Three-day weekends don't come around often, so don't let this one go to waste. Here are some ways to take advantage of mid-winter fun.

The Chalks Ano Nuevo

Chalk it Up: Every winter, two groups reliably make the pilgrimage to Año Nuevo State Park: hordes of elephant seals, and people! Give yourself some breathing room by heading inland to a little-known area called the Chalks, where a 1.5-mile (one-way) path up a fern-filled redwood forest reaches a vista with wondrous views.

Solar Power: Early risers get the best seats in the house for viewing a sunrise from San Francisco's Lands End Labyrinth. Get acquainted with this wild corner of the city on a 30-minute stroll along the Coastal Trail, detouring via a spur trail to a small plateau where the labyrinth sits.

Joaquin Roll: It's little wonder why non-profits like BTCEB (Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay) work hard to keep mountain biking legal at Joaquin Miller Park: the terrain is awesome! Just 11 miles from downtown Oakland, Joaquin Miller is ultra-compact, but the vast network of trails and towering coastal redwoods, fern canyons, and trickling creeks make it an option for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.

Cowellbunga!: Just south of Half Moon Bay, the Cowell-Purisima Trail stretches for 3 sea-breezy miles along high coastal bluffs. You can thank the good folks at Peninsula Open Space Trust and State Coastal Conservancy, who put in a 25-year effort to secure this open space for the public. The wide gravel-and-dirt trail gently rolls along the edge of the continent.

Village Visit: China Camp State Park's Fisherman's Village once thrived due to the abundance of shrimp. Many things have changed, save for a general store run by the grandson of an early enterprising villager. The Quan Bros. snack shop is a no-frills establishment serving everything from Polish dogs to clam chowder. Dine alfresco at a nearby picnic table with views of San Pablo Bay.

Grape Connection: Just like certain food pairings can enhance wines, walking from vineyard to vineyard can enhance your next wine country experience. Ditch the car and take a leisurely 3.5-mile (round-trip) stroll that connects two historic wineries in Sonoma.

SLO Film Festival

What makes a film festival fantastic? Location, location, location. The Central Coast's San Luis Obispo blends a Northern California vibe with Southern California weather. It's also home to The 18th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF), March 7–11. A favorite with celebrities, the festival showcases 100 films—classics, cutting-edge features, and everything in between. Among this year's highlights is Sports Nite in SLO at the historic Fremont Theatre: this trilogy of extreme sports films kicks off with FINNSURF, a documentary about surfers in Finland braving sub-zero temperatures (followed by a Q&A session with the Finnish director and surfer). Then it's on to the thrills and spills of bicycling and snowboarding. The after-party happens at the SLO Brewing Company where you’ll meet filmmakers, athletes, and other extreme sports buffs while indulging in drink specials. Nostalgic types will love SLOIFF's inaugural "Hollywood to Hearst Castle" event. Recalling the peak of Tinseltown in the '20s and '30s, actor Harrison Ford and renowned photographer Timothy White will fly into Hearst Ranch's private airfield before the event. Enjoy a cocktail reception before catching a first-ever screening of the classic film Citizen Kane at Hearst Castle Theater. Don't be left in the dark. Get your tickets now!

BONUS: Get a vacation on the house. Enter to win a 2-night stay in San Luis Obispo! Trips are given away every month. And, action!