Do you hear that sound? It’s calling out to you, from beyond. An indistinct noise, but becoming more discernible by the minute, by the day, by the week. Perhaps you hear the rousing cheers from your favorite sports bar. Perhaps the rollicking clap-trap of a passing rollercoaster and the unrestrained yelps of its passengers. Perhaps you hear something simpler: the quiet, yet buoyant conversation of a mid-sized dinner party among friends, sipping wine, playing games, having fun. All this and more is promised to come at some point in the future, but we’re not quite there yet.
We have arrived at one year later, one year of the pandemic, and thus back to Spring Break. As vaccinations rise, people may feel the urge to leap back to ‘normalcy,’ but, as I said, we’re not quite there yet. We have to remain cautious, wary of coronavirus variants, each distinguished by their place of origin: the UK Variant, the Brazil Variant, the South African Variant, etc. etc.
So Spring Break can’t yet be beaches and parties and raucous good times. But it doesn’t have to be entirely locked down, as it was last year, either. Here at Coastline, we’re calling it a ‘Safecation.’ It’s more than a staycation, but less than a vacation, all handled with social distancing and safety in mind. Here are some ways you can do it too…
As California slowly reopens, opportunities abound to take safe, local trips. Rent an AirBNB near a State or National Park. The Channel Islands are nearby and so is Joshua Tree. If you have the grit to go camping, then by all means do it. Just be sure to wear a mask whenever you come into contact with campers outside of your bubble. Plan your road trip carefully. It’s imperative, especially now, to know what hotels you plan on staying at and bringing extra masks, hand sanitizer, food, and water in case you find yourself on the road for most of a day. Disneyland will be opening soon it seems at limited capacity and the San Diego Zoo is also open. Those are family friendly spots for when the people in your party decide excess pollen, sticky branches, and roughing it aren’t for them.
It’s no secret that restaurants have suffered mightily during the pandemic. Businesses continue to close or endure financial and personal losses. Supporting local restaurants, coffee shops, and businesses is a way to lock in Spring Break safely.
Pick a different restaurant every day during the break; treat yourself to your favorite food and drink from local spots. Or, alternate one day with an old faithful pick and another day with a never-tried-before restaurant or cuisine. Southern California is a global capital of cuisine and there are so many worthy restaurants. Trying a mix of old and new will be sure to create a Safecation to remember.
My grandparents took a few trips to visit my family and I when I was growing up. It was a vacation for them, but for me it was still home. But because we ventured to different neighborhoods, different landmarks every day, it still felt like a change of pace. You can do the same now. Organize a different day trip for every day of Spring Break. Then, when you’re worn out at the end of the day, you can come back home and slide into your own bed, tired, content, and ready for more local adventure.
Yes, this is similar to the previous section, but with some more specificity in mind. Just as with restaurants, Southern California is teeming with many wonderful, small and large neighborhoods worth visiting, with many small businesses to support.
One example is Retro Row in Long Beach, also called the 4th Street Corridor. This hip area hosts numerous record shops, coffee shops, and enough thrift and vintage stores to satisfy your fussiest friend. The surrounding neighborhood is also worth checking out, with just a wonderful array of funky and fun little houses and apartments.
Another set of spots is Sawtelle and Culver City. While these may be way out of the way for folks in Orange County, the whole point is to go out of your way, to see parts of Southern California you would typically not have a chance to visit. Leafy tree-lined drives, stores, and more abound in Culver’s Arts District or Downtown Culver City along Culver Blvd. Sawtelle, tucked beneath Culver City, offers similar treats, with many restaurants to choose from and its very own Japantown.
I’ll keep this short and sweet, that way you can get started putting together the pieces of your Spring Break. It’s not as locked down as it was last year, but we still have to be safe. True, true normality may not come for awhile. The likelihood is that we’ll be wearing masks at least through 2021, maybe into 2022. But that doesn’t mean you can’t open up a bit, get some fresh air, and explore the many amazing sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that our state has to offer.