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Five Ways to Explore Mission San Juan Capistrano, 'The Jewel of the Missions'

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Mission San Juan Capistrano wasn't the first of the California missions to be built. In fact, it was the seventh.

But, first consecrated in 1776, it's the site of the oldest California building still in use. And that makes it the oldest of the missions that's still standing (since California's first mission, the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, is essentially a replica with very little original structure remaining).The mission system only lasted about 30 years – Mexico dismantled the missionary effort and secularized the Spanish outposts in 1834, once it had won its independence from Spain.

Road Trip: San Juan Capistrano

Wath "Road Trip: San Juan Capistrano"

That meant that the most staggering structure on the mission campus, the "Great Stone Church" (built 1797-1806), was never rebuilt after collapsing and killing over 40 parishioners from the Acjachemen tribe in the 1812 Wrightwood earthquake, which hit during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Instead, the ruin of what was once the largest structure in Alta California languished – and it continued to do so as California was ceded to the United States and officially became a state in 1850.

But the conservation of the mission’s remains as a living ruin turns out to be something of a blessing – because it’s in the many crevices and crevasses of the Great Stone Church’s former sanctuary that the cliff swallows have chosen to roost and nest. Their return in the Spring was pretty exciting, since it had been a few years since any swallows had been sighted during their annual migration from Argentina. But fortunately, this Southern California mission and the city that was created around it are both worth the trip, with or without the swallows.

Whether you’re an architectural buff, an antiquarian or an archaeological tourist, here are the five best ways to explore “The Jewel of the Missions” and the Orange County town that’s one of the oldest in all of southern California. 

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Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1920. | Orange County Archives/Flickr/Creative Commons

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Sandi Hemmerlein

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1. The Return of the Swallows

Of course, swallows are neither unusual nor endangered, as they can be found in abundance elsewhere in southern California. But their annual return in March to the mission has become the subject of legend. Now, you might think that the return of the birds is by some miracle or divine intervention -- but actually, it's been carefully strategized. Since swallows usually build their nests under bridges, eaves and other overhangs, the mission built an arch in 2015 with man-made nests mounted on it to entice the swallows to come back, since the birds typically prefer to reuse existing nests rather than painstakingly building new ones. That same year, the mission started piping an artificial swallow siren song through a sound system to try to lure them back -- and it appears to have worked.

Pro Tip: Since the advertised "Swallows Viewing Station" doesn't actually house any real swallows nests at all, you’re better off looking for piles of droppings underfoot as you walk along the buildings or anything that might provide a hospitable shelter for them. When you spot the droppings, look up – and you’ll probably see a nest. Give it some time and you may see (or hear) babies inside or an adult swooping in for feeding time.

swallow

Sandi Hemmerlein

2. The Ringing Of the Historic Bells

Every mission treasures its bells, but the ringing of the bells at Mission San Juan Capistrano has become its oldest and most treasured tradition – one that’s been reserved for only a handful of “official bell ringers” since the late 1800s. Of course, pretty much everyone in town can hear the bells ring -- as they have since the mission era (1776-1834), signaling celebrations (designated feast days, holidays and community celebrations) and delivering sad news, like a death. Because of damage or theft, it’s actually unusual to find original bells at any mission, but at Mission San Juan Capistrano, you can find two original, small bells hanging in the campanario (a.k.a. the wall of bells) – the bells of San Antonio and San Rafael, both cast in 1804. You can also find the two largest bells – the bells of San Vicente and San Juan, both originally cast in 1796 -- hanging where the Great Stone Church’s bell tower used to stand before it collapsed in the 1812 earthquake. The ringing of the bells – both originals and replicas – has also become an important part of the signature events that take place at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Pro Tip: Watch the bell-ringers at work during the annual Saint Joseph’s Day and The Return of the Swallows Celebration, which takes place every March and the annual Battle of the Mariachis in May.

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Sandi Hemmerlein

3. Explore the Industrial Ruins

Like all of the California missions, Mission San Juan Capistrano became self-sufficient thanks to a variety of industrial pursuits. In fact, today you can walk through the ruins of an entire industrial system that once included workshops, storehouses and even a drainage system from its early years. There was, of course, the winemaking – an obvious choice, given the need for sacramental wine during mass – but the biggest industry for the mission was probably its hide and tallow production. You can now see the tannery where animal hides were made into leather and the vats where the rendered fat from sheep and cattle (a.k.a. tallow) was boiled to make liturgical candles, as well as soap, grease and ointments. There were even blacksmiths at the mission – and today, you’ll find ruins of the 1790s-era foundry that were unearthed in 1935, known as the Catalan furnaces. Used to smelt metal ore (at a whopping 3,650 degrees) to forge iron into building materials and weapons, they’re the oldest existing facilities of their kind (sometimes also called “bloomeries”) in the state.

Pro Tip: One of the first things the Spanish missionaries did upon their arrival to San Juan Capistrano was to plant olive trees, but the process of turning them into olive oil didn’t start until the 1880s, after the mission era was over. In front of the Soldiers’ Barracks building, take a look at the millstone where cured olives would be pressed. 

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Sandi Hemmerlein

4. Visit the Historic Cemetery

 

Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage
33.777010500000, -116.410628600000
What Camp David has been to U.S. presidents and other dignitaries on the East Coast, Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage has been on the West Coast. It's no wonder that U.S. presidents like to come to here – because, after all, what more peaceful or relaxing place is there to meet to discuss international relations, AIDS research, and homeland security? It’s certainly welcoming -- the kind of place where you could put your differences aside and really get something done.
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  • history
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
34.259867100000, -118.819808200000
Although the library contains a number of artifacts — from campaign propaganda to a section of the Berlin Wall — the pièce de résistance is the Air Force One Pavilion, where you can see and board the fully equipped, commercial-sized jet that carried the president (along with his staffers and members of the media) around the world.
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  • history
Solstice Canyon
34.038427300000, -118.747239600000
One of the easiest hikes for those that enjoy a bit of beautiful decay is in Malibu's Solstice Canyon, where the Paul R. Williams-designed "Tropical Terrace" burned down in the 1982 Corral Fire. Enough of the once-private estate remains to attract families, naturalists, and history hounds alike.
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Murphy Ranch Trail
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This historic site has captured the imaginations of hikers and historians alike, because no one really knows what actually happened down there in the canyon. This parcel of Rustic Canyon is actually owned by the City of Los Angeles, though it's adjacent to Will Rogers State Park and Topanga State Park.
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  • hiking
St. Francis Dam Disaster Site
34.546944000000, -118.512500000000
A historic monument, and the site of California's second worst disaster (right behind the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires), the remains of William Mulholland's career-ending engineering failure are a short walk down the closed portion of San Francisquito Canyon Road, north of Santa Clarita in the Angeles National Forest.
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Echo Mountain Trail
34.209127100000, -118.118023100000
This is an extremely popular hike with a narrow, crowded, and dusty trail, which is more manageable in some light rain.
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  • hiking
Dominator Shipwreck Trail
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There's no sandy beach here: even dry, these rocks are potential ankle-breakers, and it's rocky the whole way. You can hike to the wreck of this Greek freighter at any time of day, but you'll see the most -- and stay the driest -- at low tide.
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Bridge to Nowhere
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The Bridge to Nowhere is exactly as it sounds: no roads lead to it, and it connects nothing to nothing. But in the 1930s, this behemoth used to bridge a chasm for roads that were being built through Angeles National Forest.
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Island Packers Cruises
34.244167900000, -119.265343600000
National Park vendor Island Packers offers day trips to Anacapa weekly, Wednesday through Sunday, launching from Oxnard.
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Gardens of the World
34.176515500000, -118.848175600000
At Gardens of the World, you can visit France, England, Italy, and Japan without walking very far – past a cascading waterfall, ornamental flower beds, a rose garden, artichoke plants, a tea house, cypress trees, and a "chain" fountain.
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  • Arts & Culture
Virginia Robinson Gardens
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The garden is open to the public once a year for its annual garden tour / luncheon / fashion show / awards ceremony, which acts as a benefit for the volunteer-run facility. But you can visit for a docent-led tour pretty much any time of year by appointment at least two weeks in advance.
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  • Arts & Culture
Arlington Garden
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It was a kind of French chateau by way of the San Gabriel Valley, with a tropical paradise out front, but once its contents were sold at public auction after John Durand’s death in 1961, the house was razed.
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  • Arts & Culture
The Japanese Garden
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This "garden of water and fragrance" has all the elements of a traditional Japanese garden: water, rocks, and plants that have been preened and pruned to perfection.
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  • Arts & Culture
Amir's Garden
34.141692000000, -118.298909300000
This volunteer-run ornamental garden is a shady oasis from the sun-soaked pathways of the city’s largest urban park, where hikers, equestrians, and horses alike come for a free rest stop.
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  • Arts & Culture
'Moving Rocks' Mystery at Death Valley's Racetrack May Be Solved
36.678341500000, -117.571750500000
For the first time ever the mysterious moving rocks of Racetrack Playa have been seen moving, and the scientists involved think they've figured out how they do it.
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  • history
Morteen Botanical Garden
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A garden of specialized, curated selection of more than 3000 desert plants separated by their natural habitats (mostly, the Americas – Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert, Mexico, etc.), including cacti, agaves, and even ironwood trees.
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  • Arts & Culture
App Shows How to Access All of Malibu's Beaches
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The mobile guide maps all of the beaches, and more importantly, how and where to access them.
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  • hiking
Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands
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Once private land owned by the Stornetta family, the 1,255-acre coastal plot was acquired by the federal Bureau of Land Management in 2005 to be preserved for public use. An additional 500 acres were acquired in the past couple years, allowing for 12 miles of continuous open coastline north of the small town of Point Arena.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mono Lake South Tufa Preserve
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This haunting spot in the Great Basin section of the California desert owes its beauty to the seemingly unearthly setting: odd pinnacles of calcium carbonate rising from a very alkaline lake.
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  • camping
Rainbow Basin
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North of Barstow, this series of outcrops of multicolored lake sediments were laid down about 16 million years ago during the unsurprisingly named Barstovian period, when the desert was much wetter.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Afton Canyon
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This is one of very few spots where the Mojave River runs above-ground year round.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Crowley Point
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This spot's hard to miss for travelers on Route 190 between the Owens Valley and Death Valley National Park: it's the spot where the road suddenly starts switchbacking down off the Darwin Plateau eastward into the Panamint Valley.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Doheny State Beach Trail
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Doheny State Beach is located in the city of Dana Point, California and is one of California's most popular state beaches and attracts almost one million visitors per year. Doheny has a day use surfing beach at its northern end and a five-acre lawn with picnic facilities and volleyball courts.
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  • hiking
Darwin Falls
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Year-round streams are rare in the desert, but not only does Darwin Falls flow year-round, it does so over a pretty little chain of waterfalls totaling 80 feet, the tallest falls in Death Valley National Park.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Zabriskie Point and Golden Canyon
36.423283500000, -116.839067700000
This is the classic Death Valley stop, a badlands of bright blonde lakebed sediments that have played a starring role in westerns, science fiction films, and even their own Antonioni film.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Tahquitz Canyon
33.577308700000, -116.229925900000
This isn't a particularly remote spot: the canyon and its famous falls are more or less in downtown Palm Springs.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lava Beds National Monument
41.758837000000, -121.526664100000
A long day's drive from Southern California, Lava Beds doesn't exactly qualify as a day trip. But that's exactly why you need to make sure to see it: you probably won't just happen by.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Amboy Crater
34.545171800000, -115.789455200000
This 250-foot cinder cone of black lava, long a landmark for westward migrants on Route 66 and its forerunners, is an excellent place to get a glimpse of some of the youngest rock in the Mojave Desert.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Kelso Dunes
34.894294600000, -115.701817600000
The Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve offer a rare combination of stunning, accessible, and not overrun with off-road vehicles.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Trona Pinnacles
35.618916600000, -117.369948100000
Starting around a hundred thousand years ago, tufa formations similar to those at Mono Lake began to form in the depths of Searles Lake, which was filled by runoff from the Ice-Age Sierra Nevada.
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  • camping
Lost Coast Trail
39.836420800000, -123.843888700000
Lost Coast is 60 miles of undeveloped California coast 225 miles north of San Francisco.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Dockweiler State Beach
33.930579000000, -118.433474100000
This three-mile-long beach bears way more than its share of L.A.'s metropolitan weight.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Malibu Creek State Park
34.099361200000, -118.729376200000
Okay, this isn't precisely within sight, sound, or smell of the coast, but as this park's eponymous name implies, there is an important connection to the ocean.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Leo Carrillo State Park
34.046571700000, -118.933716800000
Out here, 28 miles north of the Santa Monica Pier, and beyond the opulent communities of Malibu, are a surprising amount of unspoiled coast and wild lands.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Anacapa Island
34.004448600000, -119.399560300000
While you can see some of this “cliff island” from a viewing cruise (as well as by kayak), the only way to get in some good birding and wildflowering is to actually get off the boat and ascend over 150 steps to the top of the cliff.
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  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
  • hiking
Kings Canyon National Park
36.866731900000, -118.501382800000
It's possible to enjoy the quiet serenity of waterfalls, the calm beauty of ice-chiseled peaks and valleys and the slow rustle of Ponderosa pines as you hike.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
  • camping
Silver Strand State Beach
32.634963100000, -117.142304100000
Sorry tent campers, only those in RVs can soak up the best of beach and bay here, four-and-a-half miles south of the city of Coronado.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
San Elijo State Beach
33.021180300000, -117.284674400000
This campground 40 miles north of San Diego is another close-quartered affair sandwiched between bluff and highway.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
San Onofre Bluffs Campground
33.363607800000, -117.542995400000
The park sees well over 2 million visits yearly and could hardly be closer to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and the 5 Freeway. Yet, somehow it is possible to feel as if you're alone on an untouched coastline.
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  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Island Fox
34.023205600000, -119.765766300000
Channel Islands National Park is home to one of the biggest species comebacks in wildlife history.
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  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Pinnacles National Park
36.490565500000, -121.182492500000
One of California's newest national parks, Pinnacles features natural beauty and archaeological resources.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • history
The Haunted Forest
34.209127100000, -118.118023100000
You’ve got to walk through something nicknamed “The Haunted Forest” to reach the Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain in Altadena – but you probably know it better by its more historical name, The Cobb Estate.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Elfin Forest, Escondido
33.087169000000, -117.145489200000
The site of the former Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch, this recreational reserve seems innocent enough, its trails commonly used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horses alike.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mt. Rubidoux
33.982927500000, -117.393768100000
At the northwestern edge of Riverside, along the Santa Ana River whose water flow appears to be long gone, a hill has been designated Mt. Rubidoux – named after early Mexican land grant settler Louis Rubidoux, a successful rancher, miller, and winemaker.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Hollywood Sign at Mt. Lee
34.135696500000, -118.318946500000
Between its Old Zoo and its haunted picnic table, Griffith Park is probably full of ghosts. But its most famous landmark – the Hollywood Sign – is also perhaps its most legitimately haunted site.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake
35.654566100000, -117.658159800000
Who knew? The largest concentration of petroglyphs in the western hemisphere is deep within the Coso Range of mountains just south of Owens Lake – and only accessible by going through the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake.
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  • socal wanderer
  • history
Chumash Indian Museum
34.212298300000, -118.815230000000
Visit the museum to see the incredible collection of artifacts they’ve collected from the Lang Ranch site, as well as the dioramas they’ve built showing Chumash life.
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  • socal wanderer
  • history
Painted Rock, Carrizo Plain National Monument
35.159409500000, -119.845219900000
You can find pictographs at Painted Rock, a horseshoe-shaped rock outcropping in Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County that’s been claimed by three Native American groups: the Chumash, Salinan, and Yokuts.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/painted_rock_3.jpg?itok=qtNGUE-0
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Antelope Valley Indian Museum,
34.649594000000, -117.847417000000
The unusual granite rock formations behind the house are also part of Piute Butte, once an area of spiritual significance for the various American Indian groups that once populated it.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/antelope_valley_indian_museum_2.jpg?itok=WgPGopPk
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Cave of Munits, Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve
34.191136100000, -118.669433100000
On the former Ahmanson Ranch in the Simi Hills, it's a relatively easy uphill hike through the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve to get to the Cave of Munits, a.k.a. The Shaman’s Cave.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cave_of_munits_1.jpg?itok=Q6gxz8fR
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Jalama Beach County Park
34.510814200000, -120.501301600000
South of Lompoc is about as far west as you can get on the Southern California coast, and its relatively remote location puts it well out of the worst of the county's light pollution zone.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lake Cachuma
34.571977600000, -119.954713300000
North of the Santa Ynez Mountains, this fishing reservoir is shielded from the brightest of the county's urban lights along the 101 corridor.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Route 166
35.004440600000, -119.838826900000
When the road is south of the river, it's in the very northernmost parts of Santa Barbara County, which are also some of the darkest parts of the county.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Figueroa Campground, Los Padres National Forest
34.732251200000, -119.978904400000
Figueroa Mountain in the San Rafael Mountains near Los Olivos is a favorite of local stargazers and astronomers for its altitude, its relative isolation from city lights, and its peace and quiet.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Camino Cielo, Los Padres National Forest
34.498088000000, -119.710453000000
Just shy of two miles up Camino Cielo from Route 154, a small pullout at the crest of the Santa Ynez range offers an elevated grassy hill with fantastic views to the north, shielded from the lights of Goleta and Santa Barbara just 15 minutes away.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Malibu
34.093540100000, -118.823785100000
Don’t be ashamed if you didn’t know that we have our own wine country here in L.A. County.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wine-malibu.jpg?itok=dAio8bsg
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
San Diego County
33.032565000000, -117.046869000000
You could start your wine tasting trip at the theme park-like Bernardo Winery within San Diego city limits, but then just spend the rest of it in the greater Ramona Valley.
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Valle de Guadalupe
32.095569800000, -116.572601500000
Mexico has a wine region? Yes it does – in Baja, California!
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wine-baja.jpg?itok=WX16j0e1
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Highway 14
34.647055500000, -118.166254600000
Wherever you’re going while you’re headed north up the 14 freeway, you may never get there if you discover how many wineries there are along the way.
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Automobile Driving Museum, El Segundo
33.924624900000, -118.392120100000
Generally I’m averse to ranking the places featured in my travel roundups – but in terms of SoCal car collections, the Automobile Driving Museum is by far my number one.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/automobile-driving-museum-2.jpg?itok=7LLFaqhM
  • socal wanderer
  • history
The Nethercutt Museum & Collection, Sylmar
34.307362000000, -118.464023000000
Named after J.B. Nethercutt, whose wealth as co-founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics allowed him to collect exotic antique cars, this collection is actually spread across two different buildings – and you can visit both of them for free.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/nethercutt-1.jpg?itok=0RF-Ve7C
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mullin Automotive Museum, Oxnard
34.183000300000, -119.163504200000
A visit to the Mullin Automotive Museum is a much more specific experience of car collecting than some other collections.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mullin-1.jpg?itok=4uL5fz5g
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Vic’s Garage, Torrance
33.206797800000, -117.033043200000
The “Vic” we're talking about here is Vic Edelbrock, Sr. – and Vic's Garage functions as both storage of the family vehicles and a tribute to Vic's early career working on cars before launching his performance parts empire.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/vics-garage-3.jpg?itok=m0xKdcPy
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Marconi Automotive Museum, Tustin
33.720946500000, -117.831346300000
In true only-in-California style, Dick Marconi made his fortune off a vitamin empire and weight-loss products – and it was enough of a fortune to mean he could afford to start collecting cars.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/marconi-2.jpg?itok=El39dcq3
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains
34.119837000000, -118.926128900000
Sandstone Peak was once 10,000 feet above sea level — but now, after 10 million years of erosion, it stands at a mere 3111 feet, which is still the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sandstone.jpg?itok=6Ew1MpOO
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Eagle Rock, Topanga State Park
34.106589000000, -118.572618400000
Eagle Rock in the Santa Monica Mountains is kind of a junior version of Sandstone Peak, but the trail to it also offers a great hike through Trippet Ranch.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/eaglerock.jpg?itok=9yaA4Eq9
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Bee Rock, Griffith Park
34.135555100000, -118.293501700000
One of the more interesting natural landmarks of Griffith Park, a sandstone outcrop called “Bee Rock,” can also be a little tricky to navigate to and from.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/beerock.jpg?itok=V9nlYaFi
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Pumpkin Rock, Norco
33.930860500000, -117.519585900000
In a small town just north of Corona (hence, “Norco”), a pumpkin smiles down on Horsetown USA. Well, it’s not a real pumpkin — it’s a pumpkin-shaped rock, painted to look like a pumpkin.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pumpkinrock.jpg?itok=Nb4nZnjl
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Painted Rocks, Fort Irwin National Training Center
35.208759700000, -116.747969600000
These painted rocks have become a monument to the squadrons visiting Fort Irwin for training — in remembrance of how they braved the sun, the wind, the sand, and the heat in this "desert retreat".
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/paintedrocks.jpg?itok=StZAJK-k
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Easter Rock
34.231998900000, -118.106392700000
Have a seat on Easter Rock — where Easter services were held at sunrise for many years, back in the Mount Lowe's heyday.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/easterrock.jpg?itok=pwEW0akz
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mendocino Headlands
39.303705400000, -123.805935600000
In any season, a visit to the Mendocino Headlands will provide a memorable experience. What sites should you explore along the local rivers?
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/noyoharbor.jpg?itok=ngthBss6
  • socal wanderer
Donner Memorial State Park
39.322574300000, -120.233688300000
Exhibits include displays on the Donner Party, regional Native American history, construction of the transcontinental railroad through the Sierra by Chinese workers, and development of roadways over Donner Pass.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/donnervisitors.jpg?itok=8zUT1803
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • camping
