Into the Wild
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve taken at least one trip up to Idyllwild every year. As a frequent traveler, I usually prefer to check out new locations rather than return to the same ones again and again, but Idyllwild is different. This mountaintop village is the perfect escape for someone like me: artsy, quaint, and full of hipsters.
When most Southern Californians plan a weekend getaway up to the mountains, they typically think of well-known destinations like Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, and Mammoth Mountain. I know big resorts like those are popular for a reason, but if you’re like me and prefer to escape to a quiet town that isn’t packed with tourists, Idyllwild is the place to be. It’s about a two-hour drive from San Diego as well as from Los Angeles, and though it’s grown in popularity over the years, it’s still the ideal location for a slow-paced vacation.
The town is home to several lovely inns, but I always rent a cabin when I visit. When I’m getting away from my busy everyday life, I like having my privacy. The many cabins available for renting tend to be isolated enough to where you can step outside in your pajamas and ducky slippers without being seen by neighbors, but not so remote that you worry about being murdered. That’s the perfect balance, if you ask me.
I have many fond memories of waking up to a carpet of white snow, but this year, the weather was a bit more temperate. Since I live in San Diego and rarely get to enjoy cold weather, I would have loved to feel the crunch of ice beneath my boots again… But I made the most of the sunshine and cool breeze. I’d been waiting for a good time to unveil my new crop top, and since the sunlight wasn’t intense enough to give me weird tan lines, I figured this would be the perfect occasion!
Before heading into town, I busted out my Yashica-D to snap a few photos of the pines, and took my well-dressed pup out to play for a bit.
What’s In My Suitcase
What To Do In Idyllwild
My favorite part of visiting Idyllwild is venturing into town. It’s lively, but just small enough to where you can comfortably walk everywhere, even in heels ?
This is where I found my people. Idyllwild is an art lover’s paradise, and the locals are as sweet and welcoming as they are talented. There are several art galleries throughout the village, as well as little public art installations that brighten up the town.
It seems that whenever I visit, a new business or two have sprung up, so there’s always something new to see. But, there are also my go-to places that I revisit with every single trip. My absolute favorite place in Idyllwild is this sweet little antique shop in the center of the town. I’ve spent a lot of money here over the years. You’ll find all kinds of weird stuff in this place (but you won’t find any vintage photos because I’ve already purchased all of them. All. Of. Them.)
There’s even an adorable, friendly little cat that roams throughout the store.
Where to shop & eat
If antiques aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other shops in the area. I swear, there’s a shop here for everyone; apothecaries, biker shops, clothing stores, craft shops, book stores, etc.
There’s a huge shopping center in the heart of the town, but the real gems tend to be down the side streets.
There are also some fantastic restaurants and diners in the area. And, for all you 21+ folks, quite a few pubs, tasting rooms, and bistro’s ? When I’m in town, these are my favorite places to grab treats:
There are a lot of quirky things to see in the town, most of which are hidden in plain sight.
And, if shopping, walking, and munching isn’t your thing, there are plenty of trails and natural wonders to behold. I’m not what you would call an “outdoorsy” person, so I can’t say that I particularly enjoy hiking. But, there are a lot of scenic trails that nature lovers go crazy over. The most popular one seems to be the Dripping Springs trail to Suicide Rock (which really doesn’t sound like a good time to me, but hey, no judgement).
If it weren’t for my dogs, I wouldn’t have any desire to risk encountering poison ivy and mosquito bites. After a day or two of napping beside the fire, they always start to get a bit of cabin fever, so I like to take them down the Strawberry Creek Trail for a nice leisurely stroll. That’s about as close to hiking as I’m willing to get.