SoCal is in the middle of some of the most beautiful and interesting landscapes in America, but do you see enough of it? Truth: Probably not. So consider taking one of these five weekend road trips right away. They’re all four hours or less away, not dependent on a pricey resort to enjoy and each offers some Cali vista we love: beach, mountains, desert, forest or quaint small town. So make plans today…because those roses aren’t going to stop to smell themselves.
JOSHUA TREE (2 HOURS, 20 MINUTES)
Take the 1-10 east and you’re golden. Because starting tomorrow, you’ll get to enjoy isolated desert vistas at the same time as Desert X, a two-months-long series of groovy site-specific installations by artists including Doug Aitken and Rob Pruitt.
CARPINTERIA (1 HOUR, 30 MINUTES)
Just ten minutes south of Santa Barbara, this small surf town has nicer beaches and a more relaxed, less status-y vibe than its chichi neighbor. Which means for less than $150 a night, you can rent your own surf shack and finally learn to stand up on the board.
SOLVANG (2 HOURS)
You know that whole hygge thing that’s happening? This is that trend transposed onto a whole village, since everything built by its Danish-American founders is all authentic-looking. And in mid-March, there’s a major culinary fest with local growers, vintners and the foodies who love them.
OXNARD (90 MINUTES)
Wait, you’re thinking…Oxnard? That beach in Ventura County to the north of Malibu? And we say, yes, exactly. It’s got arguably better beaches (softer sand) than its glitzy neighbor, less traffic and a crazy 94 acres of that rarity on SoCal beaches: Instagram-ready, pristine sand dunes. Leave your AirBnB rental windows open and fall asleep tickled by ocean breezes.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST (3 HOURS, 40 MINUTES)
Your knotty pine A-frame cabin is a short drive to these trees, which are as tall as a 26-story building and can be thousands of years old. However, recent heavy rains have threatened them (RIP, “Tunnel Tree”) so go see these majestic natural wonders before it’s too late.