Cucamonga Peak, San Gabriel Mountains
34.227692500000, -117.590016600000
A strenuous 12-mile roundtrip hike with 3,939 feet elevation gain.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cucamonga-peak.jpeg?itok=0rv1Qlt9
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
San Jacinto Peak
33.813747800000, -116.678332800000
Take the 11-mile roundtrip hike, all above 8,000 feet elevation. That mileage is due to a significant and fun way to skip the grueling first part.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/san-jacinto-peak.jpeg?itok=u1W-f0RT
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mono Pass Trail, Yosemite National Park
37.891120500000, -119.262816800000
This jaw-dropping trail starts about a mile into the park's Tioga Pass entrance.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mono-pass-trail.jpeg?itok=hlCU_ifT
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Abbotts Lagoon at Pt. Reyes
38.119582700000, -122.951781300000
This hike showcases California wildlife, from birds to wildflowers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/abbotts-lagoon-point-reyes.jpeg?itok=_PpkDXX0
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
High Sierra Trail
36.553231000000, -118.759496100000
This amazing trail is over 50 miles but can be broken into segments.
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Keys Creek Lavender Farm
33.291105000000, -117.060724000000
Keys Creek is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays for high bloom season during May and June, and they offer tours on the weekends.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/keyscreeklavenderfarm3.jpg?itok=gvFWIjK9
  • socal wanderer
Frog Creek Lavender Farm
34.433611200000, -119.160726100000
The farm is open for visits on weekends during bloom season in June and July.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/frogcreekfarm4.jpg?itok=IPBSJLkA
  • socal wanderer
Ojai Valley Lavender Festival
34.446930000000, -119.245041500000
Visitors have a chance to explore the diversity of uses for lavender, thanks to vendors selling fresh and dried lavender, lavender products, and food and drinks made with lavender, as well as plenty of purple products like clothing and crafts.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ojailavenderfestival.jpg?itok=Ol_FWhO4
  • socal wanderer
123 Farm
33.969321100000, -116.945970600000
Located at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn, 123 Farm lays claim to the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California with 20 acres of lavender fields.
  • socal wanderer
Serra Retreat
34.045122400000, -118.681762700000
This private retreat’s grounds are open to the public during the week and overlook both the Pacific Ocean and Malibu Creek.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/serra-retreat-4.jpg?itok=W2jUzQAA
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
34.032002800000, -118.322641700000
These gardens are on the ground of a West Adams mansion built in the Italian Renaissance Beaux-Arts style for wine magnate Secundo Guasti.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/peace-awareness-labyrinth-2.jpg?itok=p1hG7uFx
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Self-Realization Fellowship
34.101760500000, -118.216066500000
The International Headquarters (or “Mother Center”) is perched atop a hill in Northeast L.A.’s Mount Washington community.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/self-realization-hp-3.jpg?itok=SC3DkvEs
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Meditation Mount
34.450825000000, -119.165752000000
Founded in 1971, Meditation Mount is a public meditation center run by a non-profit that’s dedicated itself "in service to humanity."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/meditation-mount-1.jpg?itok=ZRkaUIt2
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Joshua Tree Retreat Center
34.136660800000, -116.361705100000
This is where English journalist Edwin John Dingle – known as Ding Le Mei, upon returning from Tibet – chose to establish his "Institute of Mentalphysics."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mentalphysics-4.jpg?itok=y8AbYepF
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
The Integratron
34.294274800000, -116.403708500000
For an “out of this world” experience, go get a sound bath in the acoustically-perfect, wooden, sacred dome building known as The Integratron.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/intergratron-3.jpg?itok=EpdS3MDb
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
The Wild Goose, Newport Beach
33.620601200000, -117.926227400000
Registered as a historic landmark, you can actually take a cruise on the yacht that was John Wayne’s home-away-from-home from 1962 to 1979, though its history goes back long before that.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wildgoose_2.jpg?itok=7r0V7_d9
  • socal wanderer
  • history
LAMI TopSail, San Pedro
33.731723600000, -118.279099600000
The Port of L.A. is home to two historic wooden brigantines – a.k.a. "tall ships" – that can be chartered for private parties, and the proceeds go to a good cause.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tallships_2.jpg?itok=6b86pj2E
  • socal wanderer
Maritime Museum, San Diego
32.720936400000, -117.173991500000
If you’re even remotely interested in boats, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is an absolute must-visit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sansalvador_1.jpg?itok=7wHMxzqC
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
S.S. Lane Victory, San Pedro
33.715437300000, -118.274254800000
Originally launched in 1945 and built right in L.A., this National Historic Landmark entered service at the end of World War II but stuck around to serve in the Korean War, when she evacuated more than 7,000 Korean civilians (including one baby born on board). She then served in the Vietnam Conflict from 1966 to 1970.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lanevictory_2.jpg?itok=KtuGjDuH
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Harbor Cruise, Long Beach
33.760525000000, -118.189934000000
Along the docks near Shoreline Village, next to the Long Beach marina, there are a variety of boats you can take out onto the water, from little powerboats to sailboats, giant yachts, and even a riverboat.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lbhardbor_2.jpg?itok=n2VzkZiZ
  • socal wanderer
Tule Elk State Natural Reserve
35.322146200000, -119.364008800000
The only species of elk endemic to California is the tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/elk_2.jpg?itok=dDTVnR-v
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Catalina Island Bison
33.414814200000, -118.471249300000
If you're lucky, you can see the bison that descended from the working wildlife that Hollywood crews brought to Catalina Island and then left here to roam and reproduce.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santacatlina_3.jpg?itok=83o-PtSX
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Wild Burros
36.234429000000, -118.028883000000
Burros can be found throughout the Inland Empire, but some stay at places like Wild Burro Rescue in Olancha or Donkeyland in Riverside.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/burro_1_0.jpg?itok=6fo4ROAA
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
34.965131400000, -120.650471400000
At the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park area, a paved access road leads you through the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve and down to the beach, where you can see the ripples in the sand fields.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/guadalupedunes_road.jpg?itok=_sWTHN-9
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
36.615121500000, -117.113144400000
Only about 1 percent of Death Valley is covered in sand dunes, but thanks to the films and TV shows that have filmed there (namely, "Star Wars" and "Star Trek"), that’s the image that most people associate with this desert national park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mesquitesanddunes_4.jpg?itok=cT4V9QaQ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
32.910486800000, -115.117020600000
Glamis has the largest OHV recreation area for sand dunes in the entire country — and the largest sand dune area in the state of California.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/algodonesdunes.jpg?itok=ZzACCXCu
  • socal wanderer
Doheny State Beach Campground
33.463742000000, -117.687568700000
This mile-long beach in Dana Point sees a million visitors a year, who catch its rolling waves on longboards, play volleyball, fish, or relax. A much smaller number of people spend the night footsteps from the sand in any of the 121 campsites, located on the south side of the San Juan Creek, away from most of the action to the north.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/doheny-beach20camping-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=KbjHNXR3
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
LAX Dunes Preserve / El Segundo Dunes
33.897388000000, -118.412294000000
What’s a coastal dune system that provides habitat for a nearly extinct, endemic species of butterfly doing under the ownership of an international airport?
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/elsegundodunes.jpg?itok=XsZf3Jby
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Crystal Cove State Park Campgrounds
33.562593000000, -117.821531000000
Crystal Cove is a holistic, preserved chunk of coastal Southern California, complete with a seaside colony of cottages dating back to the '30s.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/crystal20cove-beach-camping-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=h76TCN4-
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Bolsa Chica State Beach Campgrounds
33.695127900000, -118.047052700000
This popular zone in Huntington Beach sees thick crowds, especially in summer. But nights and weekdays can belong to those who drop anchor at 59 RV sites, all with electrical hookups (there is no tent camping here).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bolsa20chica-beach-camping-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=m3ia4hzt
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Chula Vista Wildlife
32.640382700000, -117.111426000000
The main use for Sweetwater Marsh now is as the location of the Living Coast Discovery Center, where the green sea turtles munch on romaine lettuce and broccoli.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gunpowder_point.jpg?itok=_qHPWnFN
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Sculpture in Tijuana
32.530645200000, -117.023134400000
Visiting Tijuana today, you’ll see how this border town has evolved and even been revolutionized by art and culture.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cecut.jpg?itok=BcQWUiOd
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Campo Rail History
32.611415200000, -116.472768900000
This area isn’t known as much for road trips in the car as it is for train excursions along “The Impossible Railroad,” the now-defunct Desert Line of the San Diego & Arizona Railway.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/highbridgepostcard.jpg?itok=FokKGdJN
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Tecate Cave Paintings
32.538854200000, -116.097582600000
The crown jewel of Baja California’s archaeological sites is at the Sitio Arqueológico El Vallecito in the La Rumorosa village.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tecate_1.jpg?itok=qm5Q5UPM
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Chino-Latino Culture of Mexicali
32.662204600000, -115.492734600000
Mexicali is home to Mexico's largest Chinatown, known as La Chinesca.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/chineserestaurantmexicali.jpg?itok=h5KGt1qu
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Big Bear
34.243895100000, -116.911012100000
Bear Mountain might get all the downhill skiing enthusiasts in the winter, but if you want to escape the crowds during the dry summer months, head to the lake – Big Bear Lake, that is.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bigbear.jpg?itok=VZb8qHto
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mount Baldy
34.236384900000, -117.658971600000
If ski and snow haven’t brought you through the 1950s-era road tunnels in the San Gabriel Mountains to Mount Baldy, allow yourself to be lured by a scenic lift ride to the top followed by lunch at the Top of the Notch Restaurant and maybe even a quick zipline.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/baldy_chairlift.jpg?itok=vIgv97EC
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
The Great Air Raid at Fort MacArthur
33.712095100000, -118.296034100000
Once a yer the Fort MacArthur Museum reenacts of a controversial night in 1942, when a big band dance party was suddenly interrupted by some kind of "flying object."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sanpedro_2.jpg?itok=-tAgd6q1
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mt. Waterman
34.348489200000, -117.922956500000
Drive 34 miles north on the Angeles Crest Highway and you’ll hit a little-known part of the San Gabriel Wilderness and one of the lesser-known ski resort areas, Mt. Waterman.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/waterman_2.jpg?itok=wJ3zHNkv
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
The Triforium
34.054112600000, -118.241307900000
Back in 1975, when it made its debut in downtown L.A.'s Civic Center district, it was supposed to blow your mind.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/triforum_1.jpg?itok=5gmqcGjt
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Idyllwild
33.746715300000, -116.715244400000
The quaint village of Idyllwild isn’t known for its snow play, but it, too, provides a temperate respite from baking in the lower-elevation oven heat of the nearby desert communities.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/idyllwild.jpg?itok=ab2EYZL4
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mt. San Jacinto
33.813747800000, -116.678332800000
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tram, is an incredibly scenic, romantic, and adventurous way to escape the rising mercury of the Low Desert.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sanjacinto_1.jpg?itok=DwKE_OAd
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout
34.232151700000, -117.234580600000
This 30-foot tower that overlooks Rimforest — just off the Rim of the World Highway — was built in 1933 by the Civil Conservation Corp.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/strawberry-peak.jpg?itok=5amXKU-8
  • socal wanderer
Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout
33.755369800000, -116.677106900000
If you really want to get off the grid — if being in the middle of the mountains isn’t quite remote enough for you — head to the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout above Idyllwild.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tahquitz-peak-3.jpg?itok=vJOB41ts
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Castro Peak Tower
34.192320300000, -118.089314900000
Along the Old Mount Wilson Toll Road, north of the Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center, you’ll find a unique parcel of land at 2,550 feet of elevation that’s now appropriately run by the County of Los Angeles Fire Department, known as Henninger Flats.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/henniger-1.jpg?itok=P6OMoJJF
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Frazier Park Tower
34.774980300000, -118.968989100000
About two hours north of L.A., at more than 8,000 feet above sea level, you’ll find a historic fire service lookout tower that’s been taken out of service and now stands abandoned on top of Frazier Mountain.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/frazier-park-2.jpg?itok=6a58oKVE
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Old Topanga Fire Lookout
34.081199500000, -118.645861400000
If urban exploration is more your thing, you’ll delight at the concrete monolith of the old Topanga Fire Lookout at Rosas Overlook, sandwiched between Stunt Ranch State Park and Topanga State Park and just off the Backbone Trail.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/topanga-3.jpg?itok=WhcIqNa_
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Font's Point
33.187332000000, -116.316177000000
It’s California's version of the Grand Canyon, a wrinkled maze of fossils that was scarred by the waters of the Gulf of California and the Colorado River.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/fonts-point-3.jpg?itok=w0vPSz3i
  • socal wanderer
Ubehebe Crater
37.009934100000, -117.449793800000
There are two clusters of maar volcanic sites, to the west (which is older) and to the south (which is younger).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ubehebe-crater.jpg?itok=nwkygfwQ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Fossil Falls
35.969946000000, -117.908963700000
Just off the 395 Highway, between the Sequoia National Forest and the Coso Mountains range, you’ll find a “dry waterfall” of sorts.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/fossil-falls-4.jpg?itok=5ZkZ-waY
  • socal wanderer
Alabama Hills
36.567839200000, -118.089776800000
Named after a Confederate warship named the CSS Alabama, these hills are about as old as the Sierra Nevada mountain range (one of Earth's oldest!).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/alabama-hills-3.jpg?itok=184Sp6vi
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
The Hollywood Sculpture Garden
34.113936000000, -118.323548000000
Although technically this sculpture garden is artist Robby Gordon’s backyard in the Hollywood Hills, most of it is visible from the roads on either side of it.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hollywood_sculpture_garden_2.jpg?itok=FwfACLSO
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Old Trapper's Lodge Statues
34.185066200000, -118.583781800000
A bunch of endangered old statues – handmade by amateur sculptor John Ehn, a descendent of pioneers who dubbed himself "The Old Trapper" – have found a safe haven in a little nook on the Pierce College campus in a suburban part of the Valley.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/old_trappers_1.jpg?itok=LqIqLm0d
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Noah's Art
34.195313000000, -116.288451900000
The “Noah’s Art” exhibit of assemblage art at the Outdoor Desert Art Museum in Joshua Tree is a must-visit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/noahs_art_2.jpg?itok=NjdvqVya
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Desert Christ Park
34.129080000000, -116.439534000000
Sculptor Frank Antone Martin brought his "Unwanted Christ" to the top of a hill in Yucca Valley, and over the next ten years, more statues followed.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/desert_christ_park_2.jpg?itok=Ccdbu3Ve
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
34.015555200000, -117.450132800000
To find your own private Jurassic park, follow the marked “Dinosaur Trail” to the top of the hill, where you’ll find portrayals of prehistoric beasts made out of metal, burlap, and even Styrofoam.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/jurupa_mountains_discovery_center_2.jpg?itok=cKt2UhhY
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
33.976548400000, -117.696518400000
Because it was only just built in 2002, it can take advantage of modern technology and energy efficiency, fusing traditional Indian architecture with modern construction techniques.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/baps-3.jpg?itok=y3JsZrkl
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
International Society for Krishna Consciousness of Los Angeles
34.025231000000, -118.397270000000
The Hare Krishna Cultural Center just north of Culver City isn’t just a place of worship. It’s actually a temple, a museum and a restaurant — and, to get the full experience, you've got to hit all three of them during your visit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hare-krishna-2.jpg?itok=e-Z5lTP4
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Lu Mountain Temple
34.051469700000, -118.103719500000
Tucked away in a residential neighborhood, and distinguishable not by its architecture but by its statuary out front, Lu Mountain Temple is a good place to visit if you want meditate, pray and eradicate your karmic obstructions while surrounded by walls covered in golden Buddhas.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lu-mountain-2.jpg?itok=GGwfHTq1
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Wilshire Boulevard Temple
34.062044700000, -118.305009400000
Wilshire Temple — in what was once the western boundary of the City of Los Angeles but now smack dab in the middle of K-Town — is the house that Hollywood built.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wilshire-3.jpg?itok=q4neBixc
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Pico-Union Project
34.045693000000, -118.274300800000
The former temple has now been turned into the interfaith headquarters for the Pico-Union Project, founded in 2013 by Jewish musician Craig Taubman and dedicated to the Jewish principle of "love your neighbor as yourself."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pico-3.jpg?itok=HMgdgfJQ
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
34.132692900000, -118.283774700000
The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round may be the most famous carousel in all of Southern California, thanks to Walt Disney.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/griffith-park-merry-go-round-2.jpg?itok=VEliz38N
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
King Arthur Carrousel
33.812091800000, -117.918974200000
The King Arthur Carrousel is one of the few original rides from Disneyland's 1955 opening.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/disneyland-california-adventure-king-tritons-carousel-of-the-sea-2.jpg?itok=oYJsecBv
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Balboa Park Carousel
32.734147900000, -117.144553000000
The carousel in Balboa Park is a major throwback to the early 20th century, but it didn't start its life in San Diego.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/balboa-park-carousel-3.jpg?itok=0HITfhPY
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Chase Palm Park Carousel
34.415420700000, -119.682870800000
One of three carousels manufactured by Allan Herschell's company between 1915 and 1917 (specifically, this one in 1916), the carousel in Santa Barbara’s kid-friendly Chase Palm Park is one of Herschell's largest, ever.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-barbaras-chase-palm-park-carousels-1.jpg?itok=bB4qFlOg
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Formosa Cafe
34.090493500000, -118.346043800000
This is one of the best-preserved examples of thematic dining in the L.A. area.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/formosainterior.jpg?itok=9bqPCjx3
  • socal wanderer
Historic Broadway Sign District
34.041876900000, -118.257034100000
Miss all the glowing signage of Route 66 at night? Well, just head to the former terminus of Route 66 (from 1926 to 1936) at 7th and Broadway in Downtown LA, where the marquees and facades of the Los Angeles Theatre, The Theatre at Ace Hotel (formerly the United Artists Theatre), Clifton’s, and many other businesses – new and old – are lit up with "liquid fire."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/broadway_.jpg?itok=NzoDaMPx
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Highland Theatre
34.108840000000, -118.193530000000
When you consider the fact that Figueroa Street (formerly known as Pasadena Avenue) was a portion of Route 66 that actually became a freeway (the Arroyo Seco Parkway, or the 110) in 1940, Highland Park was the first of many communities to be bypassed by a new freeway being built or Route 66 being realigned.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hp_1.jpg?itok=9n0-N6EV
