Sometimes, you simply need a weekend trip away from Los Angeles. LA is a city with a lot to offer, but let’s face it – living here can be tiring. Between the traffic, crowds, and generally fast pace of living, there are plenty of days where I feel like I need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It’d be nice if you could book a long vacation to a far-off destination, but that’s not always realistic. Sometimes, all you might have time for is a short weekend getaway. Maybe you only have two days to explore, or maybe you have a little extra time thanks to a holiday or a day of PTO.
No matter the circumstances or time constraints, here are my top picks for the best weekend trips from Los Angeles.
1. San Diego
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 120 miles, or about 2 hours by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Take in the sights in the midst of downtown and the Gaslamp District, or take a minute to relax by the many beautiful beaches. There are so many things to enjoy in San Diego, making it a place you can visit over and over again any time you’re looking for a break from Los Angeles!
Ideas for your visit:
- Visit La Jolla Coves for beautiful beach views (and to get a glimpse of the seals!)
- Walk around the scenic Seaport Village
2. Newport Beach
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 47 miles, or about an hour by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: A short drive from Los Angeles, the beachy vibes of Newport Beach make it a great option for a day trip. Kick back by the beach, walk along the pier, rent some kayaks, or explore the Balboa Fun Zone. It’s the perfect option when you feel like getting away for a little while, but need to make it back home before work the next day.
3. Santa Barbara
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 95 miles, or about an hour & 45 minutes by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Hop on the 101 and drive up to Santa Barbara, a beautiful beachside community under two hours from the hustle of Los Angeles. If you’re a lover of the beach, good food, and walking around cute downtown areas, this is the perfect getaway for you.
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately128 miles, or about 2 hours & 20 minutes by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: If you want to feel as though you’ve literally escaped to another country during your weekend trip from Los Angeles, then Solvang is the place to be. It’s a quaint little town that features Danish architecture, with plenty of Danish-style restaurants and pastry shops.
5. San Luis Obispo
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately189 miles, or about 3 hours by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: In the summer of 2019, my boyfriend, his family and I took a trip to SLO (as the locals call it!) and had a great time. We stayed in Avila beach, and I thought it was the perfect calming retreat. Beautiful weather, sunshine, beaches, outdoor activities, good food and wine tasting are all abundant in San Luis Obispo.
Ideas for your visit:
- Go wine tasting at a vineyard with dozens of peacocks roaming the premises
- Visit the infamous SLO Gum Wall
- Eat some BBQ at the Old San Luis BBQ Company
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 86 miles, or 1 hour & 30 minutes by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Who says you need to go to Napa for wine tasting? Some of the best vineyards are available a short drive from Los Angeles in Temecula. Or, perhaps riding on a hot air balloon is more your speed?
7. Catalina Island
Distance from Los Angeles: Catalina Island is only one hour away by ferry from Long Beach!
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Visit the big city of Avalon by ferry and bask in the island life for the weekend. Or, if you don’t want to stay for the night, you can take the boat ride in the morning and return by evening.
8. Las Vegas
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 270 miles, or 4 hours & 20 minutes by car. Or, hop a quick 1 hour, 15 minutes flight from Burbank to Las Vegas (my favorite option)
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Las Vegas needs no introduction. However, it’s always worth mentioning as one of the best weekend trips from Los Angeles. You can really make a weekend getaway to Las Vegas into anything you’d like. There’s plenty of hiking and nature options. On the other hand, if clubbing and gambling is more your style, Las Vegas has that, too. Not into that kind of lifestyle? No problem. How about one of the many fantastic shows, like Cirque du Soleil or trying one of the world-class restaurants on the strip?
9. Palm Springs
Distance from Los Angeles: approximately 107 miles, or about 2 hours by car
Why It’s a Great Weekend Trip: Known for its stylish hotels & spas, Palm Springs is the perfect destination if you’re looking to chill TF out. No doubt you’ll spend plenty of time lounging by the pool, followed by bicycle tours of the local architecture or a visit to the Cabazon Dinsoaurs museum.
Where are you planning to go during your next weekend trip away from Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments below.
Or, looking for some LA specific posts? Check it out below.