25 Best Day Trips From Los Angeles
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3rd Feb | 30 min read

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    As the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles certainly has its charms. However, sometimes you just need to get out and experience nature.  Just outside of Los Angeles, there are several opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors, quaint beach towns, gorgeous lakes, and idyllic wine country locations, all within a day's drive. Therefore, we've compiled an amazing selection of Los Angeles day trips that you may plan for your weekend travels. 

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    1. Joshua Tree National Park

    Joshua Tree National Park

    Joshua Tree National Park, perhaps the most unusual of California's national parks, is set between two deserts: Colorado and the Mojave. The park is famous for its massive rocks and Seussian Joshua trees, making it a destination for outdoor junkies.

    Joshua Tree offers something for everyone, with three stunning fan palm oases, a dark sky perfect for stargazing, and a variety of historical monuments dating back to the region's early cattle ranching and mining days.

    In Joshua Tree, there are many fun things to do! Enjoy the sunset from Keys View, take a beautiful drive through the park, a guided tour of Keys Ranch, or a visit to Barker Dam.

    The 49 Palms Oasis trail is a three-mile round-trip fairly tough climb with strands of fan palm trees and pleasant pools of water.

    Day hikers might like the Hidden Valley trek. This one-mile circle walk features a picnic place and spans a valley surrounded by boulders.

    You may also go mountain biking on the park's dirt roads, try rock climbing with a guide, or shoot some of Joshua Tree's magnificent panoramas.

    Hike the park's more difficult trails, such as the Ryan Mountain hike for spectacular panoramic views, or the Lost Horse Mine trail to see what's left of one of the region's wealthiest producers.

    Food and beverages are not available for purchase within Joshua Tree National Park, so bring plenty of water, snacks, and lunch fixings. North of the park, in the villages of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree, there are restaurants.

    Best time to visit: March to May and October to November are the finest months to explore Joshua Tree National Park. Though the park is open all year, the best times to visit are in the spring and fall, when temperatures average about 85 degrees.

    Driving distance and time: The park is at a distance of 131 miles, roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes drive from Los Angeles.

    2. Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    Palm Springs became a legendary winter resort in the 1930s when Hollywood movie stars came here to relax in elegance. Holidaymakers continue to travel to this desert paradise to soak up the sun and participate in recreational activities, particularly between January and April when the weather is mild.

    Palm Springs is a beautiful destination to enjoy outdoor activities like swimming, tennis, and golf because of the beautiful natural surroundings. Hiking and rock climbing are two more activities available.

    Head to Indian Canyons if you prefer hiking: the Murray Canyon trail is 3.7 miles long and leads to a beautiful waterfall. The 2-mile Andreas Canyon trail is especially lovely since it follows a creek and has wildflowers in bloom throughout the summer. The Coachella Valley Preserve, located just outside of town, has a multitude of hiking trails.

    Mount San Jacinto, a 10,000-foot snow-dusted peak that may be reached by aerial tram, is another stunning natural attraction. The views of the desert bottom from the 8,500-foot drop-off point are breathtaking.

    Palm Springs features a remarkable variety of cultural activities and events given its remote location. The Palm Springs Art Museum is home to a fantastic collection of American, Native American, and Western American art, as well as Mesopotamian antiquities.

    The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Architecture Center is situated in a recognized historic site and is a must-see destination for individuals who enjoy mid-century modern design. Visitors may enjoy guided tours of the town's noteworthy mid-century modern structures during Modernism Week.

    Palm Springs is also recognized for its upmarket shopping, which includes everything from high-end boutiques to locally owned artisan stores and outlet malls.

    Best time to visit: The best time to visit Palm Springs is between January and April when the weather is the most hospitable.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 107 miles, and it takes around 1 hour and 35 minutes to get there from Los Angeles.

    3. San Diego

    San Diego

    San Diego may be an enjoyable day trip from Los Angeles if you are willing to focus on two or three excursions.

    Balboa Park in San Diego is known for its gardens, museums, and magnificent Spanish Colonial-style structures, as well as the San Diego Zoo, home to exotic animals and beloved pandas.

    Take a San Diego Harbor tour, go to the USS Midway Museum, see the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, or just wander along the waterfront.

    San Diego, which was founded in 1769, contains several historically significant places. The original adobe structures of San Diego's Old Town have been classified as a State Historic Park. 

