8 Incredible Weekend Getaways from Los Angeles
Sure, there's no place like home, but after a year of laying low, we're all ready for a weekend getaway. Los Angeles is a great place to live, but what's even better is the plethora of accessible destinations nearby. From tropical beaches to secluded mountain refuges, rugged deserts to tranquil lakes, the travel choices are endless.
Check out our roundup of the top 8 weekend getaways from Los Angeles and start planning your trip!
8 Incredible Weekend Getaways from Los Angeles
Palm trees, a hip local art scene, and more midcentury modern homes (like Frank Sinatra's iconic Twin Palms estate) than you can shake a stick at – Palm Springs is definitely an "it" destination for weekend getaways from Los Angeles. Just 100 miles outside of LA – about two hours by car – this desert oasis has been popular for nearly a century. With sunshine nearly all year round, plenty of resorts and golf courses, it's a favorite during the winter months for obvious reasons.
Explore the Coachella Valley (yes, like the music festival) and check out Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and other enchanting towns that you're sure to love. Don't miss the Palm Springs Historical Society's walking tours, Modernism Week, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
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In need of a dreamy seaside escape? Santa Barbara is the perfect spot for your weekend away. Its buzzing downtown district has plenty of shops, galleries, and restaurants to keep you entertained, and the postcard-worthy beaches and boardwalk are out of a movie set. Soak up sweeping views of the azure Pacific Ocean and get your dose of real estate inspiration thanks to the swanky hillside estates that dot the landscape. After all, there's a reason Santa Barbara is known as the "American Riviera"!
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Slightly further afield, Mammoth Lakes and Mountain are located about five hours outside of LA. One of California's top snow resorts, lucky visitors can sometimes ski well into the summer season. However, if you're keen for a weekend getaway during the warmer months, not to worry. The Lakes area is ideal for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and anything else your adventurous heart could desire. If you're not up for a road trip, you can fly directly from LAX to Mammoth Yosemite (MMH) Airport.
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Located 26 miles off the Southern California coast, Catalina Island is one of the dreamiest weekend getaways from Los Angeles. Hop on a quick 90-minute ferry across the water and get ready to get away from it all. Lounge on the beaches, indulge in luxury at one of the island's plush hotels, and enjoy delicious dishes from the many restaurants. If you're looking for some adventure, fishing, diving, and kayaking are available – maybe you'll even spot some whales or sea otters!
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Hippies in the need of a hefty dose of nature and a touch of eccentricity can't miss Joshua Tree National Park. It's about three hours from Los Angeles (and one hour from Palm Springs), making it another ideal weekend getaway destination. You're guaranteed to spot tons of local flora and fauna that call the area home, and the geological formations will knock your socks off too. There are plenty of campgrounds within the Park, ideal for a desert-driven disconnect from the daily stresses of modern life. If you're into stargazing, Joshua Tree is a designated International Dark Sky Park, which means you'll see more stars and constellations than you ever thought possible.
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About two hours outside of LA, Running Springs is an under-the-radar weekend getaway destination. Half an hour west of Big Bear, Running Springs is one of the homes of Getaway House, a trendy little mountain cabin that has everything you need for an Insta-worthy trip off the grid. These tiny jewel boxes offer you an up-close-and-personal connection with Mother Nature herself, without sacrificing creature comforts. There's no WiFi to be found, and the locations are purposely chosen to be as remote as possible, so consider this the perfect chance to unwind, unplug, and declutter your mind.
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Yosemite National Park
Since the pandemic forced us all inside, we're still not over our craving for wide open spaces. A five-hour drive from LA, Yosemite National Park is the ideal weekend getaway if you're looking to go big. This iconic park promises – and delivers – unfiltered, unabashed natural beauty at every turn. It's true: no photos will do it justice, so you'll just have to see it for yourself. If you're looking to camp, go hiking, or take a spin on your mountain bike, there are tons of outdoor activities that await you at Yosemite. When you return to the city come Monday morning, you'll already be planning your next visit.
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Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is home to superlative beauty. It's without a doubt one of the most stunning places on the planet, and at just four hours from Los Angeles, not taking advantage of its proximity would be a mistake. Hike along its winding trails among the giant trees – at over 26 meters tall, they're some of the largest living organisms on Earth – and contemplate life while taking in the rugged hills and valleys. Try to find a place tucked away among the flora if you're looking to get the most out of your weekend away.
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