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Best Daytrips from Los Angeles

Ariel view of Big Sur coastline in Southern California, with rocky crags, a sandy beach, and bright blue water.

Who doesn't love a good road trip? Of all the places in the country, Southern California, and, specifically, Los Angeles, is in one of the best locations if you just want to get away for a day or two. Whether you want to head north, south, or east, there are plenty of destinations you can head to, and something for you regardless of whether you want to experience nature, a small town, or another big city altogether. For example's sake, let's say you've set up shop in the Eighth & Grand apartments in LA's downtown area. Where would you be able to go from there?



It's a 360-mile drive, but this slice of the central coast isn't to be missed. Lightly populated, Big Sur is a marvel for those that love all things camping, hiking, and nature. You can take some time to see the local plant and animal life. Wildflowers are plentiful, and there are plenty of California Condors, Sea Otters, and other animal species for you to take a gander at. Make sure you to bring your camera as well, since the views around the park areas are stunning.
Alternatively, you could come specifically for one of the many events that take place here. There are marathons, formal hikes, and a number of park-sponsored activities for travelers to enjoy, so be sure to take a look at the calendar to get a good idea of when the best time to go will be.


Located about 287 miles north is Yosemite National Park. Here, you can experience nearly 1,200 square miles of valleys, meadows, and untamed wilderness. Yosemite is well-known for its many waterfalls, but encompasses more than that. The giant sequoias, ancient trees that have lived for thousands of years, call this place their home.
The park features a great many scenic views. From Tunnel View, you can see the grandeur of the Yosemite Valley and its dense tree growth. If you head to Olmsted Point, you can look down from the east, seeing Half Dome and other parts of the great expanse. Perhaps the most magnificent of all, though, is Glacier Point. From this perch, you can see all the sights and many of Yosemite's waterfalls as well.
On your way here, you'll pass through Bakersfield, Visalia, and Clovis, so be sure to give those smaller towns some love on your way to the park.


The locus of civilization in Northern California, San Francisco has long been considered one of the most colorful and intriguing towns on the American West Coast. You'll travel about 384 miles to get there, and once you arrive you'll be treated to all the vibrant flavor the city is known for. Check out the normal tourist spots, like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, or interact with the locals in one of San Francisco's unique neighborhoods. There's plenty of art, music, and other cultural events to explore, and if you're a baseball fan, you might even be able to catch a Giants game, if you plan your visit right.



What could be in Carlsbad, you ask? Try LEGOLAND California. This theme park is dedicated to the childhood favorite toy, and is only a 97-mile drive away. The park has rides, and a great many additional attractions—like the Sea Life Aquarium, all located within close proximity. If you'd like to stay for more than just a day, you could book a room at the LEGOLAND Hotel, a 2017 Trip Advisor "Travelers Choice," with plenty of themed rooms and VIP experiences awaiting the dedicated LEGO fan.


The City Of San Diego is 121 miles to the south, and an excellent destination if you want to experience a slice of life in the southernmost part of the state. With great weather, amazing beaches, and plenty of things to see and do in the city, you'll be able to make this a multi-day adventure with ease. If you're a golfer, you'll be well-served by reserving some time at one of the city's several beautiful courses.


Just across the border from San Diego is Tijuana. While you're down there at the southern end of the state, why not make a quick jaunt into Mexico to see what the town has to offer. It has long been a tourist gateway, though, you could also venture off the beaten path to many of the clubs and hotspots that locals and regular tourists like to enjoy as well.


Just a 90-mile drive southeast of Downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find the beautiful Temecula Valley. Just what will you find in this sun-drenched rift? Wine country, for starters. Temecula County Wine Growersare known for award winning blends and the gorgeous settings in which their wineries are based. They say Temecula Valley is the “jewel” of Riverside County, and after tasting some of these wines you might be inclined to agree. Even if wine isn’t your primary motivator, though, you’ll still find plenty to make this area worth the drive for yourself.

Temecula Valley has a wide array of touristy fun to partake in — from hot air ballooning to community theaters and museums. If you’re the browsing type, a stop by the Old Town Temecula Shops and Lake Elsinore Outlets is a must, as you can find some of the best deals on boutique and brand names alike at these locations. And while you’re driving back, be sure to get a good look at those Santa Ana Mountains; speaking of which, there’s no reason not to give them a look, if you’re the hiking sort.


The Santa Ana Mountains, one of the “largest intact natural landscapes remaining in coastal Southern California,” according to Nature, is one of the most intriguing wildlife areas you’ll find within driving distance of Los Angeles: “Here is the largest coastal open space in southern California, some of its rarest woodlands, its most impressive grasslands, as well as extensive chaparral. The only year-round free-flowing river in the vicinity—the Santa Margarita—runs down the southern end of the mountains, and a steep-walled sandstone ravine reminds onlookers of a small-scale Grand Canyon.”

You can get a look at all of these amazing features yourself on a visit to Santa Ana, and there are several public venues you can use as your starting point to exploring this magnificent expanse, like the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. There’s a vistor center here, which connects you to trails and more, and plenty of educational programs to make use of if you feel like learning more about the surrounding area.

You might also try heading to the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, or freestyling it by following any of the number of hikes laid out by Hiker’s Way. They’ve numerous entries, which range from beginner hikes to strenuous, high-level workouts. You’re sure to make the most of your day trip when you hit the hills and have your camera in tow as you traverse the lovely landscape.

The Painted Canyon

Mecca’s Painted Canyon is just a two and a half hour drive from LA and is as photogenic as they come. Its highly mineralized walls create an array of colors that make hiking through it an unparalleled experience. Once through this canyon, you’ll discover Ladder Canyon, which is also worth adventuring through.

Salvation Mountain

A well worthwhile 3-hour drive from LA is Salvation Mountain. This man-made mountain showcases 28 years of latex painted art and is a sight to be seen. The colorful scene, which rises up in the middle of the desert, has been featured on both National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.



Out in San Bernardino County, about 100 miles from Los Angeles, you'll find Big Bear Lake. This premier vacation destination is also a recreational paradise, with an array of nature-focused activities for you to partake in. Go fishing, tour the lake, or simply hike around to your heart's content. You'll find being this close to nature relaxing, and the accommodations at Big Bear second to none.


It might not be what you immediately expected from a desert town, but Palm Springs has been attracting tourists for years, and with good reason. The area is hailed for its hot springs, golf courses, and appealing architecture, along with well-designed shops and restaurants for tourists to enjoy. While you're there, you can check out the Coachella Valley, and do a bit of hiking and exploring as well.


This splendid desert park is only 133 miles east of Los Angeles. Joshua Tree is home to unique geology, plant and animal life, as well as scenic views. You can do some rock climbing or hiking, and, if you've got the time, some camping as well. The night sky looks stunning this far away from the city, so if you've ever wanted to see the stars in all their glory, this is the place to do it.

The Integratron, which is near Joshua Tree, is a spectacle in itself. Said to have healing powers and anti-gravity abilities, this 50’s-era themed structure is unique and fascinating all at the same time.


Catalina Island

A 30-minute drive and an hour ferry ride places you at one of California’s most desirable day trip spots. Snorkeling, scuba diving and sunbathing just scratch the surface when it comes to getting your Vitamin D fix. Besides, who doesn’t love having island access so close to the city?


It's the perfect place to start a road trip from, and the ideal spot for you to come back to once your journey is finished. This stunning apartment complex offers the pinnacle of luxury in terms of unit layouts, amenities, and location, so be sure to check out what all the buzz is about. Perhaps we'll be seeing you soon in your own apartment at Linea?