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

You finished your last final and just before you sit down to binge-watch that show you’ve been waiting to see all quarter, you decide to write a summer bucket list. You eagerly come up with an elaborate title and number the first few slots. And then you realize free time is foreign to you. You have no idea where to start. 

No stress! This list of seven-day trips from Los Angeles is the perfect place to start:

Santa barbara

My friend swears that the train ride from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara is literally on the water. She found the trip so beautiful, that she made a Spotify playlist in its honor. Besides the trip itself, Santa Barbara is an absolutely stunning beach destination. From gorgeous hiking trails to a stream of diverse dining options to sprawling oceans, Santa Barbara is the quintessential coastal destination.


If you have not heard of Julian’s apple pie, I am honored to be the one to introduce you. This practical one-street town is a go-to trip for Southern Californians in the winter, as the little town coats in snow. However, it’s quite underrated for the summer. With horse-drawn carriages, cabins in the woods, candy stores and an adorable little diner, you won’t want to miss Julian. Not to mention, nearby is Green Valley falls, which is perfect for camping and jumping off waterfalls.


Disneyland is a California staple. They certainly don’t call it the happiest place on earth for no reason. Since I visited the new Galaxy’s Edge (“Star Wars land”), I have been craving to go back. That said, you can even check this crowd calendar if you’re set on avoiding the inevitable flock of summer tourists.

San diego

As a native San Diegan, I will certainly be spending a lot of my time here this summer. With the iconic Balboa Park, multiple beaches, hikes and beautiful downtown, I will be the first to advocate for a trip to my hometown. So, if you’re looking to leave LA and don’t know where else to go, San Diego should be at the top of your list!

Joshua tree

With all the beaches, it can be easy to forget California is, in fact, a desert. Perhaps the most popular of sun-drenched destinations, Joshua Tree, is the perfect getaway for more than just your favorite music artists. Camping, horseback riding, bird-watching and bouldering are just a few favorite Joshua Tree activities.

Laguna beach

Gardens, beachside hiking trails, art galleries and cultural events characterize this stunning Southern California beach town. Just 55 miles from Los Angeles, you can dodge draining your gas tanks and still make a fun little escape. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sunshine and views, and this spot will become a staple of yours for years to come.

Huntington beach

Known for its surf culture, Huntington Beach is, of course, a perfect surfing spot and a great destination for an assortment of outdoor sports (beach volleyball, paddle boarding, kayaking). Tourist attractions such as Main Street, Central Park and Pacific City are also perfect for shopping and dining!

For all of you feeling restless after finals but not ready to spend hundreds on roundtrip plane tickets, these dreamy day trips could be your ideal summer escape. Let’s appreciate the beauty and excitement of our neighboring destinations. Whether you want a theme park, chill beach vibe or outdoorsy moment, this list has the ideal option for you!

Kylee is a fourth-year at UCLA double-majoring in Communication and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in Train River Poetry, The Mandarin, Open Ceilings, and our very own Westwind (among others). She also writes feature articles for Her Campus at UCLA. In her free time, she acts, drinks way too much coffee, romanticizes everything, and buys more books than she can keep up with.