Alabaster beaches curl softly around the teal- and turquoise-dappled water of the bay, which is scattered with catamarans, yachts, and small fishing boats. Forested slopes rise behind, their thick green cloak interrupted only by zigzagging roads and houses that cling to the hillsides and gaze at the ocean. I could be on a Caribbean island, or holidaying in the French Riviera.
Instead, I’m on Santa Catalina, one of the Channel Islands just off the Southern California coast. It only takes around two hours to get there from Los Angeles, via a short drive and a ferry, yet it feels like a different world: one where hiking trails are more common than traffic jams and your trickiest decision is likely to be whether to picnic on the bluffs or indulge in a spa treatment back at your hotel.
Head in pretty much any direction from LA and you’ll hit the vacation jackpot. The City of Angels is surrounded by seemingly endless opportunities for a perfect weekend getaway. From relaxing breaks (and catching breaks) by the beach to glitzy desert destinations, here are some of my favorite places for a weekend trip from Los Angeles.