Three-day weekends sometime turn into a mini vacation with enough advanced planning. Where do you want to visit? From the greater Sacramento area, all you have to do figure out how far you want to go, and in which direction. No matter what, the choices are all good. With some luck, there will be skiing involved, with a lot of relaxing thrown in.
Strawberry Lodge
17510 US Highway 50
Kyburz, CA 95720
(530) 659-7200

Long ago, this historic hotel was a stage stop along a very busy road over the Sierra. That road evolved to the US Highway 50 that we know today. It’s rustic and welcoming, close to skiing if there’s snow and close to hiking and mountain biking if there’s not. The restaurant is large and a sight to see. Rent your skis here, then head up the road just a few miles to Sierra-at-Tahoe to ski the day away. When you’re done, head back to Strawberry Lodge for a relaxing evening in front of a roaring fire in the rock fireplace. XC skiers, when the snow is right, can simply strap on their skis and head out to the forest and ski along the American River. Relax, read, enjoy a slower pace for a few days, wrapped in the wonderful El Dorado National Forest.

Squaw Valley Lodge
201 Squaw Peak Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(530) 583-5500

Olympic Valley is more likely to be known as Squaw Valley. It is an extraordinary place in the Lake Tahoe area. Squaw Valley Lodge is a fantastic place to rest your head for a few days. It’s true ski-in, ski-out, with all the amenities that you’d ever wish for. It has an attentive staff and very comfortable rooms that will make you feel like this is the place you need to be. Swim in the pool or work out in the state-of-the-art indoor rec facility. Warm your bones in the hot tubs, in front of the fire or take a sauna. Wander around The Village at Squaw Valley. Cook for yourself or head to one of the world class restaurants in the Village. Ski some of the best terrain in the world while you’re at it.

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe
13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 562-3000

Looking for luxury in the Sierra? This is the definition of it. The Ritz will fill out your luxury card very well. The rooms are spectacular and the dining experience is something that you’ll continue to drool over for a while. Ski at Northstar, then enjoy all that the Ritz and the Village have to offer. Fluff up that pillow, relax and enjoy the views. The spa is waiting for you too, along with a soothing massage, or head to the fire pit for a little Marshmology every evening and learn what s’mores are really all about. Can’t figure out what to do? The concierge staff will let you know about all of the events and experiences that are available.

Related: Crab Stuffed Lobster Recipes For The Holidays

Tahoma Meadows
6821 West Lake Boulevard
Tahoma, CA 96142
(530) 525-1553

Snuggle in to the comfort that permeates Tahoma Meadows. Your cottage can be your hideaway or your springboard for adventures on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Take advantage of the outrageous full breakfast that is available in the lodge area every morning. More than enough to start your day right, this is home cooked goodness at its best. The cottages are all stand alone, well furnished and in some of them your wonderful dog is welcome. There is a definite feeling of family here. Book a small cabin, or a larger one for your family. Bring a good book and the expectation that you will enjoy every minute of your stay.

Mount View Hotel And Spa
1457 Lincoln Avenue
Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-6877

This hotel has been serving guests for 100 years. That’s a pretty good record, and speaks directly to the quality and care that this historic hotel gives its guests. It’s a luxury hotel located in downtown Calistoga. This puts you right in the heart of wine and hiking country, all wrapped up in a very special venue. Spa time is abundant as relaxing is the theme of the day. You’ll find yourself wanting to extend your stay here.

Related: Out In Style: Most Comfortable Wilderness Retreats Near Sacramento

Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at