When you think of summer, vacations are probably one of the first things to come to mind. But between summer classes, internships, work and a college student budget, a fancy month-long getaway may not always be possible. Instead, we have some staycation destinations that are local, leisurely and won’t break the bank!
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Have you always wanted to see beautiful Italian architecture in person, but aren’t able to get the time off this summer to jet off to Europe? The Getty Villa is a recreation of a Roman country house, offering Southern California visitors and locals a taste of Italy. Visitors can take architecture tours, enjoy four different gardens and learn about Greek and Roman art.
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For those seeking a thrill, Santa Monica Pier is a Southern California summer staple. Pacific Park—the amusement park on top of the pier—boasts 12 rides and 10 food stations. Santa Monica Pier has something for everyone and is located right in the heart of vibrant Santa Monica, CA. There is no shortage of summer highlights on the pier including movies on the beach, Shark Sundays at the Heal the Bay Aquarium and daily bike rentals.
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Located just past Santa Barbara, CA, Solvang is the perfect getaway for those looking to capture the unique and historic essence of a charming Danish village without the 10-hour flight. Visitors are encouraged to take a stroll through various themed shops and appreciate the European-style architecture that is found throughout town. Must-dos include taking a ride on the Solvang Trolley, visiting the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art and having a picnic at Hans Christian Andersen Park.
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The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens—or “The Huntington” as locals call it—is a unique day trip for those wanting to get in touch with nature this summer. Complete with several gardens featuring flora from around the world, The Huntington has no shortage of Instagram-worthy backdrops. And no worries foodies, The Huntington has plenty of tea rooms, cafes and even a dumpling and noodle house!
Whale Watching at Dana Point
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Are you brave enough to set sail and encounter one of the largest animals to ever exist? Those who go whale watching at Dana Point during the summer have a chance to see a blue whale along with orcas, humpbacks, sea lions and bottlenose dolphins against the backdrop of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Make sure to pack sunscreen, binoculars and a camera if you decide to hop aboard one of Dana Point’s various whale watching cruises!
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Just a ferry ride away from your nearest port, Catalina Island is an accessible escape from the city. From ziplining to flying through the sky on a helicopter tour, Catalina offers many exciting options to see an often unexplored part of California. Catalina is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise, and even has campsites that let visitors become one with nature.