Although you could easily spend multiple weeks, even months, cruising around Los Angeles, you might consider going on a day trip. Getting out of the ever bustling ‘City of Angels’ will give you a better understanding of what Southern California is all about. Whether you’re traveling by car, public transport or private charter, there’s plenty of adventures to go on!?
Beach paradise - Zuma Beach, Laguna Beach
If you want to get away from the busy city center of LA for just a bit, why not go to one of the many beaches the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is known for? You could go for a stroll along the famous Venice beach boardwalk, spot celebs at Zuma beach in Malibu or stare at the bodybuilders working out on Muscle beach in Santa Monica. If you really want to get away from the crowds, then Laguna Beach is the perfect place. Located in Orange County, this place is not only known for its beautiful cliffs and coves but it’s also a famous surf spot. Why not try it out yourself and sign up for a surfing class?
Orange County is also known for housing Disneyland Park in Anaheim. This theme park was the first and original Disney theme park and opened its doors in 1955 under the direct supervision of the one and only Mr. Walt Disney! Since then the amusement park has expanded over the years and now exists out of 2 parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
A little further along the coast, up North from Santa Monica and Malibu you will find the unique and mesmerizing Santa Barbara. This place is much more than ‘just’ a seaside town, as it has had a long history as a Spanish Colony and that influence is still visible in the many ‘mediterranean style’ buildings, such as the historical Santa Barbara Mission or the contemporary Ablitt Tower. Furthermore, it’s also the home town of Oprah Winfrey, maybe you’ll spot her while going on a shopping spree downtown!
San Diego - catch the most gorgeous sunsets
When going down South along the coast, the next ‘big city’ to discover is San Diego. This city isn’t just worth a quick stop, you should plan to stay overnight and have at least 2 days to explore! The coast of San Diego will already take up a complete day, with its fascinating ocean views and relaxing beaches.?
It takes ~3 hours to get here, but it’s worth the drive because…
In the middle of the city you will find Balboa Park, a huge green zone including multiple museums, exotic gardens and the famous San Diego Zoo, one of the biggest animal zoos in the world. Balboa Park is almost like a city in itself, with 1,200-acres of urban discoveries! There’s no doubt that every family member will be enjoying this place, whether you’re an avid nature lover or a culture enthusiast.
If you’re visiting San Diego with kids, then you might surprise them with a fun day at Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium. Both are conveniently located at the same site, and are a guaranteed long-life memory maker for the smallest members of your family.?
In Old Town San Diego, you will feel like you’re in Mexico instead of in the US, but if that’s not ‘real’ enough for you, the Mexican border is only a few miles away!
5 hours - Tijuana, Mexico
Just across the border between California and Mexico you will find Tijuana. Walking through the colorful streets of this true Mexican city, you will be able to experience the rich Mexican culture and lifestyle at its best.
Remember to bring your passports/documentation! As it takes around 5 hours to get here, we recommend coming on a long weekend getaway.
Joshua Tree National Park Oddly-branched desert trees
Go inward from San Diego and you will end up at one of the most famous National Parks, Joshua Tree National Park. This place was not only the inspiration for U2’s best-selling album, but it’s also a true nature’s wonder with weirdly shaped trees of a few hundred years old. If you are lucky to find a place to sleep in the park, then certainly don’t forget to look up at night, you’ll find the most amazing sky full of stars you’ve ever seen.
Just west of Joshua Tree, in the middle of the Sonoran desert you can find Palm Springs, a city known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses and spas. Its downtown features vintage boutique design shops, fancy clothing shops, bars and restaurants. The architecture of this dessert town is stunning, many houses and stores are examples of mid century-modern architecture. Palm springs is also a great place to stay for a couple of days and explore Coachella Valley which offers great hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. If you are not afraid of heights take the Palm Springs Aerial tramway, you will be treated with scenic views over the desert and nearby mountains. It is rumoured that the Obama’s are/were thinking of buying a place here, so who knows, you might spot them while house hunting.
Of course, there are more things to do, eat and see in and out of Los Angeles that makes your trip even more memorable!