Sandy, sunny, palm tree-lined beaches. Magical worlds where mice and men walk together. The glitz and glamour. The wonders of the cosmos. A post-apocalyptic landscape. And no, we aren’t talking about some unknown, distant land or the stuff of fairy tales. This is California—and for the avid traveler (and the locals too!) Southern California offers a variety of great things to do with family, friends and even solo this summer.
Check out this list of some sightseeing destinations you should add to your Summer experiences!
Okay, so this might be considered quite a bit further than the typical SoCal experience, but definitely worth the ride! Hop in the car and head on down south past Palm Springs (be sure to stop at some of their hot springs before you leave it for good!) and you’ll find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world that may leave you nervously looking around for zombies. The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when a Colorado River flood poured over into the Salton Sink. More than 200 feet below sea level, the lake’s high salt content (thanks to years of water evaporation) has left the water uninhabitable by any living creatures. The nearby towns have a ghost town feel, and other attractions around, like Salvation Mountain and the squatter artist community of East Jesus make this easily a fun weekend getaway to remember (or do it all in a day!).
Santa Monica Pier
At Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier, you’ll have the chance to enter a fun world of amusement, cotton candy, street performers and rollercoasters. And c’mon—we know you’ve dreamt, at least once, of riding a Ferris wheel or screaming as a roller coaster shoots you around over the Pacific Ocean? And if amusement parks aren’t your thing, you can still catch some California waves surfing near the pier, soak in some rays (with sunglasses and proper sunscreen protection of course!), rent or ride a bike down The Strand (a 22-mile beachside bike path!) and catch a sunset that can only be described as spectacular. Plus, the light show you’ll experience as the Ferris wheel goes aglow isn’t half bad either (translation: it’s beyond amazing!).
If you’re a little hipster (and a little hippie), you’ll appreciate the laid-back, artistic vibe of the Venice beach community. Check out the crafty, artsy boutiques down at Abbot Kinney Boulevard or take a walk on the wild side as you meander down the Venice Beach Boardwalk, eat (and people-watch) at a beachside café or shop the street vendors selling their unique creations. Feeling athletic? Check out (and workout at) the original, famed Muscle Beach just a short ways down in Santa Monica, where Arnie himself trained (long before he was the Terminator or the Governator. And if you love the movies, you’ll probably recognize plenty of movie scenes on the tree-lined beaches.
What list of things to do in southern California would be complete without mentioning the magical world where it seems your every dream could come true? Disneyland (and California Adventure) is a definite favorite, and makes the bucket lists of sightseers and home-grown tourists alike. After all, who among us can’t use a little more magical whimsy in our lives? Be sure to take a ride on the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! Ride at Cali Adventure, and make plans for next summer to stop by again and see the all-new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
Joshua Tree National Park
If you love the great outdoors, this is one amazing spot you won’t want to miss. A desert landscape filled with Joshua Trees and giant boulders, this iconic and somewhat other-worldly scene is the stuff that photographers’, artists’, sci-fi fans’ and nature-lovers’ dreams are made of.
The Griffith Park Observatory
Every wanted to take a gander at the galaxy through the eyes of an astronomer? The Griffith Park Observatory. The Observatory is located within Griffith Park, which, by the way, has an amazing network of hiking and horse-riding trails and some great views of LA and the Valley—who knew?! One of the best parts is this education adventure of exhibits and all things cosmos is FREE, though there is a charge for some of the amazing shows they host in the planetarium.
Do we even have to explain this one? If you have a touch of celebrity fever, Hollywood is the place to be. Walk the star-studded streets (Walk of Fame!), or visit the wax museum that has creations that look real. You may have to do a double (or triple!) take. Catch a concert at the outdoor Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, or a show at the Chinese Theater. And of course, that famed Hollywood sign… What can we say? Hollywood boasts the glitz and glamour and offers a nearly endless array of touristy attractions and some rocking nightlife.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your walking shoes, hop in your car and head on down to Sunny SoCal. We welcome you! (And if you want to meet us while you’re out here to see the world in a whole new way, feel free to get in touch!