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19 Summer Deals in California

Plan your vacation now to Palm Springs, Yosemite, San Diego and more—and it will pay off big

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Posted 2 years agoby Katrina Hunt

Still need to book your summer vacation? You’re right on time. A quick look at tourism boards across California shows that there is always room to be had, even with summer in full swing—and typically there’s a good deal to go with it. That can even apply to summer’s biggest magnets, too, like beach towns, theme parks, and national parks, especially if you can be a little flexible on your dates. Local tourism boards are also great resources for insider tips—like the cool weekly farmers markets, local wine tastings, or easy ways to score a surf lesson. Here are 19 deals that will help you put together an epic summer vacation fast.




One More Night Hotel Deals, San Diego




Because you always end up wanting a little extra time on vacation for one more sight or activity, the San Diego Tourism Authority has a long list of hotels with free-night deals, including La Jolla’s La Valencia Hotel and Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa (both offering ongoing 30 percent off deals for 3 nights or more). And here’s how you can spend that extra day: Make use of the BOGO surf lessons from La Jolla–based Everyday California (good through June 30), plus get 30 percent off the brand’s beachy apparel to take home.



Sprinter special from $99 a night, South Lake Tahoe




The folks in Tahoe South define “sprinter” as that time of year when you can play high-altitude golf and ski in shorts—and also pay hotel rates as low as $99 per night at properties such as the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. a all-suites hotel at the base of Havnely Mountain. Good through June 30.








Get Hooked plus Freebies, Santa Cruz




Love seafood? Eat your way around Santa Cruz during its Get Hooked restaurant week (July 29–Aug. 4), when local restaurants showcase the sustainably-caught delights of Monterey Bay. Meanwhile, Visit Santa Cruz County’s website lists freebies going on this summer and beyond—like the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races in Santa Cruz Harbor, or guided nature walks at the Wetlands of Watsonville.








$50 gift card with hotel stay, Concord




Just 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, Concord is celebrating the 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival + Art & Wine Expo on Saturday, Aug. 3. Good news for jazz lovers: If you stay at one of Concord's hotel properties Aug. 2–4, you'll receive a $50 gift card with your reservation. (Once you book, email info@visitconcordca.com to redeem.)




$99 Bluesdays rates, Squaw Valley




The peaks may still be covered in snow, but summer fun is starting in the High Sierra—like the free Tuesday blues concerts at the Village at Squaw Valley and at “mountain playground” High Camp. Tuesdays also brings upbeat sales on lodgings, starting at $99 a night. And if you stay even one night, between Sunday and Thursday, you can get two High Camp Adventure passes, which give you access to unlimited tram rides, roller skating, geocaching, disc golf, and lawn games. (Usually, you have to stay two nights to get the pass.) Bluesday rates are good through Sept. 5; must book High Camp deal by June 25 for stays through Aug. 29.



Ride ’n’ Soak combo, Buena Park




The boysenberry pie is a year-round delight at Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm, but summer means that the water park, Knott’s Soak City, is also open. Book online before you go: The Ride ’n’ Soak Combo from Visit Buena Park gets you into both the theme park and water park for $84 per person—a $53 savings. Good through Sept. 8.



Beach-friendly deals at Kimpton Shorebreak Resort, Huntington Beach




The boutique-style Kimpton Shorebreak Resort is super beach-lover-friendly: The Orange County hotel rents out boards to guests and has “surf ambassadors” who can advise on prime surf spots and swell conditions. To make the most of it, use its Just Go Deal (20 percent off weeknights, through Sept. 15), the Ocean View deal (30 percent off ocean-view rooms through July 2), or even the Free Parking package, which gives you valet service to the beach.



33 percent off three nights at Shore Acres Lodge, Big Bear Lake




Summer is a great time in the Inland Empire mountain resort town for hiking, mountain biking, and water sports. The Shore Acres lakefront lodge, on two acres, has 12 fully equipped cabins with BBQs, sun decks, and wood burning fireplaces, along with access to a swimming pool, playground, and a boat dock. Good through mid-September.



