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7 Incredible Destinations in SoCal for Summer Weekend Travel

7 Incredible Destinations in SoCal for Summer Weekend Travel

Summer has already started and it is that time of the year to get some much needed break and relaxation.  However, not everybody can afford to miss a day’s work or to spend money on a vacation.  So here are seven destinations within Southern California which are close enough to drive to for a day trip or an overnight stay.  The good news is visiting these spots will definitely not break your savings account.  This travel bucket list will definitely help you plan a weekend or day trip this summer!

1.  Solvang

If you’ve always wanted to go to Denmark but don’t have the money or time in your hands, then Solvang is the perfect destination for you.  This beautiful city, which means sunny field in Danish, is situated in Santa Ynez Valley.  Aside from walking or biking around and admiring the unique scenery, there are so many things to do here in Solvang.

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For art and culture, there are several museums to check out in Solvang like the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Old Mission Santa Ines, Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum and The Wildling Art Museum to name a few.  For wine and beer enthusiasts, there’s the Blackjack Ranch Vineyards & Winery, Cali Love Wine, Olive House, Randy’s Tap Room and Tocatta Tasting Room among so many others.  Wine and charcuterie are a must try at Succulent Swine Bar.  Solvang also has live theaters which showcase live shows until September 7, 2014.

2.  La Jolla

If you are a foodie who likes to dine with a view of the ocean or an outdoor adventurer, then La Jolla is the perfect place for you.  La Jolla, which means the jewel in Spanish, is a sea-side town that is 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego and prides itself with the best beaches, good rated restaurants, walking tours and water sports like surfing, kayaking and scuba diving.  For those travelling with kids, the Birch Aquarium is a good place to visit because both kids and adult can get close to the animals to enjoy the experience.  The La Jolla Playhouse Theater located at the UC San Diego campus boasts of award winning productions and is a place to check out if you are into plays and musical shows.

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3.  San Luis Obispo

Oprah, in 2011, called SLO as the “happiest city in America.”  This charming city is the geographic heart of California, being situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  It offers travelers a breath of fresh air while wandering around town, basking in its culture, food and tranquility.  For day trips, you might want to plan your itinerary as there are so many attractions that are worth your time.  The Hearst Castle gives you an inside look of its acres of garden, a Roman ancient temple and pool.  The Bishop Peak is a rigorous hike that would reward you with the most amazing view.  The Sunset Drive-In Theater provides an old school movie experience for both the young and the young at heart.  The Mission Plaza is where most events are taking place and is complemented by retail shops, restaurants and bars.  And for something unique, visit the Bubble Gum Alley, a local tourist landmark known for its walls of used bubble gum.

4.  Ventura

If you want a laid back, stress-free place to visit, then Ventura is the place for you.  Ventura is located between the Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean, not to mention California’s longest flowing open rivers.  It is an ideal place to sit back and relax while whale watching, fishing or bird watching.  For a day trip with the family, it is fun to visit the Ventura Harbor where everyone can enjoy a spin at the carousel or rent kayaks or paddle boats to enjoy the waters.  To relieve stress, you can try any one of Ventura’s day spas which offers massages, aromatherapy and “chocolate fondue” for your tired body and to enjoy a good game of golf, you can visit one of Ventura’s various golf courses.  This charismatic and lovely place is rich with history and art that it is very hard not to find an art gallery, a museum, theater or historic site close by.

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5.  Catalina Island

An island just 22 miles south to south west of Los Angeles, Catalina is the best place to go for a romantic weekend.  You can stay at a romantic hotel, cozy bed and breakfast, cute cottages or the country inn.  Couples can enjoy exploring the island while riding a bicycle designed for two or indulge themselves and bond together while enjoying a couples massage at one of Catalina’s main town, Avalon’s day spas.  For hikers and backpackers, the Catalina Backcountry offers guided day hike options.  For adventurers, then the Catalina Adventure Tour is something you shouldn’t miss while on the island.  This tour allows you to see underwater sights and life through their Catalina Submarine, “The Nautilus” or their Glass Bottom Boat, “Sea View.”

6.  Palm Springs

Although, it is extraordinarily hot in Palm Springs during the summer, this is the place to go if you want to stay in the resort pool all day or work on your tan.  If you like desert, golf, pools or the 50s, then Palm Springs is the place for you.  Palm Springs is the center for mid-century modern architecture and decor and is a good place to shop for furniture.  Downtown Palm Springs has several art galleries, clubs that feature live music, museums and specialty stores among many others.  If you like to explore nature but not do so well under the sun, then Palm Springs offer Eco Tours in air conditioned comfort.  They say a trip to Palm Springs is never complete without a ride in their aerial tram.  The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar that brings you up to 8,516 ft. at the end of the breath taking journey to Mountain Station.

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7.  Water Parks

What is summer without a trip at the water park.  Have fun with some water play on a very hot summer day!  There are several places to choose from.  Buccaneer Cove Castlepark in Riverside is a smaller, cost-efficient, family friendly park in the heart of greater Los Angeles.  It is a five-level structure with several interactive water elements like water slides, spray cannons, fountains and a huge splash bucket.  Lego Land Water Park in Carlsbad features areas for the smaller kids age 1-3 and for bigger kids and adults, several larger tube and open slides.

However, you need a Lego Land admission in order to buy a ticket in this water park.  Raging Waters in San Dimas has rides and slides, waves, rivers and pools for kids, adults and for the not so faint-hearted.  It also has kiddie attractions for both small and big children.  Aquatica in San Diego is Sea World’s newest attraction.  Formerly called Soak City San Diego, this water park became park of SeaWorld last year.  There are six slides and pools with a minimum height requirement, a wave pool, lazy pool, toddler and water play structure.  Another water park to check out is Knott’s Berry Soak City in Buena Park.  For the thrill seekers, this water park features several extreme water slides and attractions like Old Man Falls and Pacific Spin.

 

Featured photo credit: Ming-yen Hsu via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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