California Day Trips

As anyone who has ever been to California can attest to, the term “day trip” was not coined with California in mind. Larger than many countries, the state of California features almost every sort of geographical setting a nature lover could want – not to mention the shopping. And yet, with such a vast area to cover, there are plenty of smaller areas within California that make for delightful days. California day trips, whether they are day trips in Southern California or day trips in Northern California, offer travelers the special chance to see a state unlike any other. A good California map can help you pick the best day trips for your vacation.

Day Trips in Southern California

Travel California
Travel California

If you plan to be anywhere near San Diego, your California day trip can include an excellent smattering of water and mountain views. Starting from San Diego, take the Sunrise Highway toward Mt. Laguna, where you can hike on the mountain or just take in the scenery. As you make your way further along the highway, you will have between two and three hours of driving to enjoy desert landscapes on either side, as well as a bevy of picnic areas where you can stop and enjoy lunch. Or, wait until you reach the small town of Julian, a small but thriving community of apple farmers, and have lunch there. From here, you can backtrack to San Diego, or keep forging ahead to find lodging along the highway.

Day Trips in Northern California

Day Trips in Northern California
Day Trips in Northern California

Northern California is known for its beauty and farming popularity. Day trips in northern California can occur just about anywhere, but one of the most popular ways to see the north is by taking a coastal drive down Highway 101. California day trips for drivers and ocean lovers will easily fill a day. If you have never driven this iconic stretch of highway, plan a California day trip enjoying Ferndale, Humboldt, and all of the other great towns and beaches along the way. For the most part, Highway 101 is best enjoyed during the warmer months, but you should have no trouble navigating the road all year long.

Death Valley

Despite the intimidating name Death Valley National Park continues to draw visitors year after year. Some brave souls choose to hike and camp in the area, while others opt for simply driving through some of the main roads.  Whichever you choose, a trip to the park can be a great way to spend the day.

Baja

Day Trips to Baja
Day Trips to Baja

Experience the feeling of Mexico without the hassle of finding your passport.  The Baja Penninsula is an incredible place, with warm ocean waters and white sand beaches.  Perfect for swimming, surfing or fishing.

Joshua Tree National Park

Day Trips to Joshua Tree
Day Trips to Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is one of California's most popular National Parks.  Although the park is technically considered to be a desert, it is both beautiful and complex.  Spend the day driving through the main roads, or pack some food and gear and camp in the park. 

Napa Valley California Day Trips

Napa Valley California Day Trips
Napa Valley California Day Trips

A California day trip through the Napa Valley offers one of the most beautiful visions a wine lover – or nature lover – will find. The rolling one lane road that mulls its way through the wineries of the Napa Valley reveals views that are as idyllic as romantic tourists picture them to be. Start your tour at the north end of the road and make your way south. If you plan to enjoy wine tasting throughout the day, you will need either a designated driver or booked passage on one of the numerous wine tour buses operating in the valley. You can spend as much or as little time as you like at the wineries; and be sure to tour the cellar of at least one. End your day in at the south end of the highway in Napa, where you can enjoy dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants found in Napa.

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