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Los Angeles

Best places to go outside of Los Angeles?

I have been to LA before and would like to venture outside of the city but realize that California is huge and don't want to spend most of my time in the car. What are the best places to go near LA that don't require a super long drive?

6 Answers

answered first by
Ryan from Redondo Beach

Not sure what you'd consider a "long drive" but if you're willing to drive around 2 hours out of LA you have so many options!

1. Santa Barbara (2-2.5 hour drive)

2. Orange County (30 mins - 1 hour drive)

  • Disneyland
  • Huntington Beach - "Surf City" is a great beach to check out. The is a lot going on in that area. Shops, bars, restaurants, etc.
  • Balboa Island - get a frozen banana and rent a duffy boat.

3. "North County" San Diego (2 hour drive)

4. Palm Springs (2 hour drive)

5. Sequoia National Park - (4 hour drive)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)
  2. Solvang (city)
  3. Rusack Vineyards (restaurant)
  4. Andersen's Danish Bakery & Restaurant (restaurant)
  5. Boathouse at Hendry's Beach (restaurant)
  6. Orange County (attraction)
  7. Disneyland (attraction)
  8. Huntington Beach (attraction)
  9. Balboa Island (attraction)
  10. San Diego (city)
  11. Stone Brewing Co. (restaurant)
  12. Leo Carrillo State Park (attraction)
  13. Del Mar Horse Park (attraction)
  14. Palm Springs (city)
  15. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (attraction)
  16. Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club (restaurant)
  17. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (attraction)
  18. Sequoia National Park (park)
  19. General Sherman Tree (attraction)
  20. Crystal Cave (attraction)
  21. Kings Canyon National Park (park)
2 thanks

answered by
Richard from Long Beach, California

A good place to go when in Los Angeles is Long Beach. Long Beach is the second largest city in Los Angeles County. It has art museums, some of the best water recreation. The beach is one of the longest and best kept in California. You will also probably like Alamitos Bay is a beautiful calm bay perfect for swimming, sailing and kayaking. It has Belmont Pierwhich is suitable for fishing and viewing beautiful sunsets.Belmont ShoreBasically Long Beach has some of the best weather, restaurants, and recreation in the state of California.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Long Beach (city)
  2. Alamitos Bay (attraction)
  3. Belmont Pier (attraction)
  4. Belmont Shore (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

Catalina Island is an awesome day trip. You can take a ferry from Newport Beach, south of LA. The island is a nature conservancy, beautiful beaches, restaurants and tours. 


Laguna Beach is so old California, with beach volley ball, galleries, shops and restaurants. 


Pasadena has some of the best preserved architecture, with neighborhoods of Craftsman homes. The Norton Simon Museum is enjoyable, downtown is walkable with shops and restaurants. 


Have fun.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Catalina Island (attraction)
  2. Newport Beach (city)
  3. Laguna Beach (city)
  4. Pasadena (city)
  5. Norton Simon Museum (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Nicole from Los Angeles

Those are some awesome ideas everyone cited. In case those all seem too far away, I'm going to list off a few of my favorites that are only an hour out of LA proper, where you could go out and come back in a day.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is worthy of a full day trip. The botanical gardens are just enormous and beautiful with a variety of landscapes. The art collections are amazing. And you can't beat high tea there. If you'd like a scenic drive, the Angeles National Forest is spectacularly beautiful. On a clear day you can get some amazing views of the city. Just take Highway 2, which leads up into the mountains.

If you have not gotten to Malibu Beach, there's no better place to experience the quintessential Southern California beach scene. The Malibu Hills are also home to Malibu Wines, which has great ambiance.

If Joshua Tree seems too far, Red Rock Canyon State Park is surprisingly beautiful and very different to Los Angeles.

1 thanks

answered by
JP from Sherman Oaks, California

For a cooler choice try heading up to Big Bear Lake or Lake Arrowhead. It's a small mountain community about an hour or so from LA. Worth the trip. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Big Bear Lake (city)
  2. Lake Arrowhead (city)

answered by
Breanna from Los Angeles

Everything that Ryan said (that's an awesome list!) + Joshua Tree National Park! At just over 2 hours by car it's an awesome little getaway and totally different from LA!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Joshua Tree National Park (park)

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