Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4hr. Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
This week: we’re bending the rules (five hours, door-to-door) for a new safari-style campsite in Wine Country.
STAY: The AutoCamp
The AutoCamp started as an Airstream trailer park, but they just opened a new expansion that includes spacious canvas tents stocked with Casper queen-sized mattresses, Coyuchi bedding, Coleman coolers, bathrobes and products a la Malin+Goetz. Plus, you have your own firepit, where you can enjoy local vino and coffee.
You’ll want to hit this 5.3-mile trek through the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve early in the morning, before the heat kicks in. Some of the trees in here are over 1,000 years old, and stand up to 250 feet tall. So there’s plenty of shade should you do it later.
WATER ACTIVITY: Kings Russian River
As the mercury rises to the 80s, head to the river. Rent some kayaks or paddleboards from Kings Russian River and paddle out to see the seals and otters. This is where the Russians used to hunt for pelts back in the day (hence the region’s name). Feel free to take a dip.
russian river restaurants (2 images)
Try to cook as much by the fire as you can, but if you’re feeling frisky, head to Boon for a burger encased in white cheddar and some asparagus dripping in egg-yolk. After, head to Boon’s sister watering hole, El Barrio Bar, for flights of tequila and mezcal, which you can back with some ice-cold Modelos.