Los Angeles Day Trips: 9 Destinations Less Than Two Hours From LA

By Dejan B.. Published On 10/15/2018

We all know that there is plenty to do in LA on the weekends, but it's always nice to get away from the city and experience something new. There are a number of amazing destinations less than two hours from Los Angeles which are perfect for a day trip. Go to a small beach town to chill in the sun, visit a lake, or check out some of the nature reserves in the area. Here is a list of 9 super cool places to visit near L.A. and all of them are less than a two-hour drive away.

Malibu, CA

Distance: 33 mi, 48 minutes

Famous for its 21-mile long coastline, Malibu is a beach town where many Hollywood celebrities have luxury mansions and villas. Check out the surfers at Malibu Lagoon State Beach and go to Westward Beach and Zuma Beach to chill in the sun. Explore the sea caves at El Matador Beach and go jogging in Highlands Park. Some of the must-see attractions in Malibu include the Getty Villa and the Adamson House Museum.

Malibu beach sunset

Laguna Beach, CA

Distance: 50 mi, 56 minutes

With a mild climate and full of beautiful gardens and hiking trails, Laguna Beach is a definitely a good option for a day trip from Los Angeles. If you are visiting this amazing Southern California beach town in spring and summer, make sure to go on a whale-watching cruise and get super close to dolphins. Besides being a surfer paradise, Laguna Beach also offers plenty of sightseeing options including the JoAnne Artman Gallery, Laguna Art Museum, and Laguna Playhouse. There are many festivals throughout the year such as Jazz Wednesdays at the Ranch, Sawdust Art Festival, and Bluewater Music Festival.

The View of Laguna Cove and Main Beach from The Inn at Laguna Beach

Anaheim, CA

Distance: 27 mi, 35 minutes

Home to Disneyland, Anaheim is a popular tourist destination in Orange Country. Besides going to Disneyland that is the main attraction in the city, you can also check out the Packing District that hosts a farmers market each Sunday. If you happen to like baseball you can catch a game at Angel Stadium, while hockey fans can watch a game at the Honda Center. Adventure City, Knott's Berry Farm, Founder's Park, and Hobby City Doll and Toy Museum are just a couple of tourist attractions that you can visit while in Anaheim.

Disneyland. Anaheim, California

Ojai, CA

Distance: 83 mi, 1 hour 30 minutes

Located in the Ojai Valley, Ojai is surrounded by vineyards and features a number of spa centers and spiritual retreats. It is an ideal location for everyone who wants to be relieved from stress at least for a day. Those who love going for long walks will be happy to hear that here in Ojai there are many hiking trails. You will also find several golf courses, as well as plenty of local shops that sell freshly grown produce. There is a farmers market every Sunday with live concerts. You can purchase olive oil and fresh veggies from local vendors and support small businesses.

Vineyards in Ojai, California, USA

Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve, CA

Distance: 62 mi, 1 hour 11 minutes

A large reservoir that produces plenty of water for Metropolitan District of Southern California, Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve is surrounded by nearly 5,000 acres of land that is protected and it's also a feeding site for a number of animal species and birds. You can go for a long stroll on several hiking trails around the lake. Unfortunately, there are no facilities at the lake, as the whole reservoir is closed to visitors.

view of Lake Mathews and mountains, California

Santa Barbara, CA

Distance: 95 mi, 1 hour 36 minutes

Often referred to as the "American Riviera", Santa Barbara is a lively beach town and a popular weekend destination for many rich and famous people from Los Angeles. Spanish-style buildings, wine tasting rooms, long sandy beaches, and palm trees are just a couple of reasons why many people come here on a regular basis. It is a perfect place for couples who are looking to go somewhere for a romantic weekend, as well as for families with children. Don't leave before visiting Mission Santa Barbara, a 19th-century mission church surrounded by the lovely Huerta Historic Garden. Some of the other tourist attractions here in Santa Barbara include Barbara County Courthouse, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Shoreline Park, and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Beautiful beach in Santa Barbara, California, USA

Oxnard, CA

Distance: 61 mi, 1 hour 8 minutes

If you wish to escape L.A for a day and relax your body and mind, pack up and head to a nice waterfront city also known as Oxnard. It is definitely worth the 60-mile drive, as it offers plenty of outdoor activities including cycling, tennis, and hiking. Of course, you can visit the beach since Oxnard is ideal for swimming, kayaking, sailing, and sunbathing. Make sure to catch the amazing sunset and visit some of the cool restaurants that serve seafood specialties and have extensive wine lists. If you plan to go to Oxnard in spring or summer, there are many community performances, outdoor events, and festivals worth visiting.

Channel Islands, Oxnard

Big Bear Lake, CA

Distance: 97 mi, 2 hours

Big Bear lake is surrounded by pine trees and an is an ideal place for summertime activities like horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and jet skiing. There are many visitors who come here to have a picnic and enjoy the amazing scenery. Of course, you can go to one of the lakefront restaurants that offer spectacular views and serve tasty food. During the winter season, this mountain resort is ideal for cross-country skiing and snowboarding, while in Summer Mountain biking and hiking are some of the main activities.

Beautiful Big Bear lake in Autumn

Balboa Island, CA

Distance: 45 mi, 55 minutes

Easily reachable by a ferry, Balboa Island features a sandy beach with almost no waves and offers plenty of water sports such as sailing and jet-skiing. Whale-watching is a popular activity in winter and the Marine Avenue is an ideal place to grab lunch at one the beachfront restaurants. Don't forget to check out Corona del Mar, a beach town only 2 miles away from Balboa Island.

Welcome to Balboa Island

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