5. Explore Cali History in the Open Air
The Picture Bridge at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena is an old-fashioned wooden bridge that doubles as a history museum. Along its length, it has 41 paintings of California treasures such as Cathedral Spires in Yosemite, Midway Point on Carmel’s Seventeen Mile Drive and man-made icons such as Mt. Wilson Observatory and Catalina Island’s Avalon Bay. The paintings were originally painted in 1933 by local landscape artist Frank M. Moore, who was paid $10 and all the food he and his wife could eat (a big deal during the Depression). After 80 years of exposure to the elements, the faded oil paintings were recreated by the vivid copies in place and just unveiled. Another excellent outdoor history lesson: the Great Wall of Los Angeles, a half-mile-long mural that depicts a people's history of Los Angeles, focusing on moments of social injustice (the influx of Dust Bowl refugees, Zoot Suit Riots, Japanese-American internment) that are often erased in establishment histories.
6. Hike the Backbone Trail in Style
Trail Magic Adventures is our kind of camping: Basically, they carry all the tents, food and heavy stuff, so you're free to hang on to a sweater and a water bottle and say Wow, look at that coastline! Check out that woodsy canyon! The company recently started leading guided hikes along the Backbone Trail, a 69-mile ridge along the top of the Santa Monica Mountain range that runs from Los Angeles to Ventura County. You can sign on for one night or for the whole five-day course...and it's the perfect way to get you and your family members finally off your phones.