Are you looking for day trips from Los Angeles? Los Angeles is a great city with lots of things to explore. The state of California has a lot to offer with the most beautiful sceneries and makes it the perfect place for a day trips from LA. California state has a gorgeous all-year-round sunny Mediterranean climate, similar to the French Riviera.
Beyond the halting traffic to leave the city, you’ll find spectacular landscapes, beautiful beaches and small towns perfect for day trips. We have created the ultimate list of the best day trips from Los Angeles, all within three hours from the city.
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Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island is one of the most popular day trips from Los Angeles. The Island is known for being a location for Hollywood films and appears in many movies.
The very picturesque town Avalon has a great selection of restaurants, shops, and beaches with crystal-clear water. Avalon is a small town and everything is walking distance. For the adventurous type, Descanso Beach gives you the opportunity to snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Getting to Santa Catalina Island is easy with the hour-long ferry (Catalina Express) that departs from San Pedro, Dana Point, or San Pedro. Round-trip prices for the ferry are $76.50 for adult and $61.00 for children.
Disneyland is a great spot for family day trips from LA. This world-famous park offers rides for kids of all ages, restaurants, and shops. Disneyland has eight theme areas and some popular rides such as Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, or the Rise of the resistance.
It’s definitely one of the best places that you should have included in your California road trip itinerary. Recently, they also opened the Disney California Adventure Park, which is a lovely place to visit as well.
The charming town Santa Barbara is the perfect place for a day trip. Santa Barara is known as the “Riviera of the West” where you can find beautiful beaches and charming architecture.
Top-rated wineries can be found in the downtown area and throughout the surrounding countryside. Other spots worth checking out are Stearn Wharf and Shoreline Park.
This desert oasis has a lot to offer such as swimming, tennis, golf, and rock climbing, or hiking. With beautiful surrounding Canyons, people come here to can take advantage of the excellent weather at the glamorous pools and trendy hotels give plenty of reasons to visit Palm Springs.
The city hosts famous events throughout the year such as the music festival Coachella.
Joshua Tree National Park
Are you looking for day trips from Los Angeles and a visit for a National Park? Then Joshua Tree is the perfect place for you. Joshua Tree National Park is known for its cacti and metaphysical flare. This is a must-see for all nature lovers. The park was named after the yucca trees that are found at this destination.
Joshua Tree National Park has short and easy hikes such as Cottonwood Spring trail that leads past an oasis to dry falls, and Hidden Valley trail. If you end up staying for the night, make sure to experience a world-class music performance at the honky-tonk Pappy & Harriets.
Death Valley is another impressive national park in California that can be reached in about four hours driving from Los Angeles.
Are you looking for day trips from Los Angeles with a beach destination? If so, Laguna Beach is the right place for you. This town has an average of 281 days of sunshine, and a seven miles long sandy shore. The scenery is spectacular for beach lovers, and surfers can catch the great waves.
During spring and summer, Laguna Beach offers whale and dolphin watching boat trips. We recommend walking the city’s downtown area to explore shops, galleries, and restaurants. You can also bring a picnic at the hilltop Heisler Park.
San Diego is one of the ten top biggest cities in the USA and is home to over 1.4 million people. People visit San Diego for its beautiful beaches, the old town with charming buildings, as well as shops, restaurants and art galleries.
Located just north of the border, the city has a Mexican influence to its delicious cuisine. Don’t miss the 7 Bridges walk in San Diego.
Balboa Island is a small island near Newport Beach. To get a magical view, take your car and park it on the Balboa Peninsula and take the Balboa Island Ferry, which only takes 5 minutes.
This sunny town invites everyone to relax at the beautiful beaches, as well as great restaurants, galleries, and shops. For all water-lovers out there, you can go whale-watching, paddle boarding, or kayaking on Balboa Island as well.
Something to add to your to-do list is their famous frozen bananas.
Solvang is around two hours up the coast from Los Angeles and will make you think you’re in Denmark. Solvang’s history goes back to 1911 when Danish-Americans situated their new community.
People come here for the museums, to try out the delicious bakeries and shop at their very unique shops.
Even though Solvang is a very small town, it has 150 shops, and 35 restaurants to visit and many wine and beer tastings. What to add to your calendar is the town’s two major events, “Taste of Solvang” in March, “Julefest” in December, and “Danish Days” in September.
Big Bear invites you to enjoy the outdoors with a large range of all-year-round activities. For the more adventurous type, check out the hiking trails, ziplining, and rope climbing.
During a sunny day, you can take a boat, jet ski or rent a kayak to experience the beautiful Big Bear Lake. We recommend that you add the Grizzly Manor Cafe to your must-visit list and try their pancakes.
The Cabazon Dinosaurs
This spot is a collection of giant dinosaur sculptures, next to Interstate 10. Even though you can see the dinosaurs from the road, you can still pay the admission fee to get a closer look. for smaller children, the park also has a few dinosaur-themed rides.
More info about day trips from Los Angeles:
Los Angeles is a city surrounded by things to do, perfect for a day trip. Even if you don’t have a car there are plenty of options.
Day trips from Long Angeles without a car
If you don’t have access to a car, don’t worry, there are plenty of day trips in LA where you don’t need a car. You can get to some of these places by using public transportation. Here is a list of places to visit by taking the Expo line from Downtown LA towards Santa Monica.
7th Street / Metro Center Station
- The Broad
- The Last Bookstore
Expo Park/USC Station
- National History Museum of Los Angeles County
- The Giant Robot Store
- Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
Downtown Santa Monica Station
- Third Street Promenade
- Santa Monica Farmers Market
- Santa Monica Pier
- Venice Beach
Hiking day trips from Los Angeles
If you prefer to spend time outdoors, there are some very nice hiking day trips from Los Angeles. There is no secret that Los Angeles is rich in outdoor activities. Going on a hike is a cheap way to enjoy some fresh air and get some spectacular views.
Hiking to the Hollywood sign is definitely something to add to your Los Angeles bucket list.
- Malibu Creek State Park
- Hollywood Sign Hike
- Griffith Observatory Hike
- Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park
- Echo Mountain
- Eaton Canyon
- Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon
- Santa Monica Mountains
- Bridge to Nowhere
- Runyon Canyon
- Cahuenga Peak and the Wisdom Tree
- Beaudry Fire Road to the Verdugos
What’s your favorite day trips from Los Angeles? Leave a comment below!