Quick weekend getaways from LA include Catalina Island, Palm Springs, Ojai, Laguna Beach, Encinitas, Solvang, Mammoth Lakes, Carlsbad, Malibu, Santa Barbara, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Oxnard, Paso Robles and other unique towns in California. If you are traveling with children, our list includes destinations with kid-friendly attractions, hotels and restaurants. Couples will find a selection of scenic beach resorts, unique weekend trips, day tours, affordable inns and relaxing spas. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Carlsbad - Cape Rey Resort and Spa - 1 hour 50 minutes
© Cape Rey Resort and Spa
Set on the stunning coastline with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the luxurious Cape Rey Resort and Spa is stylish, sophisticated, and relaxing. Elegantly appointed accommodations include deluxe guest rooms and suites designed and decorated with chic contemporary furnishings and spellbinding ocean views.
Suites offer absolute comfort and tranquility and have beautiful granite en-suite bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and separate glass-enclosed showers. Experience the best of local cuisine at the award-winning Chandler’s Restaurant or unwind with rejuvenating treatments and massages at the Ocean Crest Spa, offering a range of traditional body treatments and massage therapies.
Cool off in the resort’s beautiful swimming pool, and keep fit in the state-of-the-art health and fitness center. Things to Do in Carlsbad, California
1 Ponto Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011, Phone: 760-602-0800
2. La Jolla - La Valencia - 2 hours
© La Valencia
Guest rooms and suites at the pink-colored La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla are just steps from the beach. The elegant hotel overlooks the ocean and offers its guests five star service, gourmet dining and a sparkling outdoor pool. Choose from 114 luxury guest accommodations, including suites and Ocean Villas decorated in old-world style. The iconic hotel has hosted notable guests since 1926. La Jolla offers sandy beaches, kayaking and jogging along the 2-mile beach boardwalk. If you are looking for fun things to do for your anniversary near LA, this stylish hotel is a great choice. Keep reading for more quick weekend getaways. Things to Do in La Jolla
1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037, Phone: 855-476-6870
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3. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe - 1 hour and 45 minutes
© The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Plan a relaxing weekend getaway at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego's North County. The inn is located on 21 acres with beautiful pathways and cottages featuring fireplaces, patios and kitchenettes. Guest cottages are surrounded by flower gardens, perfect for a romantic trip. There is also croquet, tennis, a swimming pool, whirlpool and a health spa. Nearby attractions include the Del Mar race track, shopping, galleries, restaurants and several beaches. The resort is a two-hour drive from LA.
5951 Linea Del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067, Phone: 858-756-1131
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4. Paso Robles - Hotel Cheval - 3 hours from LA
© Hotel Cheval
Plan a trip to Paso Robles to enjoy wine tasting, restaurants, art galleries and local farmers' markets. Check into the 16-room Hotel Cheval which is located just off the town square. The hotel has stylish guest accommodations, many with fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and outdoor patios. Guests receive free WiFi, welcome cookies, complimentary breakfast and luxury amenities such as 37-inch LCD flat screen TVs and 400-thread count cotton sheets. You can request in-room massages, reflexology and facials.
The Pony Club at Hotel Cheval offers a diverse selection of beer, champagne and wine, including favorites from the Paso Robles wine growing region. Attractions and activities in the area include Hearst Castle, San Miguel Mission, California Coast beaches, horseback riding, biking and fishing. The hotel offers custom private wine tours in a luxury SUV, accompanied by in-house wine guides and a certified Sommelier (from $100 per hour with a 4-hour minimum on weekends). The hotel is located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is a pet-friendly getaway. Room rates start at $265 per night. Browse more wine country escapes.
1021 Pine Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446, Phone: 805-226-9995
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5. Santa Barbara - El Encanto - 1 hour and 30 minutes
© El Encanto
Santa Barbara, 90 minutes from LA, is famous for its beautiful beaches and scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Weekend 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.
800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, Phone: 805-845-5800
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6.Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai
© Ojai Valley Inn
Offering everything you need for an active or a relaxing weekend getaway, the Ojai Valley Inn is scenically located in a coastal valley, surrounded by 220 wooded acres. The Inn has won several awards and accolades, including being nominated as one of the best 100 hotels in the world by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. Needless to say, the accommodation options are luxurious. On-site amenities include a legendary golf course, a fabulous full-service spa, four sparkling swimming pools and no fewer than 7 restaurants and bars. Other activities include visiting the apiary for a tour and honey tasting, attending a wine tasting talk or learning a new craft.
