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  • Jennifer Howard

California Dreaming

As summer approaches, the Southern California beach towns start calling my name. I can't get there fast enough from the blazing Arizona desert. I call my bestie, wash and gas Benzie, throw a few items in a bag and head happily for the coast. Below are my favorite among faves of all of the Southern California coastal towns.

girl sitting on beach chair in front of the del hotel


Omni La Costa is my go-to resort in Carlsbad. La Costa is a sprawling property, with seventeen tennis courts, eight sparkling pools, two championship golf courses and a gorgeous spa that is truly a relaxing retreat. While at Omni La Costa, I love to stay in a studio villa, complete with all the amenities. It is Spanish Colonial style, includes a gracious kitchen, fireplace, oversize marble bathroom with soaking tub, private patio or balcony and luxurious robes and linens. Just steps outside your villa is the exclusive villa pool and hot tub. Pro tip: For the most breathtaking view on property, head to the Edge (adults only) pool. It boasts beautiful views of the bluffs, championship golf courses and includes a full menu of perfect poolside entrees, craft beers and cocktails. For the complete VIP experience, book a fully stocked, open air, poolside cabana.


Sunroof open and Dua Lipa blasting from my little car, and off to Cardiff State Beach I go. Driving down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is just one of my most favorite things to do in this world. There is nothing like that breeze coming at you while you fly down the highway with nothing but ocean waves and palm trees in your view. Whether I get to be at the ocean with others or on my own, it is just my most joyful place. The last time I visited, I sat and watched the surfers for what seemed like ever. These were the lessons I gleaned from the surfers -- Position. Paddle, paddle, paddle. Balance. Catch the wave. Ride the wave with skill. Flip the wave with joy. Know you are fully supported. Even if you don't make it that far on the first try, you build your muscle and skill, and wipeouts are fun and you land softly. Begin again. Pro tip: For the best fish and chips ever, drive down to Cardiff Beach Bar @ Tower 13.


If I am staying on Coronado Island, then you will find me at Hotel Del. A living legend for more than 130 years, The Del celebrates its rich history as the proud host to celebrities, royalty, U.S. Presidents, and beach-loving guests for generations. Experience seaside luxury with plush daybeds, bonfires with s'mores, surf lessons, beach yoga and more. There is so much to do at and around this unbelievable beach compound, to include golfing, sailing, spaaing, shopping and world-class dining. This historic beach resort is truly a San Diego icon. Pro tip: Sunday brunch in the Crown Room is not to be missed. Bloody Marys and Mimosas for days.

La Jolla

La Jolla is truly another gem along the Southern California Coast. For vintage style, coastal charm and award-winning cuisine, you will want to check out La Valencia Hotel. La Valencia is an unforgettable destination that has welcomed guests for more than 90 years. With her signature pink exterior and iconic tower, the elegant "Pink Lady" remains a renowned landmark on La Jolla's distinctive Prospect Street commanding the village bluffs with panoramic views of the Pacific coastline and beautiful La Jolla Cove. Pro tip: While in La Jolla, head to hip and historic Harry's Coffee Shop for the most unbelievable breakfast. Family owned since 1960, this cozy breakfast nook is the perfect place to enjoy a pile of french toast or a delicious omelette filled with fresh ingredients.


I love driving to Malibu. I adore the feeling I have while I am there. The coastline, the aesthetic, the homes, the restaurants, the ease of the residents. I want it all. I head to Mailbu Pier, famous for its iconic dual white towers, rough hewn planks and sweeping views of the coast. With a storied history dating back to 1905, the pier is as known for its restaurants and shopping, as it is for its views of surfers and dolphins. As a special birthday treat, I enjoy a gorgeous brunch with my best friend at Malibu Farm Restaurant. We had Swedish Mini Pancakes with whipped cream and berries. We also had eggs, potatoes, coffee and fresh juice. Malibu Farm is the place to go for farm-to-table cuisine and the best views in Malibu. Pro tip: Don't miss the shops along the pier for malibu-vibe clothing, accessories and skin care. Spend the rest of your gorgeous day in Malibu at Zuma, the ultimate Southern California beach.

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