A Day Away: Fab Family Vacations Within 6 Hours of LA

Families that live in the greater LA area have a spectacular choice of kid-friendly getaways within a day's drive, from beach towns to mountain escapes and desert oases. These popular suggestions can all be reached in six hours or less, based on the estimated drive time from Mapquest.com. (Also check out the Los Angeles Travel Expert's recommended shorter road trips from L.A.)

  • 01 of 10
    Disneyland with the Fab 5
    ••• Scott Brinegar/Walt Disney Parks

    Drive time: 37 mins.
    Disneyland Resort holds a special place in the hearts of Disney fans as the place where it all began. Plan your getaway at the original Disneyland theme park and Disney California Adventure Park. 

  • 02 of 10
    LagunaBeach_MainBeach_FCC_jmpm3.jpg
    ••• Flickr Creative Commons/jmpm3

    Drive time: 53 mins.
    Known for its mild year-round climate and artist community, the seaside resort town of Laguna Beach beckons families to enjoy its scenic beaches and kid-friendly attractions.

  • 03 of 10
    Glamping at El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara
    ••• El Capitan Canyon

    Drive time: 1 hr, 30 mins.

    For families who like camping but don't love roughing it, glamping at El Capitan Canyon is the best of both worlds, delivering the sounds of nature, the smell of campfires and plenty of free-form fun—but in a hassle-free setting with comfy beds, running water, and easy access to meals.

  • 04 of 10
    UCSBFamilyVacationCenter.jpg
    ••• UCSB Family Vacation Center

    Drive time: 1 hr, 30 mins.
    One of America's Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families, This beachside summer camp takes place on the University of California Santa Barbara campus and earns raves from families for its enthusiastic counselors and the wide array of activities for kids and adults. Rates cover lodging, meals, and a roster of activities that includes hiking, mountain biking, tennis, and simply kicking back by the pool. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    ScrippsInstituteOfOceanography.jpg
    ••• Scripps Institute of Oceanography

    Drive time: 1 hr, 55 min.
    Bring the kids to world-famous zoo and Legoland California, of course, and take time to explore some of San Diego's 33 beaches, but be sure to mix as many free activities into your itinerary. 

  • 06 of 10
    JoshuaTreeNP.jpg
    ••• National Park Service

    Drive time: 2 hrs, 36 mins.
    Named for the trees native to the park, 1,200-square-mile Joshua Tree National Park is slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. Much of the park is wilderness and includes parts of two deserts, the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert.

  • 07 of 10
    PismoBeachPier_FCC_AnitaRitenour.jpg
    ••• Anita Ritenour/Flickr Creative Commons

    Drive time: 2 hrs, 59 mins.
    With cliffs perched over white sand beaches and jaw-dropping ocean views, the scenic town of Pismo Beach is a gem on California's Central Coast. It is an ideal base from which to explore the 'Five Cities' community along Highway 1 as it winds through the beautiful landscape south of Big Sur.

  • 08 of 10
    SequoiaNP.jpg
    ••• National Park Service

    Drive time: 4 hrs, 59 mins.
    The second-oldest national park after Yellowstone, Sequoia National Park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees on Earth. The park is contiguous to the north with Kings Canyon National Park. Together Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contain 202,430 acres of old-growth forests.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Yosemite.jpg
    ••• Yosemite National Park

    Drive time: 5 hr, 45 mins.
    Protected since 1864, Yosemite is California's first national park. It is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

  • 10 of 10

    Santa Cruz, CA

    SCTwinLakesSB_FCC_DonDeBold.jpg
    ••• Flickr Creative Commons/Don DeBold

    Drive time: 5 hr, 52 mins.
    With its family-friendly beaches, miles of open space and fun events for kids, Santa Cruz makes for a fantastic family getaway.