The Ultimate Weekend Getaway Guide For L.A. Girls

Sure, summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t escape town for a quick overnight adventure. One of the benefits of living in L.A. are the many cool destinations just a short drive away (traffic gods willing, of course). Want to completely unplug for the weekend? Pack your bags for a quiet, nature-inspired getaway in Ojai. Prefer wet and wild water sports instead? Drive south to La Jolla, a gorgeous and often underrated beach town.

To get you started on fall trip planning — or help you pull the trigger on a last minute Labor Day vacation — we’ve selected four nearby spots that offer something a little different for everyone. Even better, visiting these towns works well for any budget, whether you’re prepared to splurge on luxury accommodations, or simply want a comfortable place to sleep. Read on for our guide on where to stay and what to do in La Jolla, Catalina Island, Ojai, and Laguna Beach.

Repeat after us: I will use my vacation days.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Catalina Island
Officially, Catalina may be a part of Los Angeles County, but stepping off the boat onto the island transports you to another world. The place — 22 miles away from L.A. — is so picturesque it can pass as a small town on the French Riviera. You’ll spend the majority of your time in the charming town of Avalon, easily explored by foot or bicycle, where there’s plenty for those who want to sightsee, shop, or soak up the sun. Even history and architecture buffs will find something to appreciate about Catalina, thanks to Avalon’s famous landmarks and architecture.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pavilion Hotel.
Where To Stay

Pavilion Hotel

One of Catalina Island’s most luxurious accommodations, Pavilion Hotel offers both tropical landscaping and ocean views. Bonus points for complimentary breakfast, and wine and cheese tastings.


Pavilion Hotel
, 513 Crescent Avenue (near Pebbly Beach Road); 877-778-8322.


The Inn on Mt. Ada

This six-room mansion, the former home of famous chewing gum mogul William Wrigley Jr., provides each guest with incredibly personalized service. Perks include free golf carts and a butler’s pantry, available to offer you fresh fruit and ice cream sundaes throughout the day.


The Inn on Mt. Ada
, 398 Wrigley Road (near Clemente Avenue); 877-778-9395.


Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa
A few reasons why you should stay here, in no particular order: They have a heated pool, canines are welcome, and all rooms and public areas were refurbished earlier this year.

Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa, 888 Country Club Drive (near Tremont Street); 310-510-0325.

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Photo: Courtesy of Avalon Grille.
Where To Eat

Ben's Bakery
Pick up crave-worthy pastries, sandwiches, and wraps at this bakery, which also hawks fresh-brewed Illy coffee and espresso drinks — perfect for your day in the sun.

Ben's Bakery, 119 Sumner Avenue (near Beacon Street); 310-510-7414.

Avalon Grille
Looking for a nice sit-down meal? Head to Avalon Grille. The menu stars new American cuisine with a seasonal slant, like lavender roast chicken and Pacific prawns.

Avalon Grille
, 423 Crescent Avenue (near Catalina Avenue); 310-510-7494.


Lobster Trap

It’s easy to see why so many locals flock to this seafood joint. Everything tastes freshly caught, and they don’t skimp on generous portions of shrimp, lobster, and fish.

Lobster Trap, 128 Catalina Street (near Crescent Avenue); 310-510-8585.
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Photo: Courtesy of Descanso Beach Club.
Where To Drink

Descanso Beach Club

Think Vegas — but right on the beach. At this recently upgraded beach club, you can rent out your own private cabana and have table service delivered straight to your spot on the sand.

Descanso Beach Club, 1 St. Catherine Way (near Casino Way); 310-510-7410.

Luau Larry's
If you hit up this tiki-style dive bar, ordering their signature Buffalo Milk (a vodka, dark cocoa, and banana libation) is an absolute must.

Luau Larry’s, 509 Crescent Avenue (near 3rd Street); 310-510-1919.

The Marlin Club

Locals tend to congregate at this Avalon watering hole, which is known to serve up stiff but affordable drinks, and host occasional cover bands.

The Marlin Club, 108 Catalina Avenue (near 3rd Street); 310-510-0044.
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Photo: Courtesy of Island Spa Catalina.
What To Do

Island Spa Catalina

For a pampering session, head to Catalina Island’s newly opened first resort spa, where you can request marine-inspired facials, massages, and salon treatments. Make sure to finish off with a dip in their soaking pool.

Island Spa Catalina, 163 Crescent Avenue (near Marilla Avenue); 310-510-7300.

Cape Canyon Expedition

Had enough R & R? Take a rugged off-roading adventure in a “green” Hummer that transports you — and up to 12 other passengers — into Catalina’s Cape Canyon. Watch out for the bison and spectacular views.

