Great Weekend Trips Outside of L.A.

Christina August 25, 2011 0

In Arizona, we all love Los Angeles for a quick weekend getaway in what is known as the “Creative Capital of the World.” Thankfully, there’s still some time left for the summer to squeeze in another weekend escape (or two). Travel outside your regular I-405 limits and check out these great weekend trips of local wine tasting and historic landmarks outside of the L.A. area, courtesey of Departures magazine.

1. Big Sur

Photo courtesy of Post Ranch Inn

With rocky slopes and stunning coastal vistas and just five and half hours from L.A., Big Sur is embraced by the Santa Lucia Mountains. Departures suggests staying at the Post Ranch Inn, where guests can enjoy woodburning fireplaces and luxurious bed linens made with organic cotton. Fuel up on nine-grain pancakes cooked in a cast-iron skillet or the signature breakfast pizza at Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant before hitting the area’s trails and parks. Spread across 456 acres with a 750-acre underwater ecological reserve, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has 14 hiking trails, with both fabulous ocean vistas (ideal for spotting sea lions) and an abundance of wildflowers—double poppies, blue blossoms, white globe lilies—in bloom. Or stop by the Henry Miller Memorial Library, founded 30 years ago as a memorial to the infamous novelist and painter who penned Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and spent 18 years of his life in Big Sur.

2. Santa Barbara

Located  95 miles north of L.A., this beach town  is known as the American Riviera. The Santa Barbara Four Seasons Resort Biltmore is the ultimate in luxury stay, with 20 acres of manicured tropical gardens complemented by red-tile roofs and ivory adobe archways galore. If you’re looking for a more homey vibe, stay in the Canary Hotel and enjoy an intimate brunch of lemon ricotta pancakes and eggs Bedict before a day of relaxing on the beach. Spend a day gallery hopping along East Anapamu Street admiring Impressionist-like landscapes and documentary photography at  Telios Design House, or  take advantage of the surrounding wine country with visits to Kunin Wineswhere Rhône-style bottles are the highlight. Finish the night off with a fabulous dinner at the classic, decade-old Bouchon for French fare such as maple-glazed duck breast with port-thyme demiglace.

3. Ojai

Travel 83 miles north of L.A. and lounge poolside and enjoy the famed Pink Moment sunset as it casts a rosy glow on the surrounding Topa Topa Mountains. Stay at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in a signature room equipped with a canopy bed, fireplace and private balcony that overlooks the resort’s stunning grounds (there’s a 3-acre herb garden and George C. Thomas Jr.–designed golf course). Knead Bakery is known for its delicious apricot scones along Ojai Avenue. Hike the Shelf Road Trail and stop by Friend’s Ranch for Ojai’s signature Pixie tangerines, honey and other local goodies.

4. Pasadena

Photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Barely outside L.A. city limits, this little town balances historical architecture with a bustling downtown filled with cobblestoned alleyways and tearooms. Originally built in 1907, the Langham Huntington is a landmark hotel known for its 11,000-square-foot spa with treatments including the Chuan Balancing massage.  The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, founded by railroad magnate Henry Huntington, exhibits a rose garden and a Japanese pavilion with 14,000 varieties of plants. Drop by local downtown gem skincare shop Lather, a skincare shop,  for yuzu bergamot-scented goodies, or sample white and green teas at Bird Pick Tea & Herb.

5. San Luis Obispo


Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, San Luis Obispo is a mere three and a half hours from L.A. Explore the Central Coast at the Sanitarium Spa. Soak up San Luis Obispo’s historic downtown and make sure to pay a visit to Hands Gallery, a pocket-sized space that has been showcasing artwork, sculpture and jewelry by local artists for more than 20 years. Next, head to Brazilian-inspired Novo for brunch and relish dishes like piquillo chile and cheese empanada with pomegranate-apple chutney.

Check out the rest at Departures.com.

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