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27 Best Day Trips From Los Angeles (Beaches, Towns, & More)

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Day trips from Los Angeles are a great way to explore all the beauty and adventure that Southern California has to offer.

As incredible as the City of Angels is, sometimes you need to escape the hustle and bustle to get a change of scenery.

Fortunately, there are plenty of day trips from LA that will make you feel like you’ve gone far away without having to travel too far.

Whether it’s a day at the beach, some sightseeing in a charming town or an escape into nature, these LA day trips will give you the perfect getaway.

Here are 27 of the very best day trips from LA that you won’t want to miss!

Before we jump into this list of Los Angeles day trips, let’s quickly review some basic information so you know what to expect.


Palm trees against a purple and yellow sunset on one of several day trips from Los Angeles.

Palm trees are calling! Explore these beautiful sights on one of these day trips from Los Angeles.

How to Reach These Day Trips From Los Angeles

For most of the day trips from Los Angeles listed below, you’ll need a car to get there.

Having your own vehicle is the most convenient option because it gives you the freedom and flexibility to make stops along the way and explore at your own pace.

If you didn’t drive to LA yourself, you can search for rental cars through several companies, such as Discover Cars.

Discover Cars is the best because you can compare the prices and policies of several companies at once so you can find the best deal for your day trip!

👉 Shop for rental cars for your LA getaway!

Overview of the Best Day Trips From LA

I’ve organized this post into three separate sections based on how far the day trips are from LA: day trips within an hour, day trips one to two hours away, and day trips two or more hours away.

I didn’t include locations that are further than three hours away because it would be quite stressful to try to do them in a day.

I’ve also included travel times based on non-rush hour traffic so keep in mind that it can possibly take up to double the time if you’re driving during peak hours.

This list of the best day trips from Los Angeles is the perfect addition to a 2 day Los Angeles itinerary. These day trips provide the perfect escape during a weekend trip to LA.

LA Day Trips Map

Map of the best day trips from LA.

Map of the best day trips from LA

This map will help you visualize where each day trip is located in relation to Los Angeles.

Day trips from Los Angeles under an hour are marked with a blue circle, day trips from Los Angeles under two hours away are marked in purple, and day trips from Los Angeles under three hours are marked in yellow. 

Click on the map to enlarge it and explore the day trips from Los Angeles in more detail.

Day Trips From Los Angeles Under 1 Hour

1. Malibu

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 45 miles
  • Drive time: 57 minutes
Aerial view of the shoreline of Malibu which is one of many day trips from LA.

Treat yourself to some sunshine and explore the beauty of Malibu on one of your next day trips from LA!

A trip up Pacific Coast Highway from LA can lead you straight into paradise!

With its stunning beaches, lush forests, and delectable seafood, Malibu is one of the top day trips from Los Angeles and makes for the perfect romantic getaway.

This picturesque town is home to some of California’s best beaches, many of which offer incredible surfing opportunities.

From Zuma Beach with its wide sandy beachfront to El Matador Beach with its famous surf break and rocky cliffs, Malibu has abundant beaches to explore.

The Getty Villa museum is also located in Malibu, offering an impressive collection of ancient Greek and Roman Art housed in a recreated seaside Roman villa.

You also can’t leave Malibu without strolling down the Malibu Pier, which offers gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as restaurants and shops.

👇 More fun things to do in Malibu:


2. Disneyland

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 35 miles
  • Drive time: 48 minutes
Disneyland Park with a statue of Walt Disney and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background, which is one of the coolest Los Angeles day trips.

Discovering the magic of Disneyland Park is one of the best Los Angeles day trips!

Fun day trips from Los Angeles don’t get much better than Disneyland in Anaheim AKA “The Happiest Place On Earth!”

From thrilling roller coasters like Space Mountain and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to classic rides like the Jungle Cruise and the Disneyland Railroad, you’ll have an unforgettable experience filled with magical adventures!

And what’s a visit to Disneyland Park without trying some delicious food?