  • socal wanderer
Skyspace: Dividing the Light
34.100160500000, -117.713142800000
Not only can you find spellbinding architecture and fascinating flora here, but you can also pay homage to celebrated light and space artist James Turrell at his own alma mater, Pomona College.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/claremont_1.jpg?itok=DYKFWE8h
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
First Original McDonald’s Museum
34.125517000000, -117.294524000000
The McDonald’s in Downey may be the oldest standing of the billion-burger-selling chain, but to trace the founding of this fast food empire, you have to head to San Bernardino.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mcdonalds_2.jpg?itok=lyNW4amF
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Dana Point Hike | Salt Creek Beach
33.477555300000, -117.719538100000
The Dana Point headlands knuckle their way into the Pacific, creating a dramatic landform that has charmed visitors going back at least to Richard Henry Dana, who landed there in 1835. Today, the point makes for a refreshing place to amble along the beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/dana20point-beach20hike-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=bvTdmyi4
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
33.551321300000, -117.720442100000
The local name for Alta Laguna Park, "Top of the World," kind of says it all. And a trailhead from that perch gives access to hikes where, for miles on end, you will be treated to sweeping views of the Pacific and Catalina Island. Take the 4 mile trail or the more challenging 11 mile hike.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/aliso20and20wood20canyons-beach20hikes-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=xlKmWcrD
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Crystal Cove Hike | Moro Ridge
33.572558100000, -117.797187100000
The park offers numerous trails to choose from, of varying difficulties. But you could do worse than hiking Moro Ridge, a trail following the namesake ridge from Pacific Coast Highway to Bommer Ridge Road, and north to the park's entrance on the ridge.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/crystal20cove20state20park-beach20hikes-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=sVeq7hGD
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Oceano Dunes
35.083374200000, -120.630003300000
Some of the wildest terrain in this region -- oceanfront sand dunes that could be confused for the Sahara Desert -- belong to off-roaders.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oceanodunes.jpg?itok=skIlQD7a
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Pismo State Beach
35.109152200000, -120.626786900000
Pismo State Beach has nearly everything visitors could want from the Central Coast, but with vast stretches of predominantly sandy beaches, rather than rugged shores.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pismo.jpg?itok=sPJ-9ac1
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Montaña de Oro State Park
35.272311100000, -120.886781400000
Like Pismo Beach, Montaña de Oro has it all, beginning with mountains of gold wildflowers, as the name might suggest, and dramatic summits, creeks, rocky coves, and sandy redoubts.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/montana.jpg?itok=5m5bTFwU
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Crystal Cove Hike | Laguna Beach
37.357972200000, -122.181372400000
Make sure to pack a mask and snorkel as the reefs host ample opportunity for submarine exploration. This 5-mile stretch can be done in either direction.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/laguna20beach-beach20hikes-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=dj9_rRCZ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Morro Bay State Park
35.352867700000, -120.838822600000
The 141 sites here, mostly RV spots, sit on the bay, not the ocean, giving a coastal experience tempered by the marshes and the bay.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/morrostate.jpg?itok=bx3kEL3g
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Morro Strand State Beach
35.392521500000, -120.862674000000
Two miles south of Cayucos, this dune laden beach hides 85 campsites off of Trinidad Street.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/morrostrand.jpg?itok=GToNE6BX
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail
33.695355100000, -118.046641800000
Bolsa Chica State Beach is a refuge for more than 300 bird species, some stopping over on their journeys along the Pacific Flyway, and numerous other critters in the water and on land. Hikers can avail themselves of five miles of short, flat trails through the wetlands, and possibly glimpse brown pelicans, leopard sharks, jackrabbits, and coyotes.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bolsa20chica-beach20hikes-orange20county-california.jpg?itok=S7HYW0Pq
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Carpinteria State Beach
34.393595600000, -119.524893400000
From this pleasant spot, you can look out at the Channel Islands and wonder what it was like to cross the channel in one, as the Chumash did.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/carpinteria.jpg?itok=mxVpfiAt
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
El Capitan State Beach
34.461323000000, -120.024990000000
If heading north, this region seems to be where trees other than palms like to grow on the coast without too much coercion.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/capitan.jpg?itok=qwgzfrVA
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Gaviota State Beach
34.472626000000, -120.228504000000
Located 33 miles west of Santa Barbara, this is the last stop before the highway cuts inland south of Point Conception.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gaviota.jpg?itok=3QozBU_d
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Jalama County Beach Park
34.510814200000, -120.501301600000
Even for this stunning region, there's something magical about Jalama.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/jalama.jpg?itok=Yw8sS2f6
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Point Mugu State Park
34.069753200000, -119.012254100000
Set along 3.5 miles of shoreline, Point Mugu State Park comprises an impressive array of bluffs, beaches, sand dunes, river canyons, grassy valleys, and mountains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pointmugu.jpg?itok=MieqGRFq
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Emma Wood State Beach
34.292843200000, -119.339062600000
Though the coast here is beautiful, this RV-only campground with about 100 sites is near railroad tracks and the freeway.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/emmawood.jpg?itok=C__rAol0
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Faria County Park
34.318650600000, -119.390249800000
Like Emma Wood State Beach, these neighboring RV campgrounds (both are part of Faria County Beach Park) are situated in a narrow coastal ribbon between the beach and the Pacific Coast Highway.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/faria.jpg?itok=twC676vH
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Hobson County Beach Park
34.337558300000, -119.410392200000
Hobson County Beach Park is another roadside-and-beachside RV campground.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
The Vine
34.161889400000, -118.052663900000
In Sierra Madre, you can find the largest flowering plant in the world, a wistaria plant that grew so fast and so much that it devoured its owners' house in the 1930s.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wisteria-4.jpg?itok=w_yHP1ND
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Corpse Flower
34.128748100000, -118.114417400000
To experience some of the natural wonders in southern California, you have to get the timing just right – because they're as fleeting as they are wondrous. Such is the case with Amorphophallus titanium – the so-called "Corpse Flower," a rotten-smelling flower that only blooms (and stinks) for a few hours.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/corpse-flower-9.jpg?itok=pBlc68hB
  • socal wanderer
King Clone Ecological Reserve
34.426012100000, -116.699561800000
Creosote (Creosote Larrea tridentate a.k.a. "greasewood") is a pretty common find in the Mojave Desert, but the king of them all – with an average diameter of 45 feet, though it can stretch as wide as 67 feet – is the so-called "King Clone."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/creosote-king-clone-1.jpg?itok=8JQ2uqdo
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
La Jolla Canyon
34.088626700000, -119.040453700000
Point Mugu State Park's La Jolla Canyon offers a smorgasbord of hiking trails and loop options.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lajolla.jpg?itok=etbd9AdB
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
37.557703800000, -118.228810000000
The Pinus longaeva have to withstand a lot of perils: wind, weather, and a climate dry enough for dry kindling to spontaneously burst into flames. And yet some of these trees still last thousands of years, thriving in the harshest of conditions, growing in the driest of soil (that's more limestone than it is dirt).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bristlecone-6.jpg?itok=tmU9Xvcq
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Mugu Peak
34.093311600000, -119.055566700000
Point Mugu State Park is also home to 1,200-foot Mugu Peak, a prominent mountain in a landscape of canyons, grasslands, and coastal scrub.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mugu_peak-ventura_county-beach_hikes-california.jpg?itok=tWBAc1h7
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Moreton Bay Fig Tree
34.413774000000, -119.693687100000
With its aggressive system of buttress roots, it can strangle out any competition to clear the space it needs to grow to its tremendous size – which is ripe not only for climbing but also for shade-seeking and fruit-collecting.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/moreton-bay-fig-tree-3.jpg?itok=7oJTQ07G
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Ventura Promenade
34.275440000000, -119.296353200000
Strolling the Ventura Promenade, like the boardwalks in L.A. or San Diego, is a means to instantly get the get the local flavor, people watch, and meander along the beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/venturaprom.jpg?itok=ohug6TXa
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Bishop Creek Canyon
37.367490000000, -118.394927200000
This canyon is a beautiful place to visit year-round with hiking, bountiful lakes, and plenty of granite peaks. It is especially beautiful in the summer and the fall as the wildflowers bloom and change color.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/fall-color-california-bishop-creek-canyon-1.jpg?itok=CMNqg3iZ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Año Nuevo State Park
37.118838500000, -122.306642000000
This state park is a great destination to see baby elephant seals.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/elephantseal.jpg?itok=dBuDiJsy
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Sturtevant Camp
34.221984000000, -118.034800000000
At the "Feast of Gratitude and Gravy," you can experience a communal Thanksgiving in the most rustic setting around — deep in the San Gabriel Mountains, with all your supplies having been brought up by a band of pack mules.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sturtevant-camp-3.jpg?itok=JeISj7p9
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • camping
The Gentle Barn
34.464118000000, -118.412758000000
Every year on Thanksgiving, Santa Clarita farm animal sanctuary The Gentle Barn hosts their "A Gentle Thanksgiving" dinner.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/the-gentle-barn_shawn-hinsey.jpg?itok=YiqeaXkS
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Oasis Camel Dairy
33.064085700000, -116.752604500000
The focus at Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona is normally, of course, the camels. But, during the demonstration and show during Open Farm Days, the camels share the "stage" — with a group of galloping gobblers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oasis-camel-2.jpg?itok=39PhcN6X
  • socal wanderer
Hollywood Historic Stairs
34.083311900000, -118.313142600000
Like many of the secret stairs of L.A., some of these go straight up, with little to no breaks, while others offer the reprieve of plenty of landings. As you climb up and down, you’re cutting through the Hollywood Hills, which most people circumvent by car.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hollywood-historic-stairs-.jpg?itok=UvV07mxy
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mount Hollywood
34.135458900000, -118.304311100000
While it looks different every time, depending on the season and time of day, you just can’t beat those views of the L.A. basin or the opportunity to look down at Griffith Observatory from above.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mt.-hollywood.jpg?itok=19UHRdwW
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Santa Monica Stairs
34.030316700000, -118.512216500000
“Santa Monica Stairs” is technically just two different sets of concrete and wooden stairs, including one off Amalfi and Entrada and one off 4th and Adelaide.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-monica-stairs-2.jpg?itok=Ogq1YFDL
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts
34.161399600000, -117.616120500000
Among the embarrassment of riches that those of us in southern California have to be grateful for is our access to sites of historic, cultural, and artistic significance — and the Maloof Foundation in Riverside fits the bill on all three counts.
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Heritage Square Museum
34.088617200000, -118.207952400000
Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights is probably the best example of orphaned Victorian treasures finding their "forever home" elsewhere.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/heritage-square-museum-4.jpg?itok=C5yxd8X1
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Music Box Steps
34.083011700000, -118.275255000000
Located near Laurel and Hardy Park, these steps are adorned with a commemorative plaque from their feature in the 1932 film, "The Music Box".
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/music_box_steps_montage.jpg?itok=epYPJp2j
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • history
Grier Musser Museum
34.061101000000, -118.270996300000
A nice Queen Anne Victorian from 1898 and a Historic-Cultural Monument declared by the City of Los Angeles in 1987.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/grier-musser-museum-2.jpg?itok=tvjqYkY_
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
The Bembridge House
33.778955800000, -118.201625100000
Los Angeles is full of little bedroom communities that used to be cities – places that got gobbled up by a better-known neighboring municipality, and are now just a footnote on a historic plaque. Willmore City is one of those places.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/the-bembridge-house-1.jpg?itok=RK_F2_r1
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
The Dr. Willela Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum
33.750432200000, -117.868432300000
The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum was built (almost entirely of redwood) in 1889 as the home and office of physicians Alvin and Willella Howe-Waffle, though during World War II it was divided up into apartments.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/the-dr.-howe-waffle-house-and-medical-museum-1.jpg?itok=cCdcVcup
  • socal wanderer
  • history
The Doheny Mansion
34.030994700000, -118.277748600000
Oil baron Edward L. Doheny was one of the most prominent residents in the area, having purchased the 22-room mansion at 8 Chester Place (now known as The Doheny Mansion) in 1901 and renovated it extensively over the next year.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/the-doheny-mansion-2.jpg?itok=ndSexTaS
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Micheltorena Stairs
34.087431500000, -118.276130200000
This beautiful painted staircase on Sunset Boulevard is lined with flowers and palm trees. Over the years it has been the source of many photographic opportunities for young, hip Angelenos and tourists.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/348s.jpg?itok=eIUJgQQv
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Gilmore Stadium, The Original Farmers Market
34.071801000000, -118.361730000000
The annual Gilmore Heritage Auto Show is held the first Saturday of every June at The Original Farmers Market.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gilmorestadium.jpg?itok=fNbC3JIM
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
34.017582500000, -118.384037900000
At the bottom, the stairs are liberally spaced out and rise up higher than you might expect, though they become a bit more manageable as you trek upwards. Stairclimbers here range from slow novices to expert runners.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/baldwin-hills-1.jpg?itok=kkYnVi6P
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Paramount Racetrack
34.115507600000, -118.756145200000
The famed racetrack was only open for a few years, having been shut down in the late 1950s once fatalities on it had become too numerous.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/paramountracetrack.jpg?itok=dCqEcl9w
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Legion Ascot Speedway
34.066659400000, -118.190818800000
The Ascot Motor Speedway, near the border of Lincoln Heights and El Sereno, will go down in infamy for its death toll.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ascotremants.jpg?itok=CzsK9Kr7
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Bonelli Ranch Stadium a.k.a. Saugus Speedway
34.416308000000, -118.527884000000
The race car history along Soledad Canyon Road at Saugus Speedway may have ended in 1995 – when stockcar racing ceased because the grandstands were no longer stable enough to hold the crowds of spectators – but it started all the way back in the 1920s as the Baker Ranch Rodeo.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/saugusspeedway.jpg?itok=K_rB0qJG
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Runyon Canyon Park
34.110152000000, -118.350498200000
People say that there are two ways to hike Runyon Canyon: the hard way and the easy way. To take the supposed "hard way," turn right at the fork, and soon enough you meet a sign that warns of such steep slopes, you must be in good physical condition to take them.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/runyon-canyon-park-2.jpg?itok=WQVACy2V
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Irwindale Speedway
34.110436600000, -117.987370500000
The Speedway has hosted everything from stock cars to midget cars on its "twin ovals."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/irwindale_speedway.jpg?itok=GVjn-EzH
  • socal wanderer
Los Angeles International Airport
33.941953700000, -118.408121200000
With food, drink, shopping, architecture and history, LAX is its own destination.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lax-4.jpg?itok=3imeF0yN
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Mission San Juan Capistrano
33.502022400000, -117.662540800000
Here are the five best ways to explore "The Jewel of the Missions" and the Orange County town that’s one of the oldest in all of southern California.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bells_0.jpg?itok=z1VoFXfY
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Hearst Castle
35.686048700000, -121.168328100000
The creation of publishing baron William Randolph Hearst, it fits the bill in terms of lineage, opulence, sprawl, and drama – all the qualities you’d find in any good English castle. Built upon what Hearst named “Enchanted Hill,” the main building – Casa Grande – is actually only one of four places to sleep in the complex, which has a total of 165 rooms (58 of which are bedrooms).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1020473.jpg?itok=mqEXgoCi
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
L.A. County Fairgrounds
34.080980000000, -117.765195000000
You might think the season for the Los Angeles County fairgrounds begins and ends in September, with the run of the actual fair. But there's more to the "Fairplex" than meets the eye.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lafarm_1_0.jpg?itok=1V0wH_CR
  • socal wanderer
Knapp's Castle
34.527682400000, -119.797994000000
Completed in 1920 by businessman and civil engineer George Owen Knapp, this mountain lodge was originally built on a parcel of land in the Santa Ynez Mountains along San Marcos Pass, known then as the Santa Barbara Forest Reserve. Twenty years later, only a month after the sprawling property was sold off, it burned to the ground in a forest fire.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1320138.jpg?itok=a0e7NhyB
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
Rubel Castle
34.150318700000, -117.854540900000
Michael Rubel turned a former water reservoir into a castle, thanks to labor and materials donated by his friends, rocks collected from the Azusa foothills, and tracks and ties scavenged from a local defunct gold-mining railroad. And it only took him 25 years to complete his fortress, which he lived in until his death in 2007.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1110993.jpg?itok=gCVfalFl
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Scientology Celebrity Center
34.104631400000, -118.319049200000
L. Ron Hubbard himself established the former chateau as The Manor Hotel, a religious retreat for Scientologists. You can’t stay there unless you’re a Scientologist, but you can still visit the chateau – by dining at their Renaissance Restaurant, which is open to the public.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/top-thumb-630x429-49411.jpg?itok=8AdS2LBp
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
  • socal wanderer
The Magic Castle
34.104577300000, -118.341788800000
With its labyrinth of hallways, secret passages, spooky phone booth, and piano-playing ghost, this former Victorian home is more akin to The Haunted Mansion or the Winchester Mystery House than it is a castle per se. There’s also a dress code that’s strictly enforced, and a secret phrase that must be uttered to gain access beyond the front lobby and gift shop.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/20150918_130208lo_1.jpg?itok=Pu7uHnnF
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
Scotty's Castle
36.564061200000, -117.133126300000
Because of a mixup over land ownership, Scotty’s Castle was never actually finished. You can still see piles of tiles in the basement, and the beginnings of a giant outdoor swimming pool, which was never completed after the stock market crash at the onset of the Great Depression.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1220251croplo.jpg?itok=7LrTF0IU
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
Rose Bowl Stadium
34.160636400000, -118.167486500000
Opened in October of 1922, this National Landmark is the 17th largest stadium in the world. While known as a college football venue, the location is also used for hundreds of events throughout the year including the New Year's Day Rose Parade and is always open to those who'd like to run or stroll.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/rose-bowl-stadium-1.jpg?itok=hwxzeMJr
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Robolights
33.831879700000, -116.535318500000
