5 Terrific Road Trips to Start from Los Angeles – 2024 Guide

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There is surely something beautiful and uniquely American about a road trip because every other American has longing and wanderlust for road tripping. Road trips are tempting for the free soul, more like a fun-house mirror, a way of seeing yourself as you could be. Every day on a road trip feels like a new opportunity to explore the world, like opening a book and pointing at random to what you will experience that day, what you will experience in your life.

There are many benefits of a road trip, including engaging with the world, with the landscape, in a different and more openhearted way. Road tripping, as a choice of vacation, is fantastic for those who love exploration; we’re talking about the types of people who appreciate the journey as much as the destination. However, road-tripping requires a significant amount of planning, especially for long trips that span several days and cover hundreds of miles.

The idea of hopping in a car and setting off from L.A. is a timeless notion for the ultimate road trip: exploring the rugged scenery, amazing state and national parks, visiting pristine landscapes, beaches, mountains, deserts, and the odd city-break; sleeping in a new place every night. This list of 5 amazing road trips has everything with itineraries that can be done as a day trip or as an overnight getaway from LA.

Las Vegas (4-hour drive from Loss Angeles):

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Our advice is never to fly to Vegas; the drive is too much fun to miss. And if you go on a fully prepared two-wheeler road trip, having all the travel luggage in your Viking Bags saddlebag, the fun would be inimitable.  For a memorable and exquisite journey, drive through the Mojave desert and grab some dinner from plenty of food options on the way.

Whether you come to Vegas to do a bit of gambling, enjoy exquisite restaurants, bars, and clubs or just want to stroll around town and do a bit of shopping, staying on the Strip is the way to go. You should head to Red Rock Canyon National Park outside the Strip for breathtaking scenery. If you desire to have a more relaxed vibe and a bit less slot machine noise in the lobby, the south end of the Strip is great, the Cosmopolitan doesn’t have a casino and the Aria hotel is a great place to stay.

Palm Springs (2-hour journey from LA):

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Road tripping from L.A. to Palm Springs, a well-known getaway destination for Angelinos all year-round, is doable over a weekend. While heading towards Palm Springs, you will pass miles of wind farms, where turbines cast formidable shadows and make an otherwise monotone landscape come alive. Not forget to notice prehistoric creatures on the side of the road; the 50-foot Cabazon Dinosaurs is a popular roadside attraction.

You might have heard about Palm Springs because of a little old music festival called Coachella. Besides the trendy camping grounds, the city two hours south of LA in the Sonoran Desert also has dozens of spas and golf courses and is an easy choice for a relaxing weekend away.

Joshua Tree (2 hour, 40 mins from L.A.):

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Joshua Tree National Park is the closest national park to LA, making it do-able in a day. Despite the name suggests otherwise, it is actually a huge and quite inhospitable desert with its iconic desert “trees” and enormous boulder formations, a treat for rock climbers and hikers. Park’s varied and alien landscapes make for impressive scenery for the visitors during leisurely drives.

There is a limited number of accommodations here and camping is the most common way to experience the park. Camping gives you an opportunity to stargaze, and wild coyotes may howl you to sleep if you plan an overnight camping trip. Spring is the best time to visit as the temperatures are reasonable and some of the desert plants actually flower which is an awe-spiring moment. From endless hiking trails to walking itineraries, and paths to explore, the park is huge so you can come dozens of times and still only see a fraction of it.

Salton Sea (around 2 and half hours from L.A.):

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The Salton Sea was accidentally created in 1905 by engineers trying to divert the flow of the Colorado River which flooded the plain for 2 years when the engineering works went wrong. The area was developed to become a popular getaway destination, resorts were built and towns sprang up to host visitors in mid 20th century. It was the largest lake in California that is 236 ft (72m) below sea level and has saltier water than the Pacific Ocean. But now the sea is largely dried and there are abandoned structures along the shoreline as sun-bleached fish bones crunch underfoot. 

There are hiking trails all around and 1 state and 2 national parks nearby; a lot of nature to explore. You can do some bird watching or camp under the stars at one of the hundreds of camping spots there. On the drive-in, detour to the International Banana Museum to glimpse the world’s largest collection of one fruit. When visiting the Salton Sea, make sure to explore late local Leonard Knight’s gigantic folk art sculpture, Salvation Mountain, artist installations in,  Borrego Springs, a rainbow-hued hill emblazoned with the words “God is Love.” Remember that the Salton Sea is located in the middle of a hot desert, and summer temperatures will average in the 100s (over 40 °C) so bring plenty of water – it will feel very very hot.

San Diego (2 hours drive fro L.A.):

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San Diego is the perfect weekend road trip from Los Angeles at just a 2-hour drive. You should visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo there to see animals up close and personal in their natural environments at their “Animals in Action” experience. You will see pandas are the stars and going early or late is the best way to see them as they will snooze through most of the day.

Then board a boat for the San Diego Seal Tour around the whole city.  Quite beaches of San Diego are the best place to relax whether you’re catching some sun or want to catch the waves. Never forget to try the local fish tacos and ride the bright red trolleys, whenever you visit this great place.