The caramel apples are always delicious (and definitely Instagram-worthy!), and you can also indulge in more famed snacks like the Dole Whip and the Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzels.

No matter how old you are, Disneyland Resort will make you feel like a kid again!

3. Huntington Beach

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 37 miles
  • Drive time: 42 minutes
Aerial view of Huntington Beach as one of the best LA day trips.

Endless sunshine, salty breezes, and amazing views at Huntington Beach = one of the coolest LA day trips!

If you’re looking for LA day trips that are all about soaking up some sun and sand, look no further than Huntington Beach!

With almost 10 miles of coastline and some of the best surfing in California, this beach town is perfect for anyone looking to hit the waves or just lounge in the sun.

Aside from the gorgeous beaches, Surf City USA is known for its lively downtown area.

Walk down Main Street, and you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars, all within steps from the beach.

After you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, take a stroll along the Huntington Beach Pier for unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean!

Wildlife watching at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve is also a must-do in Huntington Beach.

The reserve boasts over 1300 acres of protected habitat with trails winding through wetlands and grasslands teeming with 200+ bird species.

4. Newport Beach and Balboa Island (Two of the Coolest Day Trips From Los Angeles)

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 43 miles
  • Drive time: 45 minutes
Waves crashing along the shore on a beach in Newport Beach.

Newport Beach

Head to southern Orange County to find two day trips in one — Newport Beach and Balboa Island.

One of the best things about Newport Beach is that there’s always something to do here, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and more.

You’ll want to experience the majesty of nature and witness some of the most beautiful creatures on earth with a whale-watching cruise from Newport Beach.

Not only will you get to take in stunning views of the coastline, but you’ll also witness the gentle giants up close.

Some of the best attractions in Newport Beach include the Newport Beach Pier, Fashion Island, Sherman Library and Gardens, and the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

Corona Del Mar State Beach Park is also a great spot for beachcombing and beach day picnics with its dramatic cliffs, tidepools, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Grand Canal on Balboa Island with restaurants along the canal.

Balboa Island

The highlight of visiting Newport Beach is definitely Balboa Island, which is one of the most beautiful islands in the USA

To get there, you can drive, but I recommend taking the Balboa Island Ferry because parking can be quite limited on the island.

Once you’ve arrived on Balboa Island, explore its charming streets lined with boutiques and candy stores, or take a stroll along the harbor to admire all of the boats!

It’s a unique destination with tree-lined streets filled with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants like Sugar ‘n Spice for delicious ice cream or Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop for a frozen banana.

5. Long Beach

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 24 miles
  • Drive time: 35 minutes
Towering white lighthouse perched on a small hill, which is Lions Lighthouse in Long Beach.

Lions Lighthouse in Long Beach

Long Beach is another one of the best day trips from Los Angeles, offering a wealth of activities and attractions.

One of Long Beach’s most popular attractions is the Queen Mary, an iconic 1930s ocean liner that’s now permanently docked in Long Beach harbor.

It’s great for history buffs and visitors looking to explore its fascinating past and beautiful Art Deco interiors.

This laid-back beach town also has a bustling downtown area with plenty of museums to explore, like the Museum of Latin American Art and the Long Beach Museum of Art.

End the day by watching the sunset at Shoreline Village, a waterfront promenade filled with shops, restaurants, and a fun zone for kids.

6. Knott’s Berry Farm

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 22 miles
  • Drive time: 32 minutes
Red and yellow roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is the perfect place to get your thrills and have a blast!

Located in Buena Park, Knott’s Berry Farm is home to some of the most thrilling amusement park rides in California.

The park has been around for over a century, offering something for everyone — from extreme roller coasters to water rides and classic carnival entertainment.

Ghost Town is one of the original areas of the park, and it still remains a favorite today with its Wild West-themed experiences like panning for gold or taking a ride on the Calico Railroad.

