Palm trees, beaches, celebrity sightings and delicious cuisine — what’s not to love about Los Angeles? Most known as New York’s rival city, LA is just as bustling but more laid back and with more sunshine. But as great as the city is, what makes this SoCal location especially special is the proximity to a number of excellent weekend getaways, all within driving distance.
From outdoor adventures near water to vineyards galore, there’s plenty within reach of Los Angeles if you’re looking for a change of scenery for a quick weekend, or even longer! Here are a few favorite destinations all within 6 hours or less from the city of angels.
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway complete with hiking, lakeside strolls, scenic overlooks (to capture some great Instagram flicks), paddle boarding and more, Lake Tahoe is just what you need for a socially distanced escape. With the perfect weather and combination of outdoor activities, it’s a great year-round destination. So much so, that you can even ski during the summer, if that’s what you choose.
Big Bear Lake
Best known for cabin getaways and skiing/snowboarding during the weekend, many don’t realize that Big Bear Lake is just as fun (but less crowded) during the summer. In fact, it’s actually great year round! Take in the picturesque scenery while enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, jet skiing, sailing, and more. The lake provides endless options for this weekend escape!
If you’ve ever watched Big Little Lies, then you are very familiar with this small California town. Unfortunately when you visit you won’t experience as much drama as the show, but you do get to enjoy the sweeping cliffs and white-sand beaches that served as the backdrop for the show. Right along the coastline, you’ll get all of the charm of a storybook town, with a vibrant tourism scene just hours from downtown Los Angeles. To make it even more fun, add this to your Pacific Coastal Highway road trip for monumental views en route.
Just 100 miles outside of LA, is perhaps the city’s most popular escape known as Coachella Valley. Health-seekers, adventurers, artists, and more have flocked here since the early 1900s in search of inspiration, solitude, and serenity. The “valley” includes the cities that surround Palm Springs, which encompasses Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Rancho Mirage. Each city is unique for its own reasons, but the biggest benefit to them all is that they average about 350 days of sunshine a year, making it the perfect dessert getaway to enjoy some fun in the sun (Coachella or no Coachella).
When you think about wine country, Napa is probably the first thing that comes to mind, right? Did you know that right across the valley is the hidden gem of Sonoma — its less-crowded, more quaint sister town? Still featuring award-winning wineries and delicious cuisine, this is the perfect weekend getaway for spas, relaxation and wine, of course! Because if you’re going to leave southern California to travel up north, you want to make it worth it!
Named after the unique trees scattered throughout the park, a visit to Joshua Tree Park will stick with you forever. Why? Because being immersed in nature is not only restorative, but it’s a form of self-care you didn’t know you needed. The park is made up of two distinct deserts: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert, with lots to do in both. The key difference to both is there elevation. From rock climbing to horse back riding to hiking, road biking and camping, there’s plenty of adventure if that’s what you crave.