The largest city in California and the second-largest in the United States of America, Los Angeles is best known as the home of Hollywood. Popularly known as L.A., this dreamy city is home to several established and wannabe movie stars, musicians, as well as professional surfers.
The vastness of this city may take some time to get used to, but once you vibe with its bustling environment, there is no looking back. While the city is limited in tourist spots, it is surrounded by some amazing attractions that make for great weekend getaways.
Let’s take a Look of Top 10 Weekend Getaways From Los Angeles
1. Palm Springs
A desert resort town situated within the Coachella Valley, Colorado Desert, the area is best known for its architecture that reflects mid-century modernism from the 1920s to the 1960s. While here, do not miss paying a visit to Melvyn’s restaurant so you can eat where Frank Sinatra used to eat regularly. Some important tourist attractions here include the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs Art Museum, and Rancho Mirage Observatory.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to travel to Palm Springs is between January and April as the weather is extremely nice and hospitable.
How to Reach: The cheapest way to get here from LA is to take a bus that costs a minimum of $13. This would be extremely budget-friendly but slightly longer. However, the fastest way to travel from Los Angeles to Palm Springs is via a flight that could cost up to $300. Alternatively, you can also take a train or hire a rental car.
2. Santa Barbara
Boasting views of the Santa Ynez Mountains in the background, Santa Barbara enjoys one of the most fascinating spots on the Californian coast. Home to the famous 2000-seater Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara is a melting pot for performing arts. Noted tourist attractions in the city include Mission Santa Barbara (a national historic site), Santa Barbara Harbor, and the massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November are the most preferred months to visit Santa Barbara.
How to Reach: You can take a bus, a train, a car rental, or even a flight between the two locations. At $9, buses are the cheapest option while flights can cost up to $250.
3. Rosarito Beach
A short drive from LA, Rosarito Beach is your ideal Mexican weekend getaway. A coastal resort town located on the other side of the US border, the place is packed with a stunning coastline, thrilling adventure sports, and some spectacular dance clubs. You can also enjoy the lush wildlife that Rosarito has to offer. A truly laid-back town with something to offer to every visitor, the attraction is brimming with activities such as surfing, jet-skiing, ATV rides, and diving. Don’t miss visiting Puerto Nuevo which is famous as a foodie’s haven only 20 minutes out of Rosarito.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the beach is from mid-June to mid-December with August being the peak season.
How to Reach: The fastest and the cheapest way to get to Rosarito from LA is either via bus or car.
4. Catalina Island
A rocky island situated on the Gulf of Santa Catalina, this tranquil little hideaway is home to a huge species of flora and fauna, of which at least fifty are endemic species meaning that they are specific only to the island and cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. One of the most popular activities in Catalina is to enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride of the spectacular reefs and intriguing shipwrecks in the area. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also quite famous here.
Best Time to Visit: Spring and fall are the two best seasons to visit Catalina Island.
How to Reach: There is no direct connection between the island and LA. However, it only takes about an hour on a high-speed ferry to reach Catalina Island from San Diego, California.
5. Laguna Beach
Recognized as a hidden gem of Orange County, Laguna Beach is home to a thriving artistic colony, a great spot for art enthusiasts. Unlike the other coastal cities of California, Laguna Beach is blessed with seven miles of stunning beaches and spectacular coves where you can enjoy exploring natural tide pools, sea caves, and ocean side bluffs. The beach is also popular for housing the maximum number of beachfront accommodation options in the entire state. Laguna Beach is also known for its 20,000 acres of stunning wilderness.
Best Time to Visit: The months of April to May and September to October are the best to visit the beach.
How to Reach: The easiest way to get to the beach from Los Angeles is via train. You can take the Amtrak or Metrolink from LA to Orange County and then on to San Juan Capistrano.
6. Mammoth Mountains
A lava dome located partially within Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountains were formed by a series of volcanic eruptions around 57,000 years ago but today, it is home to one of the most gigantic ski areas. Founded in 1953 by Dave McCoy, the mountains are also known for snowboarding and snowmobile. The highest resort of its kind in the entire state, Mammoth mountains is also home to several remarkable restaurants such as Campo Mammoth, Chip Shots Café, and Grizzly Square Food Court.
Best Time to Visit: While the summer months of June till August are the peak season to visit here, if you are an adrenaline-junkie who loves to ski, winter is your best bet.
How to Reach: The cheapest and the fastest way to travel to Mammoth Mountains from LA is to drive. It takes approximately 5 and a half hours and costs between $30 to $45.
7. San Diego
A trip to southern California isn’t fulfilled without a trip to the calming beaches of San Diego. Set on the remarkable coastline of San Diego, the oldest town in California is perfect for outdoor activities and is home to several museums, Spanish Colonial-dated architecture, gardens, and the world-renowned San Diego zoo.
Best Time to Visit: San Diego is a year-round destination, however, if you want to skip the peak season crowd, it is best to visit from May till September and through November.
How to Reach: The fastest way to get to San Diego from LA is via a flight which would take under an hour and around $100, however, the cheapest is taking a bus that will take around 3 hours and $17.
8. Joshua National Park
Known for its intrinsic desert landscapes and rugged rock formations, Joshua National Park is characterized by gold mining ruins and vast desert land swarmed with oddball trees. Situated at the confluence of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. Visitors come here for the unbelievable sunsets and stay for nights filled with outstanding stargazing opportunities. Wildlife lovers would also enjoy witnessing the wide variety of desert wildlife.
Best Time to Visit: The spring months of April to early May is the best time to visit the national park.
How to Reach: The cheapest and the fastest way to get to Joshua National Park from Los Angeles is by driving which takes under two and a half hours and costs between $12 to $19.
9. Morro Bay
Surrounded by several natural elements, Morro Bay is best known for Morro Rock, a humongous 576-foot volcanic ruin at the entrance of the bay. Blessed with miles of coastline and a dedicated National Estuary bristling with wildlife, Morro Bay is also home to the Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay State Park, and the Embarcadero – the main promenade in the town swarming with shopping avenues and restaurants.
Best Time to Visit: The fastest and cheapest way to get from Los Angeles to Morro Bay is by driving which takes under four hours and costs between $20 to $35.
How to Reach: Summers are considered to be the best time to visit Morro Bay as there are countless events that take place around the same time.
Home to several historical landmarks as well as modern-day attractions, the small city of Monterey was the former capital of Spanish California between 1770 to 1882. Once a prominent fish packing area, Cannery Row has been transformed into a beautiful tourist spot with several shops and diners. Some popular sights to visit in the area are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and Monterey Museum of Art.
Best Time to Visit: If you are a food-lover, you must visit Monterey between the months of April and May as spring bring in warmer temperatures, lesser visitors, and a whole bunch of food festivals.
How to Reach: One of the most economical and fastest ways to get to Monterey from LA is by driving. The drive takes around five and a half hours and costs between $30 to $50.