There are also tons of delicious food options at Knott’s Berry Farm ranging from classic fair food like funnel cakes and corn dogs to more unique eats such as the chicken dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

7. Six Flags Magic Mountain

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 35 miles
  • Drive time: 41 minutes
Tall roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is one of the most adrenaline-rushing day trips from Los Angeles.

If you’re looking for a more heart-pumping adventure, a getaway to Six Flags Magic Mountain is the perfect escape.

This theme park is known for its dizzying roller coasters — some of which reach heights of up to 160 feet!

It’s also home to various other attractions, including thrill rides, family rides, kiddie rides, and live entertainment.

Make sure to check out the X2 coaster if you’re feeling brave enough — it features a series of 360-degree inversions that will definitely get your adrenaline pumping.

In addition, Full Throttle is the world’s fastest and tallest looping coaster and is a must-try for any adrenaline junkie!

At the end of your day, check out Six Flags’ on-site restaurants and stores for souvenirs, snacks, and more.

8. Pasadena

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 10 miles
  • Drive time: 20 minutes
Aerial view of the Pasadena City Hall.

Pasadena City Hall

Just outside of Los Angeles is Pasadena, a charming city in Los Angeles County known for its classic architecture and outdoor adventure.

Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl Stadium, is filled with amazing attractions that make it one of the most exciting day trips from Los Angeles.

First, Pasadena is home to some of the best art galleries and museums in Southern California.

The Norton Simon Museum hosts a comprehensive collection of European artwork from the Renaissance Era to the 20th century.

The Huntington is perhaps the most renowned attraction near Pasadena, boasting more than 11 million pieces of library items and artwork.

This iconic landmark also encompasses over 130 acres of breathtaking gardens that feature 16 themed areas, including Japanese, Chinese, Australian, and more.

Just steps from the Huntington lies Old Town Pasadena, which offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s past with its cobblestone streets, trendy boutiques, restaurants, and bars.

9. Monrovia (One of the Lesser Known Day Trips From Los Angeles)

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 23 miles
  • Drive time: 30 minutes
Businesses dotted along downtown Monrovia, California.

Looking for the best day trips from Los Angeles under an hour away? Visit Monrovia!

Monrovia is one of the best nature day trips from LA and is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

This small city is nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and is home to several parks that offer a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and fishing.

Monrovia Canyon Park is one of the most popular spots, featuring a spectacular waterfall and plenty of trails for exploring the area’s lush greenery.

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is another fantastic day trip destination a few minutes away from Monrovia with its stunning mountain vistas, rocky terrain, and variety of wildlife.

After a long day spent outdoors, end your day at Monrovia’s Old Town area, where you can explore the city’s historic buildings and browse through quaint shops.

LA Day Trips Under 2 Hours

10. Santa Catalina Island

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 47 miles
  • Drive time: You must take a ferry (more information below).
Aerial view of the shoreline of Santa Catalina Island with a white building with an orange roof in the distance.

Santa Catalina Island is one of the best day trips from LA that’ll make you feel like you’re a world away from the chaos of the city.

Santa Catalina Island is one of the most relaxing Los Angeles day trips and is just an hour’s ferry ride away from the mainland.

The Catalina Express departs from Dana Point, San Pedro, and Long Beach, while the Catalina Flyer departs from Newport Beach.

This idyllic destination is home to crystal-clear waters and some of the best beaches in all of California.

If you love nature, you’re in luck because Santa Catalina Island is home to some incredible wildlife, including sea lions, dolphins, and bald eagles.

Rocky coastline of Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island.

Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island

You can also explore its lush forests and hike up Mt. Orizaba (the tallest mountain on Catalina Island) for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean waves.

If you want to do something less strenuous, you can relax on a boat tour and explore the island’s many coves and inlets or enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, and other water activities.

No day trip to Santa Catalina Island would be complete without perusing through the old-fashioned boutiques and restaurants around Avalon.

Descanso Beach Club, Wrigley Memorial, Catalina Museum for Art & History, and Lovers Cove are some of the most popular activities on the island.