Every year seems like it’s going to be the last for the towering, apocalyptic holiday creation by outsider artist Kenny Irwin, Jr.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/robolights-1.jpg?itok=bTUQuNGj
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Griffith Park & Southern Railroad Holiday Light Train
34.121998200000, -118.273520300000
Winter is when the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad offers rides on their tiny train at night, with everything lit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/griffith-park-holiday-light-train-2.jpg?itok=ej72FUwo
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
L.A. Zoo Lights
34.148890000000, -118.283786000000
The elaborate holiday light display changes a bit every year.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/l.a.-zoo-lights-4.jpg?itok=o3eHXYau
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Titus Canyon
36.820275200000, -117.153081600000
If you can make it, the payoff is tremendous – with sweeping views and white-knuckle curves giving way to a slot canyon.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tituscanyon.jpg?itok=EWXuoy3r
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Lights On Display
34.141379300000, -118.448600300000
Sherman Oaks is home to one of the most elaborate residential holiday light displays.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lights-on-display-2.jpg?itok=_nXmNFq2
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Chantry Flats to Mount Wilson
34.135696500000, -118.318946500000
The 12-mile round-trip through the San Gabriel mountains begins at Chantry Flats in Arcadia, where hikers can take a one-mile detour in order to check out the amazing Sturtevant Falls.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wilsonhike.jpg?itok=8FOoeqn_
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Rainbow Basin
35.006265900000, -117.044782000000
Less than 10 miles north of Barstow in the Mojave Desert, there’s yet another slot canyon that you can both drive and walk through.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/rainbowbasin.jpg?itok=UkDhNeCb
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Dodgers Stadium
34.073557900000, -118.240466500000
They literally moved mountains to create Dodger Stadium. Between 1959 and 1962, an army of construction workers shifted eight-million cubic yards of earth and rock in the hills above downtown Los Angeles, refashioning the rugged terrain once known as the Stone Quarry Hills into a modern baseball palace.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/insert2_page2_left.jpg?itok=A3_L9tc2
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Highway 78
33.159302000000, -116.230614100000
This is one of those drives where it really feels like you’re going somewhere.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/highway78.jpg?itok=4yj-l6fb
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Old Woman Springs Road
34.125569400000, -116.416595900000
Old Woman Springs Road is kind of a “dark horse” when it comes to taking a drive through the desert.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oldwomansspringroad.jpg?itok=gumr81p7
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Highway 58
35.373262700000, -119.018712000000
All roads may not lead to Barstow, but at the very least, Highway 58 starts there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/paintedrock.jpg?itok=VcfZCPzn
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Murphy Ranch Trail
34.061021200000, -118.503651600000
To see the remains of an intended Nazi command center, hikers need to walk a 3.85-mile roundtrip loop with a modest elevation gain.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/murphyranch_0.jpg?itok=87urN0be
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Cabazon Dinosaurs
33.920114000000, -116.772844000000
When you mention Southern California roadside dinosaurs, everybody talks about the giant ones in Cabazon, which have been clearly visible off the north side of the 10 Freeway for over 30 years, and were famously featured in the movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cabazondinos2lo-2.jpg?itok=QSb6UqP3
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
34.016360100000, -117.449989700000
Although there are more than ten dinosaur sculptures, only a couple of them are near the entrance – so you’ve got to walk through some of the botanical gardens (of which there are nine acres) and up the Dinosaur Trail to find your own private Jurassic Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1280414lo.jpg?itok=2fK-aSqp
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
33.837069500000, -116.614139100000
The Tramway, which has been hauling travelers up Mount San Jacinto since September, 1963, is a quick and painless way to escape the heat of the valley.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/palm-springs-aerial-tramway.jpg?itok=Zz3_M5H5
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Peggy Sue's Diner-saur Park
34.901511800000, -116.883396400000
A classic and original 50's diner, Peggy Sue's was built in 1954 out of railroad ties and mortar from the nearby Union Pacific rail yard. Appropriately enough for its Calico-adjacent location, it was purchased by another former Knott's Berry Farm employee and reopened in 1987.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1210409.jpg?itok=PkO0QbzK
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Charlie Brown Farms
34.521472800000, -117.980865800000
Charlie Brown Farms is a wacky roadside pit stop in the Antelope Valley, along a stretch of the Pearblossom Highway that doesn’t have much else by way of dining options, gifts, or dinosaurs. It started out as a humble fruit stand back in 1929, and now it’s got three buildings on six acres with an entire acre just for parking.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1110007lo.jpg?itok=3T_r6IpS
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Franklin Canyon
34.115963900000, -118.413892100000
Franklin Canyon Park offers a little-known opportunity for Angelenos to get away from it all, right in the middle of the city.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/161068053_9953c3db75_o.jpg?itok=n3_epD1O
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
California Nursery Specialties
34.207848000000, -118.556434000000
The California Cactus Ranch isn't the only nursery in Reseda, but it's probably the wildest. And that's largely in thanks to its mini ghost town whose primary residents are some giant metal dinosaurs. Back in the mid-1990s, the nursery's owner, David Bernstein, had been looking for ways to draw more customers to his cactus nursery.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1320284.jpg?itok=8u9VqogX
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
High Tower Walk
34.108208400000, -118.337100900000
Tucked between the Hollywood Bowl and Camrose Drive in the Hollywood Hills sits the cozy and unusual High Tower neighborhood, a place that feels like an exciting peek into old Hollywood.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hightower.jpg?itok=6irNQ2GA
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Saddleback Butte State Park
34.689554600000, -117.823698500000
Saddleback Butte State Park features a beautiful seasonal yellow coreopsis bloom.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/saddleback-butte-state-park-wildflowers-5.jpg?itok=Bm_MUkOE
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Thousand Island Lake
37.730335000000, -119.174664900000
Looking west from the outlet of Thousand Island Lake, Banner Peak looms in the distance creating a backdrop worthy of a postcard. The deep blue alpine water sparkles in the sun and is speckled with the tiny granite islands for which the lake is named.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/thousand-island-lake-7-9-15.jpg?itok=KKSBpam4
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
34.110851300000, -118.592855100000
Tucked into a mountain canyon in Topanga, the Theatricum Botanicum is where you can watch a Shakespeare production under the shade of native oaks and with the scent of 15th and 16th century herbs in the air.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/will-geers-theatricum-botanicum-3.jpg?itok=JfrpzCb6
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Old Zoo
34.134031900000, -118.290267300000
From 1912 to 1965 the L.A. Zoo was located farther into the Griffith Park interior, off a trail near the Merry Go Round parking lot.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/old-zoo-3.jpg?itok=ciE13lT8
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
The Getty Villa
34.045885700000, -118.564860800000
You can go watch an outdoor show there in a comparatively modern setting, as you sit across from a recreation of a first-century Roman country house that’s full of antiquities.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/getty.jpg?itok=ti2ARTVG
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Grand Performances at California Plaza
34.051471900000, -118.251657300000
Up on Bunker Hill, tucked between the two California Plaza towers and just behind the top station of Angels Flight Railway, you’ll find a "water court" that provides multiple performance spaces for the multi-cultural extravaganza known as Grand Performances.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/grand-performances-1.jpg?itok=_CSy2Klt
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Spreckels Organ Pavilion
32.729376300000, -117.150408700000
Although many buildings in Balboa Park that were built for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-17 were intended to be torn down after two years, a couple of "anchor" structures were always meant to be permanent.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/spreckels-organ-pavilion-2.jpg?itok=OY3H6RPW
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Santa Rosa Island
33.977348700000, -120.089631300000
Santa Rosa island is incredibly diverse, from oaks, Torrey pines, and cypress to Island red buckwheat, Island red paintbrush, Island monkey flower, and everything in between.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-rosa-2.jpg?itok=DLRQz7x4
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
  • history
Santa Cruz Island
34.023205600000, -119.765766300000
This island is considered one of those great "day trip destinations" of the Channel Islands, despite requiring a 25-mile boat ride out just to get to the nearly 96-square-mile island.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-cruz-1.jpg?itok=A9WLiKbd
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • camping
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Naples Island
33.756816900000, -118.123015000000
Venice of America is perhaps the most famous home for southern Californian inland islands — famously paved over, that is. The island that once existed at Windward Avenue is no longer surrounded by water and is now the centerpiece of an automotive traffic circle.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/naples-3.jpg?itok=Gf2Etjdk
  • socal wanderer
Coronado Island
32.689897000000, -117.181386700000
Though technically a “tied” island connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land called the “Silver Strand,” it’s as isolated and distinct as any of our other “true” islands.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/3497421401_6012c57743_o-10.jpg?itok=caSEtqwS
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Manzanar National Historic Site
36.727228800000, -118.152789400000
In the wake of the anti-Japanese sentiment that prevailed on our shores after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, over 10,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were given little notice to pack up their families — and whatever they could carry — and “relocate” to the middle of the desert, 200 miles and four hours north of Los Angeles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/manzanar-national-historic-site-5.jpg?itok=FWVwyRag
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Santa Anita Park
34.138815100000, -118.045234100000
Most recently, Santa Anita was the home track for the Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah — but it’s seen its share of other celebrities. Cary Grant, Al Jolson and Lana Turner all invested in Santa Anita Park, and investor Bing Crosby also owned a horse that raced there. But the history of California's first thoroughbred racetrack isn't entirely glamorous.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-anita-park-8.jpg?itok=JgjIlVht
  • socal wanderer
  • history
White Point and Furusato Fishing Villages
33.730539800000, -118.268316800000
The Japanese Fisherman's Memorial on Terminal Island pays tribute to the community of immigrant and second-generation pioneers and their families.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/terminal_island_fisherman_lapl.jpg?itok=ZO2f6uxL
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Little Tokyo
34.052627200000, -118.239204100000
Unlike the recently designated Sawtelle Japantown in West L.A., Little Tokyo actually dates back to 1884.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/kyoto-garden-little-tokyo-1.jpg?itok=qvmt1-ty
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Evergreen Cemetery
34.040498000000, -118.197869000000
Established in 1877, Evergreen Memorial Park & Crematory is the oldest nondenominational cemetery in Los Angeles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/evergreen-3.jpg?itok=uhb_nV0q
  • socal wanderer
  • history
The Bunny Museum
34.190474600000, -118.131607500000
The bunny rabbits still pretty much line the walls from floor to ceiling, but the creatures — which range from dolls and figurines to stuffed animals, pillows, slippers, cookie jars, masks, taxidermy and discarded Rose Parade float pieces — have some room to breathe.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/the-bunny-museum-1.jpg?itok=it_20gq4
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Dearly Departed Tours
34.090936800000, -118.318157800000
From bits of floor tile and actual grave dirt to crime scene tape and funeral service programs, the museum (and its gift shop) tells the gruesome stories of the performers, politicians and other prominent people who’ve each met their untimely demise.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/dearly-departed-tours-5.jpg?itok=4SYxCCQ0
  • socal wanderer
Valley Relics Museum
34.247193900000, -118.601043200000
Most of what you'll find at Valley Relics has been rescued from beloved businesses somewhere in the Valley — vintage signs from Henry’s Tacos and The Palomino Club, the "Liberty Bells" from Robinson's — but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/valley-relics-museum-2.jpg?itok=FRcMHctv
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Velveteria
34.060387100000, -118.238637100000
Velveteria's proprietors, Carl and Caren, take the art of black velvet paintings very seriously.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/velveteria_2.jpg?itok=3WDapeYO
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Streetlight Museum
34.038884100000, -118.260565100000
There's a museum for us streetlight people — on the second floor of the Public Works building, courtesy of the Bureau of Street Lighting.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/streetlight-museum-4.jpg?itok=vBBcFbP2
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Bronson Caves
34.122385900000, -118.315830000000
This is the one you surely already know about: the Batcave. Otherwise known as the Bronson Caves, Batman’s infamous domicile is located in Bronson Canyon in the southwestern section of Griffith Park, not far from Beachwood Canyon.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bronson_1.jpg?itok=XVOsPDDX
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Santa Cruz Island Sea Caves
34.020723200000, -119.862367700000
Out of all of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz is probably the most famous for its sea caves – because not only is Santa Cruz the largest island of California, but it contains one of the largest (and deepest) sea caves in the world.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/channel_islands_1.jpg?itok=I6nQMyxJ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
La Jolla Cove
32.850382000000, -117.272871400000
While you’re in La Jolla, don’t end your spelunking with just one cave – because there are seven sister caves in La Jolla Cove that are accessible by kayak, and several tour companies that will take you in on a guided tour.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/la_jolla_2.jpg?itok=b1nYnN8f
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Mitchell Caverns
34.943200900000, -115.513615300000
If only more people knew how incredible these limestone caverns are.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mitchell_caves_1.jpg?itok=jiFJgvtC
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Circle X Grotto
34.110074500000, -118.937369900000
To get to the talus caves at Circle X, you’ve got to take a reverse hike through the “Camp Circle X” former Boy Scout camp, once settled by Spanish rancheros, where sandstone formations loom in the distance.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/circle_x_2_0.jpg?itok=VI2jUut0
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
El Matador State Beach
34.039107000000, -118.874851100000
There are beaches that are good for sunbathing, and there are beaches that are good for ocean swimming. El Matador is neither of those.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/el_matador_1.jpg?itok=N-XHxd-w
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Crystal Cave
34.125569400000, -116.416595900000
Amidst the blooming cactus flowers at the former Sky Village Drive-In Theater in Yucca Valley (now known as the home of the Sky Village Swap Meet), you’ll find The Crystal Cave.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/crystal_cave_1.jpg?itok=8WPdcUGs
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Castle Park
33.902960100000, -117.467078000000
After a successful stint designing rides for Knott’s Berry Farm, Wendell "Bud" Hurlbut opened Castle Park in 1976 — and today, he’s considered one of the country's first creators of the "theme park."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/castle-park-1.jpg?itok=WEIQHebf
  • socal wanderer
Santa Monica Pier
34.010169000000, -118.496219200000
Built in 1916 by amusement entrepreneur Charles Looff, it’s the oldest building on the former “Pleasure Pier” — and the landmark is pretty much the last of its kind, having survived fire, wear and tear, and threats of demolition.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-monica-3.jpg?itok=qdDSOLzM
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Redondo Fun Factory
33.839674400000, -118.390995800000
Billed as the "largest indoor family entertainment center on the West Coast," the Fun Factory at the Redondo Beach pier is a blast from the past.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/redondo-1.jpg?itok=KSQ6hrWM
  • socal wanderer
Downtown Bakersfield
35.377175400000, -119.016441000000
Yeah, you heard right. It's not as silly as it sounds. Even right downtown, Bakersfield still has darker skies than you'll find in the L.A. Basin.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bakersfield.jpg?itok=3R8st5JA
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Wind Wolves Preserve
34.994320000000, -119.185309000000
This 95,000-acre preserve operated by the Wildlands Conservancy just west of Grapevine closes daily at 5:00 p.m., so you might not think of it as a stargazing spot.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/windwolves.jpg?itok=Jh3f8GWY
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Balboa Fun Zone
33.602866500000, -117.899863300000
Technically, the seaside amusement park in the Balboa Peninsula area of Newport Beach in Orange County is the “Fun Zone” — and that’s where you’ll find the waterfront Ferris wheel as well as other rides and even an arcade. But if you want to step back in time to the turn of the last century, when Newport Beach made its mark on seaside recreation, visit The Balboa Pavilion, one of the last such waterfront recreational pavilions of the time to survive.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/balboa-peninsula-3.jpg?itok=K502t5gc
  • socal wanderer
Belmont Park
32.770961200000, -117.252041800000
If find yourself on your way to SeaWorld in San Diego, take a small detour to the sandbar to the west — known as Mission Beach — where you’ll find plenty of seaside amusement at Belmont Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mission-bay-3.jpg?itok=kAlVUMfg
  • socal wanderer
Mount Pinos
34.812161400000, -119.142786500000
Also in Kern County is the north face of Mount Pinos, the premier stargazing spot in Southern California.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mtpinos.jpg?itok=SoRxH2je
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Kern National Wildlife Refuge
35.763464600000, -119.579439100000
The Kern National Wildlife Refuge near Lost Hills is a counterintuitive spot for stargazing, we admit it. But it's big, and it's quiet.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/kernnational.jpg?itok=9L3XcOPE
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Red Rock Canyon State Park
35.372996200000, -117.990966700000
This State Park tucked into the El Paso Mountains has skies as dark as the rest of the western Mojave did way back in 2003.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/redrock.jpg?itok=g-ddplld
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Walker Pass
35.656167300000, -118.044222900000
There are very few places in Southern California with virtually no light pollution. This is one of those places.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/walkerpass.jpg?itok=M-RuhRGC
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Cabrillo Bridge
32.731421400000, -117.154519200000
Although you can drive across it now, the Cabrillo Bridge (a.k.a. “El Prado”) was a concrete and redwood walkway built specifically for pedestrians to make a grand entrance into the California Quadrangle area of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-17.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cabrillo-bridge-4.jpg?itok=EnRJ256x
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge
34.525962100000, -119.834371900000
The Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge is worth a detour — to cross it while driving on Highway 154 or even just to view it from below — when you’re in the Santa Barbara area, perhaps on your way to the Santa Ynez wine country.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cold-spring-canyon-arch-bridge-2.jpg?itok=D9eujCx-
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
La Loma Bridge
34.134167000000, -118.166944000000
The Colorado Bridge isn’t the only way to cross over the Arroyo Seco, but few people may know about the historic La Loma Bridge that runs 379 feet along La Loma Road above Lower Arroyo Park, connecting the Lower Arroyo neighborhood with San Rafael Heights.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/la_loma_road_bridge_in_the_arroyo_seco.jpg?itok=UMQ5svtu
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Venice Canal Bridges
33.983943900000, -118.466912400000
Start your journey in your car by crossing the canals along Dell Avenue between South Venice Boulevard and 28th Avenue — but then park your car and finish exploring on foot along the Grand Canal, where there are four bridges you can cross.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/venice-canals-bridges-2.jpg?itok=KuF_JZlo
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
34.057721500000, -118.244994800000
Back in 1999, the LA cardinal of the Catholic Church wanted to build a new, large-capacity cathedral that would be uniquely Californian and unlike the cathedrals of the “Old World.”
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ladyangels.jpg?itok=2DaI7TzN