905 Country Club Road, Ojai, CA 93023, 855-697-8780
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7. Desert Hot Springs - The Spring Resort and Spa - 2 hours from LA
© The Spring Resort and Spa
Boasting breathtaking views of Palm Springs and the surrounding snow-capped mountains of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, The Spring Resort and Spa is a relaxing hideaway. The establishment features natural mineral springs in three pools and offers special treatments such as massages and other spa services. The source of the ancient springs gushes out at 170 degrees with healing, restorative minerals, and the sparkling clear, curative mineral spring waters have been nourishing bodies and soothing minds at the resort since 1956.
Accommodations range from boutique hotel rooms and two-bedroomed villas, nine of which have lovely courtyard and pool views. Understated and unique, guest rooms feature king-sized dressed in 100% Egyptian cotton linens, spacious living areas, en-suite bathrooms with rain showers and soaking tubs, a stereo, CD player and iPod dock, and climate control. The resort offers an array of excellent facilities, including three mineral pools and a range of indulgent spa services.
12699 Reposo Way, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-251-6700
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, From LA
8. Weekend trips from Los Angeles: Newport Beach - Whale watching - 50 minutes
© Fairmont Newport Beach
About one hour from Los Angeles, Newport Beach is a seaside getaway with great shopping, a choice of hotels and many leisure 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. Stay at Fairmont Newport Beach which has one of the best spas in the area.
9. Big Bear - Outdoor Weekend Getaway - 2 hours
© Courtesy of cortneyem - Fotolia.com
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.
The Lodge at Big Bear Lake offers 147 guest rooms and suites with gas-burning fireplaces, spa-style bathtubs and wet bars. If you are looking for fun weekend getaways with affordable rates, this is a great place to visit. Find more trips from San Francisco.
630 Bartlett Road, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315, Phone: 800-424-4232
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10.Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa, Palm Springs - 2 hours from LA
© Hyatt Regency Indian Wells
Located less than 2 hours from Los Angeles, The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa is a great weekend getaway destination that the whole family will enjoy. There are great facilities for all ages including 2 championship golf courses, desert hiking trails, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools (with a great water park) and lazy poolside cabanas. You can be as active as you like or dedicate the weekend to relaxation and regeneration at the spa. There are a selection of guest rooms, suites and villas to choose from including spacious double-Queen rooms suitable for families. There is a poolside bar and café and the Agave Sunset Bar and Lounge serves delectable cocktails and California cuisine.
44600 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells,
CA 92210, 760-776-1234
11. Spa & Golf Desert Getaway in Scottsdale - 5 hours and 30 minutes
© Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort
Scottsdale is a 6-hour drive from Los Angeles, so it's probably best to plan a 3 day long 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.
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12. Idyllwild - Strawberry Creek Inn
© Strawberry Creek Inn
A two-hour drive from LA, Strawberry Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast in Idyllwild offers couples a chance to relax in a rustic setting surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains. The inn has nine individually decorated rooms and a private cottage with a view of the creek. Some of the guest accommodations have a wood-burning fireplace and one even has a skylight over the bed. The cottage has a wood-burning fireplace, private entrance, balcony, two bedrooms and a two-person whirlpool tub, perfect for a romantic getaway.
You'll be able to prepare your own meals using the full kitchen in the cottage. Delicious homemade breakfast is served in the morning, featuring organic, fair-trade-certified coffee, tea and a main dish made from fresh organic ingredients and local produce. Rooms start at $159, the cottage from $199 per night.
26370 Highway 243, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Phone: 951-659-3202
13. Luxury Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage - 1 hour and 50 minutes
© The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The luxury Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage features a 24,000 square foot La Prairie Spa, complete with yoga and meditation spaces, 16 treatment rooms and an outdoor relaxation lounge. If you are looking for relaxing getaways from San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco, check into this luxury hotel. This scenic getaway in California's Palm Springs area is located 650 feet above the floor of Coachella Valley. The property has an outdoor pool, luxury poolside cabanas and a spa.
Play tennis and croquet, swim in the pool, or book a round of golf one of the famous golf courses. There are 260 guest rooms and luxury suites with a private patio or balcony. Guest accommodations overlook the mountains, the valley, or the pool. The 20 recently remodeled Lanai rooms and suites feature fine art, antiques and marble bathrooms. The resort is 20 minutes from Palm Springs Airport, two hours from Los Angeles International Airport and 2.5 hours from San Diego.
