Cheap driving trip from LA?
September 7, 2009 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Where can I go in SoCal for a 3 day weekend?

My husband has next Monday off and we would like to take a driving trip somewhere. We live in LA and would like to see some nature - at least what hasn't caught fire yet. A 3-4 hour drive would be ideal, maybe longer.

We don't have any camping equipment, but could conceivably purchase some. The biggest problem is we have a Miata, which has a very small trunk. I'm not sure we could fit a tent and cooler in there even if we wanted to. On the plus side, the car is a hoot and a half to drive, hence the desire to drive somewhere. We also need to do it on the cheap. Any suggestions?

We've looked at Big Sur and Yosemite, but everything's booked.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Kings Canyon
There are lots of places up just north of Santa Barbara (not as far as Big Sur). I love El Capitan State Beach and El Capitan Canyon. If you can handle the cost (which is significant), you can probably get a cabin at El Capitan Canyon and not have to take a tent, sleeping bags, etc. It's a great place (but expensive).
Also, Ojai.
posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on September 7, 2009

Best answer: We liked Sequoia National Park better than Big Sur and Yosemite. Yosemite was way too touristy for me. We've been to Sequoia about three times and are trying to figure out when we can go again. When we had friends out from the East Coast that wanted something to do for a couple days, we sent them there. They also loved it!
posted by 6:1 at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2009

You could go south, instead, and do San Diego.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:14 PM on September 7, 2009

The mountains north of Ojai, going through to New Cuyama, are a great drive. Not really a multi day trip though IMHO but you could then tie it into a visit to San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, and the always spectacular Madonna Inn.
posted by wackybrit at 2:31 PM on September 7, 2009

Response by poster: I looked at Sequoia over the weekend and for some reason we decided against it. I'm not sure why, though. It looks gorgeous. It definitely deserves a second look.

As for San Diego, my father-in-law will be attending a conference there in October, so we're driving down for a couple of days to hang out with him.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 4:12 PM on September 7, 2009

If it's not too hot, I'd suggest a drive around the Salton Sea and then out to Salvation Mountain. You could stay in Palm Springs or also enjoy Joshua Tree. Sorry, I don't have hotel recs, but Salvation Mountain is just incredible, as is the creator Leonard. And the Salton Sea is just a trip--abandoned tourist towns from the fabulous '50s.
posted by faunafrailty at 5:06 PM on September 7, 2009

Joshua Tree.
posted by brujita at 10:37 PM on September 7, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions!

We did the Salton Sea/Salvation Mountain/Slab City drive a couple of months ago, which was kind of awesome in an odd sort of way. This weekend we decided to head out to Sequoia and even booked this nifty cabin. I can't wait!

I've also added Joshua Tree to our list of must-see places, so hopefully we can head out there before the end of the year.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 10:15 PM on September 8, 2009

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