Los Angeles is great, we really enjoy living here. But maybe even more than that we REALLY enjoy getting out of L.A. every now and again. This probably goes for most city-dwellers, but going too long without a vacation, weekend away, or just day trip leaves us feeling a little “stuck in the bubble.” Lucky for us, there are so many great day trip options very close by. Taking a Saturday or Sunday (or weekday if you feel like playing hooky ;)) off from the city of lights is always a priority for us. Here are top 5 day trips to take from Los Angeles.
We love venturing up to wine country for a quick trip out of LA. It’s super easy to jump on the train from Union Station and it drops you right in the middle of Downtown Santa Barbara. Book well in advance to get deals and if you travel on off times/days you are more likely to have a comfy seat with a view. It’s a beautiful drive as well if you’d rather go the car route.
Our favorite place to visit is Deep Sea Tasting Room out on the pier. It’s a bit touristy but as soon as you go up the stairs to the tasting room you are transported out of the hustle and bustle of the main pier and right into the gorgeous views with a glass of wine in hand!
We also love the Salt Caves, Brass Bear Brewing, and Whitcraft. For awesome deals during your trip, get the Axxess card, it’s good for a year of deals but we more than took advantage of the savings in just a weekend.
Solvang and Los Olivos
This is one of our favorite day trips because it really feels like you are out of the city. It’s just a tad farther than Santa Barbara and totally worth the extra time in the car. Pro-tip: you can also take Amtrak!
The town of Solvang feels like a tiny piece of Europe. We love the Danish bakeries and our favorite tasting room is Sevtap. As you head out of Solvang towards Los Olivos, be sure to pick up a picnic lunch (the Tri Tip from Los Olivos Grocery is delicious!). Take your lunch to go and enjoy at one of the beautiful wineries. Our favorite wineries: Fess Parker (where Stella got engaged!), Lincourt and Epiphany. For dinner, be sure to check out Hitching Post II, it’s delicious and featured in the movie Sideways which you should absolutely see before you go!
If you decide to stay the night, head back over to Solvang and grab a room via Hotel Tonight for great last minute rates! If you are driving, we recommend stopping at Guru Pizza for lunch or dinner along the route.
Temecula is a beautiful little pocket of wine country South-East of LA. It’s a bit closer than Santa Barbara and much closer than Napa! Stella got married at Lorimar Winery which we of course highly recommend. There is a beautiful orange grove next door that is pretty for picture taking.
If you need a break from wine tasting venture into Old Town for a bit. We love the Spice Store, this Cuban spot and Aftershock Brewing. If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, be sure to check out the farmer’s market.
If you are looking for a place to stay, go out of the box and book a room at Que Syrah. It’s a huge beautiful airbnb, but you can book just a room and each one has it’s own private bath/locked door. If you are traveling with a big group, you can sleep 20+!
Another Amtrak-able getaway, San Diego is the perfect distance to feel like a mini-vacation and with the weather and views to match! San Diego has myriad activities to keep you busy. Some of our favorites include Balboa Park, beach combing in La Jolla Cove, food and boutique spotting in the Gaslamp Quarter, taking the 59-mile scenic drive, and touring the USS Midway Museum. A thing we have tried to do and is still on our “must get there” list is to visit Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, formerly the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
San Diego is also home to some of the best craft breweries in the country. If you’re a beer drinker, this can feel like Mecca. Not to be missed are Half Door Brewing, Green Flash, Stone Brewing Tap Room, and Ballast Point. If you’re feeling adventurous check out lots of new spots popping up in Miramar (like Alesmith and Pure Project).
Palm Springs can simultaneously be such a relaxing and quite a weird place. All the better for really getting L.A. out of your system! While it is definitely a drive-to destination, there are some fun pit stops that can be made on the way: the Cabazon outlets for all your discount shopping needs, say hi to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, and visiting Pioneertown for a gran’ ‘ol time.
The best weird things to do in and around Palm Springs: counting dead fish at the Salton Sea, the Robolights art installation, pay tribute at Salvation Mountain and East Jesus on your way to Slab City, and, finally, watch some mud boil up from the ground. If you’re in the mood for a more conventional visit, let us suggest the Aerial Tramway, the Living Desert Zoo, and soak in the hot springs.
There are a handful of boutique hotels in the area (our favorites are The Ace and Sparrows Lodge), but there are so many airbnb options, too, that we usually opt for that. Also Joshua Tree is right next door, so you can choose to bring a sleeping bag and tent, too!
Any other Angeleno readers feel the need to leave L.A. on a regular basis? Where do you go? When you’re there what do you do, eat, and see?? Let us know in the comments!
This post is part of our 30 Blog Post Goals for 2018, check out the full list!