5 Cheap Summer Vacations Within a Day’s Drive of Los Angeles
Have you fallen asleep with local lavender on your pillow? What about while being lulled by the offshore breezes from the beach a mile away? The wind in the pines, anyone? Here are your best bets for a low-cost but high-relaxation getaway. (So fill up the tank and get driving already.)
Tiny House Surfing in Carpinteria (1 hour and 45 minutes)
Want to know if you can get behind the whole tiny house movement? Stay in a newly-built 400-square-foot house that’s got a fenced-in yard for pets and a view of the ocean (which is only one mile away). You’re super-secluded in the middle of an avocado grove, and there’s a huge deck for sunning au naturel. Antsy? Borrow a bike for a short spin to the quaint little surf town. There’s room for two to four people—and it’s only $160 a night.
Forest Walking in Idyllwild (2 hours)
You’re staying at a circa-1900 sanitarium in the middle of a secluded mountain ski area. Horror flick setting or best vacay ever? We’re betting on the latter, when you pay $80 per night for your own little cabin and spend days mountain biking, hiking and maybe even that trendy name for walking barefoot, earthing.
Deep Inhalations in Los Olivos (2 hours and 34 minutes)
You’re in the middle of wine country, and all you can think about is lavender. That’s because you’re visiting Clairmont Farms, the working organic farm where this relaxing flower is harvested and dried for skin care and culinary use. After a suitably relaxing stroll through the fields, you’ll head back to your newly renovated rooms (starting at $89) at the Alamo Motel, then plop down with a glass of Central Coast red in front of the firepit.
Oasis Swimming in Twentynine Palms (2 hours, 30 minutes)
Are you crazy, heading to the desert in the summer? No, cool customer, since you’re headed to a 9,000-year-old oasis, specifically the 29 Palm Inn in the oasis of Mara in the village of Twentynine Palms, where rooms start at $132 in the summer. Get up for a dawn hike in nearby Joshua Tree National Park, bask by the pool during the day, meet locals for a sundowner at famed rock-and-roll bar Pappy and Harriet’s, then indulge in crazy desert stargazing after dark. No sweat.
Trailer Sitting in Santa Barbara (2 hours)
This affluent college town is known for its fine dining, great shopping, chill vibe and expensive hotels. You can enjoy everything except the wallet ache by checking into Autocamp, the little cluster of renovated Airstream trailers downtown, where a four-person trailer rents for $164 a night so that you can glamp with the best of them.