Help California (or western Nevada/Arizona) entertain us!
May 29, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Please provide some suggestions for an entertaining 1 day road trip based out of Los Angeles. We've already traveled to Death Valley, Salton Sea...

A friend and I have been taking 1 day road trips every few months to explore, take photos and experience some of the more ridiculous attractions within striking distance of Los Angeles. Previous trips include: Death Valley, Barker Ranch, The Salton Sea (East and West sides in separate trips including Salvation Mtn, Slab City etc), Mexico boarder towns, Calico Ghost Town, Cave Tours, Ship Wreck in Long Beach, and the Dinosaurs from the Wizard (CALIFORNIA!!!).

We’re out of ideas.

What other fun, odd or otherwise drive worthy destinations can be experienced in one full day from LA (our longest trip was just under 20 hours there and back largely because we were lost on the back roads of Death Valley – but we saved stranded Russian immigrants!). Have to say, LA county attractions are out unless they are amazing as we’re looking to hit the highways or dirt roads. Any other suggestions appreciated!
posted by guruguy9 to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The Integratron.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:47 AM on May 29, 2008

You must check out Roadside America - I use it for all my trips!
posted by Sophie1 at 11:54 AM on May 29, 2008

Hmm - link didn't's Roadside America
posted by Sophie1 at 11:55 AM on May 29, 2008

You've probably visited Joshua Tree already, but you might not have seen the Noah Purifoy sculpture site:

There's also Grandma Prisbey's Bottle Village: Of course, that's only just over the LA County line, but it could be a good stop on your way to somewhere else.

Have fun!
posted by chicainthecity at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2008

2nding the integratron and don't miss Gubler's Orchids as you drive past. You can also have a beer and chili and Pappy and Harriets in Pioneertown. And don't forget to see Cabot Yerxa's adobe in Desert Hot SPrings if it's open.
posted by buggzzee23 at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2008

Devil's Punchbowl seems up your alley.

A one-day Yosemite trip is entirely do-able; but you've probably enjoyed that place on a larger scale in the past.

Anza Borrego is a great desert.

And Hearst Castle is within driving distance as well.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:49 PM on May 29, 2008

Have you been to Solvang?
posted by Doohickie at 12:57 PM on May 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - these are some great ideas! Please keep them coming.

We've done Hearst Castle and Solvang before but I like the diversity of desert stops especially the Noah Purifoy and the Integratron.

Jabberjaw - any particular area/trail that you would suggest in Anza Borrego?
posted by guruguy9 at 1:48 PM on May 29, 2008

You've been to Julian right? Right? Ye oldey pioneer town, a cemetary on a hill, and you can return home with freshly made pie. I mean, really, for me it's all about the pie, but it's a beautiful little town. BUT ALSO PIE.
posted by saturnine at 2:47 PM on May 29, 2008

You can also check out the Blackhawk Slide while you're in Landers.

My wife and I made a day trip to Anza Borrego to see the wildflowers a couple of months ago and enjoyed the drive. Our trip was basically Live Oak Canyon (near Yucaipa) to San Timoteo Canyon to Moreno Valley to Temecula to Borrego Springs to Salton City to 1000 Palms Oasis (a must see) to Desert Hot Springs and then home to our place between Landers and Joshua Tree.
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:50 PM on May 29, 2008

If you're headed east on the 91, stop at Tio's Tacos in Riverside. It's a great folk art/Mexican restaurant with gardens, chicken-wire sculptures, fountains, a bottle chapel, etc. It's close to The Mission Inn, which is also worth a look.
posted by faunafrailty at 4:49 PM on May 29, 2008

There's a short (and popular) Anza Borrego Palm Canyon trail that takes you to the waterfalls; I don't know how much water will be falling this time of the year. There are also trails leading to pictographs and an abandoned house that I found out about after the fact.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:05 PM on May 29, 2008

The Malibu mountains are awesome and have many fantastic hikes. Hike from Wendy Dr in Newbury Park to the ocean, visit Malibu Dam, drive up Mulholland to where it becomes dirt and hike any public rail, visit Mallibu Lake, clamber up Malibu Creek at low flow which is incredibly beautiful or just hike up to the top of the tallest hill you can find and watch the sun set. Only a 10% chance of being run off by a shotgun toting landowner on any trip!

Don't get lost though, it's really easy and there is no water up there.

The Santa Ynez is equally cool, but further. There are also wonderful semi-secret hikes from Santa Barbara area on the coast side involving waterfalls, creeks and swimming holes which I will not post on the internet. Befriend a local.
posted by fshgrl at 8:03 PM on May 29, 2008

Oh and there's Owens Valley. They're starting to re-flood it which is pretty cool but in the meantime the ghost towns rival the Salton for weirdness quotient.
posted by fshgrl at 8:06 PM on May 29, 2008

You have to wait until the Fall, but Glamis is something to see.

Pismo Dunes are less nutty and more scenic.

I second Santa Barbara hikes, but I'm a bit puzzled at the semi-secret comment, when I lived up there the best hiking trails were well known.

There are some cool coves and rocks off of the Laguna beach area. I can't remember the exact locations, but you can do some fun rock/cliff jumping.
posted by jonah at 9:43 PM on May 29, 2008

FYI, guruguy9 & I ended up taking several bits of advice from this thread - for the results, see here.
posted by jonson at 11:28 PM on June 17, 2008

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