As lockdowns lift and you're itching to get out and about, take advantage of these nearby local spots. Here's a list of our recommended "Top Five" SoCal day trips to reinvigorate your love of travel, right in your backyard. You'll find suggested highlights as well as recommended local coffee shops, eateries, and more, to make the most of your outing and get you back into the adventuring spirit.
While the day trips are designed from the closest major city (Los Angeles or San Diego), they can, of course, be taken from other starting points around the area.
|Trip Style||Activity Level||Crowd Factor||Total Driving Distance|
|Laguna Beach||Beach, Art||Relaxed||Dense||100 miles|
|San Diego||Hiking, Beach||Moderate||Dense||50 miles|
|Oak Glen||Nature & Outdoors||Moderate||Sparse||160 miles|
|Ojai||Small Towns, Food & Wine||Relaxed||Sparse||180 miles|
|Santa Barbara||Beach, Small Towns, Food & Wine||Relaxed||Moderate||265 miles|
Day Trip #1: Laguna Beach
With stunning beaches, a thriving art community, and celebrated local wineries, Laguna Beach makes for the perfect full-day getaway. Spend the day exploring one of Orange County's most beautiful beach towns.
Total driving distance: 100 miles | Driving time: 2 hours | Recommended duration: Full day
Day Trip #2: San Diego
Head to the coast and take advantage of San Diego's blue skies and sunshine for a day outside. Explore a seaside state reserve, long stretches of sandy beaches, and picturesque coves.
Total driving distance: 50 miles | Driving time: 1.5 hours | Recommended duration: Full day
Day Trip #3: Oak Glen
Just an hour and a half inland, experience a day of country living in Oak Glen. The area has a nature preserve to explore, dramatically set against a mountainous backdrop, and is also home to seasonal produce picking. Bring the whole family and spend some time in California's great outdoors.
Total driving distance: 160 miles | Driving time: 3 hours | Recommended duration: Full day
Day Trip #4: Ojai
Northeast of Los Angeles, you'll find the quaint, laidback town of Ojai. From a main street dotted with mom-and-pop shops to olive oil farms and cozy local wine bars, spend the day recharging away from the city in this charming small town.
Total driving distance: 180 miles | Driving time: 4 hours | Recommended duration: Full day
Day Trip #5: Santa Barbara: Solvang & Los Olivos
On the way up California's central coast, stop in sunny Santa Barbara and its charming neighboring towns. The scenic views up the CA-101 freeway are well worth the drive. Transport yourself to Europe with a stop in Danish-inspired Solvang before raising a glass in wine country in Los Olivos.
Total driving distance: 265 miles | Driving time: 5 hours | Recommended duration: Full day
More California Trips
Looking for more ways to explore the best of California? Check out some of these top itineraries for ideas: