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Autumn Is for Quitters: The Indian Summer Travel Guide

The calendar may say October, but the air is warm, Karl the Fog is M.I.A., and it’s the Bay Area’s best month to be outdoors. Here, 30 fall trips with summer weather.

Glen Oaks' private swimming spot in Big Sur.

Photo credit: Jen Siska
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Slurping oysters in West Marin.

Photo credit: Angela Decenzo
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Carmel Beach.

Photo credit: Tai Power Seeff
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Heli-hiking on Catalina Island.

Photo credit: courtesy of  Santa Catalina Island Company
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Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Riviera Hotel
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Sailing in The Bay.

Photo credit: Alanna Hale
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Horseback riding at Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang.

Photo credit: courtesy of Alisal Guest Ranch
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Sunburst motel in Calistoga.

Photo credit: courtesy of Sunburst
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Burlington Hotel in Port Costa.

Photo credit: Alanna Hale
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Burlington Hotel in Port Costa.

Photo credit: Alanna Hale
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Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa.

Photo credit: Alanna Hale
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Billboard in Los Alamos.

Photo credit: Jen Curtis
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Timber Cove Inn in Fort Ross.

Photo credit: Jen Siska
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Joshua Tree Music Festival.

Photo credit: Sean Naugle
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Treasure Island Music Festival.

Photo credit: courtesy of Treasure Island Festival
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Escape from Wonderland in San Bernadino.

Photo credit: Oh Dag Yo
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The Avalon Ballroom hosts the Catalina JazzTrax Festival.

Photo credit: courtesy of JazzTrax
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West Marin—An all-access gourmand pass
Don’t waste another moment endlessly waiting for a table at Hog Island, now that you and six friends can book one of Elizabeth Hill’s West Marin Food and Farm Tours (From $475 per person, On the private two-night culinary retreat, she’ll give you the lowdown on local oyster-farm lore and lead you to West Marin’s top artisan producers— like Cowgirl Creamery, Brickmaiden Breads, Marin Sun Farms, and, of course, Hog Island (sans the wait). There’s also Heidrun, where Gordon Hull shows you how mead (honey-based wine) is fermented. And you’ll make pit stops to forage juicy blackberries and pull up beets for a farm-to-table cooking class and dinner back at your Inverness tree house (or bayside cottage, if you prefer), led by chef Matt Elias of True Grass Farms. Rachel Levin

Carmel-by-the-Sea—A bonfire fest
California may have a zillion sandy swaths, but for legal bonfires, it’s slim pickings. Fortunately, one of NorCal’s most scenic stretches, the cypress- fringed Carmel Beach, welcomes them, turning into a veritable ring of fire on warm October evenings. the revamped L’auberge Carmel (From $425, has a historic-Euro vibe in close proximity to the beach. Pack in picnic eats like Garden Variety farmstead goat cheese and fall-fresh grapes from the new Thursday farmers’ market, or pull up a log at the Carmel Art & Film Festival Filmmaker’s Beach Bash on October 12 (, when it seems like the whole town is roasting s’mores and watching a flick under the stars. Stephanie Orma

Catalina Island—Trailblazing via copter
Just a 22-mile boat ride from the mainland, Catalina has long played host to weekenders seeking leisurely hikes and trail rides. But now it’s getting an adrenaline injection. Heli-hiking and heli-biking expeditions, newly launched for guests of the Pavilion Hotel (From $225, 310-510-1788), swoop you to the isolated and dramatic western coastline, where native island foxes and the iconic Catalina bison roam. Still can’t sit still? clamp into the Zip Line Eco Tour (From $120, 800-626-1496), which zooms thrill seekers 500 feet above sea level at 45 miles per hour, giving new meaning to the phrase “hang 10.” When you’re finally ready to calm your nerves, relax with a mai tai at nearby Descanso Beach Club’s (From $400, 310-510-7410) swank new presidential cabanas for six, or park yourself on the new Bluewater Grill’s ( epic deck jutting over the pacific. Kimberley Lovato

San Diegobeachside brews
San Diego now has 72 breweries, making it California’s beer capital, at least in terms of number of suds makers—not to mention its beer-friendly weather. Start at the Brew Project (, a warehouse bar that might as well be S.D.’s official beer embassy, with its close proximity to the airport and 31 local beers on tap. The third Friday of the month brings in 10 food trucks to join the party. Feeling nerdy? You’re in luck: Beer is so woven into San Diego’s DNA that Balboa Park’s History Center ( has a new exhibit dedicated to it: “Bottled & kegged: San Diego’s Craft Brew Culture” (through January 20). But the easiest way to navigate the scores of breweries here is to hire one of Brew Hop’s (From $75 per person, beer geeks as your guide and DD—they’ll tailor the itinerary to your palate and chauffeur your crew to tasting rooms in the likes of a Lincoln Navigator licensed for open bottles. Christine Ciarmello

Palm Springs pool parties—from sweaty dance fests to chilled-out dips
Ace: On October 19, a balls-to-the-wall full-moon drum circle and high-voltage dance party kick off at this vintage motel. From $109,

Hard Rock: The infamous hotel chain opens its Palm Springs location September 27, with poolside costumed dancers at the Monster Rock Ball on October 31.From $179,

Riviera: New Grecian-style cabanas stocked with champagne offer refuge during the day. But on Thursday evenings, they thump with a DJ beat for the high-heels crowd. From $187,

Twin Palms: This private mid-century estate was designed for Frank Sinatra in 1947. Now the grand piano–shaped pool serves as an exclusive venue for your own Rat Pack. From $2,600,

Korakia Pensione: The Mediterranean pool deck is studded with fire pits for prime chill time after yoga class. There are no phones or TVs, providing the ultimate disconnect. From $169, Jenna Scatena

Page 2: Sailing around the bay, surfing like high society, Southern fare alfresco, and more...