    The Gaslamp Quarter's Victorian-era structures have earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places; this popular neighborhood today has stores, restaurants, art galleries, and theaters.

    Best time to visit: March through May and September through November are the ideal months to visit San Diego. Compared to the busy summer season, you may get some fantastic deals on travel rates during the off-season.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 120 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    4. Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara is a popular Pacific Coast vacation destination with its lovely Mediterranean red rooftops, magnificent beaches, towering palm trees, and excellent food. On your day trip from Los Angeles, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in Santa Barbara.

    Visit the stunning Santa Barbara Mission, called the "Queen of the Missions" for its beauty. This lovely 19th-century landmark is surrounded by lush 15-acre grounds, which include the La Huerta Historical Garden, which has olive, citrus, pomegranate, and peach trees from original mission locations.

    The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, which has a spectacular mixture of Spanish, Moorish, Islamic, Romanesque, and Byzantine architectural elements, as well as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the 30-acre Santa Barbara Zoo, are all cultural attractions.

    Cabrillo Boulevard, the coastal boulevard with the extraordinarily tall palm palms, is a great place to walk or bike.

    Stroll along State Street, which is lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants. The colorful Spanish stairs of Paseo Nuovo are a must-see for a snapshot.

    To end your day, go to Butterfly Beach for some quality beach time: sunset is a particularly great time to be at this magnificent beach.

    Best time to visit: The months of March to May, or September to November, are ideal for visiting Santa Barbara. The weather is mild all year, hovering in the 60s and 70s, but traveling in the early spring or fall ensures you won't be fighting crowds and rates will be lower.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 95 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    5. Catalina Island

    Catalina Island

    Plan a day trip to Catalina Island if an island retreat appeals to you. The town of Avalon on Catalina Island is a little over 20 miles off the coast of Southern California and may be reached through an hour-long ferry ride from Long Beach. Keep a lookout for whales or dolphins on the ferry ride.

    The island is ideal for a weekend getaway, brief vacation, or honeymoon based on relaxation and recreational activities, in addition to being a beautiful day-trip location. Popular activities include hiking, cycling, camping, sailing, sunbathing, and picnics.

    Take the trolley up to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, which is near the ferry landing place in Avalon. You may also hire bikes or golf carts, or just stroll up the hill. The island was previously owned by chewing gum mogul William Wrigley Jr., and the memorial is the garden's major focus.

    The Wrigley Memorial offers spectacular views of the ocean. The garden is a delight to walk around, with its emphasis on species native to the California islands.

    Visit the Catalina Casino, which is not a gambling arena but “a gathering place." 

    The stunning Art Deco/Mediterranean Revival Complex, which houses a movie theater and a massive ballroom, is Catalina Island's most iconic structure.

    There are various hiking trails on the island to choose from if you prefer hiking. 

    Take a helicopter trip to observe the wild buffalo that wander free in the island's most isolated areas. 

    You may also participate in a variety of water sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or a semi-submersible tour.

    Best time to visit: Catalina weather is best in spring and fall. Summer days may be cloudy until mid-afternoon or later. Storms may make the ferry ride uncomfortably rough in the winter.

    Driving distance and time: Catalina Island is an hour-long ferry ride from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, or Dana Point to the ports of Avalon or Two Harbors. From Los Angeles, it takes about two hours, a one-hour drive (24 miles) to Long Beach plus a one-hour ferry ride to arrive at Catalina Island.

    6. Disneyland


    Disneyland is an easy day trip from Los Angeles. This world-famous amusement park is a "Magical Kingdom" that delights children of all ages. The majority of families with children will have Disneyland on their bucket list. 

    The huge Caterpillar vehicles of Alice in Wonderland, the big-eared aircraft of Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Mad Tea Party, with its huge spinning teacups, and the musical boat ride of It's a Little World are all favorites with small children.

    Older children appreciate daring rides, a cliff-hanging adventure, and a "cursed" temple, such as the Matterhorn's bobsleds, which careen through a scene of the Swiss Alps, the drama of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Indiana Jones Adventure, which includes thrilling rides, a cliff-hanging adventure, and a "curse" temple.

    Parents will love Disneyland's many dining options, which include appearances by Disney characters who thrill children. Shops and guided excursions are also available in the Disneyland Resort.

