Game day getaways: 5 Southern California destinations worth the extra point

Our top picks for where to stay, whether you’re planning to be in town for the Big Game or you’re simply after a snowbird vacation.

Published February 2022


With 292 days of sunshine and an average high hitting that mid-70s sweet spot, Los Angeles is renowned for its nearly perfect year-round weather—and travelers have been flocking there to get their vitamin D. In fact, Vacasa’s 2022 Ski & Winter Search Report highlights Southern California as one of the top destinations where winter occupancy soared this season. On top of that—as if you need another reason to book it to La La Land—this west coast metropolis will soon be home to the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Whether you scored box-seat tickets for the Big Game or simply want to soak up some sunshine, we’ve got you covered with a range of Southern California vacation home destinations within a two-hour drive of LA.

The deck of an oceanside vacation rental in Malibu, CA.

1. Get outside in Malibu

Featured vacation home: Beachfront Bungalow

Just 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles and bordering the ​​Santa Monica Mountains, the VIP-dense Malibu has much more to brag about than its star-studded real estate market. The coastal neighborhood does boast an impressive roster of celebrity addresses, but it’s also the gateway to abundant beach trails and state parks, including Malibu Creek State Park––a familiar backdrop to fans of Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.

The Malibu Creek area features hiking, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding as some of the top things to do in LA’s famous suburb. Outdoorsy types will appreciate homes that include a balcony oasis like the one at Siegel's Malibu Oceanfront Bliss V. Sprawl out on the private patio before kickoff and fire up the grill for at-home tailgating at its finest.  

Vacation rental in Beverly Hills with a pool.

2. Shop in Beverly Hills

Featured Beverly Hills vacation home: Tullis Charm

From internationally known fashion houses to one-of-a-kind boutiques, Beverly Hills is one of the most iconic places to visit in LA. Bordered by Santa Monica Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and Wilshire Boulevard, this shopper’s haven is perfectly perched in an easily walkable area.

Seeing as you might need a vacation rental closet to stash your shopping haul, you’ll be pleased to discover there’s no shortage of square footage among Beverly Hills’ home options. And as a bonus, these sprawling rentals are the ultimate destination for a classy post-game soiree.  

Vacation home with tile roofing and an outdoor pool in Palm Springs, CA

3. Admire art and architecture in Palm Springs

Featured Palm Springs vacation home: Highball House

Two hours due east of Los Angeles is the oh-so fabulous desert city of Palm Springs, which is an architectural oasis thanks to a wealth of mid-century modern design and retro charm. Art aficionados will also find plenty to muse about between the contemporary Palm Springs Art Museum and many local galleries. No matter your artistic preference, one thing is certain—our collection of Palm Springs vacation villas is steeped in nostalgia and accented with all the right modern amenities. The Highball House, for example, will make you feel like you've just stepped off a 1960s Pan Am flight—but with the bonus of a 60” flatscreen TV and fully-equipped chef’s kitchen. 

Outdoor deck with comfortable lounging chairs at a vacation home in Carlsbad, CA

4. Drive the coastline in Carlsbad

Featured Carlsbad vacation home: Oak Ave Magnificence

Less than a two-hour drive south of the greater Los Angeles area, you’ll find yourself in Carlsbad, also known as “The Village by the Sea." This quaint city has beautiful sandy beaches for sun worshippers, theme parks for thrill-seekers, and a bevy of world-class competitive events for sports enthusiasts. The historic Highway 101 begs travelers to take a drive along this quintessentially SoCal coastline that extends from laid-back Oceanside to luxurious La Jolla. With impressive rentals dotting the coast between the beach and the interstate, you’ll have no excuse not to hit the highway for a day trip to LA.  

Outdoor table on a deck of a vacation home with ocean views in San Diego, CA

5. Hit the surf in San Diego

Featured San Diego vacation home: Mission Beach Delight I

California’s southernmost city is the perfect place to slip into a wet suit and hang ten… or just hang out. The water in La Jolla might be a bit chilly, but the biggest and best swells usually come in during the winter months. Those who prefer spectator sports may be more inclined to spend their days near the surf searching for baby seals and breaching whales that often make appearances. If you’re undecided, pick a home base close to the Sunset Cliffs. A choice like Mission Beach Delight I will leave you steps away from the bluffs, where you can walk down and watch the surfers catch a wave. 

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