👇 More fun things to do on Catalina Island:


11. Santa Barbara

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 95 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 58 minutes
View of the Santa Barbara coastline from the pier with golden sand and tall palm trees.

The stunning coastline of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is one of the most picture-perfect day trips from Los Angeles by car and is one of the best getaways on the West Coast.

This charming coastal city on the Central Coast of California is blessed with a pristine Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities like hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, sailing, and more.

First and foremost, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara that make it worth the drive.

Take a leisurely stroll down State Street Promenade for some unique shopping and dining opportunities.

Once you’re done exploring downtown, head to Stearns Wharf for gorgeous views of the swaying palm trees along the ocean, and drop by Leadbetter Beach and East Beach for your dose of sun and sand.

If you’re looking for some sightseeing, visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara, an iconic 18th-century Spanish colonial architectural structure with beautiful gardens, or the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to get your art fix.

Old Mission Santa Barbara with its white building with orange roof constructed in a Spanish Colonial style.

Old Mission Santa Barbara

You’ll also want to stop by the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This gorgeous courthouse is designed in a Spanish-Colonial style and is in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

When it comes to wine tasting, you have several options in Santa Barbara’s stunning wine country.

Whether you’re looking for a casual afternoon sipping on local wines or an educational tour of the different varieties produced in the region, your inner wine lover will be more than satisfied.

Lastly, Channel Islands National Park is a one to two-hour boat ride away, but you’ll need another day in Santa Barbara to explore the protected island terrain and its incredible marine life.

👇 More fun things to do in Santa Barbara:


12. Laguna Beach

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 56 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 16 minutes
Aerial view of the coastline of Laguna Beach with its turquoise water and brown sand.

Laguna Beach is one of the prettiest beach day trips from LA.

Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is the perfect destination for a full day of exploration and adventure.

The beaches in Laguna Beach are some of the best beaches in the USA, and they’re what draw most people to this stunning Southern California destination.

Whether you want to relax on the sand and soak up some Vitamin Sea (get it?) or explore the tidepools filled with marine life, the beaches of Laguna Beach are the epitome of perfection.

Some of the most picturesque beaches here are Heisler Park, Table Rock Beach, Aliso Beach, Malibu Lagoon State Beach, and West Street Beach.

Heisler Park in Laguna Beach with golden sand, palm trees, and a house on the beach.

Heisler Park in Laguna Beach

A common California beach town theme is art galleries and boutiques, and Laguna Beach is no exception.

Main Beach Park is brimming with galleries like the Laguna Art Museum, restaurants, boutique shops, and antique stores that will have you exploring for hours on end.

If you’re looking to get out in nature, Crystal Cove State Park is a must-see because of its beautiful trails and coves that’ll definitely have you oohing and ahhing all day long.

You’ll see for yourself why Laguna Beach is one of the most coveted day trips from Los Angeles.

👇 More fun things to do in Laguna Beach:


13. Oxnard

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 62 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Tall palm trees in front of orange roofed buildings in Oxnard, California.


Oxnard, affectionately known as the “Seaside Strawberry Capital of California,” is one of the most incredible Los Angeles day trips you don’t want to miss.

Start by visiting Heritage Square, which features quaint shops and eateries surrounded by historic architecture.

Then, head over to Channel Islands Harbor — an outdoor shopping center with shops and restaurants overlooking a gorgeous marina view.

You can hop on a jet ski, watch the sunset, look for whales, and more at the harbor.

In addition to its coastal beauty, this adorable small town has plenty of museums where you can learn about the history and culture of the region.

The Carnegie Art Museum, the Oxnard Historic Farm Park, and the Murphy Auto Museum are all great options for learning something new and exploring the area.

14. San Juan Capistrano

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 55 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
The exterior of Mission San Juan Capistrano on a lush green garden with trees.

San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano is well known for its historic buildings, especially the iconic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

This amazing day trip takes you back in time to the 18th century when Spanish Padres and Native Americans first established this beautiful mission.

