[Photo:El Encanto]

When you live in Los Angeles, you can choose from an array of awesome weekend getaways in California. There are numerous coastal resorts with scenic views of the beach, affordable mountain hideaways and luxury spa and golf resorts. This collection includes weekend getaways that are under one hour from LA as well as ideas that are about a 6-hour drive, best for a long weekend getaway.

If you are traveling with kids, we suggest destinations with kid-friendly attractions, hotels and restaurants.

Couples looking for romantic inns, spas, boutique shopping and art galleries, will find plenty to choose from as well. California's coastal towns are easy to explore on foot. Find a secluded spot on the beach and watch a colorful sunset or dine at an oceanview restaurant. You may also like our article 18 Weekend Getaways from San Francisco.

Romance on the Beach in La Jolla

A 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, La Jolla is an oceanside community where you can take romantic walks on the beach, dine at great restaurants and visit art galleries which line the streets of the town.

Lodge at Torrey Pines is the most famous hotel in the area because of its PGA Tour championship golf course. Check into one of the stylish rooms or suites and enjoy Pacific Ocean views.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa has an outdoor pool and many activities.

Guest rooms and suites at the pink-colored La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla are steps from the beach.

Family Weekend Getaway in Carlsbad


Carlsbad, just 2 hours from Los Angeles, is home to Legoland, skate parks and family-friendly restaurants. If you are planning a family weekend getaway from the city, Carlsbad is a great idea. Legoland just opened a brand new hotel - now you can spend a night at a LEGO themed hotel located right at the main entrance of LEGOLAND California.

Boys will love the Pirate themed rooms with wooden interiors and LEGO decor, including a giant green parrot perched up high in the corner. The Pirate rooms were designed to resemble a cabin on a pirate ship. Kids can hunt for clues inside the room to unlock the secret treasure chest (and keep the goodies).

Fine Wine and Food in Carmel Valley

About 6 hours from Los Angeles, Carmel Valley offers scenic golf, romantic beaches and gourmet restaurants. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming coastal town with cobblestone streets, boutiques and wineries. Visit Carmel during the warmer season so that you can enjoy its natural beauty to the fullest. Stay at Bernardus Lodge which has luxury guest rooms and a great spa.

The Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley is another great option, offering championship golf and a wellness center.

Watch the Whales Migrate in Newport Beach

About one hour from Los Angeles, Newport Beach is a seaside getaway with great shopping, a choice of hotels and many activities. Watch the whales migrating from right from the beach from May through August which is also the best time for a summer weekend getaway.

Visit the quaint Balboa Island which is more like a town you would encounter on the East Coast. If you are traveling with kids, they will have fun on the ferry which takes you to the island (you can also walk across a bridge).

If you are in the mood to do some shopping, head to Fashion Island which is one of Southern California's premier luxury shopping destinations.

Stay at Fairmont Newport Beach which has one of the best spas in the area. Island Hotel Newport Beach is another good option, offering rooms with ocean views.

Romantic Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, 90 minutes from LA, is famous for its beautiful beaches and scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Activities include wine tasting, biking, kayaking, art museum and of course relaxing on the beach. There is plenty to see and do for an active couple. Add some extra romance to your trip and take the Pacific Surfliner train from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Since it's easy to get around Santa Barbara on foot or by bike, leave the car at home and read a book on the train instead.

Stay at the newly restored romantic El Encanto which has a spa and luxury suites. Canary Hotel has a rooftop swimming pool, perfect for relaxing in the sun while you are not out sightseeing. The recently renovated Presidio Motel and Franciscan Inn offer affordable rooms. Summer weekends are very popular, so it's a good idea to book early, particularly during the holidays.

Art Weekend in Portland, Oregon

If you want to explore another city on vacation, head north to Portland, Oregon. Spend a weekend visiting local art galleries and sampling delicious dishes at the city's best restaurants.

Check into The Nines hotel which houses a diverse collection of art by local artists. Rent a bike and go for a ride along the Willamette River. Stop at a cafe for a morning latte or at a bistro for a quick snack.

Weekend in Las Vegas

When you are planning a trip to Las Vegas, there is always a hot new hotel to check out, a new restaurant or a hit show. Whether you are looking for a luxury weekend filled with shopping and five star dining, or you are traveling on a budget, there is plenty to choose from. It's not difficult to find a room for under $100 per night in Las Vegas, just be sure not to spend all of the savings on at a gaming table.

Las Vegas is fun to visit with your girlfriends (or guy friends) and as a couple. Resorts literally compete for your attention with jaw-dropping attractions and thrilling rides. There are many different shopping venues, day spas, mouth-watering buffets and unique attractions.

Desert Golf and Spas in Palm Springs

Palm Springs, about 110 miles from Los Angeles, is a great place to visit during the winter months, from November to May, because it offers warm desert weather. Couples can plan a romantic stay at the Viceroy Palm Springs offering stylish guest rooms, or at Parker Palm Springs which has a relaxing spa for couples.

Play scenic desert golf at La Quinta Resort, surrounded by Santa Rosa Mountains. Stop at the Well Spa at Miramonte Resort & Spa for a relaxing couples massage. In the afternoon, explore downtown Palm Springs which offers a selection of wine bars, restaurants and shopping.

Outdoor Weekend Getaway in Big Bear

[Photo:Windy Point Inn]

Get away to Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County which offers swimming, boating and hiking in the surrounding San Bernardino National Forest. About 80 miles from Los Angeles, this getaway is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who like to stay active on vacation.

Accommodations in Big Bear are quite affordable. Northwoods Resort offers rooms and suites starting at $140 per night. Windy Point Inn is situated right on the lake, offering great scenic views and wood-burning fireplaces, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.

Ojai in Southern California

Just 2 hours from Los Angeles, the small town of Ojai is home to a thriving artist community, mountain scenery and valleys dotted with blooming flowers. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a golf and spa resort set on 220 lush acres. All of the rooms have recently been refurbished. The resort added another 100 rooms so that it can accommodate more guests.

The Oaks at Ojai is an all-inclusive wellness getaway perfect for spa and fitness enthusiasts. If you are looking for an active getaway from LA, check into this hotel.

Desert Getaway in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a 6-hour drive from Los Angeles, so it's probably best to plan a 3-day weekend to allow for plenty of relaxation on your trip. Scottsdale offers a choice of several resorts with relaxing pools, golf courses and spas. Visit in the winder months to enjoy warm sunny days. In the summer, you can find cheap prices and high temperatures - forget golf and head to the spa instead.

Families should check into the renovated Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort which has a water playground with a water slide. The Westin Kierland Resort, also a good idea for families, has a year-round children's program.

Romantic Weekend Getaways in Rancho Santa Fe

A 2-hour drive from LA, Rancho Santa Fe is home to several elegant resorts offering spas, outdoor pools and romantic restaurants. Vacation activities include the Del Mar race track, boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants and beaches.

Couples planning a romantic getaway to Rancho Santa Fe can check into the all-suite Rancho Valencia and relax with fireplaces and private garden terraces. Another great option is The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe which has romantic rooms and suites which fireplaces, patios and kitchenettes.