Southern California Road Trip Ideas to Try This Summer - Valerie Fitzgerald Group

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Southern California Road Trip Ideas to Try This Summer

California is one of those states that are pretty much perfect for road-tripping. Southern California, in particular, can boast of a variety of places worth paying a visit. Some would even say this part of the Golden State is, in a way, a country of its own. With several giant mountains, national parks, deserts, quaint towns, and even metropolises, almost everyone can find themselves feeling welcome here! And since summer is just around the corner, now's the ideal time to think about exploring the wonders of SoCal! Don't know where to start? Well, here's a list of Southern California road trip ideas to help you figure that out!

Southern California Road Trip Ideas for Guaranteed Fun

Let's take you on a tour of Southern California's most prominent spots! Good times are guaranteed in each of these, even if you have to spend hours behind the wheel! In the end, the treasures of SoCal will prove it was all worth it.

And who knows? Perhaps, you'll fall in love with one of these places. Fall in love so much that you'll decide to relocate to one of the destinations we've prepared here. You'll possibly have to go through a long-distance move to relocate to California, but it definitely won't be in vain!

Los Angeles

Known as the world's movie capital, Los Angeles features an abundance of film-related landmarks worth visiting. The Hollywood sign is probably the most iconic of all, but the Hollywood Walk of Fame doesn't fall short behind. Then, there are also a couple of production studios such as Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers. With so many great spots to roam around, one thing is clear - the City of Angels is indeed a paradise for all movie buffs out there!

But there's so much more to Los Angeles than motion pictures! For instance, those who visit the OUE Skyspace LA can soak in the mesmerizing views of the entire city from a height of 1,000 feet. Furthermore, the Getty Center located in Brentwood offers travelers a chance to enjoy some of the world's finest art! And then, there is the fascinating Runyon Canyon Park, which shines a whole new light on Hollywood!

If you're interested in running into some of the stars, however, you may want to take a walk down Rodeo Drive - the top shopping destination for the rich and famous!

Los Olivos

The complete opposite of the gigantic LA, Los Olivos is a picturesque little town located in the Santa Ynez Valley. Rich in history and overflowing with art, restaurants, wineries, and antique shops, the city is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in outdoor fun and enjoy the historical sights. In addition, each year, Los Olivos hosts the famous Jazz and Olive Festival. The atmosphere of this event is unbeatable, which makes visiting during it a decision well made!

Death Valley National Park

When talking about Southern California road trip ideas, it's hard not to mention the famous Death Valley National Park. It's situated between eastern Cali and Nevada and is one of the driest places on Earth! The park is home to many animal species that can't be seen elsewhere, including kangaroo rats and bighorn sheep. Death Valley is a fascinating place to visit, partly thanks to the Badwater Basin - the lowest point in the entire US! It is also known for its giant dunes, below-sea-level salt flats, and several canyons, with Titus Canyon being one of them.


Coronado, or rather, ''The Crown City'' is a beautiful resort city located on the Coronado peninsula in the San Diego Bay area. It's a place rich in history, and visitors especially appreciate the sights of the beachfront Hotel del Coronado. This mesmerizing Victorian-style hotel was built in the 1880s and remains open to the public to this very day! Just across it is Coronado Beach, the first choice of surfers and pretty much everyone else looking for some fun in the sun. On the west side of the beach is the Coronado Dog Beach, the designated off-leash area for our furry friends.

Those interested in the night scene should pay a visit to Gaslamp Quarter - the part of the city known for bustling nightlife. Overlooking the San Diego skyline is Centennial Park, a widely popular wedding venue.

Palm Springs

No list of Southern California road trip ideas would be complete without Palm Springs! Straight in the Sonoran Desert lies the so-called ''Golf Capital of the World''. Loaded with state-of-the-art golf courses, hot springs, and lavish hotels, Palm Springs is a real oasis of peace! Another popular destination, Coachella Valley, is right outside the limits of this city. You may know it as the home to the world-famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, or simply Coachella! This neighboring place also features a variety of great hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.

Back to Palm Springs, however, San Jacinto Peak offers unbeatable views of the whole city and can easily be reached by Palm Springs Aerial Tram. Artistic souls can spend the day in the Palm Springs Art Museum, where they can learn all there is to know about local art. On the other hand, animal lovers should make the trip to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

...but that isn't all!

There are plenty of other Southern California road trip ideas that didn't make it onto our list but are still worth giving a shot this summer! Some of those include Cabot's Pueblo Museum, Joshua Tree National Park, Palomar Observatory, and even Disneyland! Still, no matter where you go, you'll be met with fantastic scenery and plenty of activities to partake in. Strap in because you're in for a ride!

Written By Mary Aspen Richardson

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