While Los Angeles can definitely keep you busy with its long list of attractions, with a set of wheels and a sense of adventure you can quickly expand your horizons. From Los Angeles road trips under 500 miles can bring you closer to a whole new set of landscapes, activities, and experiences. So pack up the car and hit the road for a journey to the desert in Palm Springs and the incredible beaches in and around San Diego.
Los Angeles to Palm Springs
The drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs along the Interstate 10 takes about two hours. Once you’ve reached this desert oasis spend time relaxing by the pool or go for hikes in any of the area’s Indian Canyons. To see more of this desert landscape brave a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. For those who prefer to stay on solid ground, an hour drive brings you to Joshua Tree National Park. You can comfortably cruise through the park on its main roads or plan and prepare for an all-day hike. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll certainly appreciate the change of pace from Los Angeles while soaking up the sun with a backdrop of amazing mountain views.
Palm Springs to San Diego
From the desert switch it up with a trip to the Southern California coast. There are several ways to arrive in San Diego County but consider taking the “Palms to Pines” State Route 74. The drive is an adventure in itself as it will wind you around switchbacks and take you up steep climbs and descents while passing through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. Once in San Diego County, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time swimming, surfing, among other activities at some of the best beaches in the country. Take a ride to Cabrillo National Monument for panoramic views of the area, whale watching in winter, and to explore the tide pools below. If you can tear yourself away from the sun and surf visit the top-notch San Diego Zoo and Safari Park or spend a day at Sea World. Before returning to Los Angeles be sure to try some fish tacos and watch the sunset at the beach at least once!
On your way back to Los Angeles you have the chance to the drive on California’s dramatic Pacific Coast Highway. Enjoy the expansive ocean views and stop off in towns like Huntington or Laguna Beach. After your time in the relaxing surrounds of the desert and on the beaches of So Cal you’ll be refreshed and ready again for the colorful chaos of L.A. It’s amazing how fast you can give yourself a change of scenery all within just 500 miles of Los Angeles!
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Passionate about travel, Katie likes to eat her way through as many different countries as possible.