Are you looking to take a break from the bustling life of Los Angeles? Look no further! Our guide will take you on an exciting and relaxing weekend getaway to beautiful destinations just a short drive away from the City of Angels. From serene coastal areas to peaceful mountain ranges, and culturally rich towns, we’ve got it all covered. Get ready to pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on a rejuvenating adventure!
Located on the stunning cliffs of Big Sur, Esalen Institute is an incredible weekend retreat destination just a few hours from Los Angeles. The famed retreat center has been popular amongst celebrities and thought leaders for decades, and when you arrive, you will understand why!
For starters, the scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to Big Sur is an adventure in and of itself. And then once you arrive at Esalen, you will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in life-changing workshops, ranging from yoga and meditation to personal growth seminars. Beyond that, they offer world class massages and iconic cliffside hot springs with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
For people seeking out a unique opportunity for self-discovery and relaxation, Esalen is the ticket. The combination of awe-inspiring scenery, therapeutic amenities, and enriching activities makes it an ideal haven for a soulful weekend retreat just a short drive away from the urban hustle of Los Angeles.
Embark on a scenic journey from the heart of Los Angeles to the tranquil beauty of Lake Arrowhead. Nestled amidst the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead beckons with its crisp alpine air, pristine waters, and a captivating blend of nature's wonders. In this guide to the perfect weekend getaway, take a road trip from the cityscape to the mountain escape. Discover the charm of Lake Arrowhead, where breathtaking landscapes, outdoor adventures, and a serene lakeside ambiance await. Let's explore the idyllic retreat just a drive away from the bustling city lights.
San Diego is such a great and easy weekend trip from Los Angeles. In under just 2 hours, you can escape the hustle and grind and end up in a big city that somehow still manages to feel chill and laidback. There are some great nature spots and beaches in San Diego, but also plenty of fun attractions to experience during your San Diego itinerary.
You certainly can’t miss the legendary San Diego Zoo, or the gorgeous Balboa Park. The USS Midway is a fascinating museum where you get to walk through and explore a real aircraft carrier, and Old Town San Diego is a great place to step back in time and learn about the history of the city.
When you’re ready for some beach time, don’t miss Coronado Island or La Jolla - both offering beautiful surroundings, lovely beaches, and insane sunsets.
Those interested in spending a couple days exploring California’s wine industry should plan a weekend trip to Paso Robles. This Central Coast city (which is about a 3 hour drive north of Los Angeles) is known for its scenic natural landscape, which is home to some of the best wineries in the state.
In addition to indulging in a few tastings at the local vineyards, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Downtown Paso Robles area. This charming district features some of the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in the area, as well as local boutiques. There are also a few unique attractions worth checking out during your getaway, including Franklin Hot Springs (where you can relax in the mineral-rich springs) and Light at Sensorio (an enchanting light show).
Located about 3,5 hours from Los Angeles, Valle De Guadalupe is Mexico’s top producing region that’s become one of the most popular day trips for many residents of Southern California.
Valle de Guadalupe is best known for its red wines, particularly those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Nebbiolo grapes. Valle De Guadalupe makes over 90 percent of all Mexico’s wine and in recent years, it has become a popular alternative to pricey wine destinations in California like Napa or Sonoma. Visitors flock to Valle De Guadalupe for its rustic charm, affordable prices and tranquil atmosphere.
You won’t have to break your bank to afford a visit here, but wines here are incredibly good. The valley is home to numerous wineries, from boutique and family-owned establishments to larger, well-known wine making facilities. Many of them offer tours, tastings, and also have on-site restaurants, so you can experience the local wine culture.
Santa Barbara makes a great weekend destination from Los Angeles. Expect the drive from LA to take 90 minutes to make the 95-mile journey. The laid-back coastal city provides a calm, quiet getaway, contrasting the central hub further south.
Santa Barbara offers many activities, from a leisurely day on West Beach to vintage shopping. State Street, a ten-block stretch, provides a plethora of patio restaurants, unique boutiques, and a handful of old theaters, begging for exploration.
If you’re visiting in the winter, whale-watching tours are top-rated, with guaranteed sightings of humpback whales. Families might prefer to explore the small aquarium on Sterns Wharf. Santa Barbara’s Courthouse is a must-visit. The self-guided tour is complimentary and allows you to see a stunning mural room and savor the aerial views of the city from the roof of the clock tower.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find solace in the pristine beauty of nature by planning a weekend getaway to Yosemite National Park. Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada, this iconic destination promises a refreshing break from the chaos of urban life. Exploring the journey from the urban landscape to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Yosemite, where you can witness towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and ancient sequoias. In this guide, we will help you discover the essence of a perfect Yosemite weekend getaway, which includes a blend of adventure, serenity, and the untamed wonders of the great outdoors.
