Los Angeles is an amazing city, and if you’re visiting soon, you’re very lucky. However, there’s so much to discover in Southern California that it would be well worth it to take a day trip or two out of the city while you’re here. We’ve got plenty of charming small towns and picturesque places that will make you feel like you’re on another planet… but you’ll be back in LA by dinnertime.
Of course, finding the perfect inexpensive car rental Los Angeles deal is the first step to planning any day trip. You’ll be glad you have a rental car during your visit—Los Angeles is much better explored that way. But if you want to escape the city, it’s essential.
Luckily, Super Cheap Car Rental has plenty of Los Angeles car rental reservation packages to choose from. You’ll have your choice of our fleet of reliable vehicles.
Once your car rental reservation is made, all that’s left to do is hit the open road. These destinations are all within a two-hour drive from LA, and they’re all exceptionally fun.
If lush green hillsides and an abundance of wineries sound like your idea of a good time, you’ll love the Temecula Valley. If you don’t hit traffic (meaning you should leave early), you can get there in less than two hours. Learn about the local history by visiting the Temecula Valley Museum, or go all-out and book a ride on a hot-air balloon with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides.
Of course, the wineries are worth seeing here, so make sure you have a designated driver. Leoness Cellars is a local favorite (mainly for their award-winning restaurant) and Monte De Oro Winery is another top choice.
Ojai is just a 90-minute drive from downtown LA, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world. You’ll find a lot of charming antique shops and boutiques on Ojai Avenue, and the nearby trails of Los Padres National Forest will bring out your inner adventurer. You can even tour a citrus grove or take a guided horseback tour of some of the top nature spots.
Of course, if you’re looking to relax, Ojai is the perfect place for you. The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has every spa treatment imaginable, and Meditation Mount is the perfect place to catch a sunset.
San Juan Capistrano
Want to see an impressive piece of California history? San Juan Capistrano is a 90 minute drive from LA and makes a beautiful off-the-beaten path day trip. The Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra and is arguably one of the prettiest missions in the country.
Once you’ve explored the mission, check out the nearby Los Rios Historic District and take yourself on a walking tour. You’ll have plenty of options for delicious food, too—Five Vines is a wine bar with sandwiches and small plates, and Ramos House is a charming and romantic spot serving mouthwatering meals.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from LA, but you may want to find overnight accommodations if you go. This is truly one of the most incredible places in California (and possibly the world), and you’ll want to explore as much as possible. Between the ancient Joshua trees, giant boulders, desert land, mini mountains and looming cacti, you’ll feel like you’re on another planet (a good one).
Palm Springs is an easy and beautiful two-hour drive from LA. It’s well known as the ultimate vacation destination for those seeking relaxation, culture, and laid-back entertainment, and it lives up to its reputation.
From poolside hangouts to trendy restaurants and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, Palm Springs has everything Los Angeles does, but it’s smaller and more laid back. If you’re a golfer, you’ll love the legendary golf courses here… and if you need a luxurious spa day, you’ve come to the right place. Palm Springs is the perfect place to pamper yourself.
Long Beach is a mere 45 minute south of LA, although you’ll want to take traffic into consideration. This charming coastal city has an abundance of tourist activities, ranging from the famous (and haunted) Queen Mary to the Aquarium of the Pacific, you’ll find plenty of attractions, shops, and eateries right on the waterfront.
If you find the Naples neighborhood, be prepared to fall in love. The Italian-inspired community was developed to be the “Dreamland of Southern California,” and it’s hard not to feel dreamy when you’re on an authentic gondola ride.
Located about 140 miles north of LA, Los Alamos was once a major stagecoach stop. It has maintained a charming Old West theme, and it’s so small that it’s still a single stoplight town. Known for its wine tasting rooms, antique shops and art galleries, this is the perfect town to spend a laid back day.