Admittedly, Los Angeles is a world-class travel destination offering a countless list of great attractions and activites within the city. However, what makes it an even more attractive place to visit is that it is a gateway for exploring excellent nearby destinations and spectacular landscapes. So, if you have time and want a short escape away from the hustle of the city, there is a plenty of options to choose from.

Being at LA for quite a few times, I was lucky to explore a few of them as listed below. But there are even more !

I have never heard of Calico Town before going to California, but apparently this is not the reason it is known as the Ghost Town

Calico used to be a silver mining town founded around 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. Many people from China, England, Ireland, Greece (of course), France and Netherlands had arrived here and most of them made big fortunes. At its peak, its population reached 3500 residents. However, in the mid-1890s the value of the silver declined, Calico was abandoned.

In the 1950s, Calico was purchased by Walter Knott in order to restore it to its original architecure. Today, Calico is a regional park called the “Ghost Town” offering the visitors the opportunity to look and feel how the town used to be. 

Apart from the scenery and landscape, what impressed me a lot was that the city looked real and the shops and restaurants were fully functional not just as museums. Totally recommended !!

 

After having visited the glamorous regions of LA city, going to the Joshua Tree National Park is a deep clean-up of your mind, offering a completely different experience and landscapes. 

The Joshua Tree National Park is a desert area that encompasses parts of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles. It is named for the unique, twisted Joshua trees found in the area which are recognized for their quirky cacti and metaphysical flare. Apart from the trees the park features giant boulders and weird rock formations, that make the scenery not just impressive but alien !

The route from LA is also very scenic and interesting. Make a stop at the artificial Lake Palmdale to take a few photos and have a coffee or brunch at a typical american cafe restaurant to feel like in the old american movies.

Undisputably, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the most famous and legendary road trips in the entire world and missing the chance while in LA to experience at least part of it would be totally insane.

Also known as State Route 1 (SR1), it is the longest state route in California hugging over most of the Pacific coastline of California at a total of more than 900 kilometers (600 miles). First opened in the 1930s, it is a masterpiece crafted by human effort and nature.The scenery is stunning and you can make many several stops to explore different cities or other places.

One day is definitely not enough to make the most of it. If I have the chance to go back, it will be on the top of my list.

Ideally, visiting San Diego would last at least 4-5 days as the city, aslo known as ‘America’s Finest City‘, has many things to show. However, we could only spend a single day to at least have a small taste of it.

San Diego is mostly famous for its Zoo and the Balboa Park, a huge cultural destination with many museumsgalleries art venues, and amazing gardens. There are ten museum ships, with the most well known being the Star of India and the USS Midway, which at the time it was launched it was the largest ship in the world. Amazing white sandy beaches, excellent shopping and dining options are of course in the top list of the San Diego travel quide. 

What we personally enjoyed a lot was a leisure stroll along the seaport village, situated on  the shoreline of San Diego Bay with many unique shops and delicious eateries. It was all we needed for a day relaxed trip.

Santa Barbara is also a very popular day trip destination from LA. Often called the American Riviera or the Riviera of the West, it does really resembles a Mediterranean city, mostly because of its geography and climate. White sandy beaches, palm trees, Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, upscale fashion stores and boutiques, great dining options and top-rated wineries synthesize its landscape. 

The scenery is so idyllic though, that might make you feel as it is artifical or too touristic.

Left for next time !
  • Palm Springs
  • Catalina
  • Solvang
  • can be endless …