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8 SoCal Weekend/Day Trips You Can Take For Memorial Day

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Spring has flown by, and it’s almost time for Memorial Day. If you still don’t have plans but don’t want to spend the holiday in bed all weekend (though totally valid if you do), we’ve got you covered. Here are eight Southern California locations you can make a day or even a weekend trip out of:

 Catalina Island

Take a ferry from Long Beach, and go to Catalina Island for a day or a weekend. This beautiful Island looks like it belongs on a European coast and has multiple activities from beach clubs, bison sightseeing, scuba diving, ziplining and more. The island is small enough to walk around or rent a golf cart and ride around like the locals do. There are enough activities to spend a day or even a couple of days depending on your budget.

Coronado Island

This is another SoCal island, but a little more accessible than Catalina. Located right next to San Diego, you can take a bridge over the island and spend the day there. The beach is a lot less crowded than nearby tourist attractions like La Jolla Cove, and there are streets of cute boutiques and restaurants. The island is more on the residential side with adorable houses that you can look at, and there is also the famous Coronado Hotel that has served as a renowned location for many old Hollywood movies. Inside the hotel, you can look at facts about stars such as Marilyn Monroe who have graced the property. Also, you can get a better look at the island by renting a golf cart or surrey bike (though be prepared for the exercise). About two and a half hours from Los Angeles via car, it is a great day trip, but also a great weekend trip if you want a truly relaxed vibe for the holiday.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is another beach town that I absolutely adore. Downtown, there are countless places to eat and shop as well as a relatively newly built promenade that makes navigating the area easier. There’s also a cultural district with multiple art galleries to peruse around. You can also walk around the gardens of the Mission and go inside during visiting hours. If you are 21+, there are some nearby vineyards you can tour. If you don’t want to spend the full day or weekend in SB, Solvang, a small Dutch town with windmills and restaurants is just a quick drive with fantastic views away.

Big Bear

Most people visit Big Bear in the winter because it is a great skiing location, but Big Bear is also a fun place to travel to in the spring. For all my nature lovers, it is amazing for hiking due to the lake and trails. There are also activities such as ziplining, the zoo and more! The visitor center is a great resource, and you can find some reasonably priced Air BnBs in the area. 

Joshua Tree

Another great place for my nature lovers is Joshua Tree. About two hours from Los Angeles, there are so many things to explore in and near Joshua Tree, from the Mojave Desert to the San Andreas Fault line. The stars are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen at night, and this is another park with some reasonably priced hotels and Air BnBs.


I couldn’t talk about Southern California day trips without mentioning the famous and magical Disneyland. It’s a given location, but still deserves a spot on the list. However, if you are planning to go, try to get there early before the park opens, so you can be there at “rope drop.” Memorial Day park crowds are unforgiving, so the earlier you get there, the better.

Knott’s Berry Farm

I’ve never been to Knott’s Berry Farm, but I hear it is a great amusement park. If you are still looking for rides and fun, but want prices a little more reasonable than Disneyland, Knotts is a great option. There’s even a waterpark if you want to split your time between different attractions.

Spa/Resort Getaway For The Weekend

Maybe you don’t want to leave Los Angeles for the weekend, but you need to get out of Westwood. Grab a group of friends and split the cost of a night or two getaway at a nice hotel. Whether it’s a place in Santa Monica (I recommend the Huntley), Malibu or another great relaxing spot, the best thing about Los Angeles is that just by traveling a couple of miles, you can feel like you are in a completely new spot.

No matter how you spend your Memorial Day, I hope it is relaxing, fun and the time you need to mentally prep for the remainder of the quarter. Have a great holiday Bruins, and remember no matter where you go to take care of yourself. Hopefully, these spots gave you some ideas or inspiration for the upcoming weekend or even the summertime that is to come.

BriannaRose is a UCLA Communications major and Film/TV minor who aspires to break boundaries and stigmas. As an aspiring creative director and editorial writer, she works on student films and photography projects, and has professional experience in entertainment and fashion journalism, fashion public relations and internal communications for cable. In addition to writing, BriannaRose volunteers at local animal shelters, competes in pageants, and is always excited to read a contemporary romance novel.