    Best time to visit: Disneyland can be visited any time of year.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 26 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 25 minutes.

    7. Laguna Beach

    Laguna Beach

    Laguna Beach is a lovely beach destination with seven miles of beautiful coastline, but it also provides a variety of outdoor activities. So, if you like spending time in nature, travel to Laguna Beach!

    There are over two dozen beaches and coves to pick from in Laguna Beach, so you're sure to find the ideal spot for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, diving, stand-up paddleboarding, or tide-pooling. The beaches of Laguna Beach, with names like Thousand Steps and Treasure Island, inspire exploration and play.

    Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has a variety of hiking trails ranging from simple to difficult. The Laurel Canyon climb, which is 3.6 miles round way and leads to a seasonal waterfall, is popular. In the spring, enjoy the wildflowers and keep an eye out for animals!

    Try one of the trails in Alta Laguna Park that begin at the Top of the World parking lot and provide stunning views of the lake. There are several off-road tracks to explore if you like mountain biking.

    If you like street art, you'll enjoy roaming about Laguna Beach admiring more than 100 public art projects, which include murals, sculptures, and signs. The JoAnne Artman Gallery (326 North Coast Highway) has an award-winning collection of art from museums and private collections. The Laguna Art Museum (307 Cliff Drive) specializes in California art made by local artists or with a subject of state history.

    Best time to visit: The months of April to May and September to October are ideal for visiting Laguna Beach. The region sees significantly fewer tourists in the spring and fall than in the summer, but tourists can still expect average daytime temperatures of 70 degrees or higher.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 50 miles, and it takes around 46 minutes to drive from Los Angeles.

    8. Big Bear Lake

    Big Bear Lake

    Big Bear Lake offers year-round recreational activities, and the mountain lake, which is one of California's most picturesque lakes, is a favorite Southern California vacation destination.

    Big Bear Lake is attractive in every season, with stunning foliage color in the autumn, wildflowers in the spring, loads of water activities on the lake in the summer, and snow sports in the winter.

    In the summer, hiking and mountain biking are popular activities. You may choose from a number of trails of various lengths and levels of difficulty. Many of the tracks are beautiful and family-friendly, and a few are also wheelchair accessible. Intermediate and challenging trails, such as Castle Rock Trail, which has a waterfall in the spring and magnificent autumn foliage, are available to more experienced hikers.

    In the summer, go out on the water! At Big Bear Lake, you may hire anything from pedal boats to kayaks to pontoon boats. Take a stand-up paddleboard or a jet ski ride! Go on a cruise, go fishing, wakeboarding, or water skiing. Big Bear Lake has swimming spots as well.

    Big Bear is one of the top destinations in Southern California to do alpine skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Big Bear Mountain Resort is home to two of California's top-rated ski areas: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, which together provide more than 1,000 acres of skiable terrain and 1,800 feet of vertical drop for thrilling downhill lines.

    Best time to visit: The ideal times to visit and avoid crowds are generally in the spring and fall. There are still plenty of activities and things to do in Big Bear during the off-season. The fishing season begins on April 1st, and you may go hiking, stroll the Alpine Pedal Path, horseback ride, or visit the petting zoo.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 97 miles, and it takes around 1 hour and 47 minutes to drive from Los Angeles.

    9. Malibu


    Malibu, located 33 miles from downtown Los Angeles, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and wealthy seaside houses.

    Malibu offers a gorgeous 27-mile coastline with stunning sea cliffs. Surfing is ideal in the Pacific Ocean, but swimming is not. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has over 500 miles of hiking trails in this stunning naturalistic environment.

    The trek to Solstice Canyon is 6 miles round trip, but it is beautiful and shaded. You'll witness a tiny waterfall and the ruins of Malibu's oldest stone structure, in addition to spectacular sea views. 

    Looking for a more difficult hike? Try the Mishe Mokwa trail to Sandstone Peak.

    If you're planning a day trip to Malibu during whale migration, get there early. You'll have a better chance of seeing them from the beach. Also, keep an eye out for dolphins!

    If you're visiting Malibu for the first time, go to Zuma Beach, where you may swim and relax on the beach. El Matador State Beach is a great place to visit if you want to see caves, arches, and rocks. During the whale-watching season, Point Dume is a popular destination.