Escape bustling LA for the weekend and had about six hours up the coast to the tranquil Napa Valley. While the rolling hills and exquisite vineyards are a major draw, there are SO many other things to do in Napa Valley.
Indulge your inner foodie at the Oxbow Public Market, soak in the picturesque landscapes by taking a scenic drive or renting bicycles, or treat yourself to a bucket list-worthy hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. Keep in mind that Napa Valley comprises more than just Napa. There are several charming small towns to explore, including foodie’s paradise Yountville, upscale St. Helena, and Calistoga, with its natural hot springs and geysers.
Napa Valley is the perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts, also. Winding, scenic hiking, and biking trails provide the perfect dose of adventure, and afterward, you’ll have the perfect excuse to indulge in Napa’s renowned food and wine.
Located about five hours northeast of Los Angeles, Mammoth Lakes is the perfect mountain getaway from the chaos of the city. This small town, nestled in the eastern Sierra Nevadas, is a wonderful destination year-round.
In the colder months, Mammoth is known as an incredible skiing destination, with world-class resorts like Mammoth Mountain and June Mountains. Alternatively, in the summer months, the area surrounding Mammoth has endless hiking and backpacking opportunities, including in the nearby Inyo National Forest. Regardless of what season you visit, don’t miss the natural hot springs in Mammoth Lakes, like the Rock Hot Tub or Crab Cooker, both of which provide steamy water and jaw-dropping views of the surrounding Sierra Nevadas.
Big Bear is a versatile gem that attracts tourists year-round, offering a snowy winter wonderland and a blissful summer retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains. This enchanting destination transforms with the seasons, providing pristine snowscapes for winter enthusiasts and scenic beauty for those seeking a summer escape. Join us on a brief journey to Big Bear, a haven that seamlessly blends snowy adventures and sun-kissed landscapes, making it a sought-after destination throughout the year. Let's explore the magic that attracts visitors to this alluring mountain haven, regardless of the season.
Take a weekend adventure amidst the giants of Sequoia National Park, where you can wander through one of the last remaining patches of the world's largest trees. Being so close to the next-door neighbor, King's Canyon, you can even combine this outdoor experience to hit two national parks in one trip.
The journey from Los Angeles to Sequoia is approximately 210 miles, translating to a drive of around 4 hours. It's a bit long for a day trip, but just the right duration for a weekend getaway.
Meet the park's star attractions on a Sequoia itinerary: the massive sequoia trees, some of them over 2000 years old. Make sure to visit the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on earth by volume, or the fallen trunk of the Tunnel Log. Aside from these namesake trees, take hikes, explore Crystal Cave, or a sunset drive to Moro Rock for panoramic views.
Monterey is a small fishing town on the central coast of California. It is along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, about 320 miles from Los Angeles.
Monterey is known for many things, such as the beautiful coastline, aquarium and historical areas like Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. It is also a great place for whale watching for those who are interested in heading out to sea.
Cannery Row used to be home to many sardine canning factories which were later transformed into restaurants, cafes and shops. You are guaranteed to find fresh and delicious sea food there!
There are so many things to do in Monterey, but the highlight for most is the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is said to be one of the best in the whole country.
If the traffic and fog gloom are getting to you, a mere 120 miles away, Palm Springs welcomes you. With a predicted 350 days of sunshine a year, you can get your Vitamin D by hiking one of the many trails or soaking up the sun at one of the resort's pools and sipping tropical drinks.
Palm Springs is no longer just a winter vacation spot. Palm Springs is alive with activity all year. Independent retailers have stocked their stores with unique apparel and items. The restaurants serve a variety of cuisines prepared by renowned chefs, adding their twist to familiar dishes.
Head here, dress appropriately enjoy a relaxing weekend, and watch the mountain shadows bounce on our beautiful mountains.
For an easy escape from the madness of Los Angeles, consider visiting Redlands. This charming small town is located just 70 miles away and has lots of activities to offer visitors! For example, if you want to hike some easy trails while smelling the local orange groves, head to Prospect Park.
Meanwhile, to see the city's more historic side, explore the downtown area. You can also find plenty of places to grab a bite to eat here. And if you visit during the summer, check out the Redlands Bowl, which regularly hosts free performances and concerts! Overall, despite its small size, the town has so much to offer and is great for a weekend getaway.