68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage, Phone: 760-321-8282
14. Fine Wine and Food in Carmel Valley - 5 hours
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 the five star Bernardus Lodge which has luxury guest rooms and a great spa. Browse more great wine country escapes and romantic places to stay in Carmel.
If you are looking for quick day trips from Los Angeles, have a relaxing massage followed by a lunch with a view of the ocean at Terranea.
More fun weekend destinations near LA: Things to Do in Laguna Beach and
Things to Do in Long Beach.
15.Family Weekend Getaway in Carlsbad - 1 hour and 30 minutes
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 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). Browse more fun getaways and local weekend breaks.
If you are looking for local weekend breaks, you may also like: 25 Best Romantic Things to Do in Los Angeles.
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16. The Huntley in Santa Monica - 20 minutes
© The Huntley
Santa Monica is a great starting point for exploring the nearby Venice, Malibu, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The Huntley is a perfect relaxing weekend escape and you will find a lot of stuff to do nearby, including free activities. Plan a romantic lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant with views of the coastline. Guest rooms and suites feature classic lines and contemporary furnishings. Most offer beautiful views of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica cityscape.
There are 204 guest rooms and specialty suites to choose from. Luxury suites were designed by Designer Thomas Schoos and offer views ranging from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the mountains and the ocean. The Signature Suite offers views of the Pacific Ocean, bleached-sandblasted oak furniture, and an open bathtub and spa area where you can relax and unwind. In the evening, enjoy a romantic sunset over the water. The Huntley has a health club with fitness facilities, private chauffeur service in an exclusive Maserati QuattroPorte, and other luxury amenities. The Penthouse restaurant and lounge serves a contemporary American Menu surrounded by scenic views of the coastline. Guest rooms start at $220 per night.
1111 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403, Phone: 855-998-5323
17. Temecula Creek Inn
© Temecula Creek Inn
Nestled in the rolling hills of California’s wine country, Temecula Creek Inn is a beautiful Southern Californian golf resort that offers luxurious accommodations, fine wine country cuisine, indulgent spa services and a 27-hole championship golf course. Ideal for a romantic getaway, wedding venue, or corporate golf weekend, Temecula promises an unforgettable stay.
Well-appointed guest rooms and suites feature all the facilities and amenities needed for a relaxing holiday, including king-sized beds, en-suite bathrooms, spacious living areas and furnished patios with views while a private 3-bedroom house is ideal for larger groups.
Savor delectable cuisine made with an artisan’s touch at the Cork Kitchen or enjoy a cocktail after a round of golf at the CFK Grille & Tap. Relax by the outdoor swimming pool or soak in the hot tub, pamper yourself with an in-room spa or massage, work out in the private gym, or enjoy a round of golf on the 27-hole championship golf course.
44501 Rainbow Canyon Road, Temecula, CA 92592, Phone: 888-976-3404
Things to Do Nearby: Best Beaches in San Diego, Best Beaches in California
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18. Andaz San Diego
© Andaz San Diego
The rooftop pool at Andaz San Diego offers some of the best city views, plush cabanas and five star service. If you are looking for a stylish place to relax and cool off during the weekend, check into this stylish hotel to get access to the pool.
During the day, RoofTop600 serves American cuisine with a SoCal spin, incorporating organic, locally sourced ingredients.
The hotel offers 159 hip guestrooms and suites, fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi and other luxury amenities. The decor is contemporary with SoCal influences. The suites offer 515 square feet of space, a separate sitting area, and a complimentary minibar with snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Measuring 315 square feet in size, Andaz Queen offers modern luxuries such as a 46" HD TV with over 100 channels of programming, free Wi-Fi, and VIP access to RoofTop600. Rooms start at $289 per night.
600 F Street, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-849-1234
19. Weekend in Las Vegas - 4 hours
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 cheap room for under $50 per night in Las Vegas, just be sure not to spend all of the savings at a gaming table during the weekend.
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.
More vacation ideas: 22 Best California Weekend Getaways.
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20. Redondo Beach - Hotel Portofino - 30 minutes from LA
© Hotel Portofino
Nestled on a private peninsula with breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean, Hotel Portofino is the perfect place to kick back and relax in style. Contemporary and modern, this luxurious seaside hotel offers a comfortable getaway for the whole family.
