Valley landscape

Escape the City Guide (LA Edition): Where to Go When You Need to Get Out of La La Land

One of the things I miss most about New York is how easy it was to plan a city escape when you needed it. I’m not even talking about the Hamptons, although I’d gladly accept an invite.

Little trips to the Hudson Valley and even my grandmother’s house on the South Shore of Long Island were all a train ride away. Even a schlep out to Fire Island was pretty painless if you had a good book or podcast on hand.
In L.A., things aren’t as convenient. The lack of public transit means getting out of the city requires a car (or at least a friend who has one). That said, there are plenty of destinations you can drive to for a quick getaway.

Joshua Tree

Want to take a trip in more ways than one? Just kidding (definitely not kidding, but not endorsing). Look no further than Joshua Tree. The National Park is about a two-hour drive from L.A. and it’s the perfect locale for a quick camping trip or quirky hotel stay.
Word to the pennywise: Joshua Tree doesn’t really have luxury hotels, so it’s not a destination ideal for a five-star experience seeker. However, there are a few funky motels and cozy inns which are perfect if you on have a few bucks to spare.
The cheapest month to go is in July (hot AF), but things get pricier as the temperature drops around October. If you’re not a camper, check out the Mojave Sands, a quaint motel built in the 1950s that you can book for as little as $125 per night. Mind you, there are also plenty of offerings at $50-$60 per night, like the Safari Motor Inn.

Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a swankier stay, set your GPS to Palm Springs. It’s also about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles. In recent years, the town once known for its retired population has become quite the Instagram destination.

If you’re in it for the content, The Parker is where you should set up shop. Rooms start around $200 a night, but typically run closer to $300.

It’s definitely on the pricier side, but the food is supposed to be the best in town and the rooms are basically porn for mid-century enthusiasts. This would be ideal for a couple’s retreat or a friendiversary, so you can split the cost.

If you’re traveling solo, The Saguaro is a great option, with rooms starting around $149.


For the perfect combination of wine and wellness, head up to Ojai. This rural town has long been a retreat for Angelenos looking to unwind and sip on some of California’s finest local vino.

The trip is just under two hours, but this time, we’re heading north. Warning: With the primary activities being wine tasting and spa treatments, Ojai is not the most budget-friendly place to go, so you many want to save this destination for a special occasion.

The most renowned place to stay and spa is the Ojai Valley Inn. Rooms start at around $350, but like I said, Ojai can be rather spendy. For a more “boutique” (read: less expensive) option, you can snag a stay at The Capri Hotel for around $150 per night.

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