September 29th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Big Bear Lake, CA

Big Bear Lake

Sunshine isn’t the only perk for those of us who live in Southern California. Besides usually perfect weather, we’re afforded the luxury of a variety of scenery and vastly different surroundings just a short drive away from our homes. Take a day trip and explore the nearby surroundings. You might be truly surprised at how much is within your reach.

  1. Santa Barbara – Just north of Los Angeles is this not-so-hidden gem. Although it might be a popular tourist destination, it’s with good reason. Visit Santa Barba and seek out the less-obvious activities and sights in town. See the ocean, but don’t miss the scenic drive on Alameda Padre Serra.
  2. Mammoth Mountain – OK, this might not be quite a day trip and it’s not in the southern half of the state, but it’s worth a visit. East of San Francisco, Mammoth Mountain is the spot for Californians seeking winter sports. However, don’t rule out the other seasons and as the area is beautiful year round.
  3. Riverside – If you haven’t spent much time with this neighbor, hit the road and start with downtown Riverside east of Los Angeles. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, visit the eclectic Tio’s Tacos – you may spend half your day just wandering and taking in the sights, including The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a majestic resort in the Spanish-Revival architectural style.
  4. Big Bear Lake – It’s in the mountains east of Los Angeles, so get up early to head to this spot and be sure to bring your fishing gear, kayaks, mountain bikes, or snowboards and skis. This day trip has something for everyone: lakes and trails for adventure seekers and plenty of local fare for those looking for a good meal.
  5. Joshua Tree – Drive into San Bernardino County to reach this stunning spot in the Mojave Desert. For a day trip, pick up a hiking guide or hit the bike trails. Joshua Tree is also a popular rock-climbing area.
  6. Catalina Island – Don’t have much time to get away? Why not head to an island? About 26 miles off the coast from Long Beach, Catalina Island and its main town, Avalon, might be the perfect all-day or overnight getaway. The island is only 76 square miles. If you’re up for it, there’s even a ghost and haunted-island tour.


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