The Mojave National Preserve is your not-so-typical desert destination in California. Covering over a million acres, this place is an adventurer's playground. Your first stop should be the Kelso Dunes. You can get lost in these crazy tall sandy dunes that go on for miles. It's a bit of a trudge up, but you can summit the dune!
There's also some great dispersed camping nearby, so you can start bright and early before the blazing sun comes out. You'll also get to wander among the Joshua Trees here. These trees are the rock stars of the desert – tall, spiky, and straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Each has its own funky shape, making for some great photo ops. Don't miss the Mojave Lava Tube. You'll likely need a four-wheel drive vehicle to make it to the trailhead, but it's totally worth it. You'll find yourself in an underground cave formed by flowing lava.
When the sunlight beams through the holes in the ceiling, it’s like being in another world. Remember to bring a flashlight! And, of course, the starry nights. Once the sun sets, the sky turns into a dazzling display of stars. Far from city lights, it’s the perfect spot for some stargazing. This spot is only about 4 hours away from LA, making it a perfect weekend getaway!
San Luis Obispo is a quaint college town in Central California, approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Luis Obispo is a hidden gem destination for a weekend trip from Los Angeles because of the incredible hiking, beaches, hot springs, and wine tasting the surrounding area offers.
In addition, San Luis Obispo is a great place to travel if you are on a budget! There are many free things to do in San Luis Obispo, such as visiting an art museum, going to the famed Bubble Gum Alley, and hiking Montaña de Oro State Park!
Death Valley is an awe-inspiring realm of extremes that stretches across California and Nevada. It is considered the hottest and driest national park in the United States. Death Valley is not merely a desert; it's a captivating tapestry of contrasts where nature's forces have sculpted a harsh and breathtaking landscape. If you're a seasoned adventurer or an armchair traveler, prepare to be captivated by the extraordinary allure of Death Valley National Park.
The distance from Los Angeles to Death Valley depends on the specific destination within Death Valley that you are heading to, as it is a vast national park. The approximate distance from downtown Los Angeles to Furnace Creek, a central point in Death Valley, is around 275 miles (443 kilometers). Remember that travel times can vary based on your specific route, traffic conditions, and any stops you may make along the way. The journey typically takes 4 to 5 hours by car, depending on the route and traffic conditions.
Half Moon Bay, just six hours' drive from Los Angeles, offers a refreshing change of pace. Here, your weekend is framed by stunning cliffside walks and the soothing sounds of the Pacific. The town's historic downtown is a delightful mix of local culture and architecture, perfect for strolls.
Activity-wise, Half Moon Bay doesn't disappoint. Half Moon Bay State Beach is the feature here, perfect for long walks and appreciating the natural beauty of the rugged coastline. Enjoying a seafood meal and kayaking in Pillar Point Harbor is also a must for visitors.
San Francisco, a vibrant city about 380 miles north of Los Angeles, offers an enticing weekend getaway. Known for its iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, it's a haven for culture, innovation, and stunning bay views.
A weekend in San Francisco can be a whirlwind of experiences. Start with a stroll along the bustling Fisherman's Wharf, enjoying fresh seafood and exploring Pier 39. Also, a must-visit is the historic Alcatraz Island, once a notorious prison and now a fascinating museum.
Discover the city's diverse neighbourhoods, from the artistic vibe of the Mission District to the upscale elegance of Nob Hill. Take advantage of riding a cable car through steep streets or explore the Golden Gate Park's vast greenery and museums.
Food enthusiasts can relish the city's culinary scene, from gourmet dining in renowned restaurants to savouring authentic dim sum in Chinatown.
The eclectic blend of history, culture, and natural beauty makes San Francisco an ideal weekend escape from Los Angeles, promising an unforgettable adventure in just a few days.
Located just 2.5 hours from Los Angeles, you’ll find one of the most unique national parks in the country – Joshua Tree National Park. Here you’ll find the namesake trees that look Seussian with their spiky branches and bulbous leaves.
This desert park is full of wonderful and historic trails to both Native Americans and Western mining populations with unique plants like the cholla cactus that can only be found here. Don’t miss Lost Horse Mine Trail, Skull Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden, and the incredible stargazing from anywhere in the park!
For one of the best weekend trips from Los Angeles, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is an unmissable destination. Situated merely a 30 to 45-minute drive away, it's the perfect spot for a weekend of fun and fantasy. This magical resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.
Disneyland Park is the quintessential Disney experience, where fairytales and classic attractions come to life. Don't miss the chance to snap a photo in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle or feel the thrill on Space Mountain.
Next door, Disney California Adventure offers a diverse array of attractions, from the thrilling Incredicoaster to the whimsical world of Cars Land.