There’s an old adage that says Southern California is the only place in the world where you can spend the morning swimming at the beach and the afternoon skiing in the mountains. Take advantage of this unique versatility by venturing out of the city for a day excursion to one of many nearby destinations.

To the south of Los Angeles lie the coastal communities of Orange County, home of some of the best beaches in California, and its more famous theme park landmarks, Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. A short drive north will take you to yet another Southern California theme park, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, as well as Santa Barbara and the quaint Danish-themed village of Solvang. To the east lie the mountains and the desert, each offering several daytrip possibilities.

There is limited train service to some of these destinations, and you can catch a ride to the theme parks by bus from Los Angeles or as part of a sightseeing tour, but to really see the sights it’s best to have your own car.

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