Whether you live in Los Angeles or just want to visit, there’s so much to enjoy. You can enjoy the sunny weather practically year-round, go to the beach any time, and have access to world-class arts and culture. Each neighborhood in LA has a different vibe, so if you’re ready for a mini-adventure you can explore somewhere close by, whether it’s a different ‘hood or a nearby city. Here are eight weekend getaways in Los Angeles including one-way distance from central LA and time (assuming no traffic, which is rare), starting with the shortest to the longest trip.
Whether you’re visiting LA or live in the area, you can head to Burbank within Los Angeles County for a day of unique Hollywood-based entertainment (though, technically in Burbank). In Burbank, you can go on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Universal Studios Hollywood and also see the Walt Disney Studios. Unfortunately, Disney tours aren’t public but you may be able to go at certain times if you’re a part of the Disney fan club or through Disney Movie Rewards or specific Disney-based itineraries. You may even be able to go to a TV taping as well and can end your evening with some laughs at Flappers Comedy Club.
Distance from LA: 11.6 miles
Time: 13 minutes
When it comes to weekend getaways in Los Angeles, residents and tourists alike can take a mini road trip to Orange County and go to Anaheim. Anaheim is home to no other than “the happiest place on Earth” also known as Disneyland. The park is a world-famous attraction for adults and kids alike. Check out the shows, ride Space Mountain, and see your favorite Disney characters. You can also explore the Disney California Adventure Park next door to get the most out of your time.
Tickets start at $104, and it’ll cost you $60 more to explore California Adventure Park after 1 pm. Grab your tickets here.
Distance from LA: 26.5 miles
Time: 28 min
Whether you live near the beach or not or are just visiting LA, there’s one beach that is particularly remarkable — Malibu. You can go to the stunning Point Dume and the Point Dume Nature Reserve and go to the local hot spot Neptune’s Net (hint: get the fish and chips) and get lost in a juicy book while enjoying the surroundings. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and water.
Distance from LA: 33.2 miles
Time: 40-60 minutes
4. Catalina Island
If you want to leave the Los Angeles area completely for a weekend escape, you can go to the quaint and charming Catalina Island. It’s a bit of a trek, as you need to drive to Long Beach, Dana Point, or San Pedro first and then take an hour-long ferry to the island. The island is 22 miles from the Southern California coast and can transport you back in time and get you away from the intensity of LA.
Once you get to Avalon (where you dock on Catalina island), you can check out the Catalina Museum for Art and History and dine at the Bluewater Grill. You can also go on hikes with more than 165 miles of trails, take in the sights, or go whale watching.
Taking the Catalina Express from Long Beach round-trip is $76 and you can take a one-day getaway from Los Angeles or stay multiple days.
Distance from LA: 48 miles
Time: 25 min driving from Los Angeles to Long Beach, 1-hour ferry ride, for approx. 1.5 hrs total.
5. San Juan Capistrano
Are you looking to explore a bit of Southern California’s rich history and have a quick getaway from Los Angeles? Go just beyond Orange County to explore San Juan Capistrano. You can check out the local landmark Mission San Juan Capistrano, which is more than two centuries old and is considered the “Jewel of the California Missions” and is well-known for its return of the swallows, birds that return in the spring after spending the winter in Argentina. If you have kids, you can take them on pony rides or to enjoy a petting zoo at Zoomars. You can also hike, bike, and go on horseback via San Juan Capistrano’s Open Space Foundation.
Distance from LA: 54.5 miles
Time: 50 minutes
If you’re looking for relaxing weekend getaways from Los Angeles but don’t want to venture too far, consider the scenic town of Ojai. About an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles, you can explore downtown Ojai on foot and check out art galleries, shops, and various dining options. There’s also a trolley that operates between Ojai Valley Inn and downtown. You can also explore other activities such as hiking, biking, golfing, and horseback riding.
Distance from LA: 82.9 miles
Time: 1 hr and 24 minutes
If you’re looking for a wine weekend that isn’t Napa and is a bit closer than Solvang or Santa Barbara, your best bet is Temecula. The area is home to close to 50 diverse wineries, so you can choose based on types of wine, ambiance, and production. You can see a wine map here. Also, check out various transportation options so you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving and can avoid a DUI. If you want something unique and magical, you can book a hot air balloon ride. You can also check out shopping and dining options in Old Town Temecula.
Distance from LA: 84.9 miles
Time: 1 hr 19 minutes
8. Big Bear
Looking for some outdoor adventure, no matter what season it is? Big Bear is your best bet when it comes to weekend trips from Los Angeles. In the summer, you can enjoy Big Bear Lake which includes 22 miles of lake shoreline and includes nearby trails and you can go mountain biking. In the winter, Big Bear turns into a haven for snow sports, like snowboarding and skiing. To end your day, enjoy dining at the Pines Tavern on the Lake.
Distance from LA: 96.8 miles
Time: 1 hr 51 minutes
The bottom line
If you’re a resident of LA LA land or visiting for a trip, you can explore these weekend trips from Los Angeles. Whether it’s a one-day excursion or a multi-day adventure, there’s so much to do. You can explore the great outdoors, SoCal wine country, arts and entertainment, and more. Just be mindful of potential traffic when planning your trip. If you don’t drive that much or want to see if you can score a lower rate, get a quote for pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile which is available to Angelenos.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.