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.
Near where the 405 and the 101 come together sits 2,000 acres of parkland with tennis courts, a velodrome and an archery range. But for those looking to just chill out, you’ll be all about the wildlife preserve where plants and animals run free—just like your mind as you’re meditating during lunch hour.
The Japanese Garden
This six-and-a-half acre beauty in the middle of the bustling San Fernando Valley consists of three gardens in one: a rock garden, a water garden and a tatami mat teahouse surrounded by a tea garden. Admission is $5—a small price to pay for some afternoon zen.
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.