Traffic, cop shoot-outs and reality show stars at Starbucks got you down? Then head out of town, way out of town (or at least to O.C.)
Maybe you're almost 40 or 50, or maybe you're a spry 79-year-old looking for a little rejuve. Many spots in LA offer a tuck, a trim or a tranquil spot to detox -- such as the Malibu beaches along the PCH -- but you're still stuck in dog-eat-dogland.
Plan to restore youth and vibrance this year; make it your mission. The travel industry will be glad you did, and when you come back to Sherman Oaks looking 10 years younger, you'll thank me.
Herewith are five of the top 10 spots for getting back in touch with your toned teenage self:
- Tahiti: It's almost a hackneyed expression when we say we're taking off for Tahiti, but this time why not mean it? One of many islands in French Polynesia, it can be your final destination or a terrific starting point to a quick flight to Bora Bora. Just eight hand-me-the-drink-with-the-umbrella hours from LAX to the capital city of Papeete, French Polynesia (near Tahiti), it's just a movie-length longer flight than to blizzard-ridden Boston. You can find value flights on American and other airlines if you shop carefully, always traveling mid-week. For example, $1500 will get you there and back if you book two weeks in advance.
- St. Augustine, Fla: This is where you'll literally find the Fountain of Youth, at a park. At this historic site explore the 1565 Birthplace of St. Augustine and Colonial European America. Enjoy a planetarium, the Timucua Indian Village and the roar of a Spanish cannon. The history here dates back 4,000 years to Spanish Explorers' arrival in 1513 to Smithsonian digs beginning in 1934. The area was first explored by Juan Ponce de León, Spanish explorer and governor of Puerto Rico. While in town also visit the St. Augustine Wild Reserve and St. Augustine Lighthouse.
- Disneyland, Anaheim: Whether you're 5, 15 or 50, Disneyland has something for you. Sure, prices are higher than they were when you were a kid, but so is your threshold for fun. Jump on the Pirates of the Caribbean and you're that same boy-crazy 16-year-old you were the first time you went there after prom. Other tried-and-true rides including Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It's a Small World and Mad Tea Party (a.k.a. "The Teacups") will remind you you're never too old to giggle and scream while pushing a glaring, freckled twerp out of your way in line.
- San Antonio, Tex.: The Lone Star State couldn't be more inviting this time of year. While summer temps are armadillo-scorchingly insane, your late winter visit promises nothing but perfect weather. It's in the mid-70s this afternoon in San Antonio, where you could be cruising along the romantic Riverwalk (Paseo Del Rio) with your sweetie, hunting for okapi or riding a train through Brackenride Park at the city zoo, or just journeying out to the Alamo, where storied 19th century history stands. The notorious 13-day battle there with the Texians resulted in Mexican victory.
- British Columbia, Canada: Sure, it's cccccooooolllld, but dang, you can get some great deals. Plus, if you are like most Angelenos, the idea of a storybook getaway to a snowy locale sounds far more appealing than jostling for space at that juice stand on Santa Monica Blvd. Here in BC, take advantage of winter sports or just loafing. You'll get some sweet rates, too. For example, visit the Ainsworth Hot Springs and save $50 to $100 per room over summer rates. With a 150-foot cave to bring out the giddy kid in you, complemented by three outdoor pools and stream-fed "cold plunge," you'll forget all about Uncle Sam, that messy divorce or whatever adult stressor's got you down.
Tomorrow, five more tips for rejuvination.