5 Great Road Trips from San Diego

If you’re ready to break free of staying at home we’ve got you covered with 5 great road trips to some of Southern California’s best outdoor playgrounds. There’s a little something for everyone here from wine tasting to rock climbing and hot springs to snow shoeing, and best of all these are all less than 4 hours from San Diego.

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY

TOP THINGS TO DO:
Each of the towns in the Santa Ynez Valley has something fun and unique to offer. Solvang is known for its Danish architecture, giant windmills and incredible baked goods. If you’re a wine lover check out Los Olivos for tasting rooms, cute boutiques and galleries or embrace your inner cowboy (or cowgirl) in Wild West themed Santa Ynez. Once you get into the countryside you can explore local vineyards, hiking and biking trails or get go boating on Lake Cachuma.

DRIVING TIME
About 3 hours and 45 minutes


IDYLLWILD

TOP THINGS TO DO:
Idyllwild is the gateway to Mount San Jacinto State Park. Outdoor activities are popular here so bring your mountain bikes and discover scenic rides for bikers of all skill levels. You can also go bouldering or rock climbing and there are dozens of hiking trails of varying lengths and skill levels. Also be sure to check out the town of Idyllwild for great food, boutiques and galleries.

DRIVING TIME
About 2 hours


BIG BEAR LAKE

TOP THINGS TO DO:
Visit in the warm weather months to enjoy fishing, hiking, and mountain biking or rent a boat and get out onto the water. In the winter, enjoy some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding in the state. You can also enjoy tubing or go snowshoe hikeing to enjoy the winter wonderland scenery

DRIVING TIME:
About 3 hours


PALM SPRINGS

TOP THINGS TO DO:
Palm Springs is known for its fabulous resorts, spas, and golf courses. It is the ultimate relaxation destination, with lots of outdoor activities, but lots of art, museums, shopping, and dining as well. Be sure to check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for panoramic views from Mt. San Jacinto and take a soak at Desert Hot Springs.

DRIVING TIME:
About 2 hours


JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

TOP THINGS TO DO:
Bouldering and hiking are the most popular activities in Joshua Tree. There are hikes for every skill level, from short and scenic nature trails to harder hikes that take you to mountain peaks. While experienced climbers can have a blast scaling the vertical rock faces in the park, amateurs can have fun scrambling up large boulders. Check out the scenery from Keys View at sunset, and once night falls you’ll find a number of quiet spots for stargazing.

DRIVING TIME:
About 2 hours and 30 minutes