In just a short, one-hour drive from LA, you’ll find the oceanfront paradise that is Laguna Beach. This is the perfect day trip for sun worshipers who love to spend time in the sea and the sand. While this spot boasts many pristine beaches for sunbathing and surfing, we suggest you check out the tide pools at Treasure Island — an experience you definitely won’t find in LA. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to The Deck on Laguna Beach for lunch with unobstructed ocean views before checking out the shops and galleries downtown.
After arriving to Newport Beach, park at Balboa Peninsula and hop on the Balboa Island Ferry for a picturesque five-minute trip on the water. Although its small, there’s plenty to do on this stunning man-made island. If you’re looking for something a bit relaxing, check out the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society. For the adventure-seekers, parasailing is the way to go. No matter how you decide to spend your day, you cannot leave the island without trying their famed frozen bananas from Sugar ‘n Spice — the perfect cold treat on a warm day.
Nestled in Ventura County, this small city is about two hours by car from Los Angeles, but its rural landscape makes it feel a world away. With various outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, camping, and more, this is definitely a spot for nature-lovers. If you’re looking for a guided tour with a side of adventure, check out the Cloud Climber Jeep tours, offering guests sightseeing journeys along country roads, dirt trails, and local wineries in open-air jeeps. Before you head back to the city, fill up on tapas at Azu Mediterranean Restaurant or dine al fresco at The Ranch House.
Grab a group and head to Temecula for a day of wine tasting. Boasting more than 30 wineries, Temecula’s Wine Country is the next best thing to Napa when you’re limited on time. You can either go at your own pace between the wineries or take one of the guided tours offered in the area. However, if wine isn’t your thing, Temecula is also known for its hot air balloon rides. While you’re floating above the awe-inspiring scenery, be sure to snap an Instagram-worthy pic that will have all of your followers jealous of your day out of the city.
A little over two hours by car, the Mojave and Colorado deserts combine to make up Joshua Tree National Park. Containing a variety of animals and uniquely structured trees and plants, this is a California staple that all are sure to love. When you arrive, head to one of the three visitor centers to map out where you want to go within the park and then hit the trail best suited for you. If you have enough time, we suggest you stay for the sunset, which often fills the sky with orange, red, purple, and yellow hues.
Travel two hours outside of LA and you’ll hit a slice of Europe right in the heart of California. With wooden windmills, rural houses, and enchanting storefronts, this Danish village is the perfect getaway when you want to escape the bustling city for a few hours. Go shopping in the boutiques, ride the historic house-drawn Solvang Trolley, and taste authentic Danish dishes while you soak up all the charm this quaint town has to offer.