Top 10 Best Day Trips From Los Angeles

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Within a couple of hours of Los Angeles, you can witness the scenery changing from gridlocked to untamed and refreshing. Beautiful beaches and a year-round ... read more...

  1. Since it served as a backdrop for Hollywood movies in the 1920s, Santa Catalina Island has drawn tourists. The island's lovely environment is evident as soon as guests arrive. Santa Catalina Island is one of the most romantic spots in California because of its relaxed atmosphere, pleasant weather, and calming ocean waves.

    The island is wonderful for a weekend escape, quick vacation, or honeymoon that focuses on leisure and recreational activities, in addition to being a beautiful day-trip location. Popular pastimes include hiking, biking, trekking, sailing, sunbathing, and picnicking.

    Most hotels, stores, and restaurants on the island are located in the charming town of Avalon, which also offers spectacular ocean vistas, palm-lined beaches, and a botanical garden. Two Harbors, which has a more isolated vibe, is home to hidden coves and undeveloped sandy beaches with swaying palm palms. Due to its abundance of recreational opportunities, Two Harbors attracts a lot of outdoor enthusiasts. Boating, camping, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and snorkeling are just a few of the activities available.

    From San Pedro, Long Beach, or Dana Point to the port of Avalon, take the Catalina Express for an hour to Santa Catalina Island. Ferry service between Newport Beach and Avalon is provided by the Catalina Flyer and takes just over an hour. Santa Catalina Island may be reached from Los Angeles in roughly two hours, including a one-hour drive to Long Beach and a one-hour boat journey.

    Location: California, Pacific Ocean

  2. Disneyland is likely already on the travel wish lists of the majority of families with children. Although it is frequently a destination by itself, Disneyland is a short drive (less than 30 miles) from Los Angeles. The "Magical Kingdom" at this well-known theme park enchants kids of all ages.

    Children of all ages enjoy attractive attractions like the Mad Tea Party with its enormous spinning teacups, the large Caterpillar cars of Alice in Wonderland, the big-eared planes of Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and the musical boat ride of "it's a small world" in Fantasyland. The drama of Pirates of the Caribbean, the Matterhorn's bobsleds that race through a scene of the Swiss Alps, and the Indiana Jones Adventure, which includes exhilarating rides, a precarious adventure, and a "curse" temple, are all intriguing attractions that older children appreciate.

    Dine at the Blue Bayou Restaurant at New Orleans Square, which is close to the Pirates of the Caribbean rollercoaster, for a very unforgettable experience. This immensely famous Cajun and Creole restaurant with a Louisiana flavor serves food on a romantic patio lit by lanterns. Making reservations well in advance is strongly advised due to the restaurant's popularity.

    Families can spend the night at the Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, which has a beach vacation theme, the beautiful Craftsman-style Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, or the Disneyland Hotel, which features a pool and a waterslide play area. All of these accommodations are part of the Disneyland Resort.

    Address: Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, United States

    Phone: +1 714-781-4636

  3. Santa Barbara is a beautiful seaside city located just under 100 miles north of Los Angeles. There are lovely beaches, a boardwalk area, and a bustling downtown area filled with fantastic stores and eateries. The "American Riviera" is a fitting name for the region, which has a South of France atmosphere thanks to the blue Pacific, vast, curved beaches, and hillside houses.

    The city's Funk Zone, a revitalized former warehouse area close to the waterfront, is now a well-liked location to spend an evening at one of the wonderful restaurants, art galleries, or performance venues there. Belmond El Encanto is an ideal luxury resort in the Riviera area in the hills above Santa Barbara if you're wanting to spoil yourself or someone special. The hotel, which has been in operation since 1918, has undergone extensive renovations and offers private, opulent casita and bungalow accommodations. A top-notch spa and gourmet fine dining are available, both of which offer stunning views of the city and the ocean beyond.

    Location: Santa Barbara, central California coast
  4. Palm Springs has been a well-liked desert vacation for 100 years despite being only 100 miles (and around a two-hour journey) from Los Angeles. The region, which has 350 days on average of sunshine a year, is dotted with resorts and golf courses and is very well-liked in the winter. The region around Palm Springs, including the towns of Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Rancho Mirage, is referred to as the Coachella Valley.

    The world's greatest collection of complete mid-century modern residences and businesses may be found in Palm Springs. On one of the walking excursions offered by the Palm Springs Historical Society, you can examine the architecture. Modernism Week, a weeklong celebration of the design movement with events, parties, talks, tours, and movie screenings, is held in the city every February. Every January, movie buffs swarm to the city to take in the free Palm Springs International Film Festival.

    In addition to golfing and soaking up the sun, the Coachella Valley is home to several excellent dining establishments and tourist attractions. Both the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway are recommended for visitors to see. Over a distance of 2.5 miles and 8,500 feet, the aerial tramway ascends you in roughly 10 minutes. It transports you from a scorching desert to a cool, mountainous landscape that occasionally has snow and is covered in pine trees. Amazing views may be seen from the top. A simple café, a fine-dining restaurant, and more than 50 kilometers of hiking paths are available once you reach the top. Keep reading to discover more best day trips from Los Angeles.

    Location: Palm Springs, Sonoran Desert, southern California
  5. There are more than 800,000 acres of desert in Joshua Tree, specifically Joshua Tree National Park. By automobile, it takes just under an hour to get there from Palm Springs and under three hours from Los Angeles. The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert each have their own unique desert ecosystems. Beautiful plants and animals, as well as breathtaking geological beauty, abound in the park. You can visit Joshua National Park to go hiking, camp there for a night or two, or climb some rocks. It's a well-liked location for auto camping.

    It's enjoyable to camp out for a few days in the middle of the desert or to take a day trip and only hike the shorter, simpler routes for an hour or two. The region is an International Dark Sky Park, which means that a staggering amount of stars and constellations can be seen at night. Just outside the park, in the little town of Joshua Tree, there are a variety of hippie shops, natural healers, and roadside eateries.

    Location: Joshua Tree National Park, southern California
  6. This beachfront city in Orange County, which is about an hour south of Los Angeles, is well-known for its artistic community, outdoor lifestyle, and some breathtaking beaches. In addition to having several galleries, Laguna Beach also holds an annual Pageant of the Masters and Festival of the Arts in July.

    With full-size, three-dimensional, staged performance art versions of well-known works of art occupied by real people in makeup, body paint, and/or costumes, the Pageant of the Masters festival brings works of art to life. Imagine an actress costumed as the subject of the painting posing inside a stage set that resembles a large Mona Lisa. Beyond the yearly arts festival, a weekend break to Laguna Beach and the surrounding area is always a terrific idea. Along with a lengthy public beach, numerous top-notch dining establishments, and numerous art galleries, the area enjoys pleasant, sunny weather more than 300 days out of the year.

    Across from the beach and nestled away in a canyon is the 87-acre luxury resort known as The Ranch at Laguna Beach. Along with a large spa, the resort offers a well-known restaurant and a great nine-hole golf course. The one- and two-story bungalow complexes housing the modern, opulent yet rustic lodgings fit in well with the canyon's surrounding natural environment. You may get to the beach by using a golf cart shuttle that travels through a tunnel under PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).

    Location: Laguna Beach, Orange County, California
  7. Malibu, which is about 33 miles from the heart of Los Angeles, is renowned for its magnificent beaches and lavish seaside residences. There are numerous Hollywood movie stars that call this place home.

    Malibu, which is tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains, boasts a breathtaking 27-mile shoreline with towering sea cliffs. Surfing in the Pacific Ocean is wonderful, but swimming is not advised. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has more than 500 miles of hiking trails in this stunning natural setting.

    Despite the glitz and luxury of Malibu, all of the town's beaches are open to the public, even when they are surrounded by private beachfront property. The public beaches are open every day from sunrise to sunset, but the public-private beaches are difficult to see from Highway One since they are hidden away; many of these beaches that border private property can only be reached by passing through gates or by going to other beaches.

    Location: Malibu, west of Los Angeles, California
  8. San Diego, which is three hour's drive from Los Angeles, has wonderful weather year-round and a huge selection of things to do. There are numerous intriguing retail businesses, a flourishing restaurant scene, and several fantastic music venues in the downtown area, notably in the Gaslamp District, which has undergone revitalization.

    The majority of the animals are kept in recreations of their native habitats in the enormous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. There are many opportunities for youngsters to engage with and learn about the animals, making it a terrific family attraction. In Escondido, about an hour away, there is a drive-through wildlife adventure called the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You get to see rhinos, giraffes, gorillas, elephants, and other animals while doing so in a jeep akin to an African safari. Consider Pacific Beach for a more laid-back vacation with lots of beach time and outdoor activities. This tiny beach community is located near La Jolla, just north of downtown San Diego. There is a large, flat beach, a boardwalk, and a bike path that runs along the seafront with restaurants and cafés, and there are lots of relaxed inhabitants taking advantage of the sunlight.

    Right on the Pacific Beach boardwalk lies the stylish, vintage Surfer Beach Hotel. There is a large swimming pool with direct ocean views from some rooms. World Famous Pacific Beach, one of the greatest restaurants in the area, is located inside the hotel. Take a peek at some entertaining family resorts if you're traveling here with a family.

    Location: San Diego, California
  9. A trip to Hearst Castle is one of the best day trips from Los Angeles. It is farther distant than the other places on this list, but it's still worth the trip because of its special cultural significance and breathtaking location. At the southernmost point of Big Sur on California's Central Coast, this amazing landmark is located high on a hilltop with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Big Sur, located 90 miles to the north of Hearst Castle, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty.

    Over a 28-year period (from 1919 to 1947), San Francisco newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst built California's lone castle. He hired Julia Morgan as his architect to design a sumptuous 165-room Spanish-style palace. The architectural design of the castle was influenced by Andalusia's 16th-century cathedrals. Hearst bought tapestries, paintings, and other European antiques to display throughout the castle, which is displayed in the opulent interior. Hearst Castle is actually a state historical monument that is run by the California State Parks system and is now a museum of the art certified by the American Alliance of Museums.

    Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, United States

    Phone: +1 800-444-4445

  10. Huntington Beach is referred to as "Surf City USA" because it is one of the top surfing spots in Southern California and was made popular by the Beach Boys music group in the 1960s. The community's beaches continue to live up to expectations.

    In addition to popular tourist attractions including its Main Street, Central Park, and Pacific City shopping and dining district, Huntington Beach is home to ten miles of gorgeous sandy shoreline.

    Surfers like the pounding waves and storied surfing scene. With its five public beaches, Huntington Beach is also a haven for various outdoor activities like beach volleyball, biking, jogging, and nature walks. Paddleboarding and kayaking are excellent activities at the scenic Huntington Harbor, which is only a few miles from the beach. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is home to approximately 200 kinds of birds, including cormorants, egrets, hummingbirds, owls, sandpipers, and swallows. Birdwatchers will find enough of area to explore there.

    Location: Huntington Beach, southeast of Los Angeles

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