With highs now in the 80s, it feels as if summer has come early to Southern California.
To celebrate the warm weather, read on and learn about hikes along the Pacific and a low-effort beach camping experience — all within 120 miles of Los Angeles.
You’ll also find a reader recommendation as well as a must-have tool for planning your road trip. Safe and happy travels, wherever your adventures take you.
Soak in ocean views on these five hikes
Have you heard of the California Coastal Trail? If not, it’s probably because the ambitious project, a network of paths lining the state’s coastline, is only about 60% complete.
You can get a taste of the experience by hiking and walking these five Southern California trails, described by Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds.
If you’re keen on staying within L.A. County, the Point Dume Cove Trail in Malibu offers sweeping ocean views ideal for whale-spotting from February through April. You may want to visit during off-hours, as the pathways can be crowded at sunset.
Farther south, Reynolds offers tips for traversing trails at San Onofre State Beach, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla and more.
Looking for an easy camping trip?
There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment that comes with camping in an off-the-beaten-path stretch of forest or a remote part of the desert.
But sometimes, it feels good to take it easy. And by far the easiest place I’ve camped is Carpinteria State Beach. A few years ago, I spent my birthday weekend at the campground, just over a hill of sand from the roaring Pacific.
My friends and I enjoyed the usual beach camping activities: taking long walks along the empty coast, making a campfire and sleeping under the stars. But we could also drive to Albertsons, five minutes away, when we ran out of marshmallows.
If a low-lift beach getaway sounds just your speed, book a campsite at Carpinteria State Beach on ReserveCalifornia.
Immerse yourself in one of L.A.’s architectural gems
Last week, I asked readers to send me their favorite architectural destinations in the West — you’ll see some of the responses I received in the coming months. This week, I’m spotlighting the Gamble House in Pasadena, recommended by Stephen Tetzlaff.
Tours of the interior of the famed Arts and Crafts-style home have not resumed, but visitors can purchase tickets for a one-hour tour of the home’s exterior and gardens, as well as a 90-minute tour of the neighborhood, a National Register Historic District.
For those who can’t visit in person, the Gamble House’s website offers virtual docent-led tours of the home and an immersive click-through experience.
Planning a road trip? Check out this tool
If you’re planning a road trip this summer, take Within Hours for a spin. The simple website allows you to plug in a destination and learn about nearby attractions.
This tool is particularly useful for travelers adhering to California’s advisory to stay within 120 miles of home. On its list of destinations 120 miles from Los Angeles are Joshua Tree National Park, Refugio State Beach and many more.
Can’t adventure IRL? Here’s one way to expand your horizons
Take a plunge into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with this immersive virtual experience created by David Attenborough.
I was surprised to learn that the reef is a destination for more than divers and tourists — many marine animals also make lengthy journeys to its waters. For example, dwarf minke whales travel thousands of miles north from the sub-Antarctic during the winter season.
Virtual travelers learn about the threats facing the Great Barrier Reef, including ocean acidification and sea temperature rise, which causes coral bleaching, and invasions of crown-of-thorns starfish.
Hitting the pavement this weekend? “Drive and Disconnect” by NAO is a sure-fire way to get amped on the way to your next adventure.
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