These Fall Getaways Are Within Driving Distance of L.A.

Just in case you’re feeling like fleeing for a day because it’s all too much and nature is the one nice thing left

Nobody would judge you if you needed to take a couple days, get out of town, and surround yourself with the serene beauty of nature right now. Within a short drive of Los Angeles, there are plenty of fall getaway opportunities.

Several of these destinations are possible to do as single-day road trips. If you decide to stay overnight or longer, be sure to practice responsible pandemic travel, always wearing a mask, staying only with your household group, and generally limiting the ways you expose yourself to local residents in more remote communities that may have limited healthcare options. And never, ever travel if you feel unwell or if you’ve been around people who’ve tested positive, obviously.

Big Bear


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Big Bear calls itself SoCal’s “four season mountain resort,” with scenery and activities worth taking advantage of throughout the year, but this time of year is a favorite. They call it “falltacular,” in fact. The area’s trees turn colors in fall, making for a picture-perfect seasonal hike through the woods.

Lake Arrowhead


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Appealingly close to L.A.–driving Pasadena to Lake Arrowhead clocks in under two hours–yet attractively rustic when you arrive, Lake Arrowhead pitches itself as being nestled “in the Alps of Southern California.” Most attractions in the area are open, including SkyPark at Santa’s Village, which offers seasonal family activities and photo ops (with pandemic protocols in place, of course).



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Idyllwild has all the adorable trappings of a quaint small town tucked into the woods at the top of a windy mountain road. Go on hikes or do some mountain biking while you’re here. Several campgrounds are operational around the area, if you want to stay overnight, under the stars.

Morro Bay


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Less of a woodland vibe, this sweet seaside town has views, ocean breezes–and one extremely large and photogenic rock. Fans of any water-based recreation will have plenty to do–kayaking, fishing, surfing, and sailing opportunities abound–and there’s hiking and biking trails for landlubbers.



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When there aren’t red flag-level wind gusts blowing through the San Gabriel Mountains, a trip to Wrightwood is a quick and fun change of pace. The charming town itself is decorated with storybook details, and the surrounding area offers plenty of hiking and outdoor space. In the winter, visitors come for some of the closest-to-L.A. skiing and snowboarding slopes.

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