Los Angeles is the gateway to the west side’s most stunning scenery. A ninety-minute drive will take you to most places for a weekend or day trip out of the big city. Plane and train are also pleasant alternatives for travel.
It is true that in Los Angeles, you can ski in the morning and surf in the evening. Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead resorts are just two hours away. Drive east on Interstate 10 and follow the signs to the San Bernardino Mountains. Lake Arrowhead is more affluent and artsy while Big Bear is for pure sports enthusiasts. Take a picnic and put on your hiking shoes for a scenic day out around the lake or a hiking trail. For those who want to tackle the snowy mountains for skiing and snowboarding, equipment rental is available. In the summer, the mountains are a haven for downhill bike races, horse riding, and hiking, while the lake is used for sailing, windsurfing, and fishing. Cabin rentals are also available.
630 Bartlett Road
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(800) 4 BIG BEAR
PO Box 219
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
Death Valley is the largest national park outside Alaska and certainly one of the hottest areas on the planet. Temperatures in the summer can top 49C (120F). Visit in spring and miss the deathly heat and enjoy the desert’s spring bloom of flowers. Take a drive to Dante’s View and take in the expanse of it all, 5,475 feet above sea level. Zabriskie Point’s rock formations and space is familiar from countless movies. There’s also the Sand Dunes, Devil’s Cornfield, and the Devil’s Golf Course. Guided tours are available.
To get there, drive north on Interstate 5 and Highway 14 until you reach Highway 190 heading east.
Death Valley National Park
P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA 92328
The ultimate kid’s playground is in Anaheim and just 35 miles from Los Angeles. It is possible to go for the day, although many people will splurge on a hotel to allow for a more relaxed and less-rushed couple of days. There are several sections of the park that can easily supply enough to do to fill a whole weekend. From Hollywood, drive south on Highway 101 and follow the signs for the Santa Ana Freeway. Continue until you reach Interstate 5 the exit southbound on Harbor Boulevard until you reach Disneyland on your right.
1313 S. Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802
About 120 miles south of LA, San Diego offers some beautiful white, sandy beaches, gold resorts, 30 museums, and a lively downtown area. There are plenty of street fairs, concerts and activities for children and adults alike.
The San Diego Zoo is one of the most well-kept and impressive zoos in the world. Children and adults alike will be charmed by the animals in their large and wild-like environments. From Interstate 5 (Los Angeles and Orange County), take the Pershing Drive exit and follow the signs. From Interstate 15 (Escondido and Riverside), take State Route 163 south to the Park Blvd./I-5 South exit. Exit at Park Blvd. Turn left on Park Blvd. and head north; Zoo entrance is off Park Blvd. at Zoo Place.
If you are a wine lover, a weekend journey to Tamecula Valley is also a great option. Only 1 and 45 minutes away from LA, the 35,000 acres of rural rolling hills offers over 30 family-owned vineyards, a vast array of winery restaurants, hotels and shops.
For those who would like to really indulge in the wine tasting and more, many local tour companies offer a tour and a chauffeur service to Tamecula. For obvious reasons, you may want to hire a babysitter for the weekend to truly enjoy yourself.
The beautiful city of Santa Barbara is located just 2 hour drive north from Los Angeles. Sometimes referred to as the "American Riviera", the city offers a variety of recreation and sports and wonderful restaurants you can enjoy with your family while overlooking the beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountains and scenic city view heavily influenced by the Spanish culture.
The official California Visitors Website is http://www.visitcalifornia.com and provides information on all of the regions of the state, where to stay and what to do. LosAngeles.com offers day and weekend trips outside of Los Angeles. You can book tours through them, or just use the site as a reference and starting point and make your own plans. http://www.losangeles.com/attractions/day-trips.html