Best Day Trips From Los Angeles 

Los Angeles may be known for its glitz and glamour, but some of the city’s best experiences lie just beyond its borders.

For Angelenos and visitors alike, the surrounding area offers an array of destinations perfect for a quick escape from the urban sprawl.

Whether you’re craving pristine beaches, mountain vistas, or small-town charm, these day trips from LA promise adventure and relaxation within easy reach.

From the sun-soaked shores of Santa Barbara to the otherworldly landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park, this article will explore some of the most enticing day trip options.

We’ll cover destinations that cater to various interests and showcase the diverse beauty of Southern California, all achievable in a single day’s journey from the City of Angels.

Best Day Trips in Los Angeles 

The City of Hollywood has a lot to do for everyone, from movie buffs to beach lovers. 

When in Los Angeles, taking a day trip is the easiest and most effective way to explore the city in its entirety. 

Spend your day exploring everything the city has to offer, like the famous Hollywood sign, picturesque Santa Monica, the array of beaches, theaters and more. 

With so many attractions and Landmarks to explore in a new city, it is easy to get overwhelmed. 

Hence, day trips to Los Angeles offer the most effective and cost-friendly way to explore the city. 

Some of the best day trips to explore Los Angeles city are listed below. 

Los Angeles City tour 

Enjoy an authentic Hollywood experience with a grand LA tour across the key locations of the city. 

Experience everything from scenic oceans to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

This tour starts with a drive from Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Pier. 

After an hour-long exploration of Santa Monica Beach, head towards the 3rd Street Promenade. 

The tour then proceeds to a one-hour lunch stop at the farmer’s market, where all tourists can savor authentic LA cuisine. 

Take a small stroll across Grove in Beverly Hills for some family-friendly activities and shopping. 

As the twilight sets in, head to Griffith Observatory to witness the Hollywood sign, exhibits and downtown LA. 

On the final leg of this grand one-day trip in Los Angeles, visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Dolby Theater. 

This tour Includes:

  • Guide/driver
  • Admission tickets 
  • Live commentary 

Tour Prices:

Visitors’ AgeTickets Price ($)
Adult ticket (10+ years)$95
Child ticket (2 to 9 years)$75
Infant ticket (upto 1 year)$0

Food Tour in Los Angeles

A trip to a city is incomplete if you don’t experience the local cuisine. 

A day trip to Los Angeles takes you on a food tour in downtown LA. 

Taste some of the best creations in famous downtown eateries that you find nowhere else. 

On this walking tour, stroll from Pershing Square with your guide around the rea top six different eateries, bakeries and ethnic food destinations. 

While on this tour, tourists get to visit Horse Thief BBQ, Donut Friend and DTLA Cheese, some of the best eateries in downtown LA. 

This tour includes:

  • Expert guide
  • Food tasting
  • Water

Tour Prices:

Visitors’ AgeTickets Price ($)
Adult ticket (18+ years)$75
Child ticket (3 to 17 years)$75
Infant ticket (upto 1 year)$0

Private Sightseeing Tour of Los Angeles

If you have limited time to explore the city and would like to enjoy a private and intimate exploration experience with your friends and family, then this is your perfect option. 

On this day trip to Los Angeles, visit every iconic landmark of the city, from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive to Santa Monica Pier and Venice Canals Walkway. 

This 7-hour tour takes tourists to various attractions like

  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • TCL Chinese Theatres
  • Rodeo Drive
  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Venice Beach 
  • Dolby Theatre
  • Beverly Gardens Park 
  • Hollywood and Highland 
  • Spadena House
  • Venice Canals Walkway 
  • The original farmers’ market 
  • The Groove
  • The Hollywood Sign

Enjoy pick-up and drop-off service from hotels and AirBNBs in popular areas such as Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Downtown LA, Marina del Rey, LAX, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and more.

Tour Prices:

Visitors’ AgeTickets Price ($)
Adult ticket (3 to 88 years)$250

5 Best Day Trips from Los Angeles 

Just miles away from the buzzing downtown, clicking cameras, halting traffic and the upscale city of Hollywood, the landscape turns serene and tranquil. 

