Top 10 destinations for road trips from Los Angeles

With so much to see and do in Los Angeles, it's easy to get lost in all its offerings. Even so, it can be nice to venture outside the city limits every now and then. Fortunately, Southern California and the surrounding areas have much to offer that's nothing more than a relatively short car ride away. Here are the top 10 destinations for road trips from Los Angeles.

1. Relax in a desert resort in Palm Springs

Driving time from Los Angeles: 1.5 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 100 miles

The resort city of Palm Springs is one of the most popular destinations for those on a road trip from Los Angeles. Relaxation is easy to find thanks to the breathtaking landscapes you can explore on foot or on a bike. You may also want to explore some of the city's numerous galleries and venues to see what makes the arts scene here so special.

2. Embark on outdoor adventure at Mammoth Lakes

Driving time from Los Angeles: 4.5 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 300 miles

If you're looking for outdoor adventure, Mammoth Lakes is one of the best destinations available no matter what time of year you visit. You can scale massive mountains or go boating in crystal-clear mountain lakes. The scenes feel like they're right out of a storybook, whether you're skiing down snow-capped peaks or hiking through lush, vibrant forests.

3. Visit America's finest city in San Diego

Driving time from Los Angeles: 2 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 120 miles

San Diego is one of the most popular cities in the entire state, and it's just a short road trip away from LA. It's especially known for its absolutely breathtaking views of the water from San Diego Bay and Mission Bay, where you can occasionally spot whales in the distance. It's also the craft beer capital of America if you're looking for new brews to try.

4. Find a variety of activities to enjoy in San Luis Obispo

Driving time from Los Angeles: 3 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 180 miles

The city of San Luis Obispo is a family-friendly destination that lets everyone find something fun to enjoy. The city itself features high-end dining along with more affordable local favorites with an extensive Spanish influence. You can also hit up the beach or venture out into the water with a kayak. There are hiking trails around town that will take you to truly breathtaking sites.

5. Revel in the beauty of Santa Barbara

Driving time from Los Angeles: 1.5 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 95 miles

When your road trip from Los Angeles takes you to Santa Barbara, you'll be met with an entirely unique array of sights that make this region among the most beautiful in the entire state. The California coast offers impressive sandy beaches among a backdrop of towering mountain peaks and vibrant grassy meadows with vineyards and welcoming communities.

6. Take it easy with a road trip to Ventura

Driving time from Los Angeles: 1 hour

Distance from Los Angeles: 60 miles

If you're looking for a more casual destination for your road trip from LA, Ventura may be the perfect spot. Check stress at the door as you immerse yourself in the local artistic culture where you'll find incredible galleries and musical performances across town. It's a college town, so you can expect plenty of bars with craft brews and delicious SoCal-style restaurants as well.

7. Drive south of the border to Rosarito

Driving time from Los Angeles: 2.5 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 140 miles

For a more authentic Mexican experience on your road trip from LA, you'll need to head to Mexico itself. Fortunately, the coastal city of Rosarito is just a short distance past the border. When you arrive, you'll find welcoming sandy beaches and popular dance clubs that frequently draw in American travelers.

8. Venture through wine country in Sonoma County

Driving time from Los Angeles: 7 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 450 miles

If you're looking for a more refined and relaxing experience, Sonoma County is the premier destination for any Los Angeles road trip. Here, you'll find an extensive array of vineyards and wineries that are happy to offer tours and tastings. The brilliant and vibrant landscape can be enjoyed with or without a glass of wine in your hand.

9. Hit the slopes at Squaw Valley

Driving time from Los Angeles: 7.5 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 490 miles

Winter road trips from Los Angeles can be rewarding, especially if you visit destinations like Squaw Valley. This snowy region is among the top destinations in the state for skiing and other snow sports, but that's just the beginning. The sheer variety in course difficulty allows both experts and beginners alike to enjoy the slopes, and that includes children.

10. Embrace the outdoors at Lake Tahoe

Driving time from Los Angeles: 7 hours

Distance from Los Angeles: 440 miles

For the ultimate outdoor adventure, look no further than Lake Tahoe. This area offers hiking trails and a massive cobalt-blue lake that's perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. Additionally, you can visit the small towns in the area that will make you feel like you're walking through the Old West if it got a technological upgrade.