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Best weekend getaways from Los Angeles?

My mom is coming to visit me in Venice for a week in April and we want to getaway! We're looking for a destination to relax, hit up the spa, wine taste or have a great meal, do some boutique shopping, and maybe go for an easy hike? Since this will be for 1-2 nights, would like to keep it within 3 hours (one way).  

Out of all the amazing places, if you have to pick 1 destination for a visitor to see, what is the best destination for a weekend getaway from L.A. and why? 

8 Answers

top answer by
Trevor from Los Angeles

Hi Jillian, 

Gosh the possibilities here are almost endless, there are so many great 1-2 night trips to take within 3 hours of LA. I'm going to give you 3 of my top favorites, all of which provide a totally different vibe/atmosphere and geography. 

1) Ojai

Based on what you mentioned, I think Ojai, a small/sleepy town with rolling green hills and farms fits the bill. Really, the only things to do in Ojai is to relax, go to the spa, eat locally grown food and drink wine. I'd suggest checking out Ojai Valley Inn & Spa which is the go-to hotel in the area. And for a casual Italian meal on a nice patio, check out Osteria Monte Grappa.

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

2) Laguna Beach

If you and your mom prefer the beach, then Laguna Beach is the place to go. There is a beautiful and buzzing downtown area great for walking around and shopping. I'd suggest staying at La Casa Del Camino, an amazing, vintage, boutique hotel right by the beach. Whether you stay there or not, don't pass up dinner or drinks on the hotel's rooftop -- the views of the Pacific can't be beat. To satisfy your spa needs (and if you're willing to splurge a bit) drive a few more minutes south on the Pacific Coast Highway to the Montage Laguna BeachThe Montage Laguna Beach

3) Palm Springs

This is a classic LA getaway. It's a bit like Ojai, but in the desert -- meaning it's a great place to go to simply relax, visit a spa and eat good food. The midcentury modern and chic The Parker, Palm Springs is a favorite. For a great smaller hotel check out Sparrows Lodge, a boutique hotel with a rustic vibe which features just 19 rooms. Palm Springs isn't short on spas and places to shop and eat, so you'll have no problem at all fulfilling that part of your trip -- but for brunch on a nice patio, check out Jake's.The Parker Palm Springs

Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (hotel)
  2. Osteria Monte Grappa (restaurant)
  3. La Casa Del Camino (hotel)
  4. Montage Laguna Beach (hotel)
  5. The Parker, Palm Springs (hotel)
  6. Sparrows Lodge (hotel)
  7. Jake's (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Vicky from Los Angeles

I love spending time in and around La Jolla in San Diego. The colors of the water at La Jolla Cove remind me of a Mediterranean beach. One of my favorite spots is Salk Institute for Biological Studies - architect Louis Kahn designed this atmospheric campus with a "river of life" running through the center of the courtyard and on an Equinox day the sun sets right at the center.

For food I never miss the gorgeous desserts at Extraordinary Desserts - there are 2 locations, the one on Union St also serves lunch / dinner.

A nice pitstop along the way is Encinitas - it's the perfect beach town - it's so laid back! You can even spend the whole day here. Take a walk around the shops and restaurants on the S. Coast Highway. I like Qero Restaurant for Peruvian food. If you like gelato, try Bubby's Gelato - it's old-school Italian gelato - nothing fancy but real good. Take a stroll to Self Realization Fellowship and don't miss Swami's Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Southern Cal. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Jolla (attraction)
  2. La Jolla Cove (attraction)
  3. Salk Institute for Biological Studies (attraction)
  4. Extraordinary Desserts (restaurant)
  5. Encinitas (city)
  6. Qero Restaurant (restaurant)
  7. Bubby's Gelato (attraction)
  8. Self Realization Fellowship (attraction)
  9. Swami's Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Breanna from Los Angeles

After doing Santa Barbara for my birthday weekend, I'm obsessed.

Take the train from Union Station - it runs along the coast and has amazing views. Plus, you can pack a mini picnic and just relax for the 2ish hour ride. It was perfect.

We stayed at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara - it was tiny but super cute and reasonably priced. We walked there from the train station, it's just across the street which was so convenient. 

After you check in and drop off your bags, head over to Municipal Winemakers - that entire street is lined with amazing tasting rooms. Then make your way over to the The Funk Zone to keep the tastings going! End with dinner at The Lark - Santa Barbara.

