Los Angeles is the biggest city in California, but there are lots of weekend getaways from it. Many tourists are drawn to the big lights and flashy attractions of LA, but those things aren’t for everyone. In fact, if you live in or near Los Angeles, you might be sick of all the commotion.
So, if that’s the case, then you deserve a short trip to a nearby city. Here are 13 fun weekend getaways from the crowded streets of Los Angeles.
Cool Weekend Getaways From Los Angeles
#1 – Palm Springs, California
This southern California city is just as tropical as it sounds. It has warm weather and sunshine almost year-round. Plus, it’s only about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles. In Palm Springs, you can enjoy lots of scenic parks, including a tramway that takes you over the Jacinto Mountains. If you need a break from the heat, there are also plenty of indoor attractions, including the art museum and air museum. For those looking for some fun in the sun, Palm Springs is the perfect outdoor vacation.
#2 – Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is a wealthy resort town less than two hours away from Los Angeles. It has beaches, boardwalks, and mountains. So, its outdoor attractions make for some of the best photo opportunities. It also has a fancy downtown area, where you’ll find wine tasting rooms, boutique shops, street fairs, and upscale dining options. The “Funk Zone” is one of the most popular places in the city, which is the gorgeous warehouse district along the water. You’ll feel like a real celebrity in Santa Barbara without it being as crowded as LA.
#3 – New Cuyama, California
New Cuyama is one of the best weekend getaways from Los Angeles if you need to get away from city life. Light and noise pollution can be overwhelming, and it can prevent you from gazing at the beautiful stars. New Cuyama is just over two hours away from LA, and it’s a dream come true for stargazers. It might seem in the middle of nowhere compared to other California cities, but it has some of the most beautiful sights, especially at night. Millions of clamshell fossils have also been found in this area.
#4 – Joshua Tree, California
The Joshua Tree National Park is located right near Palm Springs, and it’s just over two hours away. It gets its name from the famous Joshua trees on-site, but you’ll also find cholla cacti, massive rocks, and lots of mountains. Many visitors choose to go camping at this incredible park while others prefer to just go hiking for the day. There is also a small town right outside of the park, which has lots of diners, along with some more obscure shops.
#5 – Ojai, California
Ojai is a charming town known for its green pastures and impressive mountains. It’s just under two hours away, situated among the Topatopa mountains. It’s an interesting change of pace from Los Angeles, with relaxing outdoor adventures instead of crowded streets. In Ojai, you can enjoy locally made wine tasting, art galleries, and farmer’s markets. This city won’t keep you as busy as some of the other places, but sometimes we just need an opportunity to relax.
#6 – San Diego, California
Like Los Angeles, San Diego is another popular tourist destination in California. It’s just over two hours away, and it’s beloved because it has such a wide variety of activities. First of all, San Diego is known for its many beaches and waterfront attractions. It also has a zoo, an amusement park, SeaWorld, and lots of regular parks. So, whether you’re looking to relax near the water, hike around a park, or enjoy a day of rides and other attractions, San Diego is for you!
#7 – Catalina Island, California
Catalina Island is only about two hours from Los Angeles, but you’ll have to take a boat shuttle to get all the way there. It’s full of fun activities for visitors who love the water. It has beaches, kayak rentals, fishing places, and waterfront restaurants and hotels. It also has some mountains, which you can go ziplining at. The island has two main “cities,” both of which have a wide variety of activities, from relaxing at the beach to going on long hiking trips.
#8 – Lake Arrowhead, California
Lake Arrowhead is famous in California for outdoor activities and a mountain town. It’s about an hour and a half away, and it’s located in the San Bernardino National Forest. Families often visit to go hiking, biking, backpacking, fishing, and swimming. It also has an adorable downtown area that’s full of local shops and restaurants for tourists. The lake surrounded by massive mountains provides some of the state’s most beautiful sights.
#9 – Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is about a five-hour drive from Los Angeles, but many consider it one of the best weekend getaways from the big city. No matter the time of year, Mammoth Lakes has some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery you’ll ever see. It’s surrounded by large mountains, blue water, and desert spaces all in one. Guests can go camping, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and so much more. Depending on the weather, skiing is also available in the mountains.
#10 – Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach is only an hour from the big city, and it’s considered one of the best beaches in the state. It has a charming town right along the beach area, which has beautiful clear waters. Some guests could spend all day on the beach, but others like to explore the town, which is full of art galleries, festivals, and gardens. Plus, Laguna Beach is warm and sunny almost every day of the year, so what’s not to love?
#11 – Big Bear, California
Big Bear is a mountain resort about two and a half hours away. It gives off a similar vibe to Mammoth Lakes. At this destination, you’ll find Big Bear Lake, which many use for fishing and boating. There are also many great attractions on land, including horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. In the colder months, you can also go skiing on the mountains at several ski resorts. So, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this will be a dream getaway for you.
#12 – Newport Beach, California
If you don’t want to travel too far from Los Angeles, Newport Beach is a great place to visit. It’s only about an hour away from Los Angeles. It’s close to the Huntington Beach and Pier, which is a popular location for fishing and seafood. At Newport Beach, you can swim, go hiking, or shop at the cute downtown area. Balboa Island is one of the most popular spots to explore while staying in Newport Beach. If you are planning a last-minute trip, this might be a good place to check out.
#13 – Sequoia, California
The Sequoia National Park is just under four hours from Los Angeles, but it’s certainly worth the longer drive. It’s home of the Giant Sequoias, which are the largest trees in the world. It also has Mount Whitney, which is known as the highest point in the contiguous states. There are lots of nature spaces in California, but this is by far one of the most unique. Spend your trip hiking the area on foot or driving from one impressive landmark to the next.
California is a huge state, so it makes sense that all the weekend getaways from Los Angeles would also be in the same state. After all, California is a state of many things, and no two cities are alike. So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing or action-packed trip, one of these will suffice.