Not all summer vacations require a week’s worth of planning or time off work. From family camping in an atmospheric Gold Rush town to soaking in the mineral-rich waters of Yellowstone’s breathtaking countryside, you’ll find inspiring destinations throughout the West that make for a quick and memorable getaway. If summer sneaks up on you this year, consider these easy escapes that pack a season’s worth of fun into a handful of days.
Summer Movies on the Beach
Over its 115 years, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has starred in innumerable big-screen thrillers, from the 1980s vampire flick The Lost Boys to the more recent horror film Us. But each summer the seaside amusement park flips the script with an outdoor film series on the sand. As dusk settles over the Giant Dipper coaster, adjacent Main Beach is transformed into an outdoor cinema with on oversized screen plunked between the Boardwalk’s twirling lights and the rippling tide of Monterey Bay. Pack a chair and a blanket, and enjoy faves such as The Goonies, The Sandlot, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Plus, if you’re craving more thrills and chills, the creepy, kitschy Haunted Castle ride is just steps away.