Discoveries

4 Day Trips from Los Angeles

There’s no shortage of things to see and do, eat and drink in Los Angeles, but on occasion it is nice to get away from the crowds, traffic, and Hollywood razzamatazz. Within a comfortable drive or boat ride are many excellent places to visit on day trips and keep your wanderlust alive and kicking.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Get offshore from the City of Angels at this chain of eight islands, which feature otherworldly landscapes and spectacular coastlines. On the five accessible islands are opportunities to go hiking, kayaking, scuba diving and swimming. You’ll get the chance to spot blue dolphins, sea lions, whales and hundreds of exotic fish. Making the islands a true adventurers destination is the fact that there’s no services or lodgings, so you’ll have to bring your own food, drink, and tent if you want to stay overnight. Getting here is as simple as catching a passenger ferry from Ventura and Oxnard or you can catch a ride in a seaplane.

Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest

Stretching from the shoreline of Santa Barbara to the peak of 9,000-foot (2,743-meter) tall Mount Pinos is an unblemished forest decorated with beaches, rivers, rugged hills, and woodland. There’s an activity for everyone, regardless of whether you like to take things easy or challenge your adventurous spirit. Maybe a bike ride, hike or horseback excursion along over 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) of trails appeals to you. Or perhaps you’d like to discover secluded waterfalls, explore tidal pools, kick back on the soft sands of an isolated cove or surf in the rolling Pacific waves. Either way, the forest is under an hour’s drive from LA and has numerous picnic sites and campgrounds.

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach

You’ll be hard pushed to find a more quintessential California surf vibe than the one at Malibu Surfrider Beach. Think sun-kissed and gym-toned bodies paddling out to catch iconic waves, sunsets that drop behind a pier, and a long curve of golden sand. It’s not necessary to be an experienced surfer either; in fact many visitors just come to hang out and drink in the ever-so-cool buzz. If you fancy a culture trip then nearby Adams House Museum digs into the history of Malibu. The beach is on the Pacific Coast Highway so why not go all out by renting a vintage Cadillac and cruising between the seaside towns.

Solvang

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Fancy seeing a slice of European culture and architecture in the Santa Ynez Valley? Of course you do, so plan a trip to Danish-inspired Solvang. The idea for the city came from three immigrants from Denmark who set about creating a home-away-from-home in 1911. They built authentic replicas of Danish churches, half-timbered houses, schools, thatched cottages, and windmills. Besides this, there’s a statue of the Little Mermaid, a museum dedicated to author Hans Christian Andersen, boutiques, and bakeries that sell typical Scandinavian pastries. The city is in the middle of California’s wine country, so there’s no shortage of bodegas and wine bars to visit in addition to brewpubs and cozy taverns.

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