The hotel has been designed to highlight the magnificent ocean views with spacious, open-plan living spaces that surround a beautiful garden and pool area. Cool, clean minimalist lines house elegant, contemporary interiors in natural accents that reflect the surrounding landscape. Floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors invite in the view, and a manicured garden and pool area are perfect for relaxing. Elegantly furnished guest rooms enjoy magnificent vistas with private balconies and spacious en-suite bathrooms, while king-sized beds, complimentary mini-bars and modern amenities provide creature comforts.
A beautifully manicured garden and pool area offer ample space to relax and soak up the view with sleek sun loungers, outdoor sofas, tables, and chairs. A shimmering swimming pool and stylish umbrellas provide a refreshing respite from the heat of the day. Guests are welcome to enjoy excellent cuisine at the Baleen Kitchen or in the elegant Baleen Lounge.
260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, Phone: 310-421-4195
More California vacation ideas: Romantic Getaways in Southern California.
21. Weekend getaways in Southern California: Avalon Hotel Palm Springs - 1 hour and 45 minutes
© Avalon Hotel Palm Springs
Palm Springs, about 110 miles from LA, if famous for its warm desert weather and relaxing natural hot springs. Surrounded by lush courtyards with pools and gardens, Avalon Hotel Palm Springs is an oasis for the senses. Couples can spend their vacation relaxing next to the three stylish pools, indulging in treatments at the spa and shop at boutiques.
The resort features a Hollywood Regency-style design with a modern twist. The hotel spa offers an array of treatments your can try on your couples' getaway, including aromatherapy, botanical baths and massages. If you are looking for active weekend trips, at Avalon Hotel Palm Springs you'll be able to choose from hiking, walking, golf and tennis.
415 S Belardo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262, Phone: 760-318-3012
More Awesome Getaway Ideas: 15 Romantic Napa & Sonoma Wine Country Vacations.
22. San Clemente - Casa Tropicana Boutique Hotel - 1 hour 30 minutes
© Casa Tropicana Boutique Hotel
Situated a mere stone’s throw from one of California’s most stunning beaches, Casa Tropicana Boutique Hotel is a renowned seaside retreat that combines a superb location with excellent accommodation, superb cuisine, and friendly hospitality. Elegant island-inspired suites feature clean décor, spacious en-suite bathrooms, and modern amenities, including king size beds, percale linen, air-conditioning and heating, tea and coffee making facilities, and cable TV.
Guests can choose from rooms with a beach, ocean, or courtyard view, all of which promise a peaceful getaway. Take a leisurely stroll to the beach and enjoy the indigo waters of the Atlantic Ocean or choose to relax and soak up the sun on the hotel’s beautiful pool deck. Take a walk or run on the three-mile, ocean view beach trail or stroll up Avenida del Mar to spend time at local shops, galleries, and restaurants.
610 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672, Phone: 949-492-1234
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23.Best Places to Visit from LA
© Courtesy of matchamochi - Fotolia.com
Whether you are planning a road trip or the ultimate weekend of luxury and pampering, Southern California is the place to be. From amazing scenery along the coast to five star celebrity resorts, there is a perfect weekend trip for everyone. Visit Channel Islands National Park, relax in a laid-back beach town like Laguna Beach, head to San Diego, enjoy a weekend of art in Fullerton, see the famous Getty Villa in Malibu, admire the rolling hills of Santa Clarita Valley, or have fun at a theme park in Anaheim. Below is a list of unique places to stay on your weekend trip from Los Angeles.
24.South Coast Winery Resort and Spa
© South Coast Winery Resort and Spa
Nestled in the heart of Temecula wine country, the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa is the perfect place for wine lovers to spend an indulgent weekend of wining, dining and relaxation. The resort offers a selection of luxury villas and guestrooms located right in the midst of the vineyards. Villas feature private vineyard-facing patios and soothing hot tubs, while the guestrooms all have great views, double soaking tubs and marble bathrooms. Guests will be treated to wine tastings and tours, fabulous food-to-fork dining at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant and a day of pampering at the Grapeseed Spa. The Spa features a heated outdoor pool, treatment rooms and 2 tranquility lounges.
34843 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591, 951-566-4622
25.Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
© Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Nestled across the road from the beach, where the mountains drop down to meet the ocean, the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is a wonderful choice for a weekend getaway. The resort is located 90min from Los Angeles and is just one mile from the Funk Zone district, the arty soul of Santa Barbara. The resort offers a choice of comfortable guestrooms and suites, including accessible rooms. On-site amenities include a large outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room and a restaurant/bar overlooking the ocean. Near-by attractions include the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, Santa Barbara Zoo and numerous wine tasting rooms.
