Leave the flashing lights, celebrities and mind-numbing traffic of Los Angeles in your wake. Just two hours at the wheel and new horizons appear; a kaleidoscope of daytrips lurk on Hollywood’s doorstep. From sunny beach days to gourmet sojourns and more active endeavours, here are five fabulous day trips from LA.
1 hr 30 mins by car
Whittle away a day with a healthy dose of wine tasting around the Temecula Valley Wine Country. A surprising region of gently rolling hills scribed with vineyards so close to the California desert, it has been producing a diverse range of wines since the 70s. Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, Grenache are just a few. Explore the wineries, sample the great restaurants and browse the beautiful gift shops. In Temecula itself you’ll also find a wine museum and lovely old town streets infused with the feeling of the Old West.
1 hr 50 mins by car
Look beyond Santa Monica and Venice Beach to the sweeping sands of Santa Barbara. The playground of the rich and famous, this seaside gem is scenic with its wide beaches, offers a wide variety of shopping and touts some highly rated wineries on its doorstep. Better yet, it’s also known as a culinary hotspot; foodies will relish the fresh produce and the colourful dining scene. Also don’t miss a stop at the fascinating Spanish Mission church.
2 hrs by car
Flock to an oasis in the desert at Palm Springs, well known for its swish resorts and star-studded legacy of locals. Brimming with mid-century modern architecture and infused with a nice, relaxed vibe, here you can enjoy some of the best people watching in the country as well as a handful of great museums and galleries. It’s not all sipping on cocktails by the pool though. Take to the hiking trails leading to marvellous views of the three separate canyons that make up the Indian Canyons, or catch the Aerial Tramway to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains.
Eat your heart out. Santa Barbara: Frolic in the Foodie Flavours
Heading north? Five Fab Day Trips from San Francisco
2 hrs by car
In winter, this mountain town is home to the closest ski fields you’ll find to LA; this is Southern California’s winter wonderland. In summer, it’s all about the water. Kayak or paddleboard on the pristine Big Bear Lake, hike in the wild surrounds and admire the spectacular mountain scenery. The fresh air and refreshing waters provide some much-needed respite from the stifling Californian heat in the peak of summer. The drive here is also memorable, along the picture-perfect, curvy Rim of the World Scenic Byway.
1 hr 30 mins by car
Get a taste of the country life and take a bite out of Oak Glen, where crisp, sweet apples are the local staple. A rustic village adorned in fruit orchards in the foothills, it is picturesque year-round but shows its true colours come autumn (September through November), when the foliage turns every shade from red to gold and the town is a hive of activity. Drop by the ranches and pick apples straight off the tree – in many places you can even make your own cider – then stop by the produce stands, character-laden country shops and homely cafes.
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