One of the many perks of living in Los Angeles – or just visiting – is the multitude of day trips to be had within 100 miles of the city. In just a few hours or less, you can find yourself touring a winery, surfing Cali’s finest swell, or parasailing over the Pacific. Pack your bags, and get choosy: below are three of our favorite day trips outside of LA.
To feel as close to a tropical island adventure as possible without needing a passport, visit Catalina Island. This is a favorite getaway for Angelenos, and after stepping foot on the island, you’ll see why. Replete with bicycling, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, glass bottom boat tours, zip line tours, and walking tours of the island, Catalina offers activities for all ages and energies. You can even cruise around the island on a golf cart, as no cars are allowed. There’s a mini bowling alley at the Avalon Arcade, with free bowling on your birthday. But our favorite thing to do on Catalina is simple: lie on the beach (Descanso Beach Club) with a good book and a mojito, taking dips in the water to cool off.
Distance from LA: 22 miles (from Long Beach), with ferry time of about one hour.
Santa Barbara, where rolling mountains touch the sea, is one of the most beautiful towns in all of California. The air is fresh and the scenery is breathtaking. It’s even good enough for Oprah, who has a house here. Start your visit strolling along the cobblestone streets downtown. Grab a coffee at The French Press, and then explore the urban wine trail, which boasts over 20 wineries including Kunin, Au Bon Climat, and Santa Barbara Winery – some of our favorites. Ganna Walska Lotusland, an incredible collection of gardens with an unique history, is a amazing, but make sure to book reservations in advance. Brophy Bros. has the best seafood in the area (don’t miss their next-level clam chowder and fresh oysters). Time it right and you can finish off the day at the Santa Barbara Bowl listening to your favorite bands.
Approximate driving time from LA: two hours, no traffic. (About 95 miles from Hollywood.)
Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, located on the California coast, San Clemente is the quintessential SoCal surf town. San Clemente has year round swell, making it the ideal home for Surfing Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal, and Longboard Magazine, with Surfer Magazine located close by. Of course the thing to do is to go to the beach! Calafia is a popular destination, and San Onofre State Beach and Trestles are also popular with locals. When you get hungry, head to Pedro’s for the best tacos around.
Approximate driving time from LA: one hour, 20 minutes, no traffic. (About 70 miles from the SLS Beverly Hills.)