Ah, day trips. They’re the perfect way to get out of town for a little bit without actually committing any of those precious vacation days. Whether you’re looking to get down with nature in a national park, drink some vino or just explore a cool new town, each of these day trips offers something special, courtesy of Mother Nature. Here, we’ve got seven excursions on the always temperate West Coast that will make you want to get in the car, roll the windows down and cruise out of town.
1. Oak Glen, CA: If you want to pick apples this fall, Oak Glen is the place to be. Just an hour and a half from LA, the town has a five-mile loop of pick-your-own orchards that offer prime Instagram and Snapchat opps. After all, is it actually fall if you didn’t post an apple picking photo? Check out Riley’s Apple Farm, where you can find seasonal essentials like apples and pumpkins, as well as berries and pears, depending on the seasonal harvest. Riley’s also offers dinner theater and other fun events if you’re looking to extend your trip into the evening. If you’re an avid hiker, definitely check out the Wildlands Conservancy Nature Trails for some super gorge views, which is located right on the edge of the San Bernadino National Forest.
2. Mount Hood, OR: This destination is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise. The mountain itself is an hour outside of Portland, but there are tons of things to do throughout the entire Mount Hood Territory (which is quite large), no matter the season. During the fall, spring and summer, the area offers hiking trails, rock climbing and mountaineering areas and fishing. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are main draws, but you can also find snowmobile and snowshoe rentals. For those who are less outdoorsy, check out some of the area’s ample wineries like Ribera Vineyards and Hanson Vineyards.
3. Napa Valley, CA: Speaking of wineries, Napa is just a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, and totally doable for just a day if you live in the area. Of course, the thing to do here is drink wine, and there’s no shortage of options for where you can enjoy some vino. While there are a million wineries to choose from, Frog’s Leap (Yelp’s top reviewed winery in the US!), Ram’s Gate Winery and Scribe Winery are some of our top picks. Aside from getting your tasting on, you can also do a hot air balloon or bike tour and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
4. Joshua Tree National Park, CA: A little over two hours by car from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National park is filled with trails you can explore on your own and, of course, iconic Joshua trees. Some must-see spots in the vast park are Skull Rock and Keys View, where you can actually see down to Mexico if it’s an extra clear day.
5. Solvang, CA: This little town is also known as the “Danish capital of America,” since it was founded by a group of Danish-Americans from Iowa in the early 20th century. It’s close to Santa Barbara and LA, and wine is also one of the main attractions here, but it’s worth a visit just for the awesome Danish-style architecture. Grab brunch at Paula’s Pancake House, and if you’re in town around Christmas, enjoy Julefest, the town’s extremely festive holiday celebration.
6. Port Gamble, Washington: This little town on the Kitsap Peninsula is quaint with a side of paranormal. Ghost tours are given all year round, and they even host a ghost conference once a year. Check out the Port Gamble General Store for amazing farm-to-table cuisine and wander the historical streets filled with Victorian-style buildings and cute little shops.
7. Sauvie Island, Oregon: This river island located right near Portland is quite large, filled with little country roads and family-owned farms, making it an ultra fun place to explore. Kruger’s Farm is a must-visit for their farmers’ market and their fall pumpkin patch. They even have a corn maze! In the spring and summer, the water’s warm enough to swim, and in the fall the foliage is definitely worth the trip. Take a hike in the Wapato Access Greenway State Park, where there’s a picnic table area as well as an observation spot for checking out the island’s wildlife.
What’s your favorite West Coast day trip? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)