10 Incredible Day Trips from Los Angeles to Experience California’s Diversity

Are you ready to explore the vibrant city of Los Angeles and its surroundings? Whether you’re a local looking for a quick getaway or a visitor wanting to make the most of your trip, day trips from Los Angeles offer a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered.

From the sandy beaches of Santa Monica to the picturesque vineyards of Malibu, there’s a day trip destination for every taste within reach. Dive into the bustling energy of iconic Hollywood or escape to the serene landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park—all in a day’s adventure.

Experience the convenience of exploring nearby attractions that cater to various interests, from cultural enthusiasts to nature lovers. Uncover hidden gems, indulge in culinary delights, or simply unwind in the beauty that surrounds the City of Angels.

Pack your sense of curiosity and get ready to embark on unforgettable journeys just a stone’s throw away from Los Angeles. Let’s delve into the top picks for day trips that promise to add a sprinkle of magic to your itinerary.

Catalina Island

Catalina Island, a picturesque getaway located southwest of Los Angeles, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. Easily accessible via a relaxing ferry ride from the mainland, this island paradise offers a perfect day trip destination. Let’s dive into some of the unique attractions and activities that await you on Catalina Island.

Balboa Island

Balboa Island, a charming part of the Newport Beach area, is a delight for visitors seeking a leisurely waterfront experience. Stroll along Marine Avenue with its quaint shops and waterfront dining options. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in some delicious frozen bananas, a local favorite treat.

Los Alamos

Los Alamos, a historic town with a rustic charm, is a must-visit destination on Catalina Island. Explore the local art galleries, antique shops, and cozy cafes that dot the streets. Discover the blend of history and creativity that make Los Alamos a unique stop on your island adventure.

San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano, known for its iconic mission and vibrant Spanish heritage, offers a cultural exploration on Catalina Island. Visit the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano and stroll through the charming streets lined with blooming bougainvillea. Immerse yourself in the rich history of this enchanting town.

Oak Glen

Oak Glen, a hidden gem nestled amidst nature’s beauty, provides a serene escape on Catalina Island. Embark on a scenic hike through the oak-studded trails and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Indulge in apple picking at the local orchards and savor the sweet taste of freshly picked fruits.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach, with its laid-back coastal vibe, invites you to unwind by the ocean on Catalina Island. Relax on the sandy shores, take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters, or try your hand at kayaking and other water sports activities. Don’t miss the chance to visit Descanso Beach for a day of sun-kissed relaxation.

Full-Day Iconic Sights of LA

Los Angeles, a city known for its glitz and glamour, offers a plethora of iconic sights that can be explored in a full-day tour. From the famous Hollywood sign to the luxurious streets of Beverly Hills and the sun-kissed beaches that line the coast, this comprehensive tour encapsulates the essence of LA’s allure. Embark on a journey that showcases the best of what this vibrant city has to offer in a single day.

Salton Sea / Niland / Slab City

One of the hidden gems on the outskirts of Los Angeles is the Salton Sea, a vast inland lake with a unique history and ecosystem. Just a drive away from the city, Niland awaits, a small town offering a glimpse into a different pace of life. Nearby, the eccentric Slab City intrigues visitors with its off-grid community and artistic expressions that dot the landscape.

East Jesus and Salvation Mountain

A visit to East Jesus, an art installation in the desert, immerses you in a world of creativity and self-expression. The quirky displays and sculptures crafted from recycled materials spark curiosity and awe. Nearby, Salvation Mountain rises like a technicolor oasis, a testament to one man’s dedication to creating a vibrant tribute to love and faith in the arid surroundings.

Buck Shot in Slab City

For those seeking a truly offbeat experience, Buck Shot in Slab City offers a glimpse into a quirky and unconventional bar scene. Enveloped in a sense of freedom and creativity, this establishment captures the essence of the bohemian spirit that thrives in the desert landscape. Join the locals for a drink and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this unassuming gem.

From the eclectic art installations to the unconventional attractions, a full-day tour of these iconic sights in Los Angeles promises a day filled with discovery, wonder, and a touch of the unexpected. Experience the diverse facets of LA in a single journey, where each stop unveils a new layer of the city’s captivating tapestry.

Hollywood and Los Angeles Small-Group Day Tour

When it comes to experiencing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Los Angeles up close, a Small-Group Day Tour is a perfect way to delve into the heart of entertainment history. These tours offer an intimate and immersive look at the iconic landmarks and settings of famous movies that have shaped the cinematic landscape. Whether you’re a film buff or simply curious about the behind-the-scenes magic, this tour promises an unforgettable adventure through the City of Angels.

Wild West Day Trip to Virginia City from Tahoe with Train Ride

Embark on a Wild West Day Trip to Virginia City from Tahoe with a scenic train ride that transports you back in time to the days of cowboys and saloons. Explore the historic streets of Virginia City, known for its silver mining boom in the 1800s, and witness the Old West come to life with authentic reenactments and preserved architecture. The train ride adds a nostalgic touch, offering panoramic views of Nevada’s rugged landscapes as you journey through history.

Other Exciting California Day Trips

In addition to the Hollywood and Los Angeles Small-Group Day Tour, California boasts a plethora of exciting day trip options that cater to diverse interests. From the picturesque vineyards of Napa Valley to the stunning landscapes of Yosemite National Park, there’s something for everyone within a short drive from Los Angeles. Whether you crave outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or culinary delights, California’s day trip destinations promise a mix of excitement and relaxation.


In conclusion, the myriad day trip options near Los Angeles offer a kaleidoscope of experiences, from coastal escapes to Hollywood tours. Each destination showcases a unique facet of California’s rich tapestry, inviting visitors to explore and unravel the beauty that lies just beyond the city limits. Embrace these opportunities for memorable one-day getaways that promise to leave a lasting imprint on your travel memories.