A weekend getaway can recharge your batteries. It can positively benefit your mental outlook, your health and your performance at work. Plus, you can arrive home to see where you live with fresh eyes. A quick weekend getaway can also be a fun adventure for memory making, without eating into vacation days or the time and expense of traveling further away.

Luckily, if you’re based in L.A., there are some unbelievable destinations only a few hours away. Unique Californian towns with beautiful weather year-round are ripe for a weekend getaway. Plus, the 75 miles of breathtaking coastal areas offer everything from monolithic roadside attractions to posing poolside. To fully appreciate what it means to come home to L.A., you’ll need to see all of the great national parks, towns, and cities that neighbor it.

Read up on the best city escapes with our list of the top five weekend getaways from Los Angeles.

 

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree park in Los Angeles California

Outdoor getaway

Less than a three-hour drive from L.A., Joshua Park is the place to get away for sunsets and stargazing. The desert park is set against the other-worldly landscapes of giant boulders and weathered trees, where colorful wildflowers bloom in spring. Truly, the perfect place to connect with nature. It’s no surprise that meditation centers are located nearby. Like the Cactus Moon Retreat, where you can sleep under the stars. Visitors often choose to explore the park by hiking. It’s a good idea to get a climbing guide with the proper equipment. Or take a photography tour where you’ll be taken to the best spots to photograph your own ethereal keepsakes. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. Some visitors camp overnight, with over 300 campsites within the park boundaries. However, there is no running water or electricity on-site, so come prepared for an off-the-grid stay. Further afield, Joshua Tree itself is a town of artists and musicians, with great thrift stores and local galleries.

 

Palm Springs

view of Palm Springs golf and Chino canyon

Getaway for desert sunshine

In a two-hour drive from L.A., you can arrive in the warm desert weather and relaxing thermal baths of Palm Springs. A wellness destination where healthy restaurants sit alongside retro diners, it’s a great place to visit all year long. Whether it be a weekend getaway relaxing by the pool during the winter months, a party weekend at Coachella or simply to see the mid-century design. In Palm Springs, passing time by the poolside prevails. It’s totally the done thing to pool hop around public pools and cool hotels with poolside hangouts.

All over the city, you’ll see mid-century architecture and buildings with bright colored doors. Renowned architects like Richard Neutra and Albert Frey have made their mark on the city. Doing a tour around the buildings is a fun way to make your way around the city. This specific architectural era’s aesthetic was given a higher profile as the backdrop to the popular TV drama Mad Men. Another classic way to view the city is on the aerial tramway, which rises 8,500 feet in 10 minutes. From there, you can sit and take in stunning views or set off on a hiking trail.

 

Catalina Island

view from above of Catalina Island in California

Getaway to an island resort

The escape to an island is only a 90-minute boat ride away from L.A. This scenic resort is the perfect getaway to get-away-from-it-all. If you’re after an active weekend, there’s diving in kelp forests and sea kayaking off the shore with the local sea otters up for grabs. To go rural, there are many mountains to hike with the prospect of bumping into some of the local wildlife like buffalos or bald eagles. For an off-road adventure, tours are available into the rugged Cape Canyon. Or just relax, dining pier-side at a casual fry shack then catch a movie at the local Avalon Theatre, a historic art deco building with nightly showings of first-run.

 

Solvang

The Danish street in Solvang California at sunset

European-style getaway

Solvang is a small city just north of Santa Barbara that has dedicated itself to its Danish history. A homage to all things Danish, from the architecture to the shops, and restaurants with Danish cuisine. In between the charming windmills and authentic Danish bakeries, must-see attractions include the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum.

Forget the freeway, in Solvang, you’ll typically see people traveling by horse-drawn cart. However, if you want to step back into Californian reality, there are vineyard excursions to enjoy in the Santa Maria Valley.

 

Las Vegas

weekend getaways los angeles las evegas seven magic mountains

Getaway off the strip

Who knew Las Vegas could be so contemporary? For L.A. residents, a casino-free weekend getaway in Vegas might be your kind of getaway. Downtown Vegas is a cool neighborhood where it’s easy to chill out. Alongside juice bars and yoga centers, there are plenty of independent eateries and eclectic bars. Plus, all day-brunch-spots for lazy days without clock watching. Las Vegas also has artistic enclaves, like the Downtown Container Park – an outdoor shopping mall with the feel of being in an art installation.

For a real artistic pilgrimage, we recommend visiting Seven Magic Mountains, a colorful roadside attraction located 20 miles south of the Vegas Strip. Set against the arid Mojave Desert landscape, the pillars of eye-popping neon boulders are a public artwork by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. The artist was inspired to create the work as a critique of the simulacra of destinations like Las Vegas. Due to popular demand, the installation was due to be removed in 2018. Since then, it has been granted an extended stay in the desert till 2021. However, if your keen to check out something in the traditional Vegas-style, the Fremont Experience offers the quintessential rowdy Vegas atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a more permanent getaway closer to home, a change of scene could be a change of neighborhoods. If you stay with Blueground, you’ll have the option of a flexible lease. With the perk of being able to move between the furnished, serviced or corporate apartments (pending availability) across the most sought-after areas in L.A. That means you can get a taste of Culver City in the spring before relocating to Marina del Rey for warm beachside evenings into the fall. It’s a dream come true for those who love a staycation!

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