Cape Canyon Expedition, 10 Island Plaza (near Sumner Avenue); 800-626-1496.

Zip Line Eco Tour
This exhilarating zip line tour lasts for approximately two hours at heights of 300 feet, with speeds pushing 40 miles per hour. This guarantees postcard picture-worthy views, and a great story to take home to friends.

Zip Line Eco Tour
, 1 St. Catherine Way (near Casino Way); 800-626-1496.


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Photo: Getty Images.
La Jolla
When you’re after sunshine and dazzling ocean views, no place will do but La Jolla — San Diego’s crown jewel, and a breathtaking beach town 110 miles south of L.A. Both shirtless surfers and sophisticated shoppers share space on the sidewalk here, and the downtown area is filled with boutiques, casual and upscale eateries, and art galleries. La Jolla also boasts a dramatic coastline featuring sea cliffs and sand coves. Exploring the beaches is a must, whether you’re here for a romantic getaway, thrill-seeking adventure, or family vacation.

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Photo: Courtesy of La Valencia Hotel.
Where To Stay

La Valencia Hotel

This iconic pink Spanish-style building with majestic Pacific Ocean views has been around since 1926. Back then, it was famous as a hideout for Hollywood stars, and remains just as glamorous today.

La Valencia Hotel
, 1132 Prospect Street (near Herschel Avenue); 858-454-0771.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

This oceanfront resort is situated on its own private stretch of beach, where you can relax or choose from a variety of water sports like surfing and scuba diving. Like the hotel’s name suggests, it also has 14 championship tennis courts for channeling your inner Serena Williams.


La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
, 2000 Spindrift Drive (near Paseo Dorado); 888-828-0948.


Hotel La Jolla

Just a few blocks away from the ocean, this dog-friendly boutique hotel pays attention to the smallest details, like providing guests with complimentary bike rentals and s’mores kits.

Hotel La Jolla, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive (at Torrey Pines Road); 858-459-0261.
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Photo: Courtesy of Marine Room.
Where To Eat

The Marine Room

This upscale restaurant takes fine dining to a whole new level. If you make a reservation for one of their popular High Tide dinners, you’ll feast on sophisticated surf and turf entrees, like Kurobuta pork cheeks or Lilikoi-lacquered pompano fish, while watching waves crash right against the windows by your table.

The Marine Room, 2000 Spindrift Drive (near Paseo Dorado); 855-923-8057.

Piatti
This cozy trattoria has served the same authentic Italian fare to the neighborhood for years. Dine alfresco on hearty pastas, pizzas, and crusty bread accompanied by a special garlic-olive oil dipping sauce, that’s impossible to find anywhere else.

Piatti, 2182 Avenida De La Playa (near Paseo Del Ocaso); 858-454-1589.

Don Bravo
San Diegans are notoriously discerning about Mexican food, so Don Bravo’s continued success is proof that the cash-only place deserves all the accolades for its mouthwatering, made-to-order seafood tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.

Don Bravo
, 5504 La Jolla Boulevard (near Midway Street); 858-454-8940.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nine-Ten.
Where To Drink

Cusp Dining & Drinks

Cusp, located on the top floor of Hotel La Jolla, serves up glittering Pacific Ocean vistas alongside craft cocktails mixed with fresh juices and house-infused spirits.

Cusp Dining & Drinks
, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive (at Torrey Pines Road); 858-551-3620.

Nine-Ten

At this bar, located inside the Grande Colonial Hotel, you’ll find a good-looking happy-hour crowd indulging in inventive drinks with cheeky names, like Flight of the Bumble Bees and Monks in a Mosh Pit.

Nine-Ten, 910 Prospect Street (near Girard Avenue); 858-964-5400.

La Jolla Brewing Company
This comfortable pub champions local brews, including their own hand-crafted beer and a rotating selection of San Diego craft beers. Sip a cold one next to a fire pit on their outdoor covered patio.


La Jolla Brewing Company
, 7536 Fay Avenue (near Pearl Street); 858-246-6759.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pablo Mason/MOCA San Diego.
What To Do

Torrey Pines Gliderport

When you’re not enjoying long walks on the beach, you can hang glide over one. For adrenaline junkies, Torrey Pines Gliderport offers tandem paragliding or tandem hang gliding with fantastic views of the coastline.

Torrey Pines Gliderport, 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive (near North Torrey Pines Road); 858-452-9858.

MCASD San Diego
This Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla may be one of the only museums with an ocean view. If that isn’t enough of a draw, check out their outdoor Edwards Sculpture Garden, full of life-size pieces, and intriguing rotating exhibitions.


