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Top 10 Day Trips From Los Angeles

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
LA is a great launching pad for visiting some of the best places southern California has to offer. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Day Trips From Los Angeles. For this list, we’re looking at the most awesome spots located within a couple of hours of LA.
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Top 10 Day Trips From Los Angeles

LA is a great launching pad for visiting some of the best places southern California has to offer. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Day Trips From Los Angeles.

For this list, we’re looking at the most awesome spots located within a couple of hours of LA.


#10: Big Bear Lake

If the city has got you down and you’re looking for a quick nature fix, there’s no better escape than Big Bear. Located just two hours outside of LA in the San Bernardino Mountains, this region is incredible to visit no matter the time of year. In the summer, it’s perfect for lounging by the lake and all manner of water sports; and come wintertime, Bear Mountain is a great ski destination (yes, California has it all!). Renting a cabin or house in the area is the best way to visit, and while you can absolutely go into town for shopping and dining, you might be even happier just chilling and relaxing.


#9: Solvang

Did you know that California is home to a little piece of Denmark? In Santa Barbara County, a little over two hours from LA, you’ll find Solvang, a Danish settlement that looks like a replica of a quaint European town. It was founded by Danish Americans early in the 20th century and has existed ever since as a reminder of their heritage. Take in the architecture and do a little shopping, making sure to try some of the local delicacies and baked goods (there are dozens of shops and restaurants). As an added bonus, the drive to get there is along the coast, so every moment of this road trip is sure to be scenic.


#8: Santa Barbara

The very same drive you took to Solvang will also bring you to the well-known town of Santa Barbara. Referred to as the “American Riviera”, this has to be one of the most gorgeous spots in the country. Located along that iconic coast of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara was inspired by European architecture, in the form of red tiled roofs and whitewashed facades. While Napa up north in NorCal may be famed as the premier wine-producing region in California, Santa Barbara is also home to plenty of vineyards, so wine lovers will have a blast going tastings-hopping and taking in the sights of the rows of grapevines.

#7: San Diego

Many visitors to SoCal may not realize just how close together these two cities are. Driving south along the coast from LA, it only takes a couple of hours to make your way to sunny San Diego. The drive itself is worthwhile, but San Diego is also a city with much to offer. There’s of course the famed San Diego Zoo which could easily take up your entire day; or for something a little more relaxed, you could spend a few hours strolling through Balboa Park. The city is also home to several incredible beaches, so if you didn’t get your beach fix in LA, you can surely do it here!


#6: Laguna Beach

Located just an hour from LA, in Orange County, is the gorgeous city of Laguna Beach. This OC hotspot is much more than the MTV reality show let you see, and possesses one of the most picturesque stretches of shoreline on the Cali coast. The town is home to a booming artistic community so there are always plenty of cultural events taking place, but most people visit simply for the stunning beach itself. There are tide pools and hidden coves to explore of course, but for many, it’s worth a visit just to people-watch and bask in the sun surrounded by natural beauty.


#5: The Temecula Valley

Located about an hour and a half south of LA, the city of Temecula and the surrounding area are celebrated for their winemaking. Temecula is actually home to more than 40 vineyards, so planning a tasting tour is a must. One of the biggest draws to the region is the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival, which usually takes place in June and celebrates . . .wait for it . . . wineries and hot air ballooning. Now there’s a pairing! Though this makes for an easy day trip, you might find that you want to spend the night and stay even longer.


#4: Ojai

You don’t have to travel far from LA to find a city with a small town vibe and uniquely California aesthetic. Ojai and the Ojai Valley, located roughly an hour and a half north of Los Angeles, is a tranquil retreat outside of the metropolitan hubbub. There are hiking and cycling trails, glorious spas and vineyards, and plenty of local shopping. Don’t miss a trip to Bart’s Books, an outdoor bookstore unlike any traditional four-walled establishment. This area makes for a great weekend getaway, or simply a one day jaunt.


#3: Joshua Tree National Park

This National Park offers hundreds of thousands of acres to explore for anyone who truly appreciates the great outdoors. While you could easily spend days hiking and exploring in Joshua Tree, it’s also doable as a day trip from LA; you can relatively quickly take in the highlights of the park by using the main driving loop to gaze at the iconic joshua trees that the park is named for, as well as otherworldly rock formations. There are plenty of short easy hikes that go off the central road, so even beginner hikers can experience a lot of what the park has to offer.


#2: Disneyland

Is there anywhere more magical to spend a day than Disneyland? The original Disney park in Anaheim, California, is practically in LA, it’s so close. Depending on traffic, you can get there from the city, in 45 minutes or less (of course, with LA traffic, you never know). It is home to two parks, the original Disneyland and also California Adventure, each of which offering tons of rides and attractions for the young, and, of course, the young at heart. And with the new “Star Wars” areas planned to open in 2019, there will only be more fun to be had in the coming years.


#1: Palm Springs

This desert oasis may only be a mere couple of hours from LA, but you’re guaranteed to feel like you’re on a different sort of vacation. Known for its mid-century modern architecture and mountain vistas, Palm Springs was once a refuge for Hollywood’s elite; and it has maintained its reputation as one of the most desirable destinations in California. The entire city has a kitchy retro feel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you’re guaranteed to have fun, whether you want to golf, shop, or just lounge by your hotel pool. And don’t miss stopping at the Cabazon dinosaurs on your way into town!
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