24 hours doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time to get away, but it may be just right to re energize yourself and take a break from the every day. Southern California offers vacation seekers the best sights that the world has to offer without the high price tag that can come with other vacation destinations. Most of the things that it has to offer don’t cost a dime. There is a reason why it has been a favorite for vacationers for over one hundred years; it is just awesome. If you want to escape for 24 hours, these Southern California getaways are the best way to get a getaway.

San Diego

‘I live where you vacation’ has become a popular hashtag for the locals that live in America’s finest City.  If you’re traveling in SoCal, then SD (as the locals also put it) is a must.  Each neighborhood has its own vibe, but all retain a certain essence of the beach life.  From the hipsters in North Park to the Surf Dudes in PB.  Speaking of PB (Pacific Beach) a well known local spot is La Perla.  You’ll do well to grab a Burrito from this joint and watch the sunset or just the beach in general.  Its a hole in the wall, but thats why you’re here.  If you find yourself on the north side, stop by Dark Horse Coffee Roasters.  This little gem has grown to three locations and started out in Adams Avenue.  The guy Daniel who owns it imports his coffee from his native State, Hawaii from a part of the land where Leprosy used to thrive.  Don’t worry, its cleared up now of course, but the beans you’ll taste from this unique coffee roaster aren’t sold anywhere else in the world.

Pigment, across the street from Dark Horse is like walking into Aladdin’s cave.  It’s a treasure chest of everything you’d ever want in your home, and you can make your own succulents.  An evening stroll downtown by the bay and a meal at Puesto in the Headquarters will see your evening in nicely.  Stop by the old Jailhouse in the HQ and see all the photos of the prostitutes that were arrested back in the day!

San Diego’s food scene is legit, and while there’s so much you can write about, here’s a few gems and why you should at least try all of them at some point:

  • Great Maple.  Their pies are out of this world.
  • Cucina Urbana.  Amazing Italian/American flair, but book at least a week in advance.
  • Extraordinary desserts.  The name says it all.
  • BabyCakes.  Where else can you get cupcakes and get wasted at the same time.
  • Snooze.  This breakfast eatery has an average wait of 2 hours, so get ready and get in line.  The food is insanely worth it.
  • Neighborhood (downtown).  It’s a local hipster gastro pub and never disappoints.

Channel Island National Park

The Channel Island National Park offers the most fun you can have in 24 hours without any money needed. A series of eight islands, five of them are completely uninhabited. Where else on earth can you see unchartered territory that you can explore in the rough?  Spend the day scuba diving or snorkeling, or perusing through the sea caves.

To top off your 24-hour adventure, pitch a tent, and spend the night out under the stars. Build a campfire and have a good old-fashioned fun time without the high-priced hotel or luxury accommodations. There is nothing more luxurious than waking up to blue skies, fresh air, and seeing the exotic surroundings of the ocean beside you.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica has been around since the 1900s as a favorite vacation destination. Being most famous for being the backdrop for “Baywatch” – a television hit with hotties, it is one of the most iconic American destinations you can go to. Whether you just want to sit by the seaside or try your hand at swimming or surfing, a fun day at the beach will cost you nothing.  Santa Monica is generally known for one thing – Muscle Beach baby.  Even the most stoic of English faces would crack a smile at seeing the ‘I dont care’ crowd torque their glistening muscles in the Sun.

Across the way is an old-fashioned amusement park, originally built for the seaside resort. Still fully functional, it makes you feel like you are catapulted back to the fifties where snow cones and Ferris wheels were all the rage. Take a walk on the Santa Monica Pier to end off the day and watch the sunset. One of the best ways to spend 24 hours, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Your five-star cuisine can consist of a hot dog from an old-fashioned food vendor.  If a burger is what you’re after, and it’ll be hard not to in this old American town – then hit Ponos on 829 Broadway.

Joshua Tree National Park

Located 140 miles outside of Los Angeles is the Joshua Tree National Park. If you have 24 hours to spend and not a lot of spending money, then it is the perfect destination. For the adventure seeker, it offers mountain climbing and nature trails. Over 4500 established places to climb to the highest peak, once there, you can look out over the Salton Sea. Once you have gotten your fill of challenging yourself to establish great heights, throw down a tent at one of the many camping areas that are available for weary travelers. Bring some weiners, make a campfire and tell some spooky ghost stories. Nothing but you and nature, it is one of the most spectacular times you can have in 24 hours without emptying your wallet.

Hollywood and WEHO

Hollywood is one of the most iconic places in America, though some may deem it trashy, if you’ve never been you’ll get a buzzy feeling.  While you won’t bump into a celebrity, you’ll definitely feel the energy from people who want to be one, and there’s something awe inspiring about it, or crazy!  If you really are into Celebrity, then grab a Star map from some dude on a street corner, get in your car and drive around yourself.  The bus tours are one thing, but they won’t pull up next to Halle Berry’s house (that literally has no gate or driveway) and allow you to just stare in wonder.  FYI – you can get arrested if you loiter.  Next stroll around Griffith Park, home to the iconic “Hollywood” sign.   While your there, take a tour though what used to be L.As original Zoo.  It’s now abandoned and creepy as hell.

You’ll need a coffee after all that walking, and Dinosaur Coffee on 4334 W Sunset doesn’t disappoint, it’s an open plan, gorgeous space that’ll leave you wanting more.  After coffee, ice cream should be on your mind, and if you didn’t manage to see Ms Berry, then head to Al Gelato in Beverly Hills.  Its a hole in the wall ice cream parlor with a 99% chance of seeing a celebrity.

You can’t also visit LA without a stroll through WeHo.  You’ll be able to marvel in the wonder that is the gay district, this happy, colorful and buzzing neighborhood is the epitome of WEHO.  And if you do want to spot a celebrity, head down to The Abbey, there’s always a B or C lister hanging out.   The glorious gay district of the capital (and actually a city in its own right) is also home to Lisa Vanderpumps PUMP, where on the right occasion you might be filmed and featured on on Vanderpump Rules or RHOBH.

If after all of this you still have time, then try to see a show at the Hollywood Bowl.  This iconic stage has seen probably every major musician in history and the ambience of listening to an artist during a California sunset is just magical.  There’s nothing like it.

 

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