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Los Angeles travel guide

Top 4 Quick Getaways For LA Visitors

Apr 12, 2018
by Joanna Ramirez

Without a smidgen of doubt, we know that the number of attractions in the City of Angels is quite endless. Head-turning Hollywood attractions, idiosyncratic celeb-spotting cafes, bars and restaurants, and flamboyant small towns are usually what you add to your list of things to do when you're breezing over your options about your upcoming trip to LA.

But sometimes, it is inevitable that you need to get away for a while. A short escape from crowds and traffic. This calls for visits to LA wineries, ranches, beaches, and quaint communities; in fact, it won’t even cost a lot of cash. Even with a modest budget, it is possible to ditch the life of mediocrity for a short period of time just to perk up your weekend with an outing. Keep things basics, you’ll see that simple things can be the most fun. There are plenty of excellent attractions located a short LA charter bus drive away and below are just a few examples. We will reserve the museums, art galleries and nightclubs for another article while, in this one, we’ll keep the spotlight on quiet escapades.

There are rough-around-the-edges locations an hour and a half drive in Santa Barbara, fishing piers and bluffs overlooking the Pacific 45 minutes away in Malibu, and wild stretches of South Californian coastline to enjoy less than 2 hours away in San Diego.

canyon cliff desert, Getaway Vacation in Los Angeles

1. Catalina

For many reasons, Catalina Island, located approximately 25 miles south of Los Angeles, is known as a precious piece of California Paradise. Easily accessible via express boats setting off from San Pedro, Dana Point and Long Beach, you’ll get to explore critically-acclaimed attractions like deco murals downtown, hit Descanso Canyon for ziplining, rope courses, balance beams and suspended bridges, or simply take a relaxing walk along the white sandy beaches and waterfront stores. A cocktail or two before calling it a day will make the day a dream come true. The Cyclone in Avalon, by the way, depart from Green Pier Harbor and cruise along the lapping waters along Catalina coastline to the rustic village of Two Harbors. The pristine beaches and its waving palm trees are reasons enough for the trip.

Highlights of Catalina
  • Mt. Orizaba, its highest peak is nestled between two of California’s most rustic, humble resort towns
  • Avalon is home to Descanso Beach, the Catalina Casino, movie theaters, ballrooms, a museum and a few cultural centers
  • Countless wildlife viewing spots, quaint shops, an abundance of retail outlets,
  • Rent a golf cart to get around some areas
  • Picturesque spots all around town for your Instagram
  • Celebrate with a carnival cruise
  • Peaceful and family-friendly
  • Activities include golfing, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, photography
  • Laid-back and romantic for honeymoon and wedding receptions
  • For some pampering, head over the Island Spa Catalina

2. Laguna Beach

Using I-405 N, Laguna Beach can be reached in less than an hour without pitstops. Thanks to its panoramic views, the beach was frequently used as a filming spot for movies, TV series, magazine shoots and stories alike. But nothing that you’ve seen or heard through the grapevine can truly prepare you for what Mother Nature intends for you to experience in its full-blown magnetism. Although it has seen a rise in the number of visitors throughout the year, the ocean front’s laid back, easy-going culture has become a trademark for the community. Tens of thousands of visitors would make their way to Laguna Beach to enjoy its natural beauty. Laguna Beach is blessed with lush vegetation, unique tidepools, picture-perfect coastlines with its castle-like turret, beaches like Treasure Island, Victoria Beach and Crystal Cove.