I've heard great things about the spa at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara - so that's a great way to follow up the previous day's adventures!

When it's time, just head back to the train station and you're on your way back to LA. It's magic.

2 thanks

answered by
Sean from Hartford

Try Lompoc and follow the movie trail of "Sideways". Drive to Wrightwood and enjoy the snow and skiing. Go to Hearst Castle and stay in Cambria.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lompoc (city)
  2. Wrightwood (attraction)
  3. Hearst Castle (attraction)
  4. Cambria (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Everyone has covered it. ...come north or south. Go south to the golden door in Escondido for all inclusive spa weekend or La Jolla and enjoy a day spa and great food and a view of the cove. Or go north to Santa Barbara and stay at Bacara Resort & Spa. You can spend a day wine tasting and shopping and enjoy the beach. Although I lived in San Diego for 11 years...I would go north.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Escondido (city)
  2. La Jolla (attraction)
  3. Santa Barbara (city)
  4. Bacara Resort & Spa (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
matt from Los Angeles

You can go north or south, but Ojai is nice if you want low key, stop in Santa Barbara.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ojai (city)
  2. Santa Barbara (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Scott from San Francisco

Two possibilities.  First choice, The Grand Del Mar is a spectacular resort.  I've been many times and quite frankly there's a good reason why it was voted #1 hotel in America on Trip Advisor in 2014.  It's gorgeous, and has terrific service.  If the weather is sunny, which it is a lot, even during winter, (it's also warmer there because it's a bit inland from the water which is a plus), it's like a tropical resort vacation without the plane ticket.  Except it's nicer than most places in Hawaii and equal to a Four Seasons or Ritz Carleton.  From LA it's only a couple of hours (avoid peak traffic times obviously) and once you're there it's like another world.  There is a great spa, a separate adults only pool (Hooray!  That alone is a godsend!) - tip, you can request a room near that pool if you value quiet.   It's premium priced, but when you do the math and realize how much vacation time you get for your off days vs. flying somewhere, it's really a fantastic value.  (Tip, if you have Amex Platinum, it's on the Fine Hotels and resorts program - you get a lot of free extras).  The town of Del Mar will give you a nice excursion as well.  Dining at Kitchen 1540 is good, as is MARKET Restaurant + Bar, and of course the Del Mar Racetrack is fun if it's in season - they also have a surprising amount of concerts there too.  

Second choice is Santa Barbara - stay at the Bacara Resort & Spa, and enjoy the town.  This is my second choice.  I like SB a lot, love the Bacara, but since it's on the water, it's often cold, and cloudy, especially if it's not summer.  If you go, go into SB itself, make sure to have McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, and dine at Olio e Limone Ristorante.  Their Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market is pretty good as well.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Grand Del Mar (hotel)
  2. Kitchen 1540 (restaurant)
  3. MARKET Restaurant + Bar (restaurant)
  4. Del Mar Racetrack (attraction)
  5. Bacara Resort & Spa (attraction)
  6. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams (restaurant)
  7. Olio e Limone Ristorante (restaurant)
  8. Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market (attraction)
1 thankscomments (2)

answered first by
Spencer from Los Angeles

My pick: Ojai. Except pronounce it "Oh-Hi" and not "OJ". Top picks:





  • The Deer Lodge
    So much going on here. So tacky and amazing at the same time. Good exotic game, decent wine selection, moonshine cocktails, good dessert, amazing ambiance.
  • Knead Baking Company. Great for breakfast and coffee, but also good lunch.
  • Azu Restaurant. Go for the tapas, stay for the bacon-wrapped dates.
  • Farmer and the Cook. Kind of L.A., but really great vibe and good, healthy Mex food.

I'm going to cheat and bend the rules of your question. Another fun getaway is Idyllwild, especially if you want some hiking. It's really tiny, but incredibly charming and offbeat. It's on the way to Big Bear, but you veer off. Easy, nonetheless, also to go to Palm Springs and Big Bear from there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ojai (city)
  2. Emerald Iguana Inn (hotel)
  3. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (hotel)
  4. The Ojai Beverage Co. (attraction)
  5. The Deer Lodge (restaurant)
  6. Knead Baking Company (restaurant)
  7. Azu Restaurant (restaurant)
  8. Farmer and the Cook (restaurant)
  9. Idyllwild (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

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