By Emily Peters
Contributing Writer

It may be cooler in other parts of the country, but MTravel is based in Los Angeles and that means we’re only nominally waiting for “summer” to begin. And because our hometown is an international tourist destination itself, we’ve developed a deep appreciation for nearby summer vacation spots that aren’t overrun with tourists. We think your sun-loving travel clients will be satisfied with any of the California gems on our list.


Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad is San Diego’s tiny, adorable baby cousin; a small town feel with a surprising (but not oppressive) population of around 100k. With true oceanfront properties scarce in San Diego, Carlsbad offers a gorgeous, relaxed alternative with all of the conveniences of a larger city—but with so much less stress.

A stay at the Beach Terrace Inn puts your clients directly on the water and within walking distance of Carlsbad’s abundance of genuinely delicious restaurants and spots for live music, dancing, or sunset strolls by the sea grass. Do your clients have kids? Have them save a day for a trip to Legoland, just a few miles inland from the shore. Otherwise, we recommend ending a beach day at Oak & Elixir with a bottle of champagne and their amazing cheese and charcuterie board.


Sacramento, California

Okay okay, we know what you’re thinking. Sacramento, really? Aside from recent Ladybird fame, California’s capital doesn’t get a ton of love as a tourist destination. But that’s exactly what makes this summer spot so unexpected.

Surrounded by fertile farmland, Sacramento actually serves as a perfect homebase for a gorgeous and underrated wine region that boasts more than 200 wineries, including growing hotspots like Lodi and Placer. Most are within a scenic 1-hour drive away from downtown Sacramento and offer rolling hills, tasty on-site snacks and some legitimately impressive wines. Have them stay for a summer concert (there are plenty to choose from) or head back to the city—Downton Sac’s midweek farmers markets are pretty spectacular and a walk in Old Sac along the Sacramento River will transport them back to the 1800’s.


Julian, California

From the shores of Carlsbad to the fields of Sacramento’s wine region, now the mountains are calling. Located in San Diego County near the Cuyamaca Mountains, Julian is a true Mayberry country town, perfect for travel clients looking for distraction-free boost to their mental health this summer.

For the ultimate rush of nostalgia, book your clients at a throwback like Gold Rush Hotel (the town’s oldest historic hotel) or give them the seclusion they’re seeking at Eaglenest Bed & Breakfast which honestly feels like something out of Anne of Green Gables. The surrounding California chaparral and mountain views might be enough to stay at the hotel with a meal and bottle of wine—but when they’re ready to venture into town, do not miss a slice or two at Julian Pie Company, family-run for over 30 years and serving the best dessert in town.

What other unexpected summer destinations do you love for your clients? Sound off in the comments—and let’s get your clients booked ASAP. Good selling!


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