Day Trip Ideas in Los Angeles

Getting around Los Angeles: Book online and get great car rental deals

One of the great things about Los Angeles - for locals and vistors alike - is that it's a great hub for taking day trips. A 2-3 hours' drive in your Los Angeles rental car gets you to these wonderful destinations:

Santa Barbara is a beautiful seaside resort at the base of the Santa Ynez mountains. Often referred to as the “American Riviera” for its moderate climate and charming setting. The architecture is Spanish Revival throughout the inviting downtown, offering excellent shopping and dining. There are also lovely hotels, resorts and spas along the coast, where you can stop for lunch or dinner, or just stay for awhile...

Directions: 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles, via the Ventura Freeway / 101.

Palm Springs is the desert oasis favored by Hollywood stars beginning in the 1920s, who came for the clear air, hot springs and beautiful desert scenery framed by magnificent mountains (snow-capped in winter). Seems like everyone in the star system had a house here at some point - and some still do. Like the rest of Southern California, Palm Springs really came into its own in the postwar boom years of the 1950s and 1960s. And “midcentury modern” left its mark on Palm Springs' residential and commercial architecture and furnishings. You'll want to spend more than a day here, and there are many small hotels to accomodate you.

Directions: 100 miles east of Los Angeles, via the 10 Freeway.

The OC, as Orange County is called, is all about the beaches: Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach. (Well, it's also about Angels baseball, Disneyland, and a few other things... but go to the beach!) Each of the beach cities has its own flavor. Huntington Beach is earthy and true to its roots as “Surf City USA”. Bring your surfboard or just watch everyone else surfing. Year round. Newport Beach is the rich, sophisticated sister. Though it still has its surf culture, it also has world-class shopping and dining at Fashion Island and Corona del Mar. And Laguna Beach is still the same gentile and charming seaside artists colony it was a hundred years ago. Just a little more crowded and the houses cost a little more... but it's a gem and if you only hit one of these beach towns, make it Laguna.

Directions: 40 to 50 miles south of Los Angeles, via the 405 Freeway.