Finding a spot to hang out for a day on your own or with friends and family can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what the plan is, so it’s good to consider a variety of options so you always have something to fall back on. Spots outside of Los Angeles offer plenty for a fun day, including several beaches that offer the chance to relax in the sand and enjoy the sunset, mountain areas for those looking to go hiking or take the kayak out on the water, or small towns that let you check out art fairs, play golf or relax in spas. For L.A. natives looking for somewhere new to explore on their days off, check out the best 12 options we have to offer.
1. Balboa Island
Those who love spending a day by the ocean should consider stopping by Balboa Island and what this spot can offer for a unique experience. The beach provides the chance to relax in the sand and work on your tan, and the boardwalks let you get in a little cardio while taking beautiful photos of the ocean. You can also take a boat out on the water if you’re in the mood to catch some fish.
The gift shops give you plenty of options for antiques to take home to remember the trip by, or if you’re looking for something special to get a loved one.
Website: Balboa Island, CA
Los Angeles natives looking for a small town to explore that isn’t too far away should put stopping by Ojai on their to-do list the next time they have an open weekend. Options for fun range from going for a jog or bike ride through trails by the mountains, to taking a horse for a ride in the woods.
If you feel like spending the day out on the water, you can always take out the canoe or kayak on lake casitas, or even if you want to catch some fish. Golf courses and tennis courts are also available if you want to get a quick game in and brush up on your skills ahead of a big tournament coming up.
Those looking for a more relaxing experience outside the big city should see what the town of Solvang has to offer. You could always take part in some wine tasting in case you’re an enthusiast who has some drinks you’d like to try out, or you can try out some authentic Danish bakeries and international cuisine.
This spot is also perfect if you’re trying to find a place for a wedding if you or someone you know is getting hitched soon, as well as family reunions if you’re trying to catch up with some relatives, or even just want to arrange a business meeting in a relaxing environment.
4. Solana Beach
Beach lovers in Los Angeles looking for a new spot to spend their Saturdays at should put stopping by Solana Beach on their to-do list for their next free weekend. When you’re not taking the board out for some surfing or lying in the sand to relax under the sun, you can go hiking along nearby trails for some great views of the ocean.
The weather is also not too hot or cold for those looking for a spot where it’s not overly warm. This area comes with a variety of options for ending the day on a relaxing note, such as golfing, dining, spots for nightlife and gift shops for taking something home to remember the trip by.
Website: Solana Beach
5. Palm Springs
If you’re trying to avoid more exhausting activities and looking for a town that offers a chance to relax, then visiting Palm Springs should be a priority for your next day off. You’ll have plenty of hotels to choose from that provide pools and spas for taking a dip and unwinding in some hot water.
Golf courses are also right by in case you need to improve your game. This spot also provides a variety of diners for a nice lunch or dinner, gift shops for taking something home for remembering the trip, and night clubs for when you and your friends are looking for somewhere new to show off your moves.
Website: Palm Springs
6. Santa Barbara
Spending a day at the beach is one of the best ways to spend an extra day off, and Santa Barbara is a great option in case you’re looking for somewhere new to go on your three-day weekend. The boardwalks provide a chance for a nice walk by the ocean, or a bike ride if you feel like getting a little exercise in.
Whether you’re surfing, hiking or just lying in the sand, you’ll have plenty of chances to take some great photos of the ocean, and waiting until sunset will provide the best pictures. You can always end the day on a relaxing note at the many diners and hotels by the beach.
Website: Santa Barbara
7. Big Bear
When exploring nature, it’s important to find a spot that offers a variety of activities for a unique experience. In this case, L.A. natives should visit Big Bear Mountain Resort and try out different ways to get the adrenaline pumping, with trails for hiking and biking offering challenging courses that force you to form a strategy to get to your destination.
The sky chairs help you relax while taking awesome photos of the mountains ahead, and the resort comes with golf courses for those looking to improve their game. This spot is also perfect if you want to host an extra fun wedding or other special event.
Website: Big Bear
8. Catalina Island
Those looking for a nice resort to stay at that offers great views of the ocean and plenty of activities to take part in should consider what Catalina Island has to offer. In addition to relaxing at the hotels, you can take a boat out to catch some fish and take some photos of some marine life.
This spot comes with campgrounds for those looking to get a small hike in and get a good view of the stars at night, or you could go flyboarding or take a kayak out and do some racing with friends and family. Tours are available if you want to explore and learn more about the ocean and the land in the area.
Website: Catalina Island
9. San Diego
Sometimes, it’s not enough to see a small city if you live in the big city. For L.A. natives, stopping by San Diego is an excellent option, especially if you feel like spending the day near the beach.
La Jolla offers the chance to get a good hike in while getting some good views of the ocean and the city all at once. If that’s not enough, you can always catch a baseball game at Petco Park or see what the city’s restaurants have to offer for a nice dinner.
Website: San Diego
If you’re a fan of hot air balloon rides or want to conquer your fear of heights, you should stop by Temecula to see what exciting activities you can take part in. If you decide to do so, you can take part in the town’s hot air balloon festivals so you can have an easy trip in the air with amazing views of the world below.
There are always the more common options of taking a hike in the woods, hitting some golf balls, and exploring vineyards on horseback, or you can relax at one of the town’s spas or go on one of its wine tours.
11. Los Olivos
For wine lovers who are eager to try something new, they should spend their next free day in Los Olivos to see what they have to offer. Visitors have plenty of options for tasting some new wine, including Napa Valley Wine Country, Sonoma Valley Wineries and Paso Robles Wine Country.
Visitors will be provided with guides on how to taste certain wines and learn about organic, solar, EV station and other varieties of wineries. Wine clubs are also available for those looking to make new friends along the way, and you’ll even be able to learn how wine is made in case you want to make your own at home.
Website: Los Olivos
12. Oak Glen
If you live in L.A. but are a native of the East Coast and looking for a place to remind you what home was like, you should stop by Oak Glen the next time you have an extra day off from work. In addition to providing hiking and biking trails for getting in a little exercise, this spot comes with a variety of farms and orchards that will help you remember those you drove by on the East side.
Visitors can also have a wedding or other special event here in case you’re looking for a new spot, and educational tours are available if you want to learn more about the area.
Website: Oak Glen
Wanna see what the outside of L.A. has to offer?
When visiting a town outside the big city, you should consider options that allow you to experience the outdoors in different fashions. For L.A. natives, plenty of areas offer you the chance to spend your extra days off out in the sun in a variety of ways, from surfing and fishing in the ocean to going for a hike or bike ride in the mountains or along the beach. You can take a trip through some local farms, orchards and wineries for a more relaxing experience, or you can stop by San Diego if you prefer to explore another big city. If you want to spend a day outside Los Angeles, keep these options in mind.
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