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.
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Last Updated: November 19, 2021
1. Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle is a National and California Historical Landmark. The photo below shows the Gothic Study on the third floor of “Casa Grande.”
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.
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.
4. Mammoth Lakes
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.
This lake offers a nice weekend away that feels like visiting another planet. Learn more about the tufa towers here.
7. Santa Cruz
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
15. Phoenix, Arizona
Distance: 373 mi / 5 hr 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Desert Botanical Garden, Camelback Mountain, Musical Instrument Museum
What to Eat: Little Miss BBQ, Cocina Madrigal, Harumi Sushi
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 if you’re a golfer, don’t forget to book a tee time!
More Weekend Trip Ideas Under 7 Hours
- Temecula, CA (86 mi / 1 hr 35 min / map)
- Idyllwild, CA (87 mi / 1 hrs 25 min / map)
- Palm Springs, CA (107 mi / 2 hrs 5 min / map)
- Carlsbad, CA (114 mi / 1 hr 45 min / map)
- San Diego, CA (120 mi / 1 hr 55 min / map)
- Joshua Tree National Park, CA (134 mi / 2 hrs 30 min / map)
- Tijuana, Mexico (137 mi / 2 hrs 20 min / map)
- Rosarito Beach, Mexico (150 mi / 2 hrs 45 min / map)
- Anza Borrego, CA (152 mi / 2 hr 55 min / map)
- Ensenada, Mexico (201 mi / 3 hr 50 min / map)
- Lake Havasu City, Arizona (298 mi / 5 hrs 5 min / map)
- San Jose, CA (340 mi / 5 hrs 20 min / map)
- Phoenix, AZ (373 mi / 6 hrs 5 min / map)
- Sacramento, CA (384 mi / 5 hr 55 min / map)
- St. George, UT (387 mi / 6 hrs 10 min / map)
Map of Best Weekend Trips from Los Angeles
What weekend getaways have you taken from Los Angeles? Which of these are on your list to visit?
See More Ideas for Los Angeles
“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.