    Malibu is a paradise for water sports, thanks to its many beaches. Take a surfing class, go snorkeling or scuba diving, stand-up paddleboard, or go whale watching.

    Best time to visit: The months of June through September are ideal for a vacation to Malibu.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 33 miles, and it takes around 40 minutes to drive from Los Angeles.

    10. Crystal Cove State Park

    Crystal Cove State Park

    Crystal Cove State Park is a fantastic day trip from Los Angeles, with more than three miles of stunning Pacific shoreline, more than 2,000 acres of wilderness, and a big offshore underwater region.

    Crystal Cove State Park has 18 kilometers of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to tough. Lower-elevation trails meander through woods and along Moro Creek, which is seasonal. Bring your binoculars if you love bird watching.

    Moro Beach is a beautiful beach where you can go for a walk along the ocean, take a kayak, or do bodyboarding or stand-up paddleboarding. 

    Alternatively, take the short trail at Reef Point down to Scotchman’s Cove. Or walk the Pelican Point coastal bluff trail: enjoy the water views and look for wildlife.

    At Crystal Cove, there are swim and dive areas: Moro Beach and Muddy Creek are great swimming places. 

    At Crystal Cove, you'll also discover a number of tidal pooling locations. Bring your wetsuit if you want to go snorkeling or scuba diving in the safe underwater region.

    You may also enjoy mountain biking or horseback riding in this park.

    Best time to visit: The ideal time to visit is fall. The weather is perfect and there are fewer crowds. 

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 50 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 45 minutes.

    11. Coronado Island

    Coronado Island

    Coronado Island, located directly across the sea from downtown San Diego, is a fantastic day trip option for great beach time as well as a few other fun activities.

    Take a stroll around downtown Coronado to visit the historic mansions, one of which formerly belonged to L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Another fantastic area for a walk is Bayview Park, which offers views of the lake and the San Diego skyline.

    Coronado Central Beach is well-known for its beautiful silver sand and proximity to the historic Hotel Del Coronado, a grand Victorian hotel from the 1800s.

    Take a kayak out on the lake or a bike ride around the island; rentals are available at the ferry dock or in downtown Coronado.

    Coronado has a plethora of excellent restaurants, many of which specialize in fresh seafood.

    Best time to visit: Throughout the year, the temperature in Coronado ranges from 65 degrees F (18 degrees C) to 75 degrees F (24 degrees C). Between July and September, you'll notice the largest population of local and vacationing families at the beach, as well as the highest prices to meet the demand. Despite the fact that the city has roughly 265 sunny days every year, the sky is often gloomy in May and June, keeping the beaches less crowded. Temperatures decrease slightly and tourists drop significantly in September and October.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 126 miles, and Coronado is a little over a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles which takes you through San Diego.

    12. The Huntington Botanical Gardens

    The Huntington Botanical Gardens

    You may forget yourself for the day in the splendor of the Huntington botanical gardens in San Marino, which is just a few miles drive from downtown Los Angeles.

    The Huntington is a sprawling complex that contains a library and an art museum, as well as more than a dozen themed gardens with over 15,000 plant species and live exhibits like bonsai and orchids strewn around the grounds.

    The Desert Garden, which houses one of the world's largest collections of cacti and other succulents in an outdoor setting, is a must-see.

    The Japanese Garden, with its moon bridge and teahouse, the Chinese Garden, with its lake and exquisite pavilions, the Shakespeare Garden, where you can find plants from his plays and sonnets, and the Rose Garden, which has over 1,000 types if you come during bloom, are among the other outstanding gardens in the complex.

    Food and picnics are not permitted on the premises!

    Best time to visit: The Huntington Botanical Gardens is a great destination any time of year. Year-round, the Huntington shuts its doors on Tuesdays.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 12 miles, and the drive time from downtown Los Angeles is around 21 minutes.

    13. Ojai


    The peaceful town of Ojai and the surrounding countryside make for an appealing day trip from Los Angeles. If you're looking for a place to visit that has a bit of a rustic feel, Ojai is the place to go.

    It's a beautiful drive through the Ojai Valley, with its acres of olive trees and citrus groves.

    Taste the three varieties of olive oil created from local trees, as well as additional olive oils and balsamic vinegar, at the Ojai Olive Oil Company. Taste the ultra-sweet Ojai Pixie, the native tangerine that has its own month: April, if you come between March and May.

