Day Trip Ideas From Los Angeles

There are so many perks to living in Southern California! One of those is our proximity to so many world-class destinations. Many of these are within driving distance, so even if you can’t break away from work or life for an extended vacation, there’s always the possibility of a quick day trip. Here are some fantastic ideas for this fall! 

Solana Beach

Most people who venture to San Diego have one of the big attractions in mind. Think Seaworld or the San Diego Zoo. But a bit north is a wonderful place called Solana Beach. It’s a quintessential beach town that’s completely laid back and really easy to reach. In fact, you can even get there via Amtrak and hop off right at the Solana Beach train station! There are a number of great places to grab a bite to eat nearby, including Pizza Port, Naked Cafe, or Station Sushi. Start there, and then venture over to the Cedros Design District, where you can cruise to different breweries, do some shopping, or just take in the scenery. If it’s racing season, you can also easily reach Del Mar Racetrack nearby.

Big Bear

How amazing is it that you could be skiing and at the beach all in the same day? With Big Bear just a short drive away, it’s absolutely possible! So whether you’re looking for a winter getaway to play in the snow or you’re looking to get out on Big Bear Lake, there’s something for everyone. Big Bear is home to a huge Oktoberfest celebration each fall that has been going on for more than 50 years. From hiking and mountain biking to strolling around the adorable downtown area, there is plenty to keep you busy for the day.


Looking for a trip to Europe without the flight? Head north to Solvang, an adorable village settled by Danish immigrants in the Santa Ynez Valley. There’s nothing like it! Typical wooden windmills, replica homes, and stores packed with clogs and other Danish wares, the charm here is next level. If you’re a sweets lover, you will be pleased to find an assortment of Danish bakeries and pancake houses dotting the streets. It’s completely walkable, so just park your car and start exploring. Wine lovers will also delight in the many wineries in the surrounding Santa Ynez wine country.

Palm Springs

For some reason, even when the weather is kind of cool and gloomy here, it’s always sunny in Palm Springs! If you can’t spare a weekend, a day trip is still very much possible. Consider taking a trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where you will be afforded sweeping views of the valley from Mt. San Jacinto State Park. It’s the world’s largest rotating tram car! The journey is only about 10 minutes each way, so you can spend as much time as you’d like at the top, or make it a quick roundtrip to continue your fun in Palm Springs. If you’re a fan of mid-century modern architecture, consider doing the self-guided driving tour of homes and buildings built by some of the greats like Richard Neutra and Donald Wexler. You can start your tour at the base of the Aerial Tramway, as the former Tramway Gas Station (which is now the Palm Springs Visitor Center) is a wonderful example of Desert Modernism. Albert Frey designed it.


Relaxing. Tranquil. Quaint. These are just some words used to describe Ojai, a picturesque town north of Los Angeles. It’s a great place to go antiquing, and you can easily cart home your wares since it’s so close to home. The town’s main street is beyond charming, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy all day. Some places worth nothing are Summer Camp, Bart’s Books, Deer Lodge, Ojai Beverage Company, and Farmer & The Cook. If you do opt for an overnight stay, the Ojai Rancho Inn is where it’s at. Nestle up to the Chief’s Peak bar, and then retreat to your wood-clad room to recharge your battery.

I’m a local real estate professional who has decades of experience in the Pasadena area. I am available to assist you in buying or selling a home, so please contact me if you would like to schedule a time to discuss your needs. Please be well and stay healthy and safe!