MCASD San Diego
, 700 Prospect Street (near Silverado Street); 858-454-3541.


La Jolla Sea Caves
Go on a one-and-a-half-hour kayak adventure of La Jolla’s famous sea caves, where — if you’re lucky — you’ll have the chance to spot seals, sea lions, and plenty of other marine wildlife.


La Jolla Sea Caves
, 2164 Avenida De La Playa (near La Jolla Shores Drive); 858-454-0111.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Ojai
When you want to escape the big city, head to Ojai, only 80 miles north of L.A. Thanks to its stunning natural beauty and slow-paced feel, this serene little town attracts an eclectic and interesting mix of people, including artists, spiritual gurus, nature lovers, and health devotees. Here, you’ll find yoga retreats and scenic hikes, easy access to organic everything, and luxurious spa experiences — all designed to help you relax and recharge your batteries. Power down your phone, laptop, and tablets during your visit, and allow the healing and spiritual awakening to begin.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Where To Stay

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
This luxurious resort sits on 220 acres, and offers spectacular views of the Ojai Valley and mountains. Guests can golf, visit the spa, or take a creative class at the Artist Collage, where lessons cover anything from silk scarf painting to watercolors.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Road (near Creek Road); 855-697-8780.

Su Nido Inn

If you prefer more of a home-away-from-home vibe, check into the Su Nido Inn, where each suite is built around a shared cobblestone courtyard, and includes a private kitchen, balcony, and fireplace.


Su Nido Inn
, 301 North Montgomery Street (near East Aliso Stret); 866-646-7080.


Ojai Rancho Inn
Thanks to vintage midcentury furniture, and details like potted succulents and desert-inspired artwork, this boutique hotel oozes modern yet rustic charm. For a small cleaning fee, pets are welcome, so feel free to bring Fido.

Ojai Rancho Inn
, 615 West Ojai Avenue; 805-646-1434.
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Photo: Courtesy of Indigo Pool and Bar.
Where To Drink

Indigo Pool & Bar

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa’s recently remodeled Indigo Pool features eight stylish cabanas where guests can enjoy pool butler service, including small plates, and, of course, plenty of handcrafted cocktails, champagne, wines, and craft beers.

Indigo Pool & Bar
, 905 Country Club Road (near West Ojai Avenue); 855-697-8780.


Casa Barranca Wine Tasting Room

True to the spirit of Ojai, this tasting room specializes in award-winning, certified organic wines. Try visiting on Sundays in the late afternoon, when you can sip your pinot noir while enjoying live jazz.


Casa Barranca Wine Tasting Room
, 208 East Ojai Avenue (near North Signal Street); 805-640-1255.


Deer Lodge

An Ojai institution, cozy Deer Lodge is a restaurant, bar, and live music venue all in one, where local and visiting acts perform most nights.


Deer Lodge
, 2261 Maricopa Highway (near North Alvarado Street); 805-646-4256.


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Photo: Courtesy of Knead Baking Company.
Where To Eat

Azu
Order a bunch of small plates — made from fresh, locally grown ingredients — to share at this intimate Spanish and Mediterranean tapas restaurant. Bonus, their menu boasts an extensive wine list and delicious craft cocktails.

Azu
, 457 East Ojai Avenue (near Fox Street); 805-640-7987.

Knead Baking Company
For a quick breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up, Knead is your go-to. The family-owned bakery turns out breads, pastries, and desserts with an emphasis on local ingredients, like orange-tangerine honey and seasonal fruit.

Knead Baking Company, 469 East Ojai Avenue (near Fox Street); 310-770-3282.

Ojai Tortilla House
This hole-in-the-wall has quickly become famous for tasty street-style tacos made to go. Taco aficionados will appreciate their homemade corn and flour tortillas, as well as specialty tortillas in flavors like rosemary garlic and spinach.

Ojai Tortilla House
, 104 North Signal Street (at Signal Street); 310-797-8675.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ojai Olive Oil Farm.
What To Do

Ojai Olive Oil Farm
Free tours and tastings are available at the organic Ojai Olive Oil Farm, where you’ll learn about their olive oil-making process and try some delicious samples to boot.

Ojai Olive Oil Farm
, 1811 Ladera Road (near Hermitage Road); 805-646-5964.

Meditation Mount
If you’re seeking a peaceful sanctuary, this nonprofit meditation center in the mountains is right up your alley. Check their site for various workshops and retreats, or simply visit their International Garden of Peace to relax and contemplate.

Meditation Mount, 10340 Reeves Road (near Ojai Valley School Road); 805-646-5508.