The grounds are open to the public and feature a museum, the Great Stone Church ruins, fountains, lush gardens, and more.

The city of San Juan Capistrano is also home to Los Rios District — the oldest residential neighborhood in California.

Aerial view of San Juan Capistrano with buildings surrounded by the mountains.

Aerial view of San Juan Capistrano

The streets are lined with 40 adobe homes that have been beautifully restored and exude a charming old-world feel.

Doheny State Beach in Dana Point is right around the corner from San Juan Capistrano, and you’ll get your beach fix here with plenty of sun, sand, and surf.

All in all, San Juan Capistrano offers one of the best day trips from Los Angeles for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the history and culture of Southern California.

15. Ojai

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 83 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Yellow mustard colored field of flowers and the Topatopa Mountains in Ojai, California.

The Topatopa Mountains in Ojai — can’t you just feel the relaxing vibes from this picture?

If you’re seeking spiritual rejuvenation, Ojai is one of the best day trips from LA that delivers just that.

Nicknamed “The Valley of the Moon,” this town is nestled in the Topatopa Mountains, giving you a serene and scenic backdrop for your day trip.

Start by visiting Ojai Meadows Preserve — this nature preserve has over 58 acres of wetlands to explore with plenty of wildlife and wildflowers.

Meditation Mount is a popular spot in the area, offering breathtaking views of the valley and providing spiritual insight to all those who visit.

Snow covered Topatopa Mountains in Ojai, California.

Snow-covered Topatopa Mountains

If you want to keep the peaceful and relaxing vibes rolling, visit Ecotopia Hot Springs.

Soak in the natural hot springs while you take in views of the surrounding mountains, and feel your stress and worries melt away.

Last but not least, drop by the Krishnamurti Educational Center, which is the home of the famous philosopher and spiritual leader, J. Krishnamurti.

You can explore the center’s gardens, visit its meditation hall, or even attend a public talk to learn more about his teachings.

16. Oak Glen

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 79 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 17 minutes
Red barn looking building, which is the Parrish Pioneer Ranch in Oak Glen.

Parrish Pioneer Ranch in Oak Glen

Apple orchards, berry farms, and pumpkin patches — Oak Glen is one of a few day trips from LA for all your rural cravings.

Oak Glen Preserve is the perfect place to get in touch with Mother Nature, where you can go on a leisurely hike and explore the meadows, hills, forests, and streams that make up this beautiful conservancy.

If you’re visiting during apple season, be sure to visit Riley’s Farm — one of the oldest family-owned farms in the state of California.

You can pick apples, enjoy an old-fashioned day on the farm with their popular “Living History” programs, or even schedule a day to get married at this rustic venue.

Green and red tractor at Oak Glen Preserve in Ojai with mountains in the background.

Escape to the mountains and explore Oak Glen Preserve – one of the best day trips from Los Angeles!

The nearby Los Rios Rancho is also well worth a visit, where you can pick your own seasonal fruits and vegetables, eat a home-cooked meal at Farm Kitchen, and walk along a five-mile trail surrounded by ponds and redwood trees.

If you still haven’t satisfied your apple cravings, Moms Country Orchards, Parrish Pioneer Ranch, Snow-Line Orchard, and Willowbrook Apple Farm are all great places to continue your outdoor adventure.

Your day trip to Oak Glen will be an unforgettable experience of rural charm, fresh air, and tranquil views of the foothills.

17. Temecula

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 85 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 17 minutes
A fountain in front of the City of Temecula Civic Center, which is a Spanish Colonial style building.

City of Temecula Civic Center

Wine day trips from Los Angeles can be a great way to relax, and Temecula is the perfect day trip destination for a day of vino tasting.

This inland city is famous for its vineyards which are nestled amongst rolling hills that span over 33,000 acres.

Take a day to tour the wineries, sample some of their award-winning wines, and take in views of the picturesque countryside.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even book a hot air balloon ride over Temecula Valley — it’s an experience that will stay with you forever!

