My favorite weekend trips from Los Angeles to get away from the city.
My life is all about balance. Especially when it’s related to working really hard and then taking time to enjoy nature and get away, to disconnect for a bit.
Los Angeles is a busy city and when you’re hustling and working towards your dreams it’s easy to get caught up in it all. While I haven’t been in LA as much these past couple of years, one of my favorite parts from living in this city was the variety of weekend trips you could take. Whether you want beach, snow (obviously depending on the time of year), desert, or another city. The diversity in landscape within a few hours drive is incredible.
When I was asked to write this blog I had some fun digging through old photos of weekend trips I took from LA. It was really cool seeing how much I experienced in my time there, the people I went on adventures with. Honestly it made me ache for living in LA again!
You can rent a car (or use yours if you have one), or make it a serious adventure and rent an RV.
Alright - let’s cut to the chase:
Vasquez Rocks + Angeles National Forest
Length: 1-3 Days
I found the Angeles National Forest in my first few weeks in LA when looking for more intensive hiking trips than Runyon Canyon and Malibu. And let me tell you, the extra 30 minutes drive is so worth it. I met countless people living in LA that didn’t even know these incredible mountains were pretty much in their backyard!
ROUTE: I recommend driving from LA up to Vasquez Rocks, then through the Angeles National Forest to Mt. Baldy.
BRING: Pack snacks and lunch, there’s not a lot of stops or restaurants in these areas, plus picnics in the mountains are the best.
Santa Barbara + Big Sur
Length: 2-4 Days
No road trip list for California would be complete without talking about Big Sur. This is one of the most beautiful views of the ocean I’ve seen in my life. When I’m going to San Francisco I tend to not fly simply so that I can add a few hours to my trip and stop in Big Sur.
ROUTE: I typically add a few stops in for this trip. From LA you could easily do Santa Barbara - Big Sur - Monterrey - San Francisco if you wanted to!
BRING: pack snacks and make sure to fill your tank before getting into Big Sur as they charge ridiculous prices for the gas and their isn’t a lot of stations.
*One quick note, when I went this past summer the main road was still closed to do your research*
Length: 1-2 Days
I lived in LA for a few years before discovering the cute little town of Ojai. It’s a little place with olive oil tastings, wine tastings, and a little old Spanish styled center. Make sure to visit the meditation center at the top of the hill as well. Great place for a chill friends trip or a romantic getaway from the city. I went with my mom and we had such a wonderful and relaxed time!
ROUTE: it’s just a couple hour drive from LA - you could also do Ojai and then Santa Barbara as they’re on a similar route.
BRING: not much! Maybe comfortable walking shoes. But if you don’t want to stay a night this is an easy day trip.
Length: 1-2 Days
Laguna beach is a cute OC town that works as a great getaway from Los Angeles. Whether you drive down for the day or make it into a romantic weekend, this town will definitely satisfy the need to get away. I’d recommend checking out the beach, local restaurants, and the galleries in town.
ROUTE: just a couple hours south of LA. You could also add in Dana Point and San Clemente if you want to do a little OC beach tour.
BRING: beach stuff!
Length: 2-4 Days
Big Bear is a must do if you live in LA, depending on whether you go in the summer or winter you’ll have a hugely different experience although both are beautiful! I tend to like going in the winter to get away from LA sunshine for a bit and enjoy a climate change.
ROUTE: about 3 hours from Los Angeles - just keep in mind that if it’s winter and it’s snowing you’ll have to check the weather, one time there was a snow storm so bad we had to put chains on the tires!
BRING: for the summer bring things to hike and swim, for the winter, to enjoy the snow.
San Luis Obispo
National Arches Park (far but worth it if you have time)
Redwoods National Park