Having lived in Southern California for 7 years of my life, I've come to realize how unique Socal truly is.
You have the sunny and relaxed beaches on the coast, but also the special deserts in the east with the most incredible sunsets. I also love how close everything is - destinations like the Sierra Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada are all just a day's drive away!
Looking for a visual representation of all the trips on this site? Check out the map!
This easy, short loop is the perfect forest escape from the coastal beaches in San Diego that is also dog friendly!
If you are only spending a short amount of time in Sequoia & Kings Canyon, these two stops get you big trees and jaw-dropping views.
Mitchell peak has one of the best 360 degree views of the Sierras in Sequoia Kings Canyon Park, easily accessible by a short 3 mile day hike
Three Sisters is my favorite local hike from San Diego because the hike is challenging but rewarding with its three waterfalls and great swimming holes
A relatively small and unknown state park, Saddleback Butte has potential for carpets of wildflowers when the conditions are just right.
One of the more popular attractions in Anza-Borrego, the Slot is easy to get to (even in 2WD), an easy and short hike, and makes for great photographs. The steep walls provide some relief from the hot sun, and kids will love exploring this maze.
Anza-Borrego is the largest CA state park and has tons of its own unique features. Mainly for 4WD, offroading, and dirt biking enthusiasts, we still had a lot of fun on foot and with just 2WD. Fish Creek Is just a tiny portion of the park, but the wind caves are truly unique and offer an amazing view for sunset. Hint - if you camp at Fish Creek Primitive Campground nearby, it's free and there are fire rings and a very clean toilet.
Paradise Valley is a great short backpacking trip in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Starting at Road's End, the trail is also part of the famous Rae Lakes Loop.
We had a great time exploring the vast wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park and climbing the rocks of Hidden Valley
Mt. San Jacinto is one of my favorite short backpacking trails in Southern California to experience true wilderness and isolation up in these mountains.