Around Los Angeles, Southern California houses incredible beaches and a sunny Mediterranean climate all through the year. 

Hence, tourists enjoy summer anytime they wish around Los Angeles. 

With sandy beaches, surfers riding waves, and several outdoor adventures close to Los Angeles, there is a lot to do outside the city. 

Therefore, when in LA, one of the best ways to spend your vacation is by taking a day trip to some of the quaint and picturesque locations. 

The 5 best locations for day trips from Los Angeles are:

Palm Springs 

2 hours away from Los Angeles, on the edge of Coachella Valley, lies the quaint yet vibrant city of Palm Springs. 

Palm Springs is a perfect vacation spot with perfect weather all around the year. 

Known for being one of the best resort cities in California, the city also has scenic hot springs, hiking trails, gardens and more to visit.

One of the popular spots in the city is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

It is the largest rotating tramway in the world, and it takes visitors through the cliffs of Chino Canyon to the Mountain Station. 

This 10-minute tramway takes you 8,516 feet above, on top of a mountain where incredible scenes, restaurants, natural exhibits and adventurous hiking trails await. 

If you are near the Indian Canyons, visit Smoke Tree Stables for guided rides along the serene streams, greenery and a palm oasis. 

Joshua Tree National Park, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, McCallum Theater, Sunnylands Center and Garden are some must-visit places when in Palm Springs. 

Channel Islands

Sail off the Californian coast to the archipelago of the Channel Islands for a laid-back and romantic getaway from Los Angeles. 

Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara and Dan Miguel are the five islands of the Channel Islands cluster that form a chain of perfectly untouched natural beauty.

An hour of high-speed ferry ride from Long Beach or San Pedro Harbors leads to the calming oasis in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

Visit the Channel Islands to enjoy broad, sandy beaches and catch the picture-perfect sunset or calming waves that hit the shore. 

There is a lot to explore on the islands from Channel Islands National Park to a picturesque drive through the Pacific Coast Highway. 

If you are a water sports enthusiast, try out a kayaking tour and private surfing lessons at Santa Barbara or a semi-submarine cruise in the Santa Catalina Islands. 

Santa Monica

The Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier is one of the most famous and recognizable landmarks in Los Angeles. 

Filled with family-friendly activities, street art, delicious cuisine and shops, Santa Monica is worth a visit when in LA. 

On this day trip from Los Angeles to Santa Monica, you will witness the perfect combination of a laid-back beach getaway and vibrant city life. 

This Classic Southern Californian beach town offers a cityscape full of adventure and recreation.

There is a lot to do in this city, from visiting the Santa Monica Pier and taking surfing lessons to handpicking the freshest fruits from the native farms. 

The best way to explore the town is on foot or by taking bike tours.

Santa Barbara 

90 miles from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is a historic city lying between the central California Coast and the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. 

A day trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara provides the perfect upscale getaway with relaxing sandy beaches, perfect shopping locations and scrumptious cuisine to try. 

When visiting Santa Barbara one of the must-do activities is a downtown food tour and wine tour

Walk down the vintage streets of the city and discover traditional dishes, home-brewed wines and more.

Tourists looking for adventure and an adrenaline boost should try out the range of water activities available in the city. 

During your time in Santa Barbara, explore the Pacific waters on a kayak tour, Catamaran cruise or whale-watching cruise

You can also explore the city on rental bikes, bike tours or guided trolley tours.

San Diego

Nestled on the border of the US and Mexico is the coastal city of San Diego. 

With miles of pristine beaches, an array of attractions and scenic getaway spots, this is the perfect location for a day trip from Los Angeles.

San Diego houses a lot of popular spots to visit with families like the USS Midway Museum, San Diego Zoo and Petco Park

You can also take city tours and hop-on hop-off trolley tours to explore the city. 

The best way to enjoy California’s coastal cuisine is to take a food tour or level up your experience with a dinner cruise

If exploring the city was not enough the beautiful coasts of San Diego offers unique tours into the ocean like harbor cruise tours, speed boat tours, whale-watching tours and seal tour

Featured image: Nata_rass/ Getty Images