Day Trips From Los Angeles
Here is some fun and interesting Los Angeles day trips that our friends and visitors really liked when they visited LA and Southern California.
Some of the best Southern California day trips are actually not far from Los Angeles, so if your are staying here, it’s only a short drive away to have a great day trip.
These drives and day trips from Los Angeles are perfect for just a days outing, and your family and kids will really enjoy them also.
All of these special places are just an hour or two from Los Angeles, and each one is perfect day trip from LA.
A few are our most favorite Los Angeles day trips. They are Catalina Island, Laguna Beach and Santa Barbara. We also like to visit the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley.
MISSION SAN FERNANDO: This is the 17th of the 21 California missions that were founded by Franciscans. The San Fernando mission was built in 1797 and supplied food for El Pueblo de Los Angeles. The original church was destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. But an exact replica of it has been rebuilt. The adjacent convento, living quarters, is California’s largest surviving adobe structure. Address: 15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd, Mission Hills. Phone: (818)361-0186. Open 9AM – 4:30 daily. Admission.
MISSION SAN GABRIEL: This mission has withstood two earthquakes since it was founded in 1771. It prospered with the help of Native American converts to Christianity, many who are buried here. The beautiful grounds are home to many fountains and fireplaces. There is a small museum with exhibits. Address: 428 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel. Phone: (626)457-3048. Open 9AM -$:30m daily. Admission.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE: This famous quintessential Los Angeles road winds for about 25 miles (40 km) along a Santa Monica Mountain ridge from Hollywood to the western part of the San Fernando Valley. On clear days the panoramic views from the road are truly stunning. The road was named for William Mulholland, the architect of the Los Angeles aqueduct. One of the most scenic Los Angeles day trips.
SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN: This is one of the best Los Angeles day trips for kids and teenagers, or roller coaster junkies. One of the most popular amusement parks near Los Angeles, Six Flags has more roller coasters than most theme parks. A favorite white knuckle ride is the X, the world’s first four-dimensional roller coaster. Other top coasters are the Superman and The Escape, which has you free falling for about 7 long seconds. Address: 26101 magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. Phone: (661)255-4104. Open May to early September 10AM – 6 PM (or later). The rest of the year it’s only open on weekends and holidays. Admission.
SANTA BARBARA: You’ll love this charming and classy Mediterranian Spanish style beach town. It has a beautiful mission and historical adobes. It is also a must visit place for wine connoisseurs. The surrounding area is called the Santa Barbara Wine Country. Head for the tasting rooms around Santa Ynez, only a 45 minute drive from Santa Barbara. On Highway 101, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
SOLVANG: This picturesque town was founded in 1911 by Danish immigrants to start a folk school for the preservation of Danish heritage. Solvang means sunny fields in Danish. Traditional Scandinavian buildings feature Danish flags and windmills. We like the Elverhoj Museum, where you can learn what real Danish life was like in the area at the time. One of our favorite places to eat in Solvang is Arne’s Restaurant. We always order the Danish aebleskivers, they are so good. Solvang is located 3 miles east of Buellton along California Highway 246. Look for the sign. Solvang has been one of our special Los Angeles day trips for many years.
LAGUNA BEACH: One of our most favorite Los Angeles day trips. The picturesque setting of this seaside resort town will captivate you. Just park your car for the day, you won’t need it. Most everything is within walking distance. It’s an artist haven, with lots of very wonderful art galleries. It’s hard to leave without buying at least one delightful painting. There are three major festivals in the summer. The Pageant of the Masters and the Sawdust Festival are the most popular. You’ll find charming beach front restaurants serving California cuisine and seafood. We love the Terrace restaurant at Hotel Laguna and the Las Brisas Ristorante. Great food and killer views. On Highway 1, about 60 miles south of Los Angeles.
VENTURA & CHANNEL ISLAND NATIONAL PARK: We love to browse through the many antique and second hand stores on Main Street. Always find something totally unique. Be sure to stop by for a look inside Mission San Buena Ventura. This town is also the gateway to the fantastic Channel Islands. You’ll find boat excursions to the islands at Ventura Harbor all year round. On Highway 101, about 65 miles (105 km) north of Los Angeles.
north of Los Angeles.
CATALINA ISLAND: Probably our most favorite of the Los Angeles day trips. This wonderful island is only 22 miles away across the sea, but it seems a world away from Los Angeles. Take a ferry over to Avalon, the only town on the island, from either San Pedro or Long Beach harbor. Most of the rugged, but very scenic interior is a protective nature perserve that can only be explored by foot or bicycle (permit needed), or by taking an island interior tour. Book a tour on the Green Pier when you land on the ferry. We love the wonderful restaurants, such as Armstrongs On The Bay for fresh local fish. Swimmming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking are favorite activities on the island. We always take the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. It’s always different. Consider staying overnight on Catalina Island.
RONALD REAGAN LIBRARY: A re-creation of the Oval Office in the White House is the highlight of this museum dedicated to the 40th president of the USA. You can see a chunk of the Berlin Wall and a cruise missile here. The exhibits trace Reagan’s life from his childhood in Illinois, through his Hollywood career and his political life as California’s governor and then president. Address: 40 Presidental Drive, Simi Valley. Phone: (800)410-8354. Open 10 AM – 5 PM daily. Admission.
A charming Los Angeles neighborhood, unique shops, and special restaurants.
The town got its name for the huge natural landmark with the image of an eagle on it.
It’s also home to the Occidental College.
All these very special Los Angeles day trips will make your visit to Los Angeles and Southern California very memorable.