Los Angeles
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Los Angeles Day Trips

Beverly Hills and Hollywood: Helicopter Tour

1. Beverly Hills and Hollywood: Helicopter Tour

Enjoy an exciting tour in a private helicopter over Beverly Hills and Hollywood. On this 20-minute tour, you'll get an intimate look into the lives of celebrities, while listening to true stories from your friendly pilot. Begin your tour at the world-class Burbank Airport, a stone's throw from Universal and Warner Bros Studios. All guests are asked to arrive at least thirty minutes before the start of their tour in order to check-in with the flight team and get situated for their exclusive sightseeing experience. Lift off from the ground and soar through the air as you climb over the Hollywood Hills and across the LA basin. As you pass over Universal Studios, you might just make out the small crowds lined up for butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or see the gentle smoke rising from the stunt shows and animal experiences. Your tour will pass right by the iconic Hollywood Sign, offering you an opportunity to snap a photo (or a selfie if you're quick) from a vantage point view that few others get to see. From there, it's over Mulholland Drive and around Laurel Canyon, an exclusive, historical enclave once home to some of the greatest names in the music industry. Pass over Beverly Hills and the ultra-wealthy Bel-Air, and see the $90-million dollar mansion purchased by Jay-Z and Beyonce in 2017. Each tour has no more than 4 people to ensure every seat is the best seat and includes noise-canceling headphones that allow you to listen along to your pilot's running commentary as you whirl through the air on this exclusive celebrity helicopter adventure. For an additional fee, you can book out the tour as private or include the sunset option to add a world-class sunset to the already incredible experience.

Santa Catalina Island: Nautilus Semi-Submarine Cruise

2. Santa Catalina Island: Nautilus Semi-Submarine Cruise

Join the captain and crew and set off on a 45-minute exploratory mission through Lover's Cove, a State Marine Conservation Area sanctuary. Traverse amazing undersea gardens and ocean habitats in a semi-submersible vessel designed after America's first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, on a trip that is both educational and entertaining. Let your imagination descend into the depths of the ocean as you explore the magic and wonder of undersea life on the Nautilus. Venture into the ocean and through the kelp forest in a state-of-the-art vessel. Learn about what you see with the crew and research team, and let them entertain you with their stories. As you learn and explore, interact with the fish through a specially designed feeding system. Launch fish food torpedoes right from your seat (at an additional cost) and instigate feeding frenzies right outside your personal porthole.

Los Angeles at Night 30-Minute Helicopter Flight

3. Los Angeles at Night 30-Minute Helicopter Flight

Climb aboard a helicopter for a panoramic 30-minute flight over the city center of Los Angeles. Departing from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank just north of the Santa Monica mountains, set off for breathtaking views of the Downtown skyline. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Staples Center, LA’s multi-purpose sports center. Swoop over Hollywood, with panoramic views of the Kodak Theatre and Hollywood Sign on the Hollywood Hills. Enjoy views of Dodger Stadium, Universal Studios, and many more of Southern California's notable landmarks. It’s truly amazing to see the shimmering lights of the city at dusk, and the tour is perfect for couples, families, or friends. Even if you are a native of Los Angeles you will see city sights you have never seen before.

Los Angeles: 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience

4. Los Angeles: 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience

Fly on a large paraglide with an instructor and enjoy the comfortable first-class seat above the beach, ocean, and foothills. Admire the breathtaking views and keep an eye out for whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, deer, mountain lions, hawks, vultures, and other fascinating wildlife. Ride thermals with hawks and vultures, and spiral down over the Pacific Ocean – you will love it! You will take off from the beach or the 3,000-foot mountain top. This involves running a few steps, usually under 20. Your landing is easy after stretching your legs and leaning forward as you land on the soft sandy beach. The tandem paragliding flight is very gentle but for the more adventurous of you, it can be made more extreme if you want it to be.

Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

5. Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

Start your tour at Mother's Beach. Your guide will provide information about the local environment and marine life, kayaking/paddle-boarding techniques, and safety while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Los Angeles boaters realm. Then board your kayaks and paddle towards the main channel of the Marina. On the way, observe the beautiful and extraordinary boats. Begin your search for sea lions, birds, dolphins, and other marine life.

California Coastline Helicopter Tour

6. California Coastline Helicopter Tour

Glide through the melting sunset over the California Coastline, sweep over the Santa Monica Mountains, or get great views over the exclusive homes of the Pacific Palisades. This is a unique and thrilling 30-minute helicopter tour exploring the Los Angeles Coast. The California Coastline tour is available at any time during the day and is a must for anyone who loves the ocean. Take off from the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, heading south to fly over the Santa Monica Mountains and drop down into the spectacular coastal homes of Pacific Palisades. Fly low-level along the world famous beaches of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, and Venice. On your way back to the Airport, you'll fly over the new Getty Center, with its grand architecture appearing ever more dramatic from the sky.

