We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Day trips

Which Los Angeles hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
528 posts
5 reviews
Day trips

hi,

i would like to know what day trip to a National Park or similar close to L.A. i could do with children?

Please not Disney or other theme park!

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
24,253 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Day trips

The Cleveland National Forest is in Southern Orange County, combine that with a visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Or head to Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Tramway (take you to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park) and Living Desert is a good combination.

…wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_74

http://www.pstramway.com/

http://www.livingdesert.org/

Also, the Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks are also option, but a bit more of a drive.

Closer to Los Angeles, there was a recent article in the Orange County Register that talked about some local parks. Here is the link to the Anaheim Top Question listing the options.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29092-i65-k603239…

Rancho Santa...
Level Contributor
6,240 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Day trips

How old are you children? Define "close". One hour? Two? Four? Do you have any idea of what do you want to do with your children when you get there?

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
11,830 posts
213 reviews
3. Re: Day trips

Ages would be great. As would time of year you will be here.

Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
528 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Day trips

Hi,

4 children from 5 to 11 and it would be the first week of April, i would like a lake or something similar and 2 hrs max driving time

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
24,253 posts
13 reviews
5. Re: Day trips

Then head to Highway 74 and drive through the Cleveland National Forest to the Lake Elsinore area. See link above.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
27,683 posts
61 reviews
6. Re: Day trips

http://www.castaiclake.com/aboutus.html

Here's a map: Less than an hour's drive from L.A. -- simple route, north on Interstate 5 to exit 176A.

http://mapq.st/14Ph7G9

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
11,830 posts
213 reviews
7. Re: Day trips

No lake, but at the beginning of April, I would choose Joshua Tree National Park. It is pretty fantastic - joshua trees are weirdly shaped yucca trees and only found in that part of the world, really. Lots of amazing rock formations that look so out of place and moon-scape-ish! Easy hiking, plenty of wildflowers, near Palm Springs.

http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm

So Cal
Level Contributor
5,732 posts
68 reviews
8. Re: Day trips

If you want a lake, I'd head to Big Bear, up in the mountains (you would head east on the the 210 or 10, then there are a couple routes you could use to go north). It's probably at about your 2hr limit. Not a park, but a lake and cute little town, and much nicer, I think, than Lake Elsinore (although that drive to Lake E is nice).

Just FYI, the LA metropolitan area is almost as much of a sprawl as Mexico City. Although there are some nice and sizeable urban parks, you have to drive pretty far to get to a real national park or similar.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
1,028 posts
92 reviews
9. Re: Day trips

The nicest lake would be Big Bear, as Janazz said. It's in a small mountain community about 120 miles east of LA. But it will be chilly up there in April as it is over 6,000 ft elevation. Take a jacket.

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
11,830 posts
213 reviews
10. Re: Day trips

Big Bear lake at the beginning of April will be, IMO, very boring! It is great for winter activities and okay for summer, but I can't imagine what a family with 4 kids could do there in April. But you can enlighten me and the OP if you could suggest specific activities.