For a first-time visitor, there are ample things to do in Los Angeles. An energetic city in the south of California, most people know of LA as the world capital of cinema. Whether it is bumping into celebrities at cafes or the iconic Hollywood sign, money, fame, and fashion run through the veins of the city, transforming it into a dazzling spectacle that is worth every dime that tourists spend to come here. However, to really appreciate all that LA has to offer, one needs to look beyond the confines of its city limits, and venture out to uncover engaging attractions that are as diverse as they are extraordinary.
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5 Fun and Exciting Day Trips to Take from Los Angeles
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A visit to Disneyland Park is the most obvious, yet must-do day trip from Los Angeles. Situated a quick half-hour away from the city center, in Anaheim, Disneyland is one place where everyone, irrespective of their age, can have a gala time. Thrilling rides, yummy snacks, and parades featuring beloved Disney characters are standard fare at the "happiest place on earth." Some of the more recent star attractions at the park include Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, and seasonal firework displays or the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival.
A visit to this particular Disney resort is all the more special since it is the first every Disneyland, built entirely under the supervision of the great Walt Disney. Day tours from LA are plenty, and you can also take the train or the bus from the city, which takes slightly longer but are considerably cheaper options.
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Temecula offers LA tourists an occasion to indulge in the local wine culture without having to take a seven-hour drive to the famous and slightly commercialized Napa Valley. Temecula is close by, about an hour and a half away, and is an intimate escape for wine enthusiasts with its 40 odd vineyards. Most of the wineries here have tasting rooms, and it is possible to take tours that include vineyard-hopping so that visitors can enjoy a few different establishments in one day.
In addition to wine, Temecula has an alluring old-world charm thanks to some of its buildings in Old Town dating back to the 1800s. The rolling hills and expansive topography of the region make Temecula a favorite spot with golf lovers, who can enjoy a round or two at one of the lush and challenging courses here. Some of the more exclusive annual events in Temecula include the balloon and wine festival, an event to go hot air ballooning over the vineyards, the vegan food festival, and the barrel art trail that celebrates the local art scene.
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Thanks to a year full of sunshine, going to the beach when living in LA has become more than a pass time. It's part of the local lifestyle, and one of the most famous places near the city is Laguna Beach in Orange County. Getting to Laguna Beach is easy enough thanks to functional train connectivity and buses, but the one-hour drive along the coast is particularly scenic and worth the extra effort. Once in the city, you can immerse yourself into its contemporary beachside vibe with trendy cafes, boutique clothing shops, and plenty of prospects to play in the water.
Main Beach is the primary destination for locals and tourists. It is possible to partake in several activities here such as volleyball and basketball, or just lounge away your day relaxing under the sun. The nearby Aliso Beach is known for its waves and is the place to go if you like to surf. Victoria Beach, on the other hand, is home to an ancient tower-like structure that is only accessible during low tide. Family-friendly, inviting, and beautiful, a day trip to Laguna Beach will undoubtedly be an unforgettable part of your LA vacation.
Joshua Tree National Park
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Any holiday in America should include a visit to one of its many beautiful and diverse national parks. For those in Los Angeles, the most interesting one takes two hours to reach but promises a visually captivating sight that is both desolate and spectacular. Joshua Tree, with its many hiking and rock-climbing possibilities, appeals more to adventure travelers. However, there are a bunch of eccentric museums in the region that many will find equally interesting.
With only one day to explore the park, it is best to pick and choose your trails to include a bit of walking with some sightseeing. Skull Rock, Lost Horse Mine, World Famous Crochet Museum, Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, and Cabot's Pueblo Museum are all worth a little of your time. Moreover, while it is possible to camp overnight in the park at designated areas, a unique excursion to participating in is the Sky's the Limit Observatory's sky parties. Free telescopes, knowledgeable staff, and excellent stargazing and astrophotography opportunities make this an essential and educational family adventure for those staying in LA.
Palm Springs and The Cabazon Dinosaurs
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Taking a day trip to Palm Springs from Los Angeles is always a great idea. It's a smooth hour and a half drive from the city and offers plenty of activities for all ages. From the legendary tramway with breathtakingly gorgeous views of the Coachella Valley and the Living Desert Zoo to the Springs Air Museum and hiking in Indian Canyons, Palm Springs is always full of surprises.
However, a quirky stop to make en-route to Palm Springs is the iconic Cabazon Dinosaurs. There are two giant dinos visible from the freeway that people can stop and take photos with, but to make a whole outing of it, visit the theme park in the back that features 50 life-size dinosaurs, and the possibility to climb up a T-Rex. A must-do for families with children, the Insta-worthy attraction has a food truck selling waffles and ice cream along with a gift shop that sells kitsch dino-themed products.
As is the case with most day-trips, it pays to leave early, especially with LA traffic being a pain on most days. For those who prefer to take it easy, there are tours organized by hotels and professional operators that cover most excursions in the surrounding regions. While they are slightly more expensive, these pre-planned day trips do take away the headache that comes with self-driving in Los Angeles.