Highlights of Laguna Beach
  • Great choice for sunbathing
  • It transforms into a Christmas village in conjunction with year-end festivities
  • There’s only one access road in and out of the attraction, hence, be ready for a bit of traffic during peak season
  • Has a nice mix of restaurants, fast-food joints, eateries, hotels, galleries and mom-and-pop shops located along its waterfront and downtown area
  • Heisler Park is perfect for picnics
  • Be sure to drop by Hortense Miller Garden where there are thousands of acres of sloping canyons, breathtaking hillside locations, well-paved trails, nature centers which includes the Pacific Marine Mammal Center
  • The Sawdust Art Festival is one of the most anticipated art events in the area
  • The Coast Highway, snaking past Newport Beach, is an alternative, more scenic and less-congested route 

3. Temecula Valley

Traipsing through hillsides and valleys can be fun for everyone but what Temecula Valley has is more than just rolling greens. The wine lovers in your group will be stoked to know that it has approximately 40 wineries to check out, historic centers in the form of both Old Town Temecula and Temecula Valley Museum, and if you feel like Lady Luck is on your side, bring the rented charter bus to Pechanga Resort & Casino. The city’s economy is bolstered by the presence of the Pechanga Indian Reservation and sees widespread footfall during the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, golf championships, and the Temecula Valley International Film Festival. Visitors will also get to enjoy camping at Skinner Reservoir, shop for unique gifts and collector's items at Pennypickle's Workshop, traverse through the vast, lush landscape of Harveston Lake Park, or bring the kids for a day of fun at Mulligan Family Fun Center.

Highlights of Temecula Valley
  • Pechanga Resort & Casino features thousands of the latest slot machines, table games, modern-style bingo and hot-air balloon rides during the balloon festival
  • Popular wineries and vineyards like Hart Winery, Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Lorimar Loft, Thornton Winery, Bel Vino Winery, Mount Palomar Winery and many more make for excellent gathering spots
  • Go horseback riding together with experienced personnel behind Green Acres Ranch
  • It has 39 parks, 22 miles of trails and 11 community facilities
  • It is a bike-friendly city
  • Named one of the most 'Playful Cities in the United States'
  • Has a wide variety of parks and amenities for youth sports like rugby, cheerleading, roller hockey, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling
  • Weddings are regularly held at Villa De Amore Temecula Wedding Venue while corporate meetings and events are hosted at the Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau

4. Ojai

Ojai, a small, new-age-style escapade located approximately an hour and 20 minutes northwest of Los Angeles, is the kind of unique, relaxed and laid back small town that would calm even the most wrangled of nerves. Seeming like a part of the past even in this modern day and age, you will get to enjoy unique al fresco breakfast at Knead Baking Company, shopping at the town’s quaint and charming town center, go shopping for antiques, or take a tour around an olive farm or a citrus grove. Your trip, your call. There are also super fresh salads, vegan supplies, and ingredients, hiking trails, hotel cooking lessons and campsites at Farmer & the Cook. If you’re feeling a little stressed, Meditation Mount is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 8.30am till sunset but the golden hour for peace and tranquility is during their morning meditation. If you’re hunting for a place that’s affordable, chic and fun, you can’t go wrong with a stop at Ojai Beverage Company.

Highlights of Ojai
  • Set in the valley of Topatopa Mountains
  • Village-like, quaint and spilling with small-town charm
  • Its trails crisscross their way along the scenic Los Padres National Forest
  • Lake Casitas is one of the most popular outdoor attractions in Ojai
  • Classical artists from all around the region would make their way to Ojai for the Ojai Music Festival
  • Ojai Rancho Inn is more than just your accommodation, it's a hip place for after-dinner drinks and delicious, traditional cuisine
  • Deer Lodge offers comfort food in a live music venue where the decor is biker-hunter-style eclectic
  • Sespe Creek is where you would want to go for some swimming when the weather permits
Above are merely 4 attractions we think you should check out and there’s more where that came from. There’s the historical Danish heritage, culture, cuisine and wineries in Solvang, the Sonoran Desert of Southern California and hot springs near Palm Springs, and the family-friendly ski resorts and fishing spots in Big Bear Lake, all within a short charter bus ride from Los Angeles. With their own personalities and uniqueness, they each own up to their own distinctiveness and allows you to stretch your summer budget to the max.

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