This page is part of our A to Z index of California weekend getaway destinations.
The westernmost of the Monterey Peninsula towns boasts a seaside drive that's prettier than the 17-Mile Drive, a historic lighthouse and a lovely downtown. It's also home to some of the area's nicest bed and breakfast inns and Asilomar Beach, one of the prettiest stretches of sand in the county.
Pacific Grove is Popular For: Family outings, romantic getaways, driving tours, beach play and golf
Pacific Grove is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, Fresno, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. Monterey has a commercial airport or try San Jose (SJC).
Perhaps best known for its annual New Year's Day parade and as the home of Cal Tech University, Pasadena carries an air of early twentieth-century elegance and is home to some of the best Arts and Crafts-style architecture you'll find anywhere.
Pasadena is Good For: Architecture, art and public gardens
Pacific Grove is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, San Diego and all parts of the Los Angeles Metro area.
In the 1950s, Palm Springs was Hollywood's playground, site of many big-name movie stars' second homes. After a period of decline, Palm Springs is glamorous again, with many of its "mid-century moderne" (designer-speak for 1950s) properties being restored to their former glory. Tour companies can take you to visit Indian Canyons, through the desert in a Hummer, for a drive along the San Andreas Fault or to see the electricity-generating windmills up close.
Palm Springs is Popular For: Driving tours, shopping, casinos, golf and simply laying around a swimming pool and a center for mid-twentieth century architecture getting some sun.
Palm Springs is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Paso Robles is the center of an emerging wine area, gradually transitioning from an agricultural community into a center of wine and cuisine.
Paso Robles is Popular For: Wine tasting, outdoor recreation
Paso Robles is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, San Jose, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Bernardino.
Pebble Beach is a collection of luxury hotels and challenging golf links, strung along the legendary 17-Mile Drive south of Carmel.
Pebble Beach is Popular For: Golfing, outdoor recreation, fine lodging and dining - and its luscious scenery and top-notch make it a great for romantic escapes
Pebble Beach is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, Fresno, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. Monterey has a commercial airport, or try San Jose (SJC).
Pismo Beach calls itself Classic California, and with good reason. A five-minute drive from busy US 101 takes you to the quintessential California beach town, with a busy fishing pier, surfers in the water, salt water taffy and clam chowder for sale nearby. Just around the edge of the bay, you'll find Oceano Dunes, a large sand dune park where you can play all day.
Pismo Beach is Popular For: Family outings, outdoor recreation, driving off-road vehicles on the sand dunes, beach camping, fishing and beach play
Pismo Beach is within 200 miles of Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and San Jose.
Northwest Marin County offers bucolic countryside views across the scenic Tomales Bay. It's also home to Point Reyes National Seashore.
Tomales Bay and Point Reyes are Popular With: nature lovers, outdoorsmen and anyone who wants to get away from it all. You'll also find some nice beaches at Point Reyes.
Tomales Bay and Point Reyes are within 200 miles of Lake Tahoe/Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose.
Redondo Beach is one of the most interesting of the beach towns that Angelenos collectively call the "South Bay." With an extensive amusement pier, plenty of restaurants and a nice beachfront, Redondo is a rarity is automobile-obsessed Los Angeles: a place where you can park your car and stay put for an entire weekend without driving it anywhere.
Redondo Beach is Popular For: Beach play, fishing and outdoor recreation (there's even a fresh-water swimming pool in case you don't like the salt).
Redondo Beach is Within 200 Miles of Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino and San Diego. LAX is the closest airport.
The Russian River runs southward from northern California, turning west through Sonoma County toward the sea. The small towns on and near the Russian River are some of the cutest in this part of California - and each has a distinct personality.
The Russian River is Popular For: Wine-tasting, water play on the river, hiking in the redwoods.
The Russian River is Within 200 Miles of San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and 235 miles from Reno, NV. The nearest airport is in Santa Rosa, which gets limited commercial service.