When you want to get out of the city without hopping on a plane at LAX, you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice. As far as outdoor adventure goes, LA is a great basecamp. You might have to flip a coin to decide on the location of your next weekend trip, but this quick list of hiking, camping, and backpacking getaways will give you some excellent ideas to choose from.
Joshua Tree has earned it’s popularity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get off the beaten path to create a weekend trip you won’t soon forget. In fact, finding your own slice of nature is fairly easy here: just go off-trail.
Quail Mountain is the tallest peak in the National Park, but the lack of a trail tends to keep crowds under control. Another great hiking option with minimal crowds is Contact Mine — with no official trailhead marker, many hikers don’t realize the trail exists.
If you plan on camping, be sure to follow the park’s camping regulations.
Beach camping in Mexico is safe, fun, and delightfully uncrowded. Heading to Baja California is a favorite pastime of San Diegans, but the drive from L.A. is less than 3 hours, making this a totally doable weekend getaway (just remember to bring your passport!).
For some inspiration, check out these two beach camping trip reports:
One of the best parts of camping in Mexico is easy access to delicious taco carts and other tasty Mexican cuisine, but if you plan on hunkering down at your beachside campsite, don’t forget to take along some easy-to-prepare meals.
If you’re looking to add some rock climbing and mountain biking into your weekend nature getaway, Idyllwild has what you’re looking for. Nearby Mount Jacinto State Park is a lovely place to camp and hike, with two drive-up campgrounds within the State Park and many primitive camping options.
Because the area is so popular, you’ll need to secure a Wilderness Permit, so plan ahead and make sure you’re following all the rules.
To reach the Channel Islands, you’ll need to take a boat or plane, but the extra effort is 110% worth it (visit the National Park Service’s website for help planning transport). The National Park contains five of the eight islands, which sit near the coast of Southern California.
Each island has its own personality and landscape, but you can find excellent hiking, primitive camping, snorkeling, kayaking, and other outdoor activities wherever you choose to visit. If you’re stumped on where to go, this guide from Roots Rated will point you in the right direction.
There are no facilities on the islands, so bring everything you’ll need for a weekend away from civilization. Since you’ll have to pack in all of your food and water, it makes sense to bring along some lightweight, freeze dried food for the trip. There’s no better way to simplify the way you fuel your body for outdoor adventure, and this is one trip where you’ll want to pack light.