pick out a fragrance for my fiance. I had been looking for a while for a perfume that would reflect a southern coastal scent and found a bottle of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue and decided that it was the perfect purchase that would make me remember this weekend. This refreshing blend of citrus and floral notes captures the essence of the ocean, making it the ideal fragrance for a day spent enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather.

Hiking in Torrey Pines

Later in the day, we went to Torrey Pines for a hike. Torrey Pines is one of the most scenic spots in Southern California, with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding cliffs.

During my visit to Torrey Pines, we opted for the Razor Point Trail, a moderate hike that takes visitors through a scenic overlook of the reserve. The trail is about 2.2 miles long and takes about an hour to complete. The hike was invigorating and provided gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding cliffs. I was able to see the beautiful coastline from a unique perspective and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

One of the best moments of the hike was reaching the Razor Point overlook, where I could take in the breathtaking views of the reserve and the ocean beyond. It was an unforgettable experience, and I felt peace and serenity surrounded by such stunning natural beauty.


In conclusion, my birthday weekend in Southern California was an unforgettable experience. From the luxurious stay at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel to the exhilarating surf session, relaxing strolls in La Jolla, seal watching, leisure time on the beach, an invigorating hike in Torrey Pines, and an unforgettable sunset dinner, every moment was filled with joy, beauty, and memorable experiences.

Southern California has so much to offer, from the stunning beaches to the picturesque hiking trails and top-rated restaurants. It’s a region that truly has something for everyone. I encourage anyone looking for a weekend getaway or a vacation destination to consider Southern California for their next trip. You’ll find it all here whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or both.

Overall, my birthday weekend in Southern California was an incredible experience I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to plan my next staycation or adventure in this beautiful region and discover even more of what it has to offer.

Staycation in Southern California
The author, Eduardo

About the author: Eduardo, an adventure seeker who grew up on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. He is passionate about immersing himself in new cultures and enjoying the finer things in life. He loves surfing, watching sunsets, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and he tries to capture both moments and memories through his hobbies of photography and food. Currently, he’s growing with his fiance Rachel and planning more adventures together.