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Angelus Temple
34.076386400000, -118.260919000000
Sister Aimee Semple McPherson founded the Foursquare Church and commissioned its home – the Angelus Temple – to be built as a kind of theater for her illustrated sermons, which were huge productions replete with props, actors, and sound effects.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/angelestemple.jpg?itok=cqBG7kAn
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
34.064210600000, -118.285332000000
This Gothic cathedral at the corner of Sixth and Commonwealth is actually the FCC's fifth home, completed in 1932.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/firstcongregationalchurch.jpg?itok=2e7s85mx
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Wee Kirk O' the Heather
34.126833400000, -118.247875400000
The Wee Kirk O' the Heather is just one of the attractions (or amusements) at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park, which is also famous for its "Last Supper" stained glass and its display of the largest religious painting in the world.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/weekirk.jpg?itok=XJo-YPGT
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Wayfarers Chapel
33.743677500000, -118.377421700000
If you happen to be anywhere in the South Bay on a Sunday morning, I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t swing by the Wayfarers Chapel.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wayfare.jpg?itok=XLWgFfNF
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Our Savior Parish & USC Caruso Catholic Center
34.025205700000, -118.283454900000
If you have any interest in stained glass, this church is a must-see – mostly because you just don’t find art glass projects of this scale much anymore, especially not in houses of worship.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oursavior.jpg?itok=lA6AWCG7
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Fort Tejon State Historic Park
34.874462600000, -118.893517600000
If you go at the right time, hiking your way through this mini ghost town of barracks and mess halls and other military facilities can seem particularly ghostly. And that’s not just because of the buried body of Peter Lebeck — who, according to lore (and his headstone), was killed by a grizzly bear.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ft.-tejon-3.jpg?itok=0nCCqHW-
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Red Rock Canyon State Park
35.373083400000, -117.991029000000
Among the unincorporated communities up there, between the turn-of-the-last-century railroad town of Cantil and the watering hole of Indian Wells, lies an expansive California state park with stunning displays of red rocks, sites of paleontological significance and — if the weather cooperates — colorful wildflowers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/red-rock-2.jpg?itok=IjppwDEA
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
San Timoteo Canyon Road
33.993279000000, -117.152906000000
This country road between Redlands and Beaumont is lightly traveled at night, with I-10 and route 60 offering far speedier alternatives. That means not too many headlights to destroy your night vision.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/redlands_ca.jpg?itok=tf6MLR4T
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
East Fork
34.235075000000, -117.807253000000
Skies here still bear the influence of the Pomona and San Gabriel valleys' nighttime illumination, but you should be able to see lots of relatively faint stars here that would be washed out in San Dimas.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/eastfork.jpg?itok=PhvQIuyc
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lytle Creek
34.259248000000, -117.500033000000
Just a ten-minute drive from Interstate 15, the Lytle Creek Ranger Station is an easily accessed stargazing spot in the foothills of the eastern San Gabriels.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lytlecreek.jpg?itok=NpUwZ-Fp
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Swarthout Canyon Road
34.284581000000, -117.487013100000
One valley north of Lytle Creek, this sleepy mountain road between Wrightwood and Cajon Pass will have slightly darker skies, and fewer nearby lights, than its neighbor. I
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lake Hemet
33.665782000000, -116.688560000000
Skies are about as dark here as you can find in the non-desert portions of Riverside County.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lakehemet.jpg?itok=lzKuK18f
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lake Silverwood Vista Point
34.295286400000, -117.331204100000
This is another place that's great for those nights when you need some stars before you hit the sack.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/silverwood1.jpg?itok=PJ1Dch2G
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Borrego Springs
33.255773200000, -116.374995300000
Borrego Springs is a great gateway to the state's largest state park, Anza-Borrego, and its residents and businesses have enthusiastically taken on the task of keeping night lighting to a minimum to preserve Anza-Borrego's night-time environment.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/borrego.jpg?itok=mMFsKRcA
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Joshua Tree National Park
33.873415000000, -115.900992300000
About half of this iconic National Park is in the Low Desert, and that just happens to be the darker half.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/joshuatree.jpg?itok=pYVer1-7
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Midland Ghost Town, Riverside County
33.861430900000, -114.801451100000
The Colorado River Astronomy Club holds its meetups here, and it's not hard to figure out why: this desert ghost town has nice dark skies (aside from the small light dome over Blythe) and it's accessible.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/midlandghost.jpg?itok=SA8Z6HQH
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Milpitas Wash
33.244695000000, -114.691481000000
This is stargazing at its simplest and darkest.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/milipitas.jpg?itok=EUxVLO3m
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Black Hills
33.528554700000, -116.972865100000
If being five miles up a deserted canyon in the Palo Verde Mountains seems a bit too civilized for you, then the Black Hills is where you'll want to be.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/blackhills1-thumb-597x398-25086.jpg?itok=OblXbe59
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Salton Sea
33.328618500000, -115.843412200000
This State Recreation Area (SRA) sprawling along the east shore of the Salton Sea is unusual among State Parks properties: its "day use" areas are open 24 hours a day.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/saltonsea.jpg?itok=Is-3imzS
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Corn Springs
33.624773300000, -115.321825800000
Corn Springs campground is surprisingly quiet for being so accessible, and the formidable Chuckwalla Mountains that surround the campground do a great job of blocking off light from the highway.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cornsprings.jpg?itok=O8M6j8ef
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Bodie State Historic Park
38.208723300000, -119.014380800000
The former gold mining camp of Bodie, now a state park in the Eastern Sierra near the Nevada border, is probably the best-preserved example of a “Gold Rush”-era ghost town.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bodie-3.jpg?itok=2In4GjKT
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Santa Margarita Lake KOA
35.321310000000, -120.499888000000
This spot might be the only stargazing site we've heard of with a nine-hole disc golf course.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-margarita-lake.jpg?itok=hM-z3YXh
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Cholame Valley Road
35.723355300000, -120.297031900000
Best known for being the one road into Parkfield, the Earthquake Capital of California, Cholame Valley Road also offers nice dark skies within easy striking distance of Routes 46 and 41 east of Paso Robles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cholame.png?itok=A2UuBlaJ
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Queen Califia's Magical Circle
33.080722000000, -117.060737900000
Niki de Saint Phalle's last large-scale work can be found tucked away inside the Iris Sankey Arboretum of Kit Carson Park in Escondido – unbelievably preserved and, as the name implies, magical.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/queencalifia_3.jpg?itok=wFFiDbL9
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Red Hill Road
35.346622200000, -120.278429700000
Turn onto Red Hill and find a convenient wide spot away from the occasional headlights on 58.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/redhill.jpg?itok=70_4uDWV
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Shell Creek Road
35.513179000000, -120.324295000000
You should be able to find a spot in the first few miles to pull just off the road and drink in the night skies.
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Santa Rosa Creek Road
35.565305800000, -120.968175700000
For darker skies along the coast it's hard to beat the Santa Lucia Range, which in their Monterey County portion offer night skies to rival anywhere in the California desert.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa_rosa_creek_road_1.jpg?itok=oG42RybV
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Soda Lake
35.235386600000, -119.903754300000
This is as close as you'll get to a desert on the Central Coast, in terms of both habitat and deep dark sky.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/carrizo6l.jpg?itok=tA72Xmmv
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Ilan-Lael Foundation
33.107950500000, -116.647071600000
James T. Hubbell's compound in East San Diego County where he lives and works is worth a visit if only to see his mosaic work.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hubbell_2.jpg?itok=_O5xvW3w
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Marciano Art Foundation
34.062290000000, -118.323605000000
After years in disuse and finally being sold in 2013, the former Wilshire Boulevard home of the Freemasons of the Scottish Rite Order has now transformed into the Marciano Art Foundation, a contemporary art museum that's free and open to the public.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bh_bank.jpg?itok=8REheH9X
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Mosaic Tile House
34.000021000000, -118.456818000000
From the moment you arrive at the front gate of the Mosaic Tile House, the tile-covered labyrinth of the front yard – littered with bathtub benches, bathtub planters, and various arches crossing over above and animals arising from the patio below – is completely overwhelming.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mosaictilehouse_1.jpg?itok=89Tq-EDi
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Hall of Records
34.056141700000, -118.244547100000
Joseph Young was a critically lauded mosaic artist of national repute whose many masterworks in the field of decorative arts included the mural that embellishes the exterior of the Richard Neutra-designed Hall of Records building in the Civic Center of downtown L.A.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/josephyoung.jpg?itok=HEc3uwi1
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Lava Beds National Monument
41.758837000000, -121.526664100000
In what's now California's northeast corner, lava flows from Medicine Mountain over the last half million years have left a network of lava tubes and other volcanic formations for you to explore.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lava-beds.jpg?itok=MH9_s3Zi
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mahogany Flat Campground
36.229852100000, -117.070450300000
About a four hour drive from downtown Los Angeles, Mahogany Flat is a great destination for those weekends that start a little early, so that you can get there before the crowds arrive.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mahogany-flat.jpg?itok=KypWoJkX
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Walker Pass, Pacific Crest Trail
40.755489100000, -121.388849300000
This spot is an unsung beauty, with one exception.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/walker-pass.jpg?itok=V93p2xiu
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mono Lake Jeffrey Pines
37.941881200000, -119.042760400000
California's oldest lake sits at around 6,400 feet, making it a lot cooler in summer than many desert destinations.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mono-lake.jpg?itok=tFnZwioc
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mid-Hills, Mojave National Preserve
35.167090000000, -115.431180500000
And at around 5,600 feet with northern exposure to the breezes off Cima Dome, Mid-Hills is a bit cooler than the big preserve campground at Hole In The Wall, a thousand feet lower.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/midhills.jpg?itok=Vl9RFRQ2
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lone Pine Campground, Owens Valley
36.600109700000, -118.193795600000
The Owens Valley car-camping experience doesn't get better than this.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lonepine.jpg?itok=rfIy2tZh
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Cima Dome, Mojave National Preserve
35.299279000000, -115.599831200000
At elevations ranging from the 4,000s to the dome's subtle summit a hair above 5,720 feet, this place is well above the worst heat of the desert summer.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cima-dome.jpg?itok=CHOtFf8t
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Tierra Del Sol
32.609519000000, -116.316410300000
The southeastern end of the county is shielded by mountains from the light domes of San Diego/Tijuana to the west, and Mexicali/Imperial County the the east. That means some pretty dark skies, and the local stargazing community takes full advantage.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tierra.jpg?itok=lBNiFtOl
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Jacumba
32.617666000000, -116.187424000000
If your tastes run more toward small stargazing groups of one or two people, you can still avail yourself of the southeast backcountry's skies.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/jacumba.jpg?itok=kGXDmNX4
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Julian
33.078627600000, -116.602107100000
Midway between Palomar Mountain and Anza-Borrego, the placid mountain town of Julian is better known for its apple orchards than its starry nights.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/julian.jpg?itok=mOOt7byy
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Palomar Mountain
33.364313400000, -116.844472800000
It's tempting to call Caltech's observatory a relic of darker nights gone by, but there's still some top-notch astronomy being conducted here.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/palomar.jpg?itok=A30UuAk0
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mount Laguna
32.867460900000, -116.418802000000
San Diego State has operated its Mount Laguna Observatory in the county's southeastern mountains since 1968.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mountlaguna.jpg?itok=YW1j6vGp
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Torrey Pines
32.904256800000, -117.244510300000
on't have a couple hours to commit to a stargazing road trip? You won't see nearly as many stars from the Torrey Pines State Reserve north of La Jolla, but the Reserve offers darker skies than you might expect, given its close proximity to urban life.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/torreypines.jpg?itok=V03GPmbW
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Irvine Ranch Historic Park
33.730079700000, -117.784485600000
In the 1890s, a large swath of land had been devoted to either lima bean fields or sheep and cattle grazing — and that included a large portion of the Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago that James Irvine bought and transformed into his expansive Irvine Ranch.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/irvine-ranch-historic-park-3.jpg?itok=9dHFwfgD
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Anaheim Packing House
33.831516200000, -117.911950800000
The packinghouse of the Southern California Fruit Growers Exchange (a.k.a. Sunkist), situated along an old Southern Pacific rail spur in the Packing District, is one of the few that remain in Southern California — and the only one left in Anaheim.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/anaheim-packing-house-4.jpg?itok=1dXYC34m
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Orange Grove, Northridge
34.236819300000, -118.526168900000
While you may associate the San Fernando Valley more with burgers and hot dogs than with oranges and lemons, there’s just five acres left of the 15,000 acres of orange trees that once could be found there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/orange-grove-northridge-10.jpg?itok=iy8NSLvl
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Heritage Park
34.127628200000, -117.774581900000
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much of the San Gabriel Valley was covered with citrus trees — and the city of La Verne (called Lordsburg until 1917) was right at the center of it.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/la-verne-heritage-3.jpg?itok=BvXm_FkO
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mount Pinos, Los Padres National Forest
34.812161400000, -119.142786500000
This peak in Los Padres National Forest in the northeast corner of the county has some of the darkest skies to be found in the Greater Southern California Megalopolis.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pinos.jpg?itok=i7qyl9qr
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Lockwood Valley, Los Padres National Forest
34.726479300000, -119.153736000000
About 15 miles or so farther along Lockwood Valley Road from Lake of the Woods, the eponymous Lockwood Valley has some seriously dark sky by coastal California standards.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lockwood.jpg?itok=TaBC7vJ0
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Oak Canyon Community Park
34.184541800000, -118.770961800000
Closer in to the civilized end of the county, the Oak Canyon Community Park in the town of Oak Park near Agoura Hills offers reasonably dark skies for the 101 Freeway corridor.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oakcanyon.jpg?itok=67VHeBfT
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Sandstone Peak Trailhead
34.119837000000, -118.926128900000
Ventura County's share of the Santa Monica Mountains has some of the darkest skies that urban-influenced range has to offer.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sandstonepeak.jpg?itok=QzbcV42l
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Ojai
34.448249500000, -119.242554200000
You might not think of Ojai as a prime stargazing location, but the city at the foot of the Topatopa Mountains still has remarkably dark skies considering almost 8,000 people live there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ojai.jpg?itok=QsQNdsB7
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Moorpark College Observatory
34.300255200000, -118.831656200000
Any discussion of stargazing in Ventura County would be lacking if it didn't include a mention of the Moorpark College Observatory.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/moorpark.jpg?itok=paRIotCS
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
E. Waldo Ward & Son
34.164705400000, -118.047028900000
The oldest business in Sierra Madre is E. Waldo Ward & Son, purveyors of local gourmet foods and home to a historic grove of Seville orange trees.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/e.-waldo-ward-son-3.jpg?itok=OlDc0W7O
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Sunken City
33.706397500000, -118.289683100000
The flat land that remains looks like an archaeological site of the ancient Roman Empire. Beyond it, you can see how close the city's infrastructure is to the current edge of the cliff, and how it couldn't have been so close to the edge before.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sunken-city-5.jpg?itok=ygKIktnt
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Surfridge
33.940022200000, -118.437209100000
Originally developed in 1921 as part of a post-World War I building boom, Surfridge (then known as Palisades del Rey) was filled with charming homes and palm tree-lined streets.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/surfridge-6.jpg?itok=aWD0DBpC
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Spadra
34.052232900000, -117.800058700000
As part of the Rancho San Jose, Spadra was the first American settlement in the Pomona Valley and became a thriving village in the 1860s. It was settled mostly by poor families who fled the South.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/spadra-1.jpg?itok=JQSn-0fB
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mentryville
34.379172400000, -118.611016300000
Mentryville is the first thing you see when you come to Pico Canyon in the Santa Susana Mountains to find the site of California's first commercial oil well – a.k.a. Pico Well No. 4, which struck oil in 1876 after three prior drilling attempts failed.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mentryville-1.jpg?itok=j18nJJee
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Corriganville
34.266792300000, -118.649085300000
We've lost so many treasures to fire out here in the wild, wild, west. Such a place is Corriganville, the once movie ranch-turned-tourist attraction that’s now a public park just on the other side of the Ventura County.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/corriganville-1.jpg?itok=EzOzRI5C
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Zzyzx
35.143245500000, -116.105563000000
If you’ve ever found yourself driving along the I-15 at the northern border of the Mojave National Preserve, you’ve probably seen the exit sign for Zzyzx and wondered what could possibly there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/zzyzx-5.jpg?itok=f7TL2WRY
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Amboy
34.557772100000, -115.744441100000
Amboy is probably the most famous of the Route 66 ghost towns in the Mojave Desert, thanks to its appearances in various movies and fashion magazines. Now, it’s more or less just a set – a filming location for hire – with a population of 20, if you believe the sign.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/amboy-2.jpg?itok=Pc2q-0mv
  • socal wanderer
Nipton
35.466653200000, -115.272209800000
In the 19th century, Nipton was at the nexus of both silver and gold mining in the Ivanpah Valley and of two intersecting overland wagon trails (one running north-south and the other running east-west).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/nipton-4.jpg?itok=dGfW66GX
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Kelso
35.012488400000, -115.653607200000
In 1905, Kelso was built specifically as a depot along the railroad line that ran between L.A. and Utah and cut right through the middle of the Mojave Desert (in the area that’s now known as the Mojave National Preserve). But business was so big that Kelso ended up becoming a real town, with a post office (now closed, but still standing) and, in the 1940s, a jail for drunkards (also vacant, but there).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/kelso-1.jpg?itok=fns8OsHO
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Calico
34.945563900000, -116.865342100000
