Outside of LA Day Trip
October 5, 2016 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I moved to Los Angeles recently and have been loving the landscape of California. Let me know your recommendations of places to drive and explore.

So far, I have been to Ojai, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Long Beach, Tijuana, and San Diego but I want more day or 2-day trips. Maximum 4 hour drive, please. I love seeing new things, whether they be indoor or outdoor.
posted by senterstyle to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (17 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Salton Sea is bonkers. Drive all the way around and stop at one of the little diner/bar places or tiny towns. Palm Springs and Joshua Tree are out that way too and all worth seperate visits. The Palm Springs tram is very cool, Idyllwild is lovely, especially in the summer, and there are some oases in the desert well worth visiting.
posted by fshgrl at 12:01 PM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Madonna Inn / Morro Bay / Hearst Castle (with a stop to check out the elephant seals, if they're in season) is my platonic ideal of a day trip from Los Angeles.

Joshua Tree is a close second.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Big Bear and environs. And Joshua Tree -- you're coming up to the best time of year to visit.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sequoia National Park is about 3.5 hours and it's the best place I've seen in California.

Vasquez Rocks is just north of Santa Clarita off the 14 and is a fun place to check out. You'll recognize it afterward in half the TV shows set on alien desert planets. Ed Harris was just hanging out there in the pilot episode of Westworld.
posted by something something at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Are you looking for a day trip, somewhere you could visit and return home from in one day, or are you looking for a weekend trip, somewhere you can drive to in a day, spend a night or two, and come back home a day or two later?

If the former, I just went apple picking up in Oak Glen, which is a bit east of San Bernadino, and it was a fun time. A couple hours to get up there, a nice BBQ lunch, rustic autumnal goodness, and a couple hours back home.

There are a couple of great hikes a bit further out of town than Runyon, especially in the San Gabriel Mountains.

I've always meant to get up to Vasquez Rocks near Santa Clarita (which could make a day trip in itself).

If the latter, I'm a fan of Idyllwild (quaint mountain town which is a major stop on the Pacific Crest Trail, much more "typical American four seasons" type weather than the rest of SoCal) and Joshua Tree National Park.

I think Yosemite is closer than we probably think, though not a day trip by any means. You could probably do it in a weekend. Same for Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon is a bit further, but is comparable to the drive to San Francisco, which I have done for a long weekend before.
posted by Sara C. at 12:12 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Crystal Cove beach and tidepools, backcountry hiking/biking, historic district.

Big Bear

Solvang Danish village and wineries (especially in December for Julefest!)
posted by erst at 12:34 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Go to Catalina Island and rent a golf cart. You can take the ferry for free on your birthday. You may be able to take your car on the ferry, but I'm not sure about that. If you take the ferry from San Pedro, get to San Pedro a few hours early and check out Ports O' Call, the Korean bell, the Marine Mammal Care Center, or the USS Iowa.
posted by Triumphant Muzak at 12:44 PM on October 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

To second some and add a few more: Carmel/Monterey and the aquarium, wine tasting in Temecula, hike around Big Bear and the Santa Monica mountains as well as the San Gabriel (memail me if you want more specifics), aerial tram if you didn't do that when you were in Palm Springs, Sequoia, Mt Wilson observatory, Catalina and camp on one of the other channel islands (but wait until summer; Catalina is pretty dead in the off season), whale watching, go see surfers at "The Wedge" at Newport Beach and rent a Duffy boat to cruise between the islands... So much to do! Welcome to CA!
posted by karbonokapi at 12:53 PM on October 5, 2016

San Marcos Pass Wonderful, dramatic California scenery, a great place to stop for some dark sky viewing of the Milky Way.
posted by effluvia at 12:53 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely add Death Valley (go during winter). Also add Mammoth Lakes, Devil's Postpile, Mono Lake, Bodie.
posted by cnc at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Laguna Beach is a pretty place to spend some time.

Big Sur is spectacular - it's more than 4 hours drive from LA, but worth it.

San Diego county has some nice parks if you're into desert camping/walks. I spent a gorgeous Thanksgiving weekend in Anza-Borrego many years ago - we even saw a bighorn sheep.
posted by vunder at 1:31 PM on October 5, 2016

The huell howner exhibit at Chapman u in oc.
posted by brujita at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by brujita at 1:44 PM on October 5, 2016

You might also enjoy wandering around San Pedro. It's a military town from way back, and if you like wandering neighborhoods, around the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, there are some exquisite old houses, giant banyan trees, some old gardens, and lots of little ocean bungalow houses. Very small town and relaxing, lovely ocean views. The last time I was there at the park, there was a motorcycle gang with a bouncy house right next to a large Latinx family reunion. Go figure.
posted by effluvia at 1:45 PM on October 5, 2016

The Devil's Punchbowl isn't far away; there's a lovely hike down into a declivity and back up.
posted by bertran at 2:53 PM on October 5, 2016

The Angeles Crest Highway across the San Gabriels is stunning (protip: get gas before you start the trip -- there's no gas along the mountainous stretches, just at the ends of the route).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2016

One of my favorite day trips when I lived in LA was driving out to Azusa for the hike to the Bridge to Nowhere in the Angeles National Forest.
posted by Rash at 5:04 PM on October 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Is it possible to insure an iMac in checked...   |   How do you navigate interfaith practices as a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.