With world-famous beaches, exclusive shopping, theme parks and seemingly endless sunshine, it is hard to imagine why you would want to leave L.A. However there is much more to discover in California, and a lot of destinations are within hours of the city. Whether you want to relax on the beach or getaway to a desert oasis, California has something for you.
At the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains, this seaside town is reminiscent of Spanish colonial architecture. Weather in Santa Barbara is perfect for anyone looking for a beach holiday. The Mediterranean-like climate and Pacific Ocean vistas make for an unforgettable vacation. There are also a number of noteworthy restaurants in Santa Barbara and elegant beachfront hotels. The region has an interesting maritime history, and is home to many fine examples of Spanish architecture, which were rebuilt after an earthquake in 1925.
Travel Time: 2hrs
Directions: To reach Santa Barbara, travel north on US-101 for 95 miles.
This desert oasis has been luring in visitors for a long time. With more than 350 days of sunshine, chances are you will be in for nice weather. Ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to admire the view from Mount San Jacinto, or embark on one of the great hiking trails.
Travel Time: 2hr 30min
Directions: The journey to Palm Springs will take you two hours east of Los Angeles along the I-10. You'll find the town in the Colorado Desert.
Newport Beach boasts a number of different neighborhoods, each with something unique to offer. Corona Del Mar offers brilliant ocean views, where as Balboa Village is a great place too take the kids. A rental car is the perfect way to travel around Newport Beach and make sure you do not miss out on anything.
Joshua Tree National Park
Not far outside of Palm Springs, you will come across the vast Joshua Tree National Park. The park is home to a lot of unique wildlife and plants, including of course the Joshua Tree. You can explore the park via the many walking trails. The Ryan Mountain hike is particularly popular, but it will take you awhile to complete. From Keys View, visitors will also have great views of the San Andreas Fault.
Travel Time: 3hr 30mins
Directions: The journey will take you more than 128 miles from central Los Angeles. Take the I-10E from central Los Angeles.
For a weekend of hiking and water sports, there is no better destination than Big Bear, located in the San Bernardino Mountains. Spend the day on Bear Lake, where you can rent plenty of watersports equipment. Spend some time kayaking, or enjoy relaxing in a boat. In winter, take to the slopes of Bear Mountain and test your skills. Anybody who is after an adrenaline-fuelled adventure will not be short of things to do. From zip-lining to jeep tours, you will find something to keep you occupied.
Travel Time: 2hr 30mins
Directions: To reach Big Bear, head east through Pasadena on CA-210 for two hours.