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Seven Great One-Tank Trips around Los Angeles

Starting off from Los Angeles, you can see all kinds of sights. For a one-tank trip around Los Angeles, you can include many of the most popular sights to see around southern California.  East of Los Angeles you could go to: Joshua Tree National Park, or Palm Springs, which is only 40 miles away, or less than an hour drive (depending on traffic).

Southeast of Los Angeles, you could visit: Anaheim, Disneyland, Orange County, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, La Jolla, San Diego, and the Hotel Del Coronado. Within only a 2-to-3-hour drive, you have access here to mountains, deserts, and beautiful coastline. Coastal California is quite amazing and full of lots of surprises for those who like to explore. Try a walk on Malibu Beach, go surfing at Huntington Beach or go shopping for antiques in the old mining town of Julian. You will not run out of things to do in the Southern California area.



Santa Catalina Island:

Another great side-trip would be to Santa Catalina Island. Catalina Island is just an hour away with year-round boat transportation and up to 30 departures daily. Boats depart from ports in San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point. Catalina is only 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. Catalina Express' fleet of eight fast, modern boats make for a quick, easy and fun getaway.

On Catalina, experience the picturesque town of Avalon, filled with activities on land and sea, or the rustic village of Two Harbors, with spectacular campgrounds and beautiful beaches. From scenic beauty, high adventure activities, great rest and relaxation, Catalina Island has it all. Take a day trip or decide to stay overnight.


Huntington Beach:

Made famous by the Beach Boys music group in the 1960s, Huntington Beach is known as "Surf City USA" because it's one of the best places to surf in Southern California. The town's beaches still live up to their reputation.

Huntington Beach boasts 10 miles of beautiful sandy shoreline in addition to other tourist attractions such as its Main Street, Central Park, and Pacific City shopping and dining area.

Surfers love the crashing of ocean waves and the legendary surfing culture. Huntington Beach, with its five public beaches, is also a mecca for other outdoor sports, including beach volleyball, bicycling, jogging, and nature walks. Just a few miles from the beach, the picturesque Huntington Harbor is a great place for paddle boarding and kayaking.

Bird-watchers will find plenty of terrain to explore at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, home to over 200 species of birds, including cormorants, egrets, hummingbirds, owls, sandpipers, and swallows.


Santa Barbara:

Santa Barbara is a scenic and worthy vacation destination regardless of your starting point, but you’re fortunate enough to have relatively easy access (granted that the L.A. traffic gods are working in our favor). It should be less than a two-hour drive from L.A.

Stearns Wharf is a go-to spot to see the Pacific, and nearby is State Street, filled with tons of shops and people-watching opportunities. And the Wharf isn’t the only place to see the water: Butterfly Beach, a relatively private spot, is situated next to the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel and faces west for ideal sunset-watching views.

Grab lunch at La Super-Rica Taqueria—famous for being one of Julia Child’s favorite eateries. The lines tend to be on the ridiculous side, but it’s worth the wait for novelty’s sake alone.

If you’re traveling with family, spend a few hours at the Santa Barbara Zoo (reservations required). Otherwise, grab a glass of Pinot Noir at one of the many tasting rooms along the Urban Wine Trail (hours and status vary by winery); the spots are located in downtown Santa Barbara, and source grapes from local vineyards.


San Diego:

About a two-hour drive away is the beautiful city of San Diego. This city has been named ----

San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park:

Home to the renowned San Diego Zoo. this 1,200-acre park is the city's cultural hub. Located in downtown San Diego (about 2 miles north of the city center), Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance architecture that permeates the grounds (the best examples are the California Building and the House of Hospitality). The Botanical Building is a great starting point in Balboa Park. The building is one of the most photographed places in Balboa Park and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. But don't just look at it. The famous botanical building features more than 2,100 permanent plants, including striking collections of tropical plants and orchids. The park also features a cactus garden, a rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others. 

You can take in a show at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre, visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion to see one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, (which still has live concerts every Sunday) or the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater if you have the kids in tow. Museums are aplenty, with enough to suit all types of interests. Art lovers will enjoy the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum while science enthusiasts will enjoy the Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Man. If you're traveling as a family, take some time to check out the San Diego Zoo, the Air & Space Museum or the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the world's largest operating model railroad museum. There's also an automotive museum and the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, dedicated entirely to San Diego's sports history.


Coronado Beach:

There’s a reason Coronado has topped lists of the country’s best beaches: Its wide shores never feel overcrowded, the soft, fine-grained sand is easily walkable and the weather is practically perfect. Just a quick ferry ride or bridge drive from San Diego, this wealthy peninsula has the feel of a resort town with the amenities that come from being near a major city.

The beachfront grounds of the regal, red-roofed Hotel del Coronado are a must-visit, even if you can’t foot its $600-plus room reservations. Back in town, stop into hole-in-the-wall diner Clayton’s Coffee Shop for a quick meal or MooTime Creamery for frozen treats. Coronado is also home to a sizable naval base, and while you can’t exactly visit, you can spot fighter jets coming in for landings and submarines surfacing off the coast.


Long Beach:

Long Beach is a waterfront playground located right in the heart of Southern California. Here you can experience it all: a deep-sea adventure at the Aquarium of the Pacific, whale watching on the water, shopping in one of the city’s many unique districts, a tour of coastal breweries, a vibrant foodie scene, and much more. 



When driving as far as Napa and Sonoma isn’t an option, Temecula is your next best destination for a day of wine tasting. Before sampling the grapes, stop by quaint Old Town Temecula, where you can pay a visit to the Temecula Valley Museum for a historical walking tour.

Then it’s down to business; the heart of Temecula’s Wine Country includes more than 30 wineries, which you can bounce between at your own leisure (don’t drink and drive, folks!) or take a guided tour from one of the many wine tour companies in the area. Taste your way through the 70-acre Wilson Creek Winery and the red-focused Monte De Oro Winery before heading to Maurice Car’rie Winery for an educated tasting and a loaf of the vineyard’s famous sourdough bread, oozing with brie.

Just down the road, Magical Adventure Balloon Rides encapsulates another popular Temecula activity: riding in a hot air balloon. We can’t think of a better way to end your day in Temecula than by sailing over the town’s vineyards at sunset with a glass of Champagne in hand.


Other Amusement Parks/Attractions within an hour or two of Los Angeles:

In addition to Disneyland, in Anaheim, there are many other attractions to visit in the Los Angeles area. Go to Legoland in Carlsbad or head over to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park offers a very different amusement and theme park, and now have added a hotel and water park to the mix. This is a great way to spend the day and is quite lovely with a sort of throwback to the way California used to be. 

Whether you are going for the wine or the adventures in a National Park or the attractions of Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, there is always something fun you can do in Southern California.


Check out El Monte RV, Los Angeles location for your next RV adventure!

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