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15 Weekend Trips from Los Angeles You Should Take Now

Just because you don’t have a lot of vacation days doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Everyone has 52 weekends to explore to your heart’s content.

If you’ve ever lived in LA, you’ll know that it’s good to have an escape from the city every once in a while. A weekend getaway can do just the trick. Here’s our list of the the best places for a weekend getaway from LA.

15 Popular Weekend Trips from Los Angeles to Take Now.

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Last Updated: December 10, 2022

15 Best Weekend Trips from Los Angeles You Should Take Now

1. Hearst Castle, San Simeon

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, map

Distance: 231 mi / 3 hr 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Heart Castle Tour, Old San Simeon, Elephant Seals
What to Eat:
Madeline’s, Moonstone, The Spot
Where to Stay: J Patrick House B&B (luxury), Moonstone Landing (mid-range), San Simeon Lodge (budget)

Hearst Castle is a National and California Historical Landmark. The photo below shows the Neptune Pool designed by architect, Julia Morgan.

hearst castle pool + 15 Weekend Trips from Los Angeles to Take NowPin

37.7709411,-119.6237533, map

Distance: 310 mi / 5 hr 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Half Dome
What to Eat:
Village Grill, The Ahwahnee Dining Room, Curry Village Pavillion
Where to Stay: The Ahwahnee (luxury), Yosemite Large Loft Condos (mid-range), Tenaya Lodge (mid-range), Curry Village (budget)

Yosemite has so much to offer. I always feel at peace when I visit. We’ve even talked about moving here for a year. You can hike, camp, rock climb, spend time in the valley, explore the less crowded backcountry.

17 Breathtaking Things to Do in YosemitePin

36.4617545,-116.8688057, map

Distance: 265 mi / 4 hr 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Artists Palette, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Badwater Basin
What to Eat:
Timbisha Tacos, Panamint Springs Restaurant, Stovepipe Wells Restaurant
Where to Stay: The Inn at Death Valley (mid-range),  The Ranch at Death Valley (mid-range), Death Valley Inn and RV Park (budget)

Despite its name, Death Valley offers so much beautiful scenery. Avoid going in the summer because of the heat, but experience the extremes any other time of the year.

zabriskie point death valley national parkPin

4. Mammoth Lakes

2510 Main St, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, map

Distance: 308 mi / 4 hr 40 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rainbow Falls, Mammoth Mountain, Devils Postpile National Monument Monument
What to Eat:
Toomey’s, The Stove Restaurant, John’s Pizza Works
Where to Stay: The Westin Monache Resort (luxury), Tamarack Lodge (mid-range), Sierra Lodge (budget)

Mountains, lakes, and valleys make this a popular getaway. The summer offers plenty of activities and you can visit in the winter for skiing and snowboarding.

mammoth lakes hot springs + 15 weekend trips from las vegas to take nextPin

1 Visitor Center Dr, Lee Vining, CA 93541, map

Distance: 332 mi / 5 hrs (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, South Tufa Area, Mono Lake Park
What to Eat:
Epic Cafe, Mono Cone, Mono Cup Coffee
Where to Stay: Lake View Lodge (luxury), Yosemite Gateway Motel (mid-range), Lake Front Cabins (budget)

This lake offers a nice weekend away that feels like visiting another planet. Learn more about the tufa towers here.

mono lake south tufa areaPin

303 Water St #100, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, map

Distance: 345 mi / 5 hr 10 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Holman Ranch, Garland Ranch Regional Park, Folktale Winery & Vineyard
What to Eat:
Cafe Rustica, ROUX, Corkscrew Cafe
Where to Stay: Carmel Valley Lodge (luxury), The Blue Sky Lodge (mid-range), Hidden Valley Inn (budget)

Beaches, surfing, and hiking in Redwood forests are just a few of the things you can do in Santa Cruz. They have events year round and a beautiful beachside amusement park.

Carmel Valley (15 Popular Weekend Trips from Los Angeles to Take Now).

7. Santa Cruz

303 Water St #100, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, map

Distance: 345 mi / 5 hr 10 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Natural Bridges State Park, West Cliff Drive
What to Eat:
Lillian’s Italian Kitchen, Marianne’s Ice Cream, Laili Restaurant
Where to Stay: West Cliff Inn (luxury), Harbor Inn (mid-range), Ocean Pacific Lodge (budget)

Beaches, surfing, and hiking in Redwood forests are just a few of the things you can do in Santa Cruz. They have events year round and a beautiful beachside amusement park.

sky glider santa cruz + 15 Popular Weekend Trips from Los Angeles to Take NowPin

401 Camino El Estero, Monterey, CA 93940, map

Distance: 318 mi / 4 hr 55 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Old Fisherman’s Wharf
What to Eat:
Old Fisherman’s Grotto, Monterey’s Fish House, Loulou’s Griddle in the Middle
Where to Stay: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (luxury), Wave Street Inn (mid-range), Lone Oak Lodge (budget)

Monterey offers a lot to do! It’s one of the best spots in the US to do whale watching. You can also get outdoorsy and kayak, scuba dive, and surf, or relax on the beach, golf, shop, or eat. Last time we were there, we kayaked and explored their world-renowned aquarium!

Monterey (15 Popular Weekend Trips from Los Angeles to Take Now).

Ocean Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, map

Distance: 321 mi / 4 hr 55 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Carmel Beach, Carmel Mission, 17-Mile Drive
What to Eat:
Dametra Cafe, Little Napoli, Flying Fish Grill
Where to Stay: Carriage House Inn (luxury), Carmel Garden Inn (mid-range), Carmel River Inn (budget)

This quaint town has a lot of charm. You feel like you’re far away from everything, but in reality, you’re just a short drive from Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, or Pacific Grove. We stayed at the Hofsas House Hotel.