500 E. Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, 805-966-9222
25 Best Weekend Getaways from Los Angeles
- Carlsbad - Cape Rey Resort and Spa - 1 hour 50 minutes, Photo: Cape Rey Resort and Spa
- La Jolla - La Valencia - 2 hours, Photo: La Valencia
- The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe - 1 hour and 45 minutes, Photo: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
- Paso Robles - Hotel Cheval - 3 hours from LA, Photo: Hotel Cheval
- Santa Barbara - El Encanto - 1 hour and 30 minutes, Photo: El Encanto
- Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai, Photo: Ojai Valley Inn
- Desert Hot Springs - The Spring Resort and Spa - 2 hours from LA, Photo: The Spring Resort and Spa
- Weekend trips from Los Angeles: Newport Beach - Whale watching - 50 minutes, Photo: Fairmont Newport Beach
- Big Bear - Outdoor Weekend Getaway - 2 hours, Photo: Courtesy of cortneyem - Fotolia.com
- Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa, Palm Springs - 2 hours from LA, Photo: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells
- Spa & Golf Desert Getaway in Scottsdale - 5 hours and 30 minutes, Photo: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort
- Idyllwild - Strawberry Creek Inn, Photo: Strawberry Creek Inn
- Luxury Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage - 1 hour and 50 minutes, Photo: The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
- Fine Wine and Food in Carmel Valley - 5 hours, Photo: Terranea
- Family Weekend Getaway in Carlsbad - 1 hour and 30 minutes, Photo: LEGOLAND
- The Huntley in Santa Monica - 20 minutes, Photo: The Huntley
- Temecula Creek Inn, Photo: Temecula Creek Inn
- Andaz San Diego, Photo: Andaz San Diego
- Weekend in Las Vegas - 4 hours
- Redondo Beach - Hotel Portofino - 30 minutes from LA, Photo: Hotel Portofino
- Weekend getaways in Southern California: Avalon Hotel Palm Springs - 1 hour and 45 minutes, Photo: Avalon Hotel Palm Springs
- San Clemente - Casa Tropicana Boutique Hotel - 1 hour 30 minutes, Photo: Casa Tropicana Boutique Hotel
- Best Places to Visit from LA, Photo: Courtesy of matchamochi - Fotolia.com
- South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, Photo: South Coast Winery Resort and Spa
- Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, Photo: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Armin Hering - Fotolia.com
More Quick Weekend Vacations from Los Angeles
Santa Catalina, one of the Channel Islands about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, California, at only 22 miles long and six miles wide, it is rocky and surrounded by beautiful reefs. It is known for its abundant wildlife, excellent scuba diving and the famous Catalina Casino. Mt. Orizaba, at 2,097 feet, is highest point on the island.
Ninety percent of this rugged and mostly undeveloped island is owned and protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy. The island has only two towns -the picturesque resort town Two Harbors in the north, and the wilder Avalon in the south, where quaint cabanas and palm trees line beautiful sandy Descanso Beach. The island's cultural life revolves around the imposing circular art deco Catalina Casino, with its movie theater, museum and ballroom. The island has more than 400 species of native plants and fifty endemic species, which do not live anywhere else. Many animals have been introduced by humans - there is a herd of bison left over from filming a movie.
Only about 30 miles from Los Angeles, Oxnard has a very different vibe. Located in the fertile Oxnard Plain, Oxnard grew as an agricultural community and is still producing most of country’s strawberries. Learn about the city‘s past at the Heritage Square, where the guides dressed in period costumes will take you on a tour of the beautifully restored historic buildings. Stop by the California Welcome Center to get some brochures and ideas on what to do next.
Going to the beach is a must in Oxnard and if you are a surfer, Silver Strand Beach is the beach for you. Families should head to the Oxnard State Beach and Park, with an amazing kids’ pirate playground. If you are a bird-watcher, spend some time at the unspoiled Mandalay State Beach, an important migratory birds resting place.
With so many spectacular beaches and outdoor activities, Newport Beach is a popular tourist destination. Once a thriving boatbuilding place, Newport Beach is today the largest pleasure boat harbor on the West Coast. The best place to see all the colorful yachts is the Newport Harbor on Balboa Peninsula. This narrow spit of land made by the sea pushing the sand for millennia is a fun place to visit – the harbor is on one side and the famous sandy Newport Beach on the other.