    Consider riding the Ojai Valley's paths or going for a hike in the adjacent Los Padres National Forest.

    Outdoor activities are possible in the Matilija Wilderness, the Sespe Wilderness, and Lake Casitas, which are all close by. 

    Best time to visit: The ideal months to visit Ojai are September and October, or April and May.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 83 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

    14. Temecula


    Temecula is famous for its wineries, golf courses, and festivals, making it one of the most elegant and pleasant day trips from Los Angeles.

    Hike and search for wildlife and birds in the magnificent Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve or Vail Lake. You may also go biking or horseback riding, or go ballooning above the valley if you arrive before sunrise.

    If you are up for a long hike, the Dripping Springs Trail in the Agua Tibia wilderness is worth a try. The path is 13.2 miles long and gains about 3,000 feet in height. Hike it in the spring to see the wildflowers, and in the fall to see the changing colors of the leaves.

    Explore Old Town Temecula. Temecula's retail area is a treat to wander around even if you don't want to purchase because of its lovely old-fashioned design and atmosphere.

    For some enjoyment, visit the Native American Pechanga Resort & Casino, California's biggest casino, which also offers golf.

    Best time to visit: Though Temecula is a great destination any time of year, the best time to visit Temecula is from April to November.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 85 miles, and it takes around 2 hours to get there from Los Angeles.

    15. Mount San Jacinto State Park

    Mount San Jacinto State Park

    This park is one of California's most beautiful state parks and a great place to visit for a day trip. The highest point in the San Jacinto Mountains is Mount San Jacinto. The summit, which is located in the park that bears its name, is a difficult walk for experienced hikers.

    The park has a network of trails ranging in difficulty from moderate to strenuous. Hiking permits are necessary and are available for free at the ranger office near the tram station.

    Try the 4.3-mile Round Valley Loop for a fairly challenging uphill climb with picturesque scenery of high country meadows and wildflowers in season.

    At the summit, there are also several shorter beautiful routes. In the winter, enjoy the park's snowy stunning views while snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

    In the spring and summer, look for birds and fauna, marvel at the granite faces of the surrounding mountains, and enjoy wildflowers.

    Best time to visit: Mount San Jacinto State Park is a great destination any time of year.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 109 miles, and it takes around 3 hours to get there from Los Angeles.

    16. San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest

    San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest

    A trip to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument/Angeles National Forest, a serene wilderness area, is an excellent escape from the Los Angeles metropolitan region.

    Drive the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway, a road with breathtaking views of mountains, valleys, and forests.

    You may also travel up Mount Baldy. The mountain is often covered in snow throughout the winter and spring, and mountaineers approach it with ice boots, crampons, and ice axes. The 10,000-foot summit is both the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountain Range and in Los Angeles County. 

    In the summer, you may ride the ski lift to the summit and trek the 6.6-mile round-trip trek to the top.

    The Angeles National Forest has a variety of hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. The Pacific Crest Trail runs right into the middle of the forest. You may also go horseback riding or biking.

    Fishing is available at Jackson Lake, which is located near Wrightwood. You may also go out on the water in a canoe or kayak. There are picnic areas nearby, and you may also trek around the lake.

    On weekends, a guided tour of the historic Mount Wilson Observatory is available.

    Best time to visit: It is a great destination any time of year.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is to Mt. Baldy is 47 miles, and it takes around 1 hour 22 minutes.

    17. Huntington Beach

    Huntington Beach

    Huntington Beach is known as "Surf City USA" because it's one of the best places to surf in Southern California.

    Apart from surfing, Huntington Beach offers a wide range of other activities. 

    The Huntington Beach Pier, at 1,850 feet, is one of the longest on the West Coast and a must-see for sunset lovers.

    At Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which is home to roughly 200 species of birds, including cormorants, egrets, hummingbirds, owls, sandpipers, and swallows, birdwatchers will appreciate and find plenty of areas to explore. Take a walk around the reserve's paths and don't forget to bring your binoculars.

    If you like plants and the environment, the Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Central Park is another great spot to visit. The 18-acre sanctuary is an excellent area to view animals and birds, with redwood trees, ponds, meadows, and themed gardens.

