Can you believe it? The spring semester is coming to a close. After a long pandemic shutdown and a recent decrease in COVID- cases, many are ready to go out and explore safely once again.

This California-based travel guide provides you with a mix of adventures, from seashore sunbathing to exploring high altitudes. By staying informed and cautious of COVID-19, these summer plans will give you something to look forward to.

1. Chicano Park in Logan Heights San Diego, Calif.

Chicano Park in Logan Heights San Diego, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
Chicano Park in Logan Heights San Diego, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

Chicano Park is the heart of Barrio Logan located in Logan Heights, or better known as San Diego’s oldest Mexican-American neighborhood. This park holds the country’s largest collection of Chicano murals with seven acres full of more than 80 paintings. This space also includes sculptures, gardens, and picnic tables. Chicano Park is now the hub of an emerging arts district with galleries, boutiques, coffee shops and brewpubs around the area. If you’re unable to visit, you can enjoy this virtual tour of the park here.

Place to eat nearby - Por Vida

This Mexican-American inspired cafe and galleria specializes in serving locally roasted, fair trade organic coffee. A revamped edition of their 2020 menu now includes boba teas, acai bowls and rollup ice cream. After a day at Chicano Park, their quenching spicy limonada or horchata coffee is a great way to taste the spice of the barrio life. Por Vida was recently featured on the Travel Channel show “The Zimmern List.” You can watch it here.

2. Shaw’s Cove, Laguna Beach Calif.

A little view from Shaw's Cove in Laguna Beach, Calf. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
A little view from Shaw's Cove in Laguna Beach, Calf. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

Yearning for a far away, tropical oasis but still wanting to stay close to Southern California? Shaw’s Cove is a small sandy locals beach tucked away below homes in Laguna Beach. With a hidden feel, the only way to this beach is down a 58-step stairway. It is the perfect spot to enjoy some of the clearest blue waters found in Southern California. At both ends of the small beach, visitors can explore tide pools through the rocks and ridges of its enclosed coast. Thanks to its private-like atmosphere, visitors may find themselves lucky enough to score the cove all to themselves.

3. Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Did someone say there’s a roller coaster on the mountain above Lake Tahoe? That’s right! Heavenly Ski Resort has a gravity-powered coaster track that winds you through the High Sierra Mountain forest. The track expands more than a half-mile, with a 300-foot drop and two different loops. It is a great way to explore the high elevation and oversee Lake Tahoe’s entire landscape. Don’t want to experience the scenic routes alone? The coaster sleds can seat two to share the adventure. Click here for more information on ticket pricing and other activities around the resort.

4. Ferndell Trail in Los Angeles, Calif.

A snapshot of Ferndell Trail within Griffith Park. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
A snapshot of Ferndell Trail within Griffith Park. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

This short, quarter-mile long trail through Ferndell is located at the bottom of Griffith Park and is known as the Ferndell Nature Museum. The walking path is an unexpected cool and tropical oasis within Los Angeles’ mild-to-hot and mostly dry climate. The trail follows alongside a stream that nourishes mainly tropical plants under the shade of sycamore trees. When other parts of Griffith Park dry out and turn brown, Ferndell stays lush and green thanks to the recycled water it receives from the Griffith Observatory. This enchanted forest is free for all visitors. Want to further the adventure and soak up the L.A. sunshine as much as possible? Visitors can add two and a half miles to their hike beyond Ferndell and reach the Griffith Observatory for an entire view of The City of Angels.

Place to eat nearby - The Trails

This order at the window spot within Ferndell trail is most convenient after a hike. Pick up a homemade pie, avocado sandwich, and some coffee to wrap up your day out.

5. Huntington Library, Art Museum and Gardens San Marino, Calif.

A Japanese Garden in the Huntington Library. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
A Japanese Garden in the Huntington Library. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

The Huntington Gardens showcases the best fauna and flora that Southern California has to offer. Originally built in 1919, the gardens have a rich history to offer. There are a variety of garden areas for visitors to tour including Japanese, Chinese, Tropical, Australian, Rose, Jungle, Desert, Shakespeare, and Conservatory Gardens. This wide variety comprises approximately 27,000 different types of plants with 16,000 different species. The gardens span for 207 acres, so be prepared for plenty of walking for your visit. Due to COVID-19 regulations, advanced reservations are required. Click here for more information on reserving a visit to the gardens.

But wait, there’s more!

Many of us are missing those international travel plans as well. As a bonus, here’s a destination worth keeping on your bucket list — a Latin American travel escape that will be worth the wait.

6. International - Belize Barrier Reef

Situated half a mile off the coast of Belize, the country’s Barrier Reef is the longest in the Western Hemisphere, spanning 185 miles of its country’s coastline — making it the second longest in the entire world. The reef’s crystal blue waters is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. It features species of over 100 soft and hard coral, 500 fish, and hundreds of oceanic invertebrates. The Belize Barrier Reef is extremely dense and only 10% of all the species here have been discovered, an important reason why it is heavily protected by the country’s reserve system. Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive through different stretches of the reef; a memorable experience to check off on the travel list.

During these times, The CDC indicates that Belize is open for travel at a “Level 2 Travel Health Notice.” Travelers to Belize must test negative for COVID-19 before arrival. All travelers returning to the U.S. must have a negative COVID-19 test done in Belize, per new CDC requirements. The country is also under a daily curfew. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, wait to travel internationally only when it is safest to do so. You can find out more information at the state department website or here.

For this summer and beyond, it is important to stay as safe and as COVID-19-cautious as possible. Make sure to follow Dímelo’s COVID-19 travel recommendations guide to make the most of your vacation plans.

This information is from the CDC’s website recommendations as of April 29, 2021.

For the latest information about safe travel during COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website.