Nestled in the Calico Mountains, Calico is both a ghost town and an amusement park – but don’t let its overt commercialism keep you from visiting, because there’s plenty of history there, too.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/calico-6.jpg?itok=4RPnKkfM
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Daggett
34.864031600000, -116.888098000000
Located east of Barstow, Daggett has fared only slightly better than its fellow Mojave Desert ghost towns, despite being located right off of the 40 Freeway and not having had any traffic circumvented away from it.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/daggett-5.jpg?itok=UjRcYShP
  • socal wanderer
The Tuna Club of Avalon
33.345771500000, -118.326971700000
The Tuna Club is widely considered the birthplace of the sport of big game fishing — thanks to its founder, Dr. Charles Frederick Holder, catching a 183-pound bluefin tuna off these island shores in 1898.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1310123.jpg?itok=VJ41mrWu
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
36.831766900000, -118.250969400000
The Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery was one of the first of its kind when it was established in 1917 to raise trout (even the rare golden trout!) under the jurisdiction of the California State Fish and Game Commission. Although you won’t find any fish currently being farmed at this century-old facility (and not since 2008), history is alive and well on the property, which is open as a tourist attraction and a special event venue.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/28094179973_b6eb42d6d7_o.jpg?itok=qFYUjeyB
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Hot Creek Hatchery
37.639899400000, -118.858379600000
At Hot Creek, you’ll find not just rainbow trout thriving there, but also a subspecies of rainbow trout known as Eagle Lake trout, German brown trout and Lahontan cutthroat trout, a California Heritage Species.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/25519455086_fdb220c3e7_o.jpg?itok=mnqCjkSW
  • socal wanderer
Whitewater Preserve
33.988402700000, -116.655260200000
Surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness, where Highway 62 meets the 10, you’ll find an interesting former trout farm that The Wildlands Conservancy is trying to bring back to wilderness.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/p1100926.jpg?itok=NvXosOL8
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Fillmore Trout Hatchery
34.392839900000, -118.884338600000
As many of the Fish & Wildlife-managed ones still do, this Ventura County fish hatchery raises — or “farms” — trout eggs to become fully-formed fish that will be released into SoCal waterways where they don’t occur naturally.
  • socal wanderer
Flight Path Learning Center & Museum
33.931830000000, -118.405638800000
You can get a real lesson in aviation history near the freight terminal and cargo planes of LAX at the Flight Path Museum. Yes, LAX has a museum – and it’s open to the public! You might even meet a former pilot with some stories to tell.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lax-2.jpg?itok=vYHa6wSr
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Long Beach Airport
33.818509200000, -118.145838800000
Even if you don’t have a boarding pass for a flight departing out of LGB, it’s worth a visit to see the Streamline Moderne vintage terminal, the historic photos of the Douglas Aircraft Company (including the origin story of “Rosie the Riveter”), and the WPA-era mosaic tiles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/long-beach-airport2.jpg?itok=p0Zi7ySV
  • socal wanderer
  • history
March Field Air Museum
33.882706700000, -117.266674400000
Just east of the 215 Freeway, there’s a museum that specializes in retired military aircraft – and they’re some of the hugest ones you’ll ever see. From the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (a.k.a. the “Big Ugly Fat Fellow,” or BUFF) to the Boeing B-47 Stratojet Bomber (which was designed to fly at high subsonic speed and altitude), some of them are so larger than life that they seem almost impossible to fly.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/march-field-air-museum-3.jpg?itok=X18amN_C
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Torrence Airport
33.801332700000, -118.341674700000
You’ve got two great opportunities to experience flight at the Torrance Airport: at Robinson Helicopter Company and at the Western Museum of Flight. At Robinson, you can experience history in the making by taking a free tour of the factory, where they assemble and test helicopters used as newscopters, police helicopters, and private civilian copter craft. And then you can watch their test pilots fly them to make sure they won’t crash after being shipped off to their new owners. If antiques are more your thing, head a few doors down to the volunteer-run Western Museum of Flight.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/torrance-airport-1.jpg?itok=jtS9T9m1
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Aviation Museum of Santa Paula
34.348330000000, -119.061823000000
Santa Paula has neither the biggest local airport nor the largest collection of interesting planes, but the no-frills air field and its hangars let the privately-owned vintage planes housed there shine. There’s a ton of hidden history you can’t see here, too: Santa Paula Airport was built on top of land that had been wiped clean by the St. Francis Dam flood.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/aviation-museum-of-santa_paula_2.jpg?itok=SLY0ALrk
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Sky Sailing
33.284838200000, -116.668254400000
If you’ve ever wished that your pilot would hand the controls of the plane he’s flying over to you, then you must venture to East San Diego County to take to the skies with Sky Sailing. Experiences range from a gentle ride in a motor-less sailplane (also known as a “glider”) that gets towed up to cruising altitude to a motor glider and a “Super Spectacular Aerobatic Ride.”
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sky-sailing-warner-springs.jpg?itok=i6CCTLsk
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Madrona Marsh
33.827021800000, -118.342773900000
You wouldn’t think that a 43-acre preserve in the middle of the City of Torrance — literally across the street from Del Amo Fashion Center — would be such a good birding area, but it is.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/madrona-marsh-1.jpg?itok=yO6lIFXw
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Hangar 24 Brewery
34.083136400000, -117.141779000000
This brewery is in an actual aircraft hangar across the street from the Redlands Airport – the very same hangar where master brewer Ben Cook (a former homebrewer) once gathered with friends for a post-flight beer.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hanger-24-brewery.jpg?itok=S6NWIigG
  • socal wanderer
  • history
El Dorado Nature Center & El Dorado East Duck Pond
33.809562200000, -118.086930100000
El Dorado Park is a historic, inland area of Long Beach along the San Gabriel River, east of the Long Beach Airport. Across the street from the former venue for archery competitions in the 1984 Olympics, you’ll find the El Dorado Nature Center, which provides access to a couple of miles of trails through over 100 acres that span different kinds of habitats.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/el-dorado-6.jpg?itok=NBy8hIwD
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
  • hiking
Los Encinos State Historic Park
34.160304500000, -118.498580600000
One of the stops on the Portola expedition of 1769 — when Spanish explorers first arrived — was right here in the San Fernando Valley, in the L.A. neighborhood now known as Encino.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/los-encinos-1.jpg?itok=Zck41XQZ
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
  • history
Owens Lake
36.436157000000, -117.960046600000
Technically, Owens Lake in the Owens Valley region of Inyo County is a dry lake. A basin in the “basin and range” area of Eastern California, the City of Los Angeles pretty much sucked it dry after it bought up the surrounding water rights and started pumping the local alpine water 300 miles south through its aqueduct(s).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/owens-3.jpg?itok=_9TfXC21
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Wild Parrots
34.143808400000, -118.144360200000
Pasadena has become famous for its flock(s) of parrots, but these tropical tree-dwellers have been convivial enough at least with each other — even sometimes interbreeding — to have spawned multiple flocks that have spread as far and wide in the L.A. metro area as Burbank, Hollywood, Long Beach and Redondo Beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/31234978671_ee2a5f5d37_o.jpg?itok=ll_9Q2xS
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Brand Park
34.182635300000, -118.276440200000
This spot was central to the era of private flying parties, as Brand had his own airfield just south of the mansion and estate that now constitute Brand Library in Brand Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/brand-park-6.jpg?itok=rH1S_JDV
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • hiking
Stough Canyon Park
34.207578900000, -118.308591800000
In Stough Canyon, you can hike a short distance into the canyon past wildflowers, scenic overlooks and lots of spring greenery.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/stough-canyon-park-2.jpg?itok=bJlNA1Fj
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Wildwood Canyon Park
34.212310500000, -118.290666100000
If you’ve got a fear of heights, Wildwood Canyon is a good place to face that fear.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wildwood-canyon-park-4.jpg?itok=qBMKM4MQ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Japanese Gardens at Lake Balboa
34.182597100000, -118.479025700000
When you go boating or fishing at Lake Balboa, you may not know it, but you’re making good use of water that would otherwise go to waste. You may want to put down your fork before reading about the source of Lake Balboa’s water. Ready? It’s the nearby Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which processes some (but not all) of LA's wastewater (i.e. toilet water) that gets pumped in from the sewers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/130207_japanese_garden075-thumb-600x400-46177.jpg?itok=9Qg90m8r
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Stoney Point Park
34.272289000000, -118.601898500000
Right off Topanga Canyon Boulevard, shortly after exiting the 118 Freeway, right along the Santa Susana Pass, you happen upon a giant boulder outcropping called Stoney Point.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/stoney-point-park-1.jpg?itok=N7X9weix
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
O'Melveny Park
34.309395500000, -118.513616800000
Second only to Griffith Park in terms of size for urban Los Angeles parks, O'Melveny Park (formerly C.J. Ranch, then named after one of the original members of the California State Parks Commission, Henry W. O'Melveny) is big enough to get lost in if you don’t have a good map or trail guide.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/omelveny-park-2.jpg?itok=IRzJp2Kw
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Baldwin Lake Arboretum
34.142831900000, -118.054123400000
You’ll find the natural body of water named after the infamous “Lucky” Baldwin on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, surrounded by the Queen Anne Cottage from Baldwin’s Santa Anita Ranch and the Hugo Reid Adobe from 1840, which was named after the first private owner of the Rancho Santa Anita.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/baldwin_lake_1.jpg?itok=KpPwGN9L
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Lake Shrine
34.035633100000, -118.515590100000
Once known as Lake Santa Ynez, it was actually formed when a developer moved earth for grading without filling it back in before natural springs filled it with water. In fact, Lake Shrine is known as the only natural spring-fed lake within LA city limits – though now, it’s less for recreation and more for meditation.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lake_shrine.jpg?itok=icmKvnVg
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Lincoln Park Lake
34.065945900000, -118.201538000000
There’s a surprising amount of year-round fishing you can do at Lincoln Park Lake, just northeast of Downtown Los Angeles. The former Eastlake Park (the eastern counterpart to Westlake) is one of LA’s oldest public parks, officially dedicated in 1883.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lincoln_park_lake_1.jpg?itok=gvOy9c2k
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
  • history
  • hiking
Deb's Park Lake
34.093893800000, -118.197975400000
One of the best payoffs to a Southern California hike is water – but while many of our waterfalls are running dry in the summer months (and several years into a drought), you can still hike five miles around Debs Park in NELA and find yourself taking a rest on a lakeside bench, surrounded by ducks and turtles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/debs_lake_1.jpg?itok=kmP89wCR
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Palos Verdes
33.767080000000, -118.350672000000
The Palos Verdes peninsula has a huge amount of protected land, a welcome refuge in the sprawl of the South Bay and the nearby ports of San Pedro and Long Beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/palosverdes.jpg?itok=_Y2WWZwH
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Santa Monica Boardwalk
34.010169000000, -118.496219200000
There's hardly a stretch of coast in California packed with more landmarks and people-watching opportunities than here.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santamonica.jpg?itok=Z4U-o8m_
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Paseo Miramar
34.046866700000, -118.556484300000
The objective of this hike is attaining an incredible lookout point high above the Pacific Palisades, where views stretch as far as downtown Los Angeles and past Catalina Island, much farther out into the Pacific Ocean.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/paseomiramar.jpg?itok=vO6kHLPC
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Tuna Canyon
34.050700800000, -118.613477900000
With viewpoints at an elevation of 1,500 feet, Tuna Canyon offers some of the best views of the Malibu coast and Santa Monica Bay.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tunacanyon.jpg?itok=uXf8A0Ef
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Corral Canyon
34.041857200000, -118.729979400000
Corral Canyon resides in a nearly unblighted, 100-acre coastal stretch of Malibu, cleaved by a natural creek draining to the ocean.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/corralcanyon.jpg?itok=Y_LnVh1i
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Solstice Canyon
34.038993000000, -118.755154000000
Make a satisfying loop by combining the Solstice Canyon and Rising Sun trails on National Park Service land.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/solsticecanyon.jpg?itok=x542jgqf
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Zuma Canyon
34.044626000000, -118.814725300000
The name of the trail, Ocean View Trail, says it all: views of the Pacific from the hills above Point Dume and Zuma Beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/zumacanyon.jpg?itok=DpVzZrzM
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Point Dume
34.003163900000, -118.807235500000
The point offers a wilder Malibu beach experience than most.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pointdume.jpg?itok=2-1kFmrW
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Templin Highway, Angeles National Forest
34.722208600000, -118.712605300000
The Templin Highway stargazing area has long been a popular spot among amateur astronomers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/templin.jpg?itok=WokTafFR
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Saddleback Butte State Park
34.689872500000, -117.823704100000
Saddleback Butte State Park is an unsung gem in L.A. County's desert.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/saddleback-butte.jpg?itok=Yt5yZlZ-
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
34.724911600000, -118.396906200000
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve seems like an obvious spot for L.A. County stargazing, what with its being out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, and yet just an hour and a half from downtown Los Angeles.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/antelopepoppy.jpg?itok=luLpQLOj
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Topanga State Park
34.093182300000, -118.587314600000
Closer to downtown, the Santa Monica Mountains offer some remarkably dark skies considering that the mountain range is hemmed in by the San Fernando Valley and the L.A. Basin.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/topanga.jpg?itok=tyXBwzI7
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Malibu Creek State Park
34.099361200000, -118.729376200000
A bit west of Topanga, and thus with a slightly darker sky, Malibu Creek State Park is another popular stargazers' hangout.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/malibu_creek1.jpg?itok=oXyKODN3
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mount Wilson, Angeles National Forest
34.226667900000, -118.065731400000
The Angeles Crest Highway/Route 2 winds its way from La Cañada to Wrightwood just north of Mount Wilson, and there are lots of wide turnouts you can use for stargazing.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mtwilson_ca.jpg?itok=cBhZ3Nc9
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Pasadena
34.147670100000, -118.144514900000
Okay, so you don't have the car this week and can't get out to Malibu or the Antelope Valley. All is not lost: you can still see a few astronomical objects from the streets of the western San Gabriel Valley.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/old_town_pasadena.jpg?itok=EvM1V_-i
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Griffith Observatory
34.118407000000, -118.300421900000
Even though the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains is far darker, there's a spot all the way at the brightly lit east end of the range that's not a bad place for urban stargazing, and it's easy to find: there's an observatory right there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/griffith_observatory_2006.jpg?itok=WLnjZXpa
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Red Rock Canyon State Park
35.372996200000, -117.990966700000
We listed this spot in our Kern County night sky listicle as well, and for good reason: it's an easy jaunt from Southern California's crowded urban core.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/1200px-red_rock_canyon_1.jpg?itok=JT33ashc
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Afton Canyon
35.048197200000, -116.291262700000
A secluded BLM campground near one of the few stretches of the Mojave River that has year-round water, Afton Canyon made our list of "Places You Need To See in the California Desert" a year ago.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/afton.jpg?itok=DakdicLh
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Hole In The Wall, Mojave National Preserve
35.163187100000, -115.451033500000
Even with the presence of other campers and the light from a nearby visitor center, this part of the preserve gets pretty dark.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hole-in-the-wall_img_6991.jpg?itok=k-kwBzKr
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Busch Gardens
34.128349600000, -118.158359400000
A precursor to the brewery tour/amusement park experience in Van Nuys and a distant ancestor to the theme parks/water parks that still operate in Florida and Virginia, the Pasadena attraction focused specifically on the gardens.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/midwinterinbuschgardens.jpg?itok=uphjEO-O
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Grandview Campground
37.332270500000, -118.186789000000
It's not easy to find a higher spot in the high desert than this favorite among Southern California astronomers, at 8,500 feet in the pinyon juniper forested slopes of the White Mountains, well into the Inyo National Forest.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/grandview.jpg?itok=H0BlIikL
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Bridgeport
38.255716300000, -119.231388000000
Bridgeport, the Mono County seat, is a must-visit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bridgeport.jpg?itok=yIeOSvpc
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Benton Hot Springs
37.800889800000, -118.528113600000
Benton Hot Springs is solidly into the sagebrush belt of the California desert, and despite being a few miles off all-weather, transcontinental Route 6, it's really quiet.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/benton_hot_springs.jpg?itok=hhR4LBq7
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Emigrant Campground, Death Valley National Park
36.495757900000, -117.226917000000
Now we're talking. This campground nine miles west of Stovepipe Wells is not precisely "no-frills": it's got piped in water and flush toilets.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/emigrantcampground.jpg?itok=vP7ff2nl
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Mesquite Springs Campground Death Valley National Park
36.963955600000, -117.367874400000
Of all the spots we've featured in all our stargazing guides so far, this easily accessible campground in the northern reaches of Death Valley has the darkest skies.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mesquite-springs-campground.jpg?itok=66kO4sCd
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Ascot Hills Park
34.070729300000, -118.188896000000
Many of Los Angeles' hillside neighborhoods are situated near open space, giving residents convenient opportunities to outdoor recreation. With Ascot Hills, you can add El Sereno to that list.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/img_0730.jpg?itok=t3hGjDoO
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
China Camp State Park
38.001033600000, -122.462051500000
China Camp State Park in San Rafael is a portal into history. On the shores of the San Pablo Bay, it was settled in the 1880s by Chinese immigrants. The shrimp fishing village soon grew to nearly 500 residents, with three general stores, a marine supply store, and a barber shop.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/chinacampsp.jpg?itok=IYjlNPu6
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • history
  • camping
Border Field State Park
32.543486100000, -117.121978500000
Border Field State Park has a network of horse and hiking trails through the largest coastal wetland in Southern California.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/borderfield.jpg?itok=rFWuHZqn
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Sunset Cliffs
32.726340600000, -117.251421800000
The name "Sunset Cliffs" gives an idea of what might draw visitors to this undeveloped stretch of coast along Point Loma. But the truth is the cliffs and beaches are gorgeous any time of day or night.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sunset20cliffs-beach20hikes-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=nsUqG8nu
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Pacific Beach
32.802400200000, -117.235763300000
Take a cue from the locals and grab a skateboard, bike, or rollerblades and cruise the boardwalk between Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pacific20beach-beach20hike-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=yTNW5X-T
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