The day isn’t complete without a visit to Old Town Temecula — an area filled with shopping and dining experiences that will give you a taste of the culture and history of this charming city.

👇 More fun things to do in Temecula:


18. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 67 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
A meadow of vivid orange poppies at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve.

How gorgeous is this field of poppies at A meadow of vivid orange poppies at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve?! 😍

Nature lovers, you’ll love this quick and easy jaunt to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve!

This stunning reserve is located in the western Mojave Desert, and it’s one of the finest desert day trips from Los Angeles.

This stunning area comes alive in the springtime with vivid orangey-red poppy flowers as far as the eye can see.

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to snap some amazing Instagram-worthy shots, and the reserve is also great for day hikes, picnics, and wildlife viewing.

19. LEGOLAND California

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 92 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
LEGOLAND California theme park entrance with blue, yellow, and green Lego looking buildings.

LEGOLAND California

Adventure awaits at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, one of the best Los Angeles day trips if you want to let your inner child out!

Enjoy the thrill of roller coaster rides like The Dragon, and explore Miniland USA, which is filled with amazing LEGO model replicas of iconic American landmarks.

There’s also a new attraction within the park called “The Lego Movie World,” where you can enjoy interactive rides, themed attractions, and a unique experience where all your favorite Lego movies come to life.

LEGOLAND California is truly one of the coolest theme parks in California, and it’s a day trip that the whole family can enjoy.

Best Day Trips From LA Under 3 Hours

20. Solana Beach

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 99 miles
  • Drive time: 2 and a half hours
Aerial view of the coastal cliffs along the coast in Solana Beach, California.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach is one of the most underrated trips from LA, and you won’t want to leave this laid-back beach town once you arrive.

One of the best things about taking a day trip to Solana Beach is getting access to some of the prettiest beaches along the California coast.

Fletcher Cove Park is the spot to hang out if you’re looking for a day at the beach, with plenty of space for swimming and sunbathing.

You can also explore Cedros Avenue Design District — a vibrant shopping district filled with over 85 art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes to explore.

For a daring getaway, take a short drive to Torrey Pines State Reserve, where you can explore the towering sandstone cliffs and lush greenery.

This reserve is perfect for a day of hiking, with trails ranging from easy to strenuous, and the visitor’s center offers plenty of fascinating information and exhibits about the area.

21. Palm Springs

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 108 miles
  • Drive time: 1 hour and 28 minutes
A white sign that says

With its chic architecture and mesmerizing landscapes and wonderful day trips from Los Angeles, Palm Springs is the perfect day trip from Los Angeles!

When you’re daydreaming about LA day trips, Palm Springs will surely come to mind.

Located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, Palm Springs is the perfect place for a day of relaxation, fun, and exploration.

Palm Canyon Drive is one of the main streets in downtown Palm Springs, and it’s full of boutiques, designer stores, cigar bars, museums, antique shops, restaurants, and more.

The world’s largest rotating tramcar, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, is another highlight of the city.

It takes visitors from the valley to Mount San Jacinto State Park, offering some of the best views in all of California.

Red plants and tall palm trees on a golf course in Palm Springs with a pond in the middle of the course.

Hit the links at one of the many gorgeous golf courses in Palm Springs.

Furthermore, Palm Springs is full of outdoor activities that will make your day trip worth every minute.

Hike at Indian Canyons — an oasis filled with streams, waterfalls, and lush vegetation that’s unlike anything else in California.

Moorten Botanical Garden, Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs Visitor Center, and Sunnyland Center & Gardens are just a handful of the exciting things to do in Palm Springs.

👇 More fun things to do in Palm Springs:


22. Joshua Tree National Park

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 131 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 13 minutes
A Joshua tree in the desert at Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park

No day trip from LA would be complete without stopping by Joshua Tree National Park — trust me, you’ll have an unforgettable day in one of the most magnificent national parks on the West Coast!

