Marble, Colorado, United States
Marble serves two functions: it's the gateway to the picturesque Crystal Mill, and home to some of the best BBQ in the US - Slow Groovin' BBQ. Bring your 4wd vehicle and traverse the pass from Marble to Crystal, snap a few photos of the Crystal Mill, and reward yourself with an unparalleled brisket sandwich and beer.
Sentinel Dome, California, United States
Sentinel Dome is one of the most underrated hikes in the Yosemite Valley. At 1.4 miles one-way, it's short and flat enough for most hikers to undertake. The top sits a mere 800 feet below Half Dome, and directly across the valley. Head up an hour or so before sunset, and spend the evening watching the stars from high above California's Central Valley. Snacks highly recommended.
Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur is home to McWay Falls, Bixby Bridge, and Ventana Wilderness. You'll find beauty here no matter what your interest. Take a weekend backpacking trip along the Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes Hot Springs, and relax in natural rock hot tubs. If you're not so outdoorsy, spend the day with a leisurely drive along highway 1. You might spot a BASE jumper hurriedly leaping from Bixby Bridge if you're lucky.
Moss Landing, California, United States
Moss landing sits at the heart of the famous Monterey Bay, and hosts an estuary teeming with life and a fish market overflowing with delicious food. Spend your day kayaking around the Moss Landing Marine Sanctuary, then head over to Phil's Fish Market for fresh chowder or their famous cioppino. Don't sit at Phil's reserved table!
Bolinas, California, United States
While Bolinas itself is a wonderful little town, the real magic lies a few miles beyond. Drive out past Bolinas to the Palomarin trailhead and hike to Alamere Falls; the waterfall drops directly onto the beach. Along this four mile hike you'll pass Bass Lake, with one of the best rope swings in the west. Pack a lunch and hang out at the bottom of the falls for a while, maybe play some frisbee or go for a swim in the ocean.
Kennedy Meadow, California, United States
This spot is relatively unknown and remote, so a marker doesn't exist yet. Drive about 7 miles west from Kennedy Meadows Resort along highway 108. You'll round a corner to the left, and see off in the distance a "9000 feet elevation" sign. Immediately pull over into the turnout that's large enough for about two vehicles. You're heading south along a river trail for Blue Canyon Lake, a rarely visited alpine lake with crystal clear waters. Bring a compass and a map, as this trail is a little hard to follow in spots.