Los Angeles is a bustling city with endless options of things to do. However, sometimes you just need to get away from it all. A change of scenery and pace can be the solution to being in a slump. A weekend trip can leave you feeling refreshed and give you the break that you need and deserve from work or school (or both). California is a beautiful state and whichever direction you choose to travel, I’m sure you will be satisfied with your choice in destination. This list offers something for all different types of travelers. These trips can also be taken at any time of year. Even if you aren’t from Los Angeles, these destinations can inspire you to plan some upcoming trips in the future.
1. San Diego
San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is an amazing city that offers something for everyone. Whether you like to chill out at the beach, go sightseeing or live it up at night, there will be something for you. San Diego is about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, which makes it the perfect spot for a weekend destination. Highlights include Mission Beach, which is a classic beach with a boardwalk. Belmont Park is the nearby amusement park, which offers rides and games. There are also numerous bars, which make it a great spot for nightlife. Gaslamp Quarter is where all the hustle and bustle is. This is where the majority of restaurants, bars and clubs are. Carlsbad is also a short drive from San Diego and offers beautiful beaches as well.
2. Catalina Island
This island is one of my favorite places to visit. It can be perfect for a day trip, but can be stretched out to a weekend or week long trip as well. Although it is only about an hour long ferry ride away from ports like Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point, you feel as though you have traveled way further. I love Catalina for the island feel. Everyone is laid back and completely on vacation mode there. The island doesn’t offer a ton of things to do, which makes it perfect for those who just want to relax. There are several restaurants, bars and hotels to choose from. There is a large beach front and a more upscale Descanso Beach club further down the island. Activities here including renting golf carts, kayaking, ziplining, snorkeling, parasailing and more. You can also take guided tours around the island to learn more about its unique history.
3. Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is one of my favorite beach towns in California. The city offers gorgeous views and beautiful beaches. My favorite is Thousand Steps Beach. This hidden beach is off the main road. There are several hundred steps that take you down to the water, but it was well worth it. This beach is beautiful and clean. There are also hidden caves that you can usually access when the tides aren’t too high. Laguna also offers a cute downtown area with restaurants, shops and bars. One of my favorite spots to hit is Banzai Bowls, which offers amazing acai and pitaya bowls, as well as smoothies.
4. Santa Barbara
This is another beach town, but this one is located north of Los Angeles. Santa Barbara is often referred to as a college town because it is home of UC Santa Barabara. However, this city has a lot more to offer. They have great beaches. But, my favorite part of this city is State Street. It is the main street in city. It offers hundreds of trendy stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars. Any store you can imagine can be found on this street. State Street gets packed at night and is definitely the place to be if you enjoy the nightlife. I also recommend visiting Stearns Wharf boardwalk. There are several restaurants and stores to look at there. Eating at Longboard’s on the boardwalk is a great option because of the outdoor seating, which gives you a perfect view of the ocean.
5. Palm Springs
If you are a desert lover, then Palm Springs is the perfect spot for you. This is a slower city, so it is perfect for people who want to get away from Los Angeles and just relax. It can be a nice change of pace for people who are used to the hustle and bust of Los Angeles. Palm Springs is a perfect place to soak up some sun by the pool and forget about all your worries. This is a great spot to rent out an Air Bnb and just hang out with your friends or family for the weekend. There are also countless hotels and resorts to choose from. One of my favorites is the JW Marriott in Palm Dessert. This is a gorgeous resort that you will never want to leave. It offers a stunning lobby, several pools and spas and restaurants right within the resort. There are even gondola rides that go through the lobby, which take you to the restaurants the hotel offers. This is a perfect place to stay if you never want to leave the resort and want everything to be within walking distance. Downtown Palm Springs offers places to eat and shops to look at, which is a fun place to visit at night. Palm Springs can get very hot, especially during Summer months. So, booking a house or hotel with a pool is a must.