This desert wonderland is a hiker’s paradise, with stunning rock formations, cacti-dotted landscapes, bizarre-looking Joshua trees, and spectacular starry night skies.

There are plenty of trails for all levels, from short ones that lead to amazing rock formations to longer day hikes.

Additionally, Joshua Tree National Park is also an excellent place for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

Keep your eyes open for kangaroo rats, bobcats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and more.

Keys View, Skull Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden, Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Joshua Tree Visitor Center, and Barker Dam Trail are just a few of the highlights you won’t want to miss.

👇 More fun things to do in Joshua Tree National Park:


23. San Diego

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 122 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Tall buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.

Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego

San Diego is an incredibly diverse city that’s full of hidden gems — and it’s just a day trip away from LA!

Start your morning off right by visiting La Jolla Cove and see if you can spot some of the California sea lions that love to hang out here.

Located 20 minutes north of San Diego, this coastal spot features stunning views of the ocean, cliffs, and sea caves.

There are plenty of activities to do here, such as kayaking, snorkeling, strolling along the beach, scuba diving, and whale watching.

Two sea lions in La Jolla near San Diego.

So much sea lion fun in La Jolla Cove!

Also, the USS Midway Museum in San Diego is worth checking out since it’s located on an aircraft carrier that served during World War II and Operation Desert Storm.

Then, head over to Balboa Park for a day of exploring. This gorgeous urban park is full of attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo, museums, theaters, gardens, and more.

Grab lunch at Seaport Village, followed by a visit to the historic Gaslamp Quarter — known for its Victorian-era buildings, shops, restaurants, and bars.

The above are only a few of the many exciting things to do in San Diego, and you’ll see why San Diego snags a spot on this list of the best one day trips from Los Angeles.

👇 More fun things to do in San Diego:


24. Big Bear Lake (Best Day Trips From Los Angeles for Nature Lovers)

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 97 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 21 minutes
Aerial view of a few boats on Big Bear Lake surrounded by trees and mountains.

Even though Big Bear Lake is one of several day trips from Los Angeles, you’ll feel like you’re a world away being surrounded by nature.

Big Bear Lake is a magical town encompassed by the San Bernardino National Forest and is an outdoor haven for visitors.

This popular mountain getaway offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking to relax, explore nature, or have an adventurous day out.

Hiking trails are plentiful, such as Cougar Crest Trail and Grays Peak Trail — both of which offer picturesque views of the lake.

Meanwhile, Big Bear Lake also offers fishing, boating, swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and more!

Aerial view of snow covered mountains surrounded Big Bear Lake.

A winter wonderland in Big Bear Lake

Make sure to check out the Alpine Pedal Path Trail to get a view of the mountains while biking or walking along the lake.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go ziplining over Big Bear Lake for stunning views of the San Bernardino Mountains and the lake.

Also, make sure to check out Snow Summit Ski Resort for snow-filled activities like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding if you’re visiting during ski season.

Los Angeles day trips don’t get more spectacular than Big Bear Lake!

25. Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 147 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Aerial view of Tijuana, Mexico with lots of buildings and the mountains in the background.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico


A day trip to another country? Yes, that’s right!

Cross the border for a day of exploring in Tijuana, Mexico.

This vibrant city is known for its delicious food, colorful murals, bustling markets, and plenty of culture.

This vibrant city is full of art, culture, food, and shopping opportunities — making it perfect for day trips.

Start your day by visiting Avenida Revolución — one of the most iconic streets in Tijuana, where you can find murals, street art, shops, and the infamous Tijuana Arch (Friendship Arch).

A big arch in the middle of Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana at sunset with shops and businesses on each side of the street.

Tijuana Arch/Friendship Arch in Tijuana

The Tijuana Beach Promenade is another great spot to explore, where you can stroll along the beach and admire the views of downtown Tijuana.

For a more educational day trip experience, take a tour of the Tijuana Cultural Center, where you can learn about the history and culture of this city.

