Do you know Where to go for day trips in LA? Visiting Los Angeles is a cherished dream of travelers going to California. Sunny weather, warm climate, relaxed atmosphere, and carefree lifestyle of the city set you in a positive mood. You’ll be happy to visit local highlights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Observatory, and the Museum of Art. A leisurely ride down Rodeo Drive and tasting delicacies at authentic waterfront restaurants is also a great way to get into the fun-filled vibe.
However, the bigger part of the amazing places hides outside of the urban area. Thus, it would be the right idea to jump in the car and go on an adventure. LA is a prime hub for exploring the surrounding attractions. Wild beaches, majestic mountain peaks, picturesque parks, and cozy coastal areas make up the recipe for a wonderful day trip. So, let’s check out where to go within LA for an unforgettable time.
Distance: 34 miles via I-10 W and CA-1 N
California is about wide and picturesque beaches stretching along the coast of the southern part of the state. Thus, soaking up the gentle sun on the beaches of Malibu is a great option for a day trip.
The first thing you need to do to start a journey is to rent a car. We recommend that you book a car rental in Los Angeles in advance. Also, decide on the size of the vehicle, especially if you are traveling with family or a group of friends. A spacious LAX 12 passenger van rental will fit the crowd and their bags. And once you have a set of wheels on hand, just hit the road.
Malibu beaches can be divided into several separate beaches that differ in infrastructure, surrounding landscapes, and amenities. Browse through the popular locations below to make the right choice.
This place offers clean sand and clear water. It has snorkeling and surfing equipment rentals and a selection of restaurants and bars along the coast. In addition, Zuma Beach is very popular with tourists because of the large flocks of dolphins that swim very close to the coast in the summer. In winter, you can even see whales there.
El Matador State Beach
Surrounded by picturesque cliffs and tropical forests, El Matador holds a special place in the hearts of travelers because of the enchanting sunset views. It features sea caves and large boulders scattered along the coast. Therefore, it can be an ideal backdrop for an unforgettable date or photo session.
Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach
Clear ocean water, caves, reefs, and rocks are the essential attributes of this beach. At the same time, the southern part will satisfy surfers and divers. This is the perfect place for a family holiday – at low tide, kids can look at the hidden underwater world, play with small crabs, explore caves, and watch bizarre corals.
Distance: 15.7 miles via I-10 W
Located within a short drive from the city, Santa Monica is a little piece of paradise in the heart of California. Despite the administrative affiliation to LA, this is a unique place with its own traditions, climatic conditions, population, and, most importantly, lifestyle.
Santa Monica Pier is the brightest local highlight. It hosts the Pacific Amusement Park and the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel. Also, this is the terminus of the famous Route 66 stretching from Chicago.
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Upon arrival at the pier, your main task is to admire the views of the ocean and the city, and if you’re lucky, to see diving dolphins and fur seals lost on the shore. If you reach the very end of the pier, then you will meet fishermen – they have been standing there since the morning, and always have something to tell you.
What to do in Santa Monica?
- Lay on the classic American beach, then swim and bounce on the waves until the lifeguards begin to issue another storm warning
- Deep into Santa Monica to the Third Street Promenade and listen to the music of rappers offering you CDs on the beach
- Visit Pacific Park to ride the 1920s merry-go-round with horses and observation wheels
Angeles National Forest
Distance: 16.1 miles via CA-2 N
If wildlife and outdoor walks are your passion, head to the Angeles National Forest just north of the city. Most of its territory is full of dense shrubs, which alternate with coniferous and oak forests, as they rise above sea level.
The total forest area is 1,042 square miles. The most popular representatives of the local flora are ancient relic plants, such as California walnut, Douglas fir, White fir, and Yellow pine. Currently, the reserve is home to 25 plant and 33 animal species.
The best way to explore the forest area is to take one of the multiple hiking trails. Best-rated options include:
- Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail – 9.5 miles, hard
- Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail – 5.6 miles, moderate
- San Antonio Falls Trail – 1.9 miles, easy
- First Water via Mount Wilson Trail – 3.4 miles, moderate
- Switzer Falls via Gabrielino Trail – 3.7 miles, moderate
Distance: 315 miles via I-5N
As America’s most famous wine region, Napa Valley has long been a symbol of a pastoral idyll with a sweet aftertaste of big capital. People come there for excellent restaurants, impressionistic landscapes, and a sense of comfort elevated to the absolute.
Bounded by two 35-mile-long mountain ranges, Napa hosts over five million Bacchus wine drinkers annually. The region, which broke the wine hegemony of Europe, traces its history back to the second half of the 19th century when the first wineries appeared there. Today there are about 450 households in the valley, 90% of which remain family businesses.
Traveling between the towns of these lands is a real pleasure. Head to Oakville and Rutherford for rare wines and spa indulgence. In Yountville, you can sample local restaurants with a French culinary focus. Napa is home to history buffs and refined wine bars, while Santa Helena is the perfect place for hikers and art aficionados looking for inspiration in the nearby blue hills. Either way, a visit to Napa Valley is a must if you’re staying in Los Angeles.
Hopefully, you will enjoy at least one of the routes from our list. However, California, and especially the LA surrounding area is so rich in places of interest that you can easily find many other attractive spots around!