These 24-hour getaways will leave you feeling like you've been gone a week.
2 hours from L.A.: Party at the pool in Palm Springs
1PM: A cute waiter cruises by while you catch rays on a canopied rope lounge chair at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club and soak up views of the San Jacinto Mountains.
3PM: After a hot rock massage ($110 for 60 minutes), flag down that waiter for a snow cone spiked with vodka, followed by a catnap in a shaded hammock.
5PM: Poolside happy hour gets going with margaritas from the Amigo Room ($$) paired with killer fish tacos―and lasts until the desert sky turns dark and the stars start to twinkle.
10AM: After you roll out of bed in your stylish digs, treat yourself to ricotta hotcakes at the King's Highway ($), the hotel's refurbed Denny's gone locavore. Snap a few pics in the lobby photo booth before heading out.
Hit the beach in Santa Cruz
45 minutes from San Jose: Hit the beach in Santa Cruz
1PM: On your way to the ocean, swing by the Swift Street Courtyard. Some of the Santa Cruz Mountains' best wineries have set up tasting rooms here, including Bonny Doon Vineyard ($$$; closed Mon-Tue; 328 Ingalls St.; 831/425-6771), with its upscale cafe―perfect for a "light" lunch of, say, spring goat, carrot quinoa, and smashed peas and shoots.
For something more casual, Kelly's French Bakery ($; 402 Ingalls, Ste. 19; 831/423-9059) has crisp salads and patio tables.
5PM: Grab a candy sucker from the lobby of the retro-chic Santa Cruz Dream Inn, and head out for a sunset stroll along cypress-lined West Cliff Drive, where wetsuit-clad surfers (of, impressively, all ages) tackle some serious waves.
At Aquarius, the hotel's window-walled restaurant, begin with an artful cocktail, then try the roasted halibut in a Pernod-tomato broth swimming with mussels and chorizo. From $189, restaurant $$$; 831/426-4330.
Soak in Truth or Consequences
2½ hours from Albuquerque: Soak in Truth or Consequences
3PM: In Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, check into a renovated room at Blackstone Hotsprings Lodging & Baths (from $75)―each with a 110° hot spring tub. After a long soak, break out a book on your patio or in the palm-lined courtyard.
7PM: For dinner, wander over to Cafe BellaLuca ($$$; closed Tue; 303 Jones St.; 575/894-9866) for grilled pizza with roasted garlic, then take in a first-run film for just $5 at the 1930s El Cortez Theater (call for schedule; 415 Main St.; 575/894-4914). But don't forget to take in the real stars above, back at the Blackstone courtyard.
Rooftop relaxation in San Diego
1½ hours from Orange County: Rooftop relaxation in San Diego
2PM: Even a quick trip needs some new threads. Or at least fun vintage finds from San Diego.
Stop by Frock You for everything from '60s feather bedroom slippers to '80s glam-rock snakeskin boots. Closed Mon-Tue; 4121 Park Blvd.; 619/ 220-0630.
5PM: Zoom up to the Phi Terrace on the ninth floor of Hotel Indigo, pull up a couple of wicker chairs around the firepit, and order a local microbrew or two and a few appetizers (far better than the $5 fries you'd get at the ballpark)―then wait for the first pitch across the street at Petco Park. From $180, restaurant $$; or 619/727-4000.
Bike and bend around Vernonia, OR
1 hour from Portland: Bike and bend around Vernonia, OR
2PM: Pedal the Doug fir-lined Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a 21-mile (one way) mostly paved path that gently winds through forests and over 12 bridges, including an 80-foot-high railroad trestle. 503/324-0606.
6PM: Pull in for a dinner of wild salmon, asparagus, and lemon pound cake at the new Coastal Mountain Sport Haus. Then stargaze, unwind in the spa, and sleep―oh so soundly.
8AM: Rise for yoga overlooking a meadow.
Related: 32 great spring trips