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Southen California is a Premier Domestic Incentive Trip Destination

Being a San Diego native, I am passionate about Southern California and all that the destination has to offer for incentive travel. SoCal is an ideal domestic area that entices groups with its beautiful beaches, countless hotels and resorts, sunny weather, and endless excursion possibilities. Travel up the coast to discover several cities in Southern California and offer your attendees a once in a lifetime, memorable experience. Where else can your attendees go snowboarding and surfing on the same day?

Southern California, or SoCal, is a premier domestic incentive travel destination


One great reason to book a program in Southern California is the weather. Nice, temperate weather is not confined to a couple of months in the spring or fall. The area enjoys year-round sunshine and temperatures ranging from 65-75 degrees during the day. There is more flexibility when booking an incentive trip to ensure fantastic weather for your attendees for evening events and daytime excursions. Some unique climate circumstances in SoCal include May gray, June gloom, Santa Ana dry winds, and El Nino rainy season. There is also a phenomenon called the marine layer, which consists of morning fog near the coast that burns off by midday.


Airlift into Southern California is excellent thanks to its numerous airports, such as San Diego International Airport, John Wayne and Ontario Airports, Los Angeles International Airport, and Santa Barbara Airport. For those attendees traveling from the east coast, time is on their side. For travelers flying from east to west, they will gain several hours, allowing them to maximize their time upon arrival.


There are minimal risks to consider while traveling to Southern California. One risk to consider is the fire season. Normally starting in September and October during the dry, hot, fall months, the past few years’ fires have ravaged the state. Be sure to include a strong force majeure clause protecting your program in case you need to postpone due to fires and smoke.

SoCal Incentive Trip Destinations, Hotels, and Activities

San Diego

America’s Finest City is an excellent choice for an incentive trip throughout the year. There are several different areas within San Diego to select for an incentive trip, from the city experience in downtown Gaslamp to the beaches of north county. Also, consider Coronado Island with its idyllic setting close to the airport. San Diego’s relaxed, outdoor vibe attracts those that crave rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

socal domestic incentive travel program

San Diego, America’s Finest City

Some unique experiences to provide during an incentive trip include a day pass to Balboa Park, including the World-Famous San Diego Zoo and Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Gaslamp foodie tours, a day trip to Valle de la Guadalupe to discover Mexico’s newest wine region, kayaking with the sharks in La Jolla, paragliding on the Torrey Pines cliffs, hot air balloon rides in Del Mar, and discovering the history of Old Town.

A trip to the San Diego Zoo is a must

Top Incentive-Quality Hotels in San Diego:

Image of the U.S. Grant Hotel, a timeless luxury property in downtown San Diego, by Marriott

  1. The U.S. Grant
  2. Pendry Hotel
  3. Hotel del Coronado
  4. Fairmont Grand Del Mar
  5. The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Orange County

Just a short drive from San Diego, Orange County is known for its immaculate beaches, high-end resorts, spas, and excellent fine dining. The OC is a great destination for incentive trips as it allows attendees to feel pampered and spoiled with all its offerings. Orange County has several areas available for incentive trips, from the beaches of Dana Point and Laguna Niguel to inland Anaheim. A split program is recommended, with a couple of nights spent inland and a few at the beach to appeal to most demographics.

orange county incentive trip socal

Orange County is known for its world-class surfing

Some unique experiences to provide during an incentive trip include surf lessons with a local in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, experiencing the magic of Disneyland or California Adventure, shopping sprees at South Coast Plaza, a day trip to snowboard at Big Bear Mountain, and exploring the tide pools in Laguna Beach.

Snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain

Top Incentive-Quality Hotels in Orange County:

Image of the Resort at Pelican Hill, which offers top-notch rooms with breathtaking views, by Irvine Company Resort Properties

  1. The Resort at Pelican Hill
  2. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
  3. Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point
  4. Montage Laguna Beach
  5. The Grand Californian, Disneyland
Los Angeles

The glitz and glamour of Los Angeles provide a unique backdrop for a Southern Californian incentive trip. LA is home to numerous film studios, world-class museums, and celebrity chef-owned restaurants. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Venice will pique your attendee’s interests in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is a timeless destination, popular for incentive travel

Some unique experiences to provide during an incentive trip include VIP tickets to a local awards show, such as the Grammys or ESPYs, private tours of the Getty Center, shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive, helicopter tours of the Hollywood sign, a backstage tour at the Warner Brother’s Studio, and a day trip to Catalina Island.

socal incentive trip

Providing a VIP experience to an awards show, like the ESPYs, makes a trip to LA unforgettable

Top Incentive-Quality Hotels in Los Angeles:

Image of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills by Four Seasons

  1. Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
  2. Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
  3. Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
  4. Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica
  5. Terranea Resort
Santa Barbara

Thanks to its ideal location on the Pacific coast with dramatic mountain views, Santa Barbara is often called the American Riviera. Santa Barbara is a fabulous incentive trip destination known for its Spanish architecture, relaxing spas, luxury resorts, and miles of pristine beaches. Stay in the foothills of Santa Barbara, near the beach, or travel down to Ojai for a secluded retreat.

Santa Barbara, known for its pristine beaches and mountain backdrops

Some unique experiences to provide during an incentive trip include an electric bike tour along the beach, food and wine tours through the Funk Zone, luxurious spa treatments, Spanish architecture walking tours, and a day trip to Santa Ynez for wine tasting.

Pair a walking tour of Santa Barbara’s stunning Spanish architecture with a wine tasting

Top Incentive-Quality Hotels in Santa Barbara:

Overlooking the Pacific, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is an incentive-quality hotel that is sure to impress

  1. The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
  2. Ojai Valley Inn
  3. Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore Santa Barbara
  4. Belmond El Encanto
  5. Rosewood Miramar Beach

The possibilities are endless for a memorable incentive trip in Southern California. Let Brightspot know how we can help design a motivating incentive trip for your team!

Looking for other destination ideas? Check out Brightspot’s list of the Top 20 Incentive Travel Destinations

Brightspot Marketing

Author Brightspot Marketing

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