Los Angeles is centrally located, offering many California day trips to get away for a few hours of fun. Here we will look at some of the best day trips that are no more than a couple hour’s drive of downtown LA.

Santa Cruz Island

Travel Time: One hour by ferry from Ventura

Santa Cruz Island is a great locale for a day of fun and sun. Channel Islands National Park is a great place to take in the sights and sounds. There are places to hike, camp, kayak, scuba diving, snorkel and spend a relaxing day lounging on the beach.

Catalina Island

Travel Time: One hour by ferry from Long Beach

Catalina Island is one of the favorites for many Los Angelenos. You can spend the day scuba diving or snorkeling, or find your spot on the beach to kick back and relax. With beautiful views throughout the island, it is always a winner.

Big Bear

Travel Time: Two hours drive time

Big Bear is located in the San Bernardino Mountains between Big Bear Lake and the San Bernardino National Forest. This little town is a great spot for outdoor activities year-round. The seven-mile Big Bear Lake is home to many different species of fish. For a different kind of fun, you can try your hand at paddle boarding, jet skiing or rope climbing.

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Travel Time: One and a half hours drive time

Ojai is a unique place to spend a day with rich Spanish architecture throughout the city. You can tour the many fruit groves or wineries and enjoy top-notch wining and dining. It has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the state.

Santa Barbara

Travel Time: One and a half hours drive time

One of the top draws in Santa Barbara is the highly regarded wineries scattered throughout the town. When you top this off with the picturesque backdrop of mountains, valleys and beaches, it truly makes for a perfect relaxing day trip.


Travel Time: Two hours drive time

While Idyllwild is best known for its array of hiking trails, that doesn’t mean that less outdoorsy types should skip this day trip. There is a charming downtown area with shopping, coffee shops, great restaurants and plenty of events throughout the year.

Joshua Tree

Travel Time: Two hours drive time

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Joshua Tree is one of the most scenic drivable destinations. Whether you want to hike or go bouldering, there is a spot for you. Some of the top landmarks include Arch Rock, a short nature trail with lots of large rock formations to climb, and Skull Rock, a 1.5-mile beautiful nature trail loop.

Los Olivos

Travel Time: Two hours drive time

The historic town of Los Olivos sits in the Santa Ynez Valley, with outstanding views of the many nearby vineyards. There is a vibrant art community with many local festivals throughout the year.

Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park

Travel Time: Three hours drive time

This iconic local park is home to some of the largest trees in the world. You can take a scenic drive or hike amongst these beautiful giants.

These are just a few of the great ways you can spend a day near Los Angeles. To learn more about Southern California, including real estate opportunities, contact our luxury real estate experts. We specialize in high-end properties in the most exclusive communities in Southern California.

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(all data current as of 10/17/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.