    You can also take a sunset gondola ride at Huntington Beach. In a genuine Venetian gondola steered by an expert gondolier, cruise the quiet canals and inlets of Huntington Harbor.

    Stroll through Old World Village, which is lined with cobblestone streets and a plethora of boutique stores and restaurants. If you prefer shopping, downtown Huntington Beach is another fantastic alternative.

    Best time to visit: Huntington Beach is best visited between September and November. During the fall months, you may enjoy the beautiful weather of summer without the crowds or expensive travel expenses that come with peak season.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 36.3 miles, and it takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.

    18. Santa Ynez Valley

    Santa Ynez Valley

    The Santa Ynez Valley is a wonderful day trip from Los Angeles any time of year, with plenty to do in the little towns. The Santa Ynez Valley's rolling hills make for a lovely drive, and the area's dozens of wineries provide tastings in an intimate, welcoming atmosphere.

    Stroll the alleys of Solvang to wonder at the massive windmills and Danish architecture. Visit the Old Mission, which was founded in 1804 by Spanish priests. For a delicious treat, visit one of the numerous Danish bakeries.

    Visit the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden in Buellton and taste Andersen's famous split pea soup. The town of Buellton is also known for its moonshine! Take a shot of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Ballard, which has been in service since 1883! Boating and fishing are both available on Lake Cachuma.

    Hike one of the many lovely trails in the region, go horseback riding, or join a bike trip. The Santa Ynez Falls trail is a 2.5-mile loop that leads to a stunning waterfall.

    Best time to visit: In February and March, the average temperature in Solvang is approximately 54°F, making it an ideal time to visit. 

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 128 miles to Solvang, and it takes around 2 hours 45 minutes from Los Angeles.

    19. Anza-Borrego State Park

    Anza-Borrego State Park

    Anza-Borrego State Park is known for its stunning desert views, cool slot canyons, and diverse wildlife.

    Anza-Borrego State Park has nearly 100 miles of trails, giving you plenty of options for hiking. The Palm Canyon Trail, which begins near Borrego Springs, is the park's most popular hike. 

    You may learn about local plants by walking through the desert garden at the Borrego Springs Visitor Center. You should not miss the 4-foot-tall sculpture of the Aiolornis incredibilis, an extinct bird discovered here. 

    There are picturesque driving routes and bike trails throughout the park, some of which are on unpaved roads. Ricardo Breceda's massive metal sculptures of ancient animals are worth checking.

    Best time to visit: Because of the wildflower bloom, spring is a very popular season to visit Anza-Borrego. 

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 145 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 3 hours and 20 minutes.

    20. Balboa Island

    Balboa Island

    Balboa Island is a small island in Newport Beach's Beacon Bay. This charming coastal town welcomes relaxation with its bright holiday atmosphere. 

    The vibrant amusement park Balboa Fun Zone, as well as the iconic Balboa Pier, are both located on the Balboa Peninsula.

    A leisurely walk along Marine Avenue, a charming area lined with appealing restaurants and stores, will be enjoyed by visitors. A sandy, palm-fringed beach with calm waves and a busy marina attract water sports enthusiasts who enjoy sailing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding.

    Whale viewing is a popular pastime in the winter. Corona del Mar, another lovely beach town, is just two miles from Balboa Island.

    There are loads of great restaurants offering food from any number of cuisines.

    Best time to visit: The months of July through September are ideal for visiting the island.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 145 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 3 hours and 20 minutes.

    21. La Jolla and Torrey Pines State Reserve

    Torrey Pines State Reserve

    With magnificent scenery, fantastic cafes, tons of interesting shops, and magnificent beaches, La Jolla and Torrey Pines State Reserve make for a perfect day trip from LA.

    The Torrey pine tree, an endangered and unique variety of pine that only grows in this reserve and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of California, is protected by the gorgeous Torrey Pines State Reserve.

    Eight kilometers of trails of varying lengths may be found inside the Reserve. The 1.7-mile round-trip Razor Point Trail provides breathtaking views of the badlands.

    The simple Guy Fleming Trail, a 0.7-mile circle with amazing lake views, is a must-do. 

    In the spring, look for wildflowers, and in the summer, look for whale sightings. 

    Walk around La Jolla Village Square, which is home to a variety of boutique shops and art galleries. Watch sea lions and seals from the rocks overlooking La Jolla Cove. On the cliffs, you'll also witness a number of marine birds. Swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all popular activities in the cove.