10-Minute Hollywood Sign Helicopter Tour

7. 10-Minute Hollywood Sign Helicopter Tour

Built in 1923 to showcase the new real estate crawling up the hillsides just north of Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign towers above the sprawling city and suburbs of America's second largest city. While millions of travelers visit the sign every year, few have the opportunity offered in this once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour of the sign and surrounding hillsides. After checking in at Burbank airport and coordinating with your hospitable flight team, your 15-minute tour will take off and cross the hills, heading towards the sign.  Enjoy unique views of the surrounding celebrity-filled neighborhoods dotting Mulholland Drive, Laurel Canyon, and downtown Los Angeles. Keep your camera ready as you snap photos and listen to the commentary provided by your helpful pilot. As you pass the sign, your pilot will go out of their way to provide you the best angle and view to take incredible photos. If you select the sunset option, you'll enjoy a truly majestic California view with the mountains stretching in all directions and the sun setting behind the Pacific Ocean (this option is limited, so book fast).

Los Angeles: Private 3-Hour Tour by SUV

8. Los Angeles: Private 3-Hour Tour by SUV

Experience a unique tour through Los Angeles in a comfortable SUV. After pick-up from a location of your choice in the city, begin an unforgettable city tour specially tailored to suit your personal wishes and interests. Your tour guide will listen to your wishes and suggest ideas for your choosing – whether in Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Downtown LA, or Malibu and Hermosa. You can go to Bel Air or even make a trip to Manhattan Beach or Pasadena. Enjoy the view of the famous Mullholland Drive or the sunset in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour

9. Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour

Try something new on your trip to Los Angeles and ride an electric bicycle around the neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Venice. Hop on a colorful Pedego electric bicycle for a relaxing ride in the sunshine, where you can enjoy the mild warm temperatures of Los Angeles. This 3-hour active and fun bicycle ride lets you choose whether to pedal or not, and takes you to places in the city often unreachable by car or bus. From the cushy seat of your cool comfortable Pedego beach cruiser you will ride along Santa Monica’s award-winning beach to the Marion Davies Guesthouse, Under the Santa Monica Pier, and through Venice to the Venice Canals. You will be accompanied by a storytelling guide with interesting facts about the local art, architecture, and history of the area while you soak in the sun, surf, sand, and ocean breezes. The bicycle allows you to choose your own comfort level between pedaling with 6 gears, using the electric motor power which puts the power completely in your control, or both. All bikes are equipped with state of the art disc brakes. The lithium power assist will ensure that you are never far behind. This 3-hour tour operates daily and is designed for bicycle riders aged 14 years and up who appreciate the joy of riding a bicycle with a surprisingly fun added option.

Hollywood Day Trip from Las Vegas

10. Hollywood Day Trip from Las Vegas

Take a scenic drive through the desert as you depart Las Vegas for Hollywood and marvel at the dry lakes, mountain ranges, and southern tip of Death Valley. Cross the state border into California and experience the glitz and glamour of the movie stars. Go to Sunset Boulevard and look at the hand prints of all the music greats at the Guitar Center. Search for your favorite star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, and get ample time to visit Grauman's Chinese Theater. Admire the ornate Roosevelt Hotel, where the stars are often seen having lunch. Use your time to visit the Hollywood Wax Museum, Madame Tussauds, or the American Cinematheque, and get a wonderful view of the iconic Hollywood Sign from the terrace of the Kodak Theater. Discover many famous film locations, including the landmark Baltimore Hotel, and Hollywood United Methodist Church, along with famous studios, including Pixar Entertainment, Warner Brothers, and Walt Disney.


5 best day trips from Los Angeles

Day trip to Palm Springs

1. Day trip to Palm Springs

Located on the western edge of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs serves as a popular desert escape from Los Angeles. With an up-and-coming art scene and near-perfect weather throughout the year, visitors can take in the sun while hiking in Indian Canyons or explore neighborhoods of mid-century modernist homes built for legendary stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball. For those seeking adventure, ride up Mount San Jacinto on its aerial tramway or visit Painted Canyon for rock climbing.

How far is Palm Springs from Los Angeles?

At about 110 miles (177 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, the journey to Palm Springs is just under two hours by car. If you don’t have a set of wheels handy, a chartered bus from downtown Los Angeles will get you there in the same amount of time.

Day trip to the Channel Islands

2. Day trip to the Channel Islands

Just off the California Coast, the eight small Channel Islands are an archipelago of relaxing and romantic sandy beaches, where you can have a fine dinner with a view of the glinting blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. Check out Santa Catalina Island’s Avalon, a popular destination for its unique cultural history and gourmet California cuisine. Or head to the shore of Isthmus Cove and take advantage of excellent hiking, incredible snorkeling, and relaxing safari boat tours. Discover why this is called the “Galapagos of North America" for yourself when you set off in a dinghy or kayak on an eco-tour of the Natural Park.

How far are the Channel Islands from Los Angeles?

An hour’s high-speed ferry ride from Long Beach or San Pedro harbors, which can be reached by car, bus or a train from Union Station in under an hour from downtown Los Angeles.