The beach is divided by a historic Newport Beach Pier built in 1888, destroyed by nature and rebuilt several times. Stroll along its 1,000 foot long boardwalk, have a cup of coffee at the end, throw a line into the water or watch the sunset. Take the kids to the Balboa Village for some fun rides, or take the ferry to the charming residential Balboa Island. Don't miss: 21 Best Romantic Restaurants in Newport Beach, California.
Oceanside is a relaxed, typical Southern California seaside town with six miles of fine sandy beaches, perfect weather and plenty of opportunities for fun under the sun. Once you have enough sun and surfing, stroll along the iconic Oceanside Pier, try to catch some fish and watch for passing whales. An even better way to see whales is by taking one of the Sailing Blue Water Charter trips.
For a bit of local history, visit Old Mission San Luis Rey founded in 1798, and for some fresh food, local color and fun activities, visit weekly Sunset Market. Learn about the lifestyle, the art and the culture of surfing at the California Surf Museum and see what local artists are doing at the Oceanside Museum of Art.
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About an hour from Los Angeles, Laguna Beach offers visitors sandy beaches, miles of coastal hiking trals, art galleries and surf shops. Find things to do and great restaurants.
California's coastal towns like Newport Beach and Laguna Beach are easy to explore on foot and offer plenty to see and do, from art galleries and outdoor cafes to scenic hiking trails and romantic picnic spots. Find a secluded stretch of beach and watch a colorful sunset, followed by a dinner at an oceanview restaurant for a perfect trip from LA.
This charming coastal town is a residence of many artists and one of the favorite celebrity getaways from the city. Hundreds of shops, restaurants, art galleries and wine tasting venues will keep you entertained during your stay. Relax at a day spa or check into a plush hotel like Bernardus Lodge where you will have five star services at your fingertips. Find things to do and romantic places to stay.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree is a a desert park just over 2 hours by car from LA, offering visitors an array of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing. At night, you will be able to admire the incredible night sky over the desert. The park spans nearly 800,000 acres with two deserts: the Colorado Desert (part of the Sonoran Desert), occupying the eastern half of the park, and the wetter Mojave Desert which is home to the Joshua tree.
This classic SoCal beach town less than two hours from Los Angeles. Take a walk along the beach, look for seals and enjoy the colorful sunsets. For the ultimate weekend indulgence, check into La Valencia and relax next to the oceanview pool. Read more: 10 Best Things to Do in La Jolla.
In Big Sur, vacationers enjoy some of the most incredible views of the Californian coastline. Hike in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve where you can look for sea lions, and visit the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which features majestic redwoods and an 80-foot waterfall. Post Ranch Inn is a plush hideaway with stunning views, plenty of privacy and a great spa.
In San Diego, visitors are surrounded by great museums, shops, restaurants and entertainment.
About two and a half hours from the city, Los Olivos is home to many restaurants, wine tasting rooms and shops.
Often referred to as the American Riviers, Santa Barbara has great galleries, wineries and gourmet restaurants. There are several fantastic hotels in the area, including the ultra-romantic El Encanto and the luxury San Ysidro Ranch popular with celebrities. More affordable accommodation options in Santa Barbara include the Canary Hotel and Hotel Indigo.
Driving Distances from Los Angeles
|From Los Angeles, CA To ||Driving Time|
|Palm Springs, CA||1 hour and 45 minutes|
|La Jolla, CA||2 hours|
|Rancho Santa Fe, CA||1 hour and 45 minutes|
|Paso Robles, CA||3 hours|
|Santa Barbara, CA||1 hour and 30 minutes|
|Las Vegas, NV||4 hours|
|Newport Beach, CA||50 minutes|
|Big Bear, CA||3 hours|
|Ojai, CA||1 hour and 30 minutes|
|Scottsdale, AZ||5 hours and 30 minutes|
|Rancho Mirage, CA||1 hour and 50 minutes|
|Carmel Valley, CA||5 hours|
|Carlsbad, CA||1 hour and 30 minutes|
|Santa Monica, CA||20 minutes|
|San Diego, CA||2 hours|
|Laguna Beach, CA||1 hour|
|Big Sur, CA||6 hours|
|Redondo Beach, CA||20 minutes|
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