    Best time to visit: Any time of the year.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 104 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

    22. Hearst Castle

    Hearst Castle

    The Santa Barbara, Solvang, and Hearst Castle day trip is a comfortable option for those planning a day trip to Hearst Castle from Los Angeles. 

    Between 1919 and 1947, William Randolph Hearst built California's lone castle, engaging architect Julia Morgan to build a grandiose Spanish-style residence with 165 rooms. The architectural inspiration for the castle originated from Andalusia's 16th-century churches.

    Although it is administered by the California State Parks system, Hearst Castle is now an art museum certified by the American Alliance of Museums.

    Because of the spectacular surroundings, Hearst named his hidden retreat "La Cuesta Encantada" ("Enchanted Hill"), which has 127 acres of beautiful Mediterranean gardens with palm trees, colorful flowers, fountains, terraces, and beautiful ponds.

    Having taken a tour, spend some time admiring the castle gardens and the glamorous swimming pools; the Neptune Pool and the Roman Pool.

    The state of California currently owns the Hearst Castle estate, which is available to the public for guided tours. The Hearst Castle Visitor Center, which offers casual eating, a gift shop, and restrooms, is where tickets may be bought.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 230 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 4 hours.

    23. Legoland California Resort

    Legoland California Resort

    California has a surprising amount of theme parks, including Legoland California, which you can visit from Los Angeles.

    This theme park is entirely designed around Lego, with a Lego-inspired Sea Life Aquarium and Water Park joining the old Legoland California Resort. 

    There are more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions in the original resort to keep you and your kids delighted, including Castle Hill, Pirate Shores, and Miniland USA

    The park also offers 4D movie experiences and the opportunity to meet costumed characters from the Lego movies. 

    There are slides and lagoons to play in at Legoland Water Park, while the Sea Life Aquarium offers up-close encounters with many types of marine life.

    Driving distance and time: The distance is 90 miles, and the drive time from Los Angeles is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    24. The Getty Villa

    The Getty Villa

    Travel to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades if you want to spend your day surrounded by amazing art, architecture, and gardens.

    The Getty Villa was designed to resemble the Villa dei Papiri, an aristocratic mansion established in the first century A.D. The original villa was located in Herculaneum, which was destroyed by Vesuvius' explosion. The lovely exterior, with its flowing white columns, as well as the rich detail within, will take your breath away.

    Visit the villa's fantastic art collection, which focuses on Greek and Roman antiquities from the Stone Age to the collapse of the Roman Empire and includes sculptures, glass, and jewelry.

    The gardens here will keep you occupied for hours if you appreciate plants and gardening. The gardens are a delight to wander around, with hundreds of different Mediterranean plant kinds, a herb garden, statues, frescoes, and water features.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 16 miles, and it takes around 25 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

    25. Tijuana, Mexico

    Tijuana, Mexico

    Tijuana, a two-hour and thirty minutes drive from Los Angeles, is an intriguing day excursion that provides tourists an actual sense of a different nation close to the US border. 

    Tijuana, being a border city, draws a large number of visitors and has earned a reputation for its noisy nightlife. This dynamic Mexican city, often known as "Mexico's Corner," boasts an attractive downtown area with a historic plaza, a traditional Spanish bullring, and a contemporary church.

    However, visiting districts such as Zona Centro and Zona Rio will reveal a considerably more cosmopolitan aspect of this vast, contemporary metropolis.

    The main street through the city's heart, Avenida Revolución, is largely lined with souvenir stores, although it also has several good cafés along its side tunnels.

    More upmarket businesses and restaurants may be found along the riverfront, as well as the Tijuana Cultural Center, which teaches tourists to Mexican culture and local art. The neighboring Plaza Fiesta is the hub of Tijuana's burgeoning craft beer scene.

    Best time to visit: The best time to visit Tijuana is from May through September when temperatures are warm, there's no rain, and you'll find interesting cultural festivals.

    Driving distance and time: The driving distance is 145 miles, and it takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

    These are some of the best places you can visit from Los Angeles on a day trip. Be sure to check out GAFFL to find a travel buddy in case you need someone to travel with.

    Have more time? Check out these guides to learn more about other popular day trips in the United States!

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