Los Angeles Road Trip
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- Palm Springs
- Salton Sea and Bombay Beach
- Mammoth Lakes
- Joshua Tree National Park
- San Juan Capistrano
- Sequoia National Park
- Las Vegas
- Roadside assistance
A half-day drive from Los Angeles can have you communing with cacti in Vegas or catching a breath of fresh air in Joshua Tree National Park. We’ve put together a guide of 7 perfect routes for you to take when you want to escape LA.
Whether you have a few days or a few hours, these destinations deliver relaxation, entertainment, and rejuvenation.
Did you know that California’s first vineyard is 300 years old and only one hour from downtown LA? Did you also know that Jerry users save an average of $879 per year on their car insurance?
With money in your pocket thanks to Jerry, get ready to ditch Los Angeles for the day and head off on one of these road trips!
Why you should go: Palm Springs is the perfect getaway. A one-day road trip allows you to enjoy everything on offer without having to pay exorbitant accommodation fees.
This Los Angeles road trip offers a great combination of activities. Outdoorsy types can hike in the desert, and city bums can browse world-class art before relaxing at a top-quality spa for an afternoon massage.
What you should do: The Murray Canyon Trail is a good spot to stretch your legs when you first arrive. You’ll find plenty of shade thanks to enormous boulders, and the fairly flat trail means less exertion. There is an entrance fee, but the babbling brook and palm tree oasis vibe are worth it.
Where you should eat: If you want to splurge, go to Miro’s. Head to Farm on La Plaza for a more affordable country-chic meal.
Palm Springs, California
Salton Sea and Bombay Beach
Why you should go: The Salton Sea is California’s version of the Dead Sea. Extremely high levels of salt content in the sea mean that most fish can’t survive here—but you can take a dip in its refreshing waters, provided there has been enough inflow that season.
Bombay Beach was a vacation spot in the 1950s and 1960s, and it’s a quirkier beach than you’ll find anywhere in Los Angeles. Only three hours from LA, this off-the-beaten-path destination will transport you to a different world (or era).
What you should do: Salvation Mountain is a giant folk art monument with gorgeous painted illustrations and inspiring quotations.
Nearby is Slab City, an off-the-grid commune with Burning Man vibes that is home to creative drifters and squatters.
The Bombay Beach Marina is the place to go for access to the lake, but keep in mind that you won’t find many services nearby.
Salvation Mountain, Salton Sea
Pro Tip Make the memories last longer by renting a fun car!
Why you should go: The route itself is gorgeous enough to justify a road trip to Mammoth Lakes. Take this trip if you want to escape the smog. Catch a glimpse of snow-capped peaks and take in a bit of fresh air at elevation.
Of course, city hikers know that Los Angeles offers plenty of great hikes. But heading to the doorstep of Yosemite and scoping out Mammoth Lakes is a great way to escape the crowds.
What you should do: Turn off your phone and challenge yourself with the Mammoth Crest Trail (7.2 miles), which will earn you a dip in an alpine lake.
If you prefer a lazy day at the hot springs, head to Benton Crossing and go to Crab Cooker Hot Spring.
Where you should eat: Stop by SHEA Schat’s Bakery on your way out of town for a sheepherder’s loaf.
MORE: Road trip essentials
Joshua Tree National Park
Why you should go: Can you really say you’re an Angeleno if you’ve never been to Joshua Tree? Take this trip so you can say that you did. This alien desert landscape is the perfect place to escape the city and have a spiritual experience—and it’s only 2 hours away.
What you should do: Bring plenty of water! Ryan Mountain is the most punishing hike in Joshua Tree, whereas Barker Dam is a better choice for the casual weekender. Either meditate in nature or sign up for a session at a local retreat center.
For something a little less natural, head to the World Famous Crochet Museum. This is a great place to go car camping, as long as you’re prepared.
Joshua Tree National Park
Pro Tip California weather can be intense. Be prepared for wildfires and cancellations, and always call ahead to confirm. Be prepared with plenty of extra water and emergency supplies.
San Juan Capistrano
Why you should go: This piece of California history is only an hour away from LA. The Catholic Mission was founded in 1776 and the historic district offers plenty of modern activities to entice visitors. Head here if you need a weekend getaway but you’re not a serious outdoor adventurer.
What you should do: Start by walking the historic district and then explore the Mission. The church’s vineyard produces some excellent Criolla grapes, so don’t leave without sampling their wine. After a casual afternoon of browsing the galleries, you’ll be relaxed and ready to head home.
San Juan Capistrano
Sequoia National Park
Why you should go: Four hours is just the right amount of time to truly escape from the city for a weekend. Head to Sequoia National Park to spend time with the redwoods, move your body, and get that work-from-home crick out of your neck.
What you should do: Plan to stay the night if you can, either by car camping or booking a yurt. Visit the General Sherman Tree and the Tunnel Log for a quick lesson from nature on how small we are compared to the universe’s vastness.
One note: make sure to check road reports in advance, as roads are sometimes closed due to summer wildfires.
Sequoia National Park
Why you should go: Forget your troubles in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can take the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas route or simply indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your besties. Either way, this Los Angeles road trip is guaranteed to satisfy.
What you should do: Vegas has it all, from desert drag racing, to hot air balloon rides, to extreme ziplining. Of course, you can also opt for relaxation by watching TV in the hotel and booking an afternoon spa treatment.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Why you need roadside assistance
Jerry’s roadside assistance program is your key to a pain-free weekend adventure.
Worried about a flat in Joshua Tree? Jerry has you covered with towing and tire replacement, plus Uber credits to get you safely back into town. Lock your keys in the car on a 100-degree day? Jerry’s got your back!
It’s a no-brainer to spend less than $10 on a backup plan. Don’t leave for your road trip without Jerry—he won’t backseat drive, we promise.
“Blown away at how easy the process was. So glad I gave this a try!” - Satisfied Jerry user
What is the best road trip for hiking near Los Angeles?
Joshua Tree National Park and Mammoth Lakes are the two best destinations for hiking near Los Angeles.
How do I find food on my road trip?
You can always pack snacks, but California is full of delicious roadside eats. Try planning your route around the restaurants listed above or check out these road trip food stops.
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