11/29/2012 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

3 Fun and Easy Holiday Escapes



The leftovers have been eaten, sale mania is winding down, and Christmas music is officially the soundtrack everwhere. There's just enough time to fit in one or two more calming hikes or hardcore workouts before all the parties and treats start going full force.

Whether you rushed out to the Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving or cringe at the thought of carols and nutty relatives, this time of year can be exhausting. This year, take a quick escape from the chaos with a holiday getaway. These jaunts are an easy way to relax (and celebrate) for a night or two. We've also thrown in some local alternatives in case you just can't get away.

Eat, drink, and be merry in Paso Robles. If your favorite part of the holiday season is free-flowing drinks, then get on down to old (El) Paso. Dubbed by the West Coat's "most exciting wine region" by Sunset magazine, this gorgeous town is a perfect place to hand pick your holiday wines. And there's plenty of "festive-ness" happening too, with a gorgeous tree and a parade of glittering Victorian homes at the Vine Street Victorian Showcase (December 8).

No time for a wine weekend? Wine taste locally by biking the East Bay wineries.

Go glitz in Beverly Hills. The holidays are the time to indulge, and nothing says "extravagance" like the Hills. Take a spin on the town's first-ever ice skating rink, among twinkling palm trees and the stunning City Hall. Then do some window shopping (or real shopping, we won't judge) along Rodeo Drive. The famous promenade will be decked out in its holiday finest, from Santa and carolers entertaining at Two Rodeo shopping center to the tree, lavishly decorated by Tiffany & Co., in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire. Serious shoppers should consider the shopping package that the Hotel Wilshire, one of the many L.A. hotels with electric car charging stations.

Can't get away? Get luxurious closer to home with one of these fabulous Bay Area views.

Go Global in the Santa Ynez Valley. If the charming towns of Central California can't get you into the holiday spirit, you may as well go by "Ebenezer." From Julefest in the Danish town of Solvang to Christmas with the Celts at the Chumash Casino (December 15), the area offers a veritable Christmas Around the World without ever leaving the state. And if you still can't get into the spirit, Solvang's annual Christmas Tree Burn (January 4) may just be for you. Local hotels and business have great offers, including wine and beer packages.

Can't get there? Get in the spirit locally with fun holiday activities around the Bay Area.