“Chill” Deals, Greater Palm Springs




Summer brings big deals in the pool-lined desert, like the whopping $100 nightly resort credit offer at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa (good through Sept. 30) from Visit Greater Palm Springs’. And starting June 27, you can book a room at the pop-up The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel, which will take up residence at the V Palm Springs with Taco-Bell décor and menu items. The Bell will be open only Aug. 8–12, but rooms start at a reasonable $169 a night.








Tuesday night deals, Sonoma Valley




Sonoma Valley offers a weeknight package that gets you dialed in to local favorites in this part of wine country: Stay at the El Dorado Hotel on a Tuesday night and they’ll throw in a picnic blanket, wine, and tumblers for an evening at the town’s Tuesday Farmers Market. Also on Tuesdays, get a deal on wine from Enoteca Della Santina (buy one bottle of R Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, get a bottle of R Cellars Sauvignon Blanc for $5). And when you get up on Wednesday, you can take advantage of the free admission day at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Tuesday night deals good through Sept. 24.



Alcatraz ticket deals, San Francisco




Peak season for the iconic prison tour starts now and lasts through October. To lock in your spot (no pun intended), book Alcatraz Cruises’ Island/Angel Island Combo for $78.65 per adult/junior; $52.40 for children (5-11); $66.40 for seniors (62+); and free for toddlers (0-4). This 5½ hour journey includes ferry rides to both islands, a one-hour historic tram tour on Angel Island, the cell-house audio tour on Alcatraz, and daily optional programs and exhibits. Good through October.



20% off at Langham Huntington, Pasadena




Book at least 7 days in advance at the 1907 grande dame  and you get up to 20% off the basic rate. This 23-acre resort makes a a posh getaway, whether you’re strolling the gardens tucking in for afternoon tea. Bring your pooch, too, as the hotel is known to be super dog-friendly. Deal runs through December 29.



Tesla rental, Napa Valley




Explore Napa Valley while minimizing your carbon footprint with this deal from Enterprise Rent-a Car, which includes 100 free miles. Good through Sept. 20.








Summer Magic at Half Dome from $143 per night, Yosemite-Madera County




Think you waited too long to get a spot at Yosemite this summer? You didn’t. We still found dates in August for this deal from Yosemite–Madera County for a heated or unheated tent cabins at Half Dome Village with daily housekeeping (you can borrow fresh towels and blankets) and easy access to both hikes and views of Half Dome and Glacier Point. Or, just plan ahead: you can save up to 40% right now on fall stays at Yosemite Valley Lodge or The Ahwahnee Hotel.



60th Anniversary Deal at Kona Kai Resort & Spa, San Diego




This tiki-style beach resort on Shelter Island first opened in 1959, and now is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a package: Get two tiki cocktails, a complimentary pool or beach cabana, and $60 in resort credit. While you’re there, enjoy the restaurant’s retro specials, which include 1959 classics like Boeuf Bourguignon and pineapple upside-down cake. Good through Dec. 31.



30th anniversary special, L’Auberge Del Mar




This hotel in the heart of the San Diego County beach town of Del Mar is celebrating 30 years with its Pearl Luxury Escape Package, which includes a $150 spa and dining credit, valet parking, and “signature coastal laurel” scented sticks to take home. While you’re there, don’t miss the Pearl ’89 Cocktail, made with Moet Chandon, gin, elderflower tonic, pamplemousse, and lemon juice. Good through Dec. 31.








Save Wine Tours, Santa Barbara




Visit Santa Barbara offers a variety of discounts for exploring Central Coast wine country: Book a Santa Ynez Valley tasting tour through the site with Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours and you’ll save $44 per couple, or book a Vineyard Picnic tour with Grapeline Wine Tours for 20 percent off. Both deals are good through Dec. 31.




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