Carmel By the Sea + 15 Popular Road Trips from Los Angeles.

36.3315258,-121.9586056, map

Distance: 295 mi / 5 hr 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hwy 1 Drive, McWay Falls, Purple Sand Beach
What to Eat:
Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur Bakery, Sierra Mar
Where to Stay: Post Ranch Inn (luxury), Carmel Garden Inn (mid-range), Carmel River Inn (budget)

Big Sur is one of our favorite places on earth. Something about the cliffs and water is so magical and calming. You can camp or rent a place in one of the high-end lodges there. Pfeiffer Beach and McWay Falls are spots you can’t miss, but if you need more ideas, check out our Big Sur Guide. Drive one of the most scenic roads in America, and if you want to extend your road trip, go up or down the entire California Coast. There’s plenty to do and see on the coast.

Mcway Falls Big Sur CaliforniaPin

749 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, map

Distance: 380 mi / 5 hr 30 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, 49-Mile Scenic Drive
What to Eat:
Brenda’s French Soul Food, Tartine Bakery & Cafe, B Patisserie
Where to Stay: Golden Gate Hotel (luxury), Parker Guest House (mid-range), Beresford Arms (budget)

I’ve always had a soft spot for San Francisco, which has me coming back year after year. There is plenty to do whether you’re into food, the outdoors, or sightseeing. One of my favorite stops halfway from LA to SF on the 5 is Harris Ranch. You can get some delicious steaks and pecan drop cookies.

25 Fun Free Things to Do San FranciscoPin

600 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, map

Distance: 401 mi / 5 hr 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Castello di Amorosa, Lake Berryessa, Domaine Carneros
What to Eat:
French Laundry, Morimoto Napa, The Boon Fly Cafe
Where to Stay: Elm House Inn (luxury), Candlelight Inn Napa Valley (mid-range), Hampton Inn & Suites (budget)

Any wine lover needs to visit Napa Valley at least once. Take a weekend and enjoy all the different wineries and delicious food. We put together a list of our favorite 5 Napa wineries you should visit. If you love food, you can try your luck with getting reservations at Chef Keller’s French Laundry. It’s been my favorite dining experience so far.

Napa Valley + 15 Great Road Trips from Los Angeles.

453 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476, map

We did one of our anniversary photoshoots here and absolutely loved it.

Sonoma Valley is typically a bit less crowded than Napa Valley but still offers amazing wine. The town also has a rich history that you can learn about on tours.

paradise ridge wine santa rosa + best things to do in sonomaPin

1101 Zion – Mount Carmel Hwy, Hurricane, UT 84737, map

Distance: 428 mi / 6 hr 20 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Canyon Overlook Trail, Angels Landing, Zion Narrows
What to Eat: 
River Rock Roasting Co, Main Street Cafe, Dixie Pizza Wagon
Where to Stay: Heller House Inn (luxury), Zion Lodge (mid-range), Comfort Inn & Suites (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby

Zion National Park packs a lot of punch in a small area. Go backpacking in the backcountry or stay at a hotel and enjoy it at a more leisurely pace. To get you started, here are 15 best hikes in the park.

Zion National Park + 15 Best Weekend Trips from LA.

125 N 2nd St #120, Phoenix, AZ 85004, map

Distance: 373 mi / 5 hr 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Desert Botanical Garden, Musical Instrument Museum, Taliesin West
What to Eat:
Barrio Cafe, Farm & Craft, Fry Bread House
Where to Stay: Royal Palms Resort & Spa (luxury), Kimpton Hotel Palomar (mid-range), Hampton Inn Phoenix (budget)Search Airbnbs Nearby

Phoenix has beautiful weather and year-round activities. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and a great destination for people who love hiking, art, Southwest culture, and golf. If you’re a golfer, don’t forget to book a tee time!

Things to Do in Phoenix ArizonaPin

More Weekend Trip Ideas Under 7 Hours

  1. Temecula, CA (86 mi / 1 hr 35 min / map)
  2. Idyllwild, CA (87 mi / 1 hrs 25 min / map)
  3. Palm Springs, CA (107 mi / 2 hrs 5 min / map)
  4. Carlsbad, CA (114 mi / 1 hr 45 min / map)
  5. San Diego, CA (120 mi / 1 hr 55 min / map)
  6. Joshua Tree National Park, CA (134 mi / 2 hrs 30 min / map)
  7. Tijuana, Mexico (137 mi / 2 hrs 20 min / map)
  8. Rosarito Beach, Mexico (150 mi / 2 hrs 45 min / map)
  9. Anza Borrego, CA (152 mi / 2 hr 55 min / map)
  10. Ensenada, Mexico (201 mi / 3 hr 50 min / map)
  11. Lake Havasu City, Arizona (298 mi / 5 hrs 5 min / map)
  12. San Jose, CA (340 mi / 5 hrs 20 min / map)
  13. Sacramento, CA (384 mi / 5 hr 55 min / map)
  14. St. George, UT (387 mi / 6 hrs 10 min / map)

Map of Best Weekend Trips from Los Angeles

What weekend getaways from Los Angeles have you taken? Which of these are on your list to visit next? Any other notable weekend trips from LA we’re missing?

See More Weekend Getaway Ideas FROM


“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust


Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Local Adventurer on Pinterest Local Adventurer on Youtube

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