Soulcentered
This well-known shop in town stocks healing crystals, magic books, oracle cards, chakra charts, and much more. Owner Diane and her staff are metaphysical experts, and will happily field any questions you have.
Soulcentered, 311 North Montgomery Street (at Oak Street); 805-640-8222.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Laguna Beach
If the reality show that launched Lauren Conrad’s career turned you off of Laguna Beach, it’s definitely time to reconsider. Even by SoCal standards, this Orange County community 35 miles south of L.A. enjoys incredible year-round weather. But what truly separates Laguna from other beach towns — aside from a starring role in an MTV reality show — is its deeply rooted history in the arts. At the turn of the century, California Impressionists helped establish Laguna as an arts colony, and today, it’s home to several art festivals, galleries, and museums. If you’re a beachgoer looking for surf and sand with a side of culture — or vice versa — this is your spot.

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Photo: Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach.
Where To Stay

Montage Laguna Beach

This lavish five-star resort is known for its exceptional setting — it’s situated on 30 acres with panoramic ocean views — and equally impressive service. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out their famous Mosaic Pool just steps from the Pacific.


Montage Laguna Beach
, 30801 South Coast Highway (near Shreve Drive); 866-271-6953.


Surf & Sand Resort
In addition to comfortably furnished rooms that match this town’s laid-back vibe, Surf & Sand gives guests direct access to the secluded Bluebird Beach.


Surf & Sand Resort
, 1555 South Coast Highway (near Bluebird Canyon Drive); 877-741-5908.


La Casa del Camino
If you’re not a fan of large resorts, opt for the boutique hotel La Casa del Camino. In 2010, they launched the Casa Surf Project, dedicating 10 suites entirely to surf culture, like the underwater-themed Rip Curl room and artistic Billabong suite.

La Casa del Camino, 1289 South Coast Highway (near Cress Street); 855-634-5736.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Cliff.
Where To Drink

The Rooftop Lounge

For the prettiest sunsets and people-watching in town, try this classy rooftop lounge, where the signature drink is a fresh fruit mojito.

The Rooftop Lounge
, 1289 South Coast Highway (near Cress Street); 855-990-0282.


The Cliff

The Cliff, located in Laguna Village and walking distance from downtown, is perfect for catching after-dinner libations alongside some occasional live entertainment.


The Cliff
, 577 South Coast Highway (near Legion Street); 949-494-1956.


Mozambique

If you’re in the mood for a little dancing, head to Mozambique, a restaurant/bar known for themed music nights like Blues Wednesdays and Reggae Sundays. And no need to call Uber — they offer Safe Ride, a complimentary or inexpensive service to take you home.

Mozambique, 1740 South Coast Highway (near Agate Street); 949-715-7777.
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Photo: Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach.
What To Do

Thousand Steps Beach

There are plenty of gorgeous beaches in the area, but this one gives you a particularly intense workout — thanks to the 230 steps leading down to its pristine sandy shores, tide pools, and views of envy-inducing Laguna mansions.

Thousand Steps Beach
, 31972 Pacific Coast Highway (at 9th Avenue); no phone.

Art Galleries

Laguna prides itself on being the art capital of Southern California, and indeed, the town has a thriving art scene. Click here for a database of over 100 galleries and artist studios, from cutting-edge contemporary to California Impressionist paintings.

Ben Brown's Golf Course

This beautifully landscaped nine-hole golf course is carved into the Aliso and Wood Canyons, meaning plenty of privacy, elevation changes on every fairway, and a serene golfing experience.

Ben Brown’s Golf Course, 31106 South Coast Highway (near Country Club Road); 800-223-3309.
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Photo: Courtesy of Driftwood Kitchen.
Where To Eat

Driftwood Kitchen

For seafood, steaks, and hand-shucked oysters — with an ocean view, of course — look no further than this sophisticated yet approachable downtown Laguna restaurant.

Driftwood Kitchen, 619 Sleepy Hollow Lane (near Cleo Street); 949-715-7700.

Three Seventy Common
Three Seventy Common’s seasonally changing menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients and shareable dishes — that is, if you’re able to part with any of that prosciutto-wrapped fig or short rib grilled cheese.

Three Seventy Common, 370 Glenneyre Street (near Park Avenue); 949-494-8686.

Papa’s Tacos
This little taco stand on the side of the road serves up all-day breakfast specials, like machaca and eggs, huevos rancheros, and jumbo breakfast burritos — exactly what you need before a long day of surfing.

Papa’s Tacos
, 31622 Coast Highway (near Eagle Rock Way); 949-499-9822.
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