And when it’s time to refuel, indulge in the street tacos at Tacos El Franc, Tacos Fitos, and Tacos El Nuevo Poblano.

Tijuana is undoubtedly one of the most unique one day trips from Los Angeles!

👇 More fun things to do in Tijuana:


26. Solvang

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 141 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 34 minutes
A windmill and a building with Danish architecture in Solvang, California.

With unique views like this, Solvang is one of the absolute best day trips from Los Angeles.

Solvang is a quaint Danish village located in the Santa Ynez Valley and has been dubbed “The Little Denmark of California.”

Walk through this charming little town and explore the numerous boutiques, wine-tasting rooms, restaurants, bakeries, and more.

Visit the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art to learn about the Danish culture in California, or take a stroll through Solvang Park, where you’ll find a fountain, swings, and plenty of lovely gardens.

Also, don’t miss out on the iconic windmills — one of Solvang’s most recognizable landmarks.

A quaint street in Solvang with a wooden sign that says

Denmarket Square in Solvang

For an unforgettable day trip experience, stop by Hans Christian Andersen Park, where you’ll find Danish-inspired gardens and sculptures.

And if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to sample some of the delicious pastries like the Aebleskiver (Danish pancakes) at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery.

Solvang is packed with things to do, so I recommend leaving LA as early as possible so you can make the most of your day.

27. Salton Sea (One of the More Unique Day Trips From Los Angeles)

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 164 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours and 22 minutes
A colorful mountain with graffiti type decorations and lettering on Salvation Mountain in Salton Sea.

Salvation Mountain in Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California and one of the most perplexing short trips from Los Angeles.

Visit the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge for some of the best bird-watching opportunities in California, or head over to Bombay Beach, which is a ghost town on the edge of the sea that’s filled with vintage film sets and art installations.

The Salton Sea’s uniqueness comes from its otherworldly landscapes, and you can explore this eerie beauty by visiting the abandoned structures around the lake or even taking a boat ride.

Also, don’t forget to check out Salvation Mountain — a colorful and eclectic hillside art installation made up of old windows, bricks, murals, Bible verses, and more.

More LA Day Trips

This list of day trips from Los Angeles can go on and on since there are so many fun places nearby to explore, but for the sake of brevity, some more day trips I recommend include:

  • Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge
  • Santa Ana
  • Chino Hills State Park
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Burbank
  • Fort Tejon State Historic Park
  • Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve
  • Oceanside
  • Irvine
  • Lake Arrowhead
  • Coronado
  • Los Alamos
  • Cabazon
Chino Hills State Park with rolling green rolling hills and mountains.

Chino Hills State Park is another one of the best day trips from Los Angeles.

LA Day Trips Summary

That was quite an extensive list of the best day trips from Los Angeles, wasn’t it? Let’s quickly recap the destinations we covered:

  1. Malibu
  2. Disney California Adventure Park
  3. Huntington Beach
  4. Newport Beach/Balboa Island
  5. Long Beach
  6. Knott’s Berry Farm
  7. Six Flags Magic Mountain
  8. Pasadena
  9. Monrovia
  10. Santa Catalina Island
  11. Santa Barbara
  12. Laguna Beach
  13. Oxnard
  14. San Juan Capistrano
  15. Ojai
  16. Oak Glen
  17. Temecula
  18. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve
  19. LEGOLAND California
  20. Solana Beach
  21. Palm Springs
  22. Joshua Tree National Park
  23. San Diego
  24. Big Bear Lake
  25. Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
  26. Solvang
  27. Salton Sea

Day Trips From Los Angeles Final Thoughts

The next time you feel antsy and need to get out of the city for a day, these day trips from Los Angeles are the perfect way to do just that.

No matter what kind of escape you’re looking for, there’s something within driving distance of downtown Los Angeles that will fit the bill.

From the quaint Danish village of Solvang to the eerie beauty of the Salton Sea, there are plenty of day trips from Los Angeles for unforgettable adventures.

What are your favorite day trips from Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments below!

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