Easy Daytrips from Los Angeles

Whether you’re traveling to Los Angeles for work or just using the city as a homebase for your family vacation, it’s an easy jumping-off point for some daytrips. Explore the surrounding towns and neighborhoods with a few options just outside the city.

Here are the best locales to visit depending on how much free time you have to fill.

Catalina Island

Getting to Catalina Island from Los Angeles is shockingly simple, especially considering the vast differences in locale. Pack up the kids and hop on a high-speed catamaran from either Dana Point, Two Harbors, Avalon, Long Beach and San Pedro and get to the island in an hour — the hardest part of your day will be getting to the harbor. Once onboard, the kids will enjoy the seamless voyage to the island.

If you don’t mind a bit of company, head to Newport Beach for the Catalina Flyer, the largest passenger vessel available, making daily departures for Catalina Island. For those seeking a bit of privacy and luxury, opt for the privacy of a charter boat or helicopter ride, getting to the island in about 15 minutes. This is a luxury option, for sure, but the views are unbeatable.

Anaheim

Disney fans already have this one on their list. Anyone looking for some theme park fun, make your way to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, from Los Angeles. About 26 miles away, the ride can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on traffic and time of day. The park opens at 8 a.m., so plan accordingly by either hiring a car service, rent a car for the day or depend on various rideshare companies.

Santa Monica

Seeking a day at the beach, but short on time? Santa Monica is your best bet. Depending on where you are staying, in Beverly Hills, Downtown LA or Hollywood, the ride can be 20–60 minutes to the boulevard, depending on time and traffic.

Rent a car or hop in a rideshare and make your way to the famous pier. Go hungry and enjoy all the dining options in the small city. Stroll along the beach and swim in the Pacific, or hit the boardwalk for rides and games. The fun and quirky neighborhood offers beach-themed shops and attractions — and a complete departure from the vibe in downtown LA.