Day trip to Santa Monica

3. Day trip to Santa Monica

This walkable, bike-friendly beach town to the west of Los Angeles is the definition of a California coastal community. Santa Monica’s golden sands, clean waters, and iconic Santa Monica Pier makes this a popular day trip destination. The Pacific Park amusement park, Looff Hippodrome, and must-visit Santa Monica Pier Aquarium can all be found right next door to the original Muscle Beach. Whether you take an oceanfront stroll, take a bike tour, go surfing, swimming, or paddleboarding, there’s no shortage of things to do in Santa Monica. Be sure to visit Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, an open-air shopping district full of foodie hotspots, just blocks from the water.

How far is Santa Monica from Los Angeles?

At only 8 miles (13. kilometers) from LAX and 15 miles (24 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles, you can reach Santa Monica by car in under half an hour. The bus from downtown takes about an hour.

Day trip to Santa Barbara

4. Day trip to Santa Barbara

Nestled between the central California coast and the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is an upscale getaway famed for its colonial red-tile roofs and white stucco downtown. The city also has some of the most inviting sandy beaches, including Refugio Beach, a popular place for kayaking. Wine tours and paddle boarding in Santa Barbara Harbor are popular things to do on a day trip to the city. State Street offers a selection of designer shops, trend-setting restaurants, and local winery tours. For a bit of history, stop at the Spanish Mission Santa Barbara, founded in 1786.

How far is Santa Barbara from Los Angeles?

Located 90 miles (144 kilometers) north of Los Angeles along Highway 101, a trip to Santa Barbara makes for a scenic, Sunday drive. The train from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles takes two and a half hours, and some limited bus options take about the same time.

Day trip to San Diego

5. Day trip to San Diego

Known as “America’s Finest City," this harbor makes for a worthy day trip just to see its pristine stretches of white sand beaches and the world-famous San Diego Zoo inside Balboa Park. San Diego’s sunny weather is unmatched, making a perfect port of call for cruising the harbor, boarding a whale-watching boat tour, or launching your guided bus tour of Baja. Spot rare birds at San Diego’s Mission Bay Park, the largest aquatic park in the U.S. Discover San Diego’s popular downtown and Gaslamp District by scooter for yourself or join a walking tour to learn about the city’s history and culture.

How far is San Diego from Los Angeles?

About 120 miles away, just a two-hour drive along I-5 S to the southernmost part of California where it meets the Baja Peninsula. Trains leave Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, arriving in under three hours, and the bus will take four hours.

Los Angeles Day Trip FAQ

What transportation options are best for my day trip from Los Angeles?

Sometimes getting around sunny Southern California isn’t exactly a breeze, but with the right transportation, you can make traveling for your day trip from Los Angeles easy.
  • • Los Angeles day trips by train

    Union Station, a gorgeous Art Deco meets Mission Revival train station in downtown Los Angeles, acts as a transport hub connecting all of Southern California by regional rails, making it possible to visit cities like San Diego and Santa Barbara without a car. The LA Expo Line connects Santa Monica to Los Angeles. To get to the Channel Islands, take the high-speed ferry from San Pedro or Long Beach, which can both be reached by train from downtown Los Angeles.

  • • Los Angeles day trips by bus

    Greyhound and various coach buses and tour buses are available to San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Palm Springs. Use the high-speed ferry at San Pedro or Long Beach to get to the Channel Islands. Local buses are also an easy and inexpensive option for traveling to Santa Monica.

  • • Los Angeles day trips by car

    Renting a car is an ideal way to explore outside of Los Angeles because you get to set your own pace, and in most cases, is the fastest option for traveling. Follow the Interstate 5 South to San Diego. Take Interstate 5 North to reach Santa Barbara. Drive west to get to either Santa Monica or one of the ferries located at San Pedro or Long Beach to get to Catalina Island. Head east on I-10 to get to Palm Springs.

Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?

When looking to get off the beaten path or simply make the most of your time, a guided tour of your day trip is a great solution. It provides an experience you simply couldn’t get on your own.

What should I pack for my day trip?

Because most day trips from Los Angeles are in Southern California, dressing for warm, sunny weather and carrying a good sunscreen is always a good decision. But keep a light jacket or windbreaker on hand to go along with your sunglasses, beach towel and swim trunks just in case things get breezy.

Other Sightseeing Options in Los Angeles

Want to discover all there is to do in Los Angeles? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Los Angeles

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 84 reviews

It was wonderful! Seeing Hollywood sign from a helicopter was like being in a movie or something. My 5 year-old son was also very excited and wanted more flight. And the pilot and other staff are nice and helpful. If you want to try it, it’ll be better to book prior. Because the helicopter company needs to adjust the flight time, and the time could change from what you book at online booking site.

Amazing experience. Staff was great and pilot was really friendly and patient and let us take lot of pictures. Our kids really enjoyed it as well.

Excellent service, amazing experience, i feel so safe and so exited, the view is incredible, it is a must do!!

Very nice and outgoing crew. Knowledgeable in the area. Great experience would definitely go again.

Was a lot of fun. The bus came right on time and alexy was a great instructor.