Los Angeles is certainly a fantastic place to live or visit, but sometimes you just need to get out of town. Drive to fabulous destinations from not-so-far islands to mountain vistas, from quiet seaside villages to urban hot spots, from beautiful beaches to amazing geological autumn sceneries. Families can enjoy weekends unearthing new environments and seeing new sites. Here, we showcase 10 top-rated itineraries perfect for families who looking for weekend getaways from Los Angeles.
Distance: 26 Miles; Driving time: 24 Minutes.
Catalina Island is a unique island getaway right off the Southern California coast. Ferries leave regularly year-round from four mainland ports (Long Beach, Dana Point, Newport Beach, and San Pedro).
Things to do with family on Catalina Island: play or chill at Avalon's public beach; take a semi-submersible or glass bottom boat tour; go snorkeling or Kayaking; drive around in a golf cart; go to great heights; visit the catalina museum; take a hike or enjoy a bike ride.
Distance: 82.8 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 27 Minutes.
Ojai, an amazingly family-friendly small town roughly an hour and 27 minutes from Los Angeles. Ojai is brimming with small town charm and creativity. Get lost in locally owned boutiques with hand-crafted wares, galleries, and distinctive cafes.
Surrounded by scenic hills and aromatic orchards, Ojai is the perfect place for a rejuvenating retreat. Explore the outdoors with opportunities to horseback ride, mountain bike, rock climb, hike, golf, play tennis or sip a local craft beer.
Distance: 95 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 34 Minutes.
Nestled between the shrub-covered slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the clear blue shores of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is California at its best. It is a stunning seaside city. There's a dense downtown district filled with wonderful shops and restaurants, and a beautiful beach and boardwalk area.
Santa Barbara offers fewer crowds, less traffic and less tourists, as well as museums and outdoor adventures in the Santa Ynez Mountains (also making it a perfect fall escape). You and your family can also work up an appetite with a walk through Shoreline Park, then dine above the water on Stearns Wharf. Fig trees, parks, waterfalls, and botanical gardens round out Santa Barbara’s natural beauty.
Distance: 128 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours and 8 Minutes.
Solvang is a small city just north of Santa Barbara that has dedicated itself to its Danish history. There are filled with Danish shops and restaurants serving Danish food.
Aside from the shops, bakeries, and restaurants, there's a Hans Christian Andersen Museum (he was Danish); the Elverhoj Museum of Danish History; and the Mission Santa Inés, adding some Spanish and California history, too. There's also a cool vintage motorcycle museum.
Distance: 107 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 42 Minutes.
Palm Springs has been a popular desert getaway for almost 100 years. You and your family can enjoy ample time outdoors with temperatures finally dropping from the 100"s into the 80"s and 90"s during the day, and the cool 50"s and 60"s in the evenings.
The area is filled with resorts and golf courses and is especially popular during the winter months. Aside from golfing and enjoying the sunshine, the Coachella Valley has some great restaurants and sightseeing too. Visitors should not miss check out the Palm Springs Art Museum, as well as the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Distance: 103 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours.
Big Bear is Southern California’s only four season resort. Summer temperatures average around 80 degrees during the day, and 45 degrees at night. Winter brings about 100 inches of snowfall, and temperatures which average in the low 40's during the day, and mid 20's at night. Big Bear is an exceptional community for high altitude training and is home to many well-known athletes. Big Bear also features one of only two alpine zoos in the nation, a nine-hole golf course, public campgrounds, restaurants, entertainment and lots of shopping. Big Bear Lake is the only place to LIVE IT. UP.
Big Bear's alpine environment include pine and oak forest which provides a natural habitat for bald eagles and over 30 species of rare plants. Big Bear Lake is filled with recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, paddle board, jet skiing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, zipline, tours and skiing, snowboard and many other winter sports.
Distance: 135 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours and 9 Minutes.
Joshua Tree National Park encompasses approximately 800,000 acres of desert land just 40 miles east of the California-Nevada border. The park is filled with beautiful flora and fauna, amazing geologic scenery , numerous archeological sites and historical structures.
Things to do with family at Joshua Tree National Park: explore Indian Cove Nature Trail; rock climb at Echo Cove; hike among giant boulders on Arch Rock Trail; walk among cacti in Cholla Cactus Garden; relax at the Pioneertown Motel; kick back to live music at Pappy & Harriet’s; and experience the sunset at Keys View.
Distance: 120 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 54 Minutes.
San Diego embodies laid-back California culture, complete with a Boardwalk, surfing communities, and outstanding Mexican food. It offers an amazing range of activities and getaways for family, which is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the United States.
Things to do with family at San Diego: visit San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, SeaWorld, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo Safari Park; enjoy the beach time of La Jolla Shores Park; swim, dive and snorkel at La Jolla Cove; play in LEGOLAND California and so on.
Distance: 150 Miles; Driving time: 3 Hours and 26 Minutes.
With its proximity to San Diego, the beautiful beaches, delicious food, artisan shops and welcoming locals, Rosarito Beach is perfect for a quick weekend escape or a weeklong getaway vacation. There is small, picturesque beach lined with a posh hotel frequented by movie stars.
Spend some time walking along the main street, Benito Juarez, where you’ll find taco stands with tantalizing aromas, dulcerias (candy shops) with piñatas hanging above, restaurants ranging from traditional Mexican to Asian cuisine, and stalls selling traditional Mexican arts and souvenirs. But the main draw of Rosarito is the beautiful, large beach that runs the full length of the town. Grab some cervezas and head to the beach for a day of beach activities or just relaxing.
Distance: 300 Miles; Driving time: 5 Hours and 19 Minutes.
High in the Eastern Sierra of California is the growing ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes, surrounded by alpine beauty and majesty. Powdered peaks of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and surrounding wilderness draw skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and ice skaters every winter. Summers are quieter and less crowded, but vacationers in search of the path less traveled will find secluded biking and hiking trails, rushing rivers, icy mountain lakes, green golf courses and breathtaking scenery.
Mammoth Lakes is a perfect place for sking, camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and other outdoor adventure sports. Depending on the weather, the resort is sometimes open well into the summer for skiing.
If you need to rent a car to start your road trip, you can book at Dollar Rent A Car, Europcar, Avis, Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt Rent A Car, CarRentals.com. Don't forget to earn up to 6% cashback from Extrabux!
10 top-rated destinations for you to spend 2-3 days with family! Hope you have a wonderful time!
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