From sun-soaked beaches to snowy mountaintops, to the glittering lights of Hollywood, Southern California is one of the most diverse travel destinations in the entire United States. Those of us lucky enough to live here spend years discovering all of its delights!
Gadabout Vacations has been based here in Palm Springs for more than 50 years, and we've uncovered some favorite spots along the way. Click HERE to see our top five Southern California day trips, and continue reading for five more!
Find yourself transported to ancient Rome and Greece just steps from the Pacific Ocean! Getty’s famous villa is home to 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities displayed throughout the grounds of an airy villa. It’s worlds away from the chi-chi shops of Malibu nearby.
- 1895 Looff Carousel
Want to spend the day riding a horse by the sea? What about an elephant? Or a giraffe? Those animals and more are at your service on the charming Looff Carousel at San Diego’s Seaport Village. Built in 1895, it’s one of the oldest in the country, and still delighting visitors to the scenic oceanside park.
Quartzsite rocks! The tiny Arizona desert town known as “the rock capital of the world” attracts more than 1.5 million gem and mineral fans each year. Browse the popular open-air markets for your own treasure, or stop into the bizarre Joanne’s Gum Museum for a display of gum wrappers from around the world.
- Amargosa Opera House
Just call it off, off, OFF Broadway. Located smack dab in the middle of desolate Death Valley, the Amargosa Opera House was never going to be a magnet for cultured audiences. And so, performer Marta Becket painted a rapt audience for her performances on the very walls. Bizarre but beautiful, it’s a classic desert oddity.
- Lompoc Murals
The sand and sea of Santa Barbara attract millions every year, but nearby Lompoc has beautiful vistas, too – on the walls! Local artists have painted more than 40 murals throughout the historic Old Town, creating scenes in honor of local history and culture. Try some of the local wine while you’re at it!