32.916560400000, -117.249574900000
This park's lovely namesake trees are a must-see for anyone in the area.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/torrey20pines-beach20hikes-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=kQI-XjlK
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
La Jolla Shores
32.858700300000, -117.256263600000
You'll pass underneath the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and amble through Black's Beach, a spot famous for its beauty and powerful surf and infamous for its nude sunbathers.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/blacks20beach-beach20hikes-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=vXfmOKyB
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
South Carlsbad
33.103026200000, -117.318794400000
This region of San Diego County, from San Elijo to San Clemente, offers some of the best beach backpacking in Southern California because of the abundance of appropriately spaced campgrounds.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/san20elijo20state20beach-beach20hikes-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=fHXh2Grw
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
San Elijo Lagoon
33.015535900000, -117.250002700000
Rather than walking along the beach, the idea here is to explore a 1,000-acre coastal wetland, the type of which many did not survive the 20th century.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/san20elijo20state20beach-beach20hikes-san20diego-california_0.jpg?itok=bwRY3x5R
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
San Clemente State Beach
33.404343100000, -117.602936200000
This hike technically begins in Orange County, on the wide, sandy beaches of San Clemente, the kind Southern California is famous for.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/san20onofre-beach20hikes-san20diego-california.jpg?itok=GEnT_g11
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Cave Landing
35.176283600000, -120.719455100000
This is one of those hikes with a very high effort-to-reward ratio.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cave20landing-montana20de20oro-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=57YSLSy4
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Whittier Narrows Recreation Area
34.032419600000, -118.055412300000
The paths throughout Whittier Narrows are certainly walkable, but the soft, dirt paths make for a nice bike ride and an efficient way to meander on your hunt for monsters that seem to have crawled out from the lakes (and gotten a relatively recent paint job).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/whittier_3.jpg?itok=YolgjIil
  • socal wanderer
Bluff Trail
35.265034200000, -120.891016100000
The famously enchanting rocky Central Coast coastline is on full display here, on the headlands between Avila Beach and Morro Bay. The Bluff Trail gives hikers a lovely taste of it all.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bluff20trail-montana20de20oro-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=6Jvv-lDH
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Valencia Peak
35.267117500000, -120.877229800000
Valencia Peak serves up enchanting coastal views during the hike to its 1,347-foot summit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/valencia20peak-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=T0JBc-po
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Hazard Peak
35.281936800000, -120.862596000000
At 1,076-feet, Hazard Peak is twice as tall as surrounding peaks, making it the ideal perch from which survey the coast and mountains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hazard20peak-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=KmWcMU09
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Hazard Reef
35.287789200000, -120.881949700000
The rocky point known as Hazard Reef hosts the best of both worlds -- rocky and sandy -- that make up most of the coast in this region.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hazard20reef-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=RRsDlxqV
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Hansen Dam
34.261014400000, -118.386186100000
It may be hard to believe now, but flooding was once a major concern in the L.A. area – enough to channelize (translation: concretize) the verdant L.A. River and build other flood control measures. Located at the foot of the Angeles National Forest near Big Tujunga Wash, the massive horseshoe-shaped Hansen Dam was built after the catastrophic floods of 1938.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hansendam_2.jpg?itok=YzHuBusp
  • socal wanderer
Morro Strand Trail
35.392820700000, -120.863758700000
Beginning from Cloisters Park in Morro Bay, this 3.5-mile round trip walk will lead you through wetlands, sand dunes, onto the beach and ultimately to the hulking mass that makes this stretch of coast so iconic.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/morro20beach-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=qV8s_2TD
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Headlands Trail
35.475993500000, -121.004501700000
While not the most dramatic coastal landscape in the county, Harmony Headlands State Park embodies the rolling coastal terrain that makes up parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/harmony20headlands20state20park-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=SVXlQP05
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area
34.108434200000, -117.954562700000
. Formed by the San Gabriel River’s flood control dam (whose steep rim you can trace by bike), this county park offers amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains as well as a nature center that offers interpretive programs and displays about the biological communities present in the alluvial fan of the San Gabriel River (in the foothills of those mountains).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santafedam_2.jpg?itok=i5Vbvth2
  • socal wanderer
Moonstone Beach Boardwalk
35.574598500000, -121.113148500000
This path is a portal to the Cambria coast, another appealing mix of rocky shore and sandy beaches, easily accessible by this flat, 3-mile round-trip trail and boardwalk.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/moonstone20beach20boardwalk-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=53cVNMaz
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Piedras Blancas Rookery
35.612316100000, -121.144951000000
Wildlife is a defining factor of the Central Coast, from the Peregrine falcons of Morro Rock to the whales, dolphins, and the honking, stinking elephant seals of San Simeon.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/piedras20blancas-elephant20seal-beach20hikes-san20luis20obispo-california.jpg?itok=LRrpMmyy
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area
34.174216200000, -118.488216000000
Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area offers an embarrassment of riches in the Valley – from wildlife viewing (and birdwatching) at the Wildlife Reserve to the cherry blossoms of Lake Balboa, The Japanese Garden of the water reclamation plant, and the model airplane field, archery range, and cricket fields of Woodley Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sepulveda_2.jpg?itok=tkoGb8cV
  • socal wanderer
Carpinteria Bluffs
34.387445000000, -119.501840000000
This protected stretch of bluffs in south Santa Barbara makes for a convenient, easy, and lovely outing.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/carpinteria20bluffs-santa20barbara-beach20hikes-california.jpg?itok=mSlsIuun
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Inspiration Point
34.472165200000, -119.714730600000
Rest assured this lookout point, the 1,800-foot summit of a peak in Los Padres National Forest, will live up to its name.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/inspiration20point-santa20barbara-beach20hikes-california.jpg?itok=ERESoEVs
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Arroyo Burro Beach
34.403707100000, -119.743816900000
Also known as Hendry's Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach is another classic bluff-and-beach area.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/arroyo20burro20beach-santa20barbara-beach20hikes-california.jpg?itok=Ka8QuQ1o
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Lizard's Mouth
34.501956000000, -119.864723300000
This reptile-shaped sandstone formation basks in the sun above Santa Barbara, with its mouth agape.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/lizards20mouth-beach20hikes-santa20barbara-california.jpg?itok=tCTR8QCz
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Refugio State Beach
34.464268500000, -120.066401700000
Again, this is the type of beach Santa Barbara it littered with: bluffs, intermittent stretches of rocky and sandy beaches, and serene ocean views.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/refugio20state20beach-beach20hikes-santa20barbara-california.jpg?itok=x_LMcItw
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Bill Wallace Trail
34.465562300000, -120.025484200000
If you like hiking high above the beach, into easy-to-reach backcountry with spectacular views of the coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains, then this trail will be your cup of tea.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bill20wallace20trail-beach20hikes-santa20barbara-california.jpg?itok=UxGrVAKA
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Gaviota Peak
34.504010000000, -120.206432200000
Ocean views hardly get more dramatic than from the 6-mile Trespass Trail.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gaviota20peak-beach20hikes-santa20barbara-california.jpg?itok=6XAQfTHq
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Dapper Cadaver
34.210707600000, -118.355554400000
This horror props house by the Burbank Airport sells and rents anything from coffins to aliens, dinosaurs, and incredibly realistic-looking-but-fake corpses. It gets a lot of its business from Hollywood, but it also supplies the creators of home haunts as well as collectors of oddities like vintage surgical instruments, skulls and other bones, and jars of preserved critters (some fake, but some real).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/dapper_cadaver_2_0.jpg?itok=Mzom15nu
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Gaviota Wind Caves
34.472626000000, -120.228504000000
The hills above Gaviota State Beach are a wind-sculpted sandstone dreamscape.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wind20caves-gaviota20state20park-beach20hikes-santa20barbara-california.jpg?itok=asmh1Fhj
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Skeletons in the Closets
34.060732200000, -118.213241900000
You probably wouldn’t expect any coroner's office to have a gift shop — but at the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/skeletons_in_the_closet_1.jpg?itok=xJtaLQHd
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Jalama County Beach Park
34.510814200000, -120.501301600000
This might be the mother of all Southern California beach walks.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/jalama20beach-beach20hikes-santa20barbara20county-california.jpg?itok=XsQodPbN
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Bearded Lady's Mystic Museum
34.169282400000, -118.342074200000
Ever wish that your antiques store sold medical equipment? Or that there was somewhere to get your crazy cat lady friend a black cat Ouija board? Have you ever been to an artwalk and thought that there just weren’t enough ghosts in the galleries? Well, it’s your lucky day, because Burbank’s Bearded Lady has got all of that and more.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bearded_lady_vintage_oddities_2.jpg?itok=pls1o2ss
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Necromance
34.083378100000, -118.346981500000
With its collection of bug, bones and skeletons, and sea creatures and shells (some of which have been made into jewelry), Necromance can definitely satisfy your curiosity of the natural history and wonders of this earthly realm.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/necromance_1.jpg?itok=8-cdbyje
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Dearly Departed
34.090938100000, -118.318141500000
Dearly Departed specializes in bus tours and walking tours of L.A.’s most famous sites of murder, celebrity death and burial, and horror film locations — but they’ve also got a storefront on Sunset Boulevard that’s a combination museum and gift shop.
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Mesquite Springs Campground
36.963955600000, -117.367874400000
For many westerners, winter camping in the California Desert means Death Valley National Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mesquite-springs-campground_0.jpg?itok=S2RSC4Qx
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Panamint Springs
36.963955600000, -117.367874400000
If even Mesquite Springs campground is full -- which does happen on weekends -- there's another option in the environs of Death Valley National Park that may yet have spaces available: the privately owned Panamint Springs Resort just 70 miles away.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/panamint-springs-resort.jpg?itok=b8Wo0B2Y
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Hollywood Wax Museum
34.101731100000, -118.338152700000
This museum doesn't intend to be a scary place, but it’s downright terrifying. And that’s before you even descend into the “Horror Chamber” in the basement. Down there, it’s a mad monster party where Dracula mingles with Frankenstein while Hellboy looks on.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hollywood_wax_museum_1.jpg?itok=KYh-l4oh
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Hole In The Wall
35.163187100000, -115.451033500000
The Mojave National Preserve's most-developed campground is also its most winter-ready, even though its 4,400 foot elevation might make it a little chilly at night.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/desert-camping-mojave-national-preserve.jpeg?itok=VywiqOD8
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Thriller House
34.069721300000, -118.254466800000
Known better to architectural historians as the “Sanders House,” the Queen Anne-style manor was originally built in 1887. It’s one of the only remaining examples of a design by the architectural firm of Kysor, Morgan & Walls — and it’s one of the stops on the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Angelino Heights Walking Tour.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/thriller_house_1.jpg?itok=O2yko-Go
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Corn Springs
33.624773300000, -115.321825800000
The Chuckwalla Mountains sit in the transition area between California's high and low deserts, and thus enjoy winter temperatures somewhat warmer than those in the Mojave Desert.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/corn.jpg?itok=xhFkyChZ
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Chuckwalla Valley
33.911434500000, -115.866413200000
One of the chief joys of camping at any season in the California desert is the prevalence of open areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/chuckwalla.jpg?itok=EBs0ChRB
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Arlington Mine
33.828278500000, -114.934474900000
As long as we're talking primitive camping, we might as well discuss a truly isolated spot in California's largest ironwood forest.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/arlington.jpg?itok=5QCgKxLz
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Borrego Palm Canyon
33.130826200000, -116.302343500000
Any list of winter California desert campsites that ignored Anza Borrego Desert State Park would be flawed.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/borrego_0.jpg?itok=njEqARqj
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Tuttle Creek Campground, Owens Valley
36.563138300000, -118.124316200000
Winter camping in the Owens Valley sometimes strays out of the strictly defined boundaries of "comfortable."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tuttle.jpg?itok=d0JCRAHI
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Moabi Regional Park
34.727497600000, -114.510904100000
This is one of the California desert's hidden gems, passed by millions of people a year crossing the Colorado River on I-40.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/park-moabi-camping.jpg?itok=Rx44w9LU
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
El Segundo
33.919167400000, -118.416500700000
Here are five of this oil town’s greatest contributions to the Southland, some of which may surprise you.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/blue-butterfly-preserve.jpg?itok=HnVuQe0x
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Treasure Island
37.824394900000, -122.372588400000
Built in 1937 in time to host the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (that is to say, the 1939 World's Fair), the island is chock-full of old buildings listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, was until recently the home to a 40-foot tall sculpture from Burning Man, and offers perhaps the best view you're going to get of gorgeous San Francisco.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/treasureisland.jpg?itok=Ga3H86Mr
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Felicity, California
32.750300000000, -114.765300000000
The drive from California to the Arizona border on Interstate 8 can be an uneventful one, until you reach a 21-foot, pink-marble pyramid curiously erected in the Sonoran Desert. If you pay a few bucks to enter the striking structure, you get to stand on a dot on a bronze plaque and make a wish. You are at the “Official Center of the World.”
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/felicity-certificate.jpg?itok=GknRhRAG
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
  • history
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
34.056700200000, -118.238333500000
Because this area was essentially the original town square before moving a few blocks west, it was also the town gallows and the site of public hangings and their hanging trees. Some of them occurred directly in front of City Hall, which seems bedeviled by a ghost or two.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/picohouse.jpg?itok=PGX3XzgT
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Heritage Square Museum
34.088233900000, -118.207955900000
Unlike the big name museums in Los Angeles, the Heritage Square Museum lies in relative quiet. It sits at the bottom of a hill, on the very end of a cul de sac, where rows and rows of homes face the river. That also meant that the museum is about a 20-minute walk from the nearest Metro train station, the Southwest Museum Station.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/heritagesquare.jpg?itok=k1weaCqX
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Colorado Street Bridge
34.144749700000, -118.163893300000
Pasadena's Colorado Street Bridge bears more than a passing resemblance to an ancient Roman aqueduct. In a way, that makes sense. Both use the same engineering solution – colossal arches – to create an artificial topography and overcome the natural contours of the land. It is also thought to be haunted.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/coloradobridge.jpg?itok=hb4YXAxg
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Rockhaven Sanitarium
34.211361200000, -118.238373500000
The city of Glendale purchased Rockhaven in 2008, but they have yet to restore, reopen, or develop it, leaving it essentially abandoned. But according to security guards, live-in caretakers, and cleanup crews, the former sanitarium is anything but vacant.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/rockhaven.jpg?itok=jHM3uvo3
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Greystone Mansion
34.092176500000, -118.401450700000
You can find the garden variety of hauntings at Greystone -- footsteps, voices, doors opening and shutting, lights flickering, objects moving -- but they all seem to be a sign of unrest and distress. Unexplained phenomena have sent more than one security guard running from the manor, never looking back.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/greystone.jpg?itok=iMVqcuz7
  • socal wanderer
  • history
The Bob Baker Marionette Theater
34.062004700000, -118.259012100000
Situated under the First Street Bridge directly across from the Belmont Tunnel, the theater itself was once a run-down scene shop in a not-so-nice neighborhood near downtown. With his partner, Alton Wood, puppeteer Bob Baker transformed it into a magical performance space. Its main denizens are puppets -- and ghosts.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bobbakermarionettes.jpg?itok=UyJPCPl3
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Queen Mary Long Beach
33.752039200000, -118.191324400000
There is so much reported paranormal activity on this enormous cruise ship that nearly every single deck, cabin, hallway, bar and restaurant on it is considered to be haunted. Its hauntings have earned the ship a spot on TIME's Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America 2008.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/queenmary.jpg?itok=CWvWtPYO
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Windsports Hang Gliding
34.317502700000, -118.408117900000
The Flight Park — where Windsports Hang Gliding is located — enjoys 300 days a year of flying, a pretty good record considering its launch point at Kagel Mountain and the way the wind can kick up, leaving both solo and tandem flights grounded.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gettyimages-566022661.jpg?itok=2nMCBZtO
  • socal wanderer
Torrey Pines Gliderport
32.889883700000, -117.251193800000
Just south of the Torrey Pines Golf Course, you’ll find both hang gliders and paragliders — both subsets of the community of foot-launched flyers — hanging out at the gliderport, waiting for the wind to be just right before they take a flying leap off the cliff. If you’ve got your own glider, you’re free to launch here, but this is the largest tandem operation in the world — which means it’s a great place to learn.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/paragliding-at-torrey-pines-glideport-3.jpg?itok=ZPHhlQW4
  • socal wanderer
California Dreamin' | Hot Air Balloon Rides
33.537171200000, -117.079843800000
This hot air balloon excursion in Temecula offers a variety of ballooning and wine experiences. Balloon rides overlook wineries, mountains, citrus groves and olive trees.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hot-air-ballooning.jpg?itok=yk3cEcPd
  • socal wanderer
Skypark at Santa's Village
34.233125900000, -117.171465600000
The 1950s-era theme park near Lake Arrowhead retains a surprising number of original buildings, 18 in all, from the original park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/gingerbreadhousep1410540.jpg?itok=sqocNtSf
  • socal wanderer
June Lake Loop
37.780059700000, -119.076263100000
This 16-mile loop off US 395 in Mono County offers lots of opportunity to see colorful aspen at 7,000 feet elevation.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/june-lake-loop-fall-color.jpg?itok=CQiHZ0Ek
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
The Esalen Institute
36.123832500000, -121.637189400000
Every night between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., this hippie-centric place to find your chakras, meditate, and maybe "re-find your center" opens its doors to the public for $25 a person. However, only 20 people are allowed to use the hot springs each night, so call in advance to get reservations.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/esalen.jpg?itok=Zn-NbtGI
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Museum of Neon Art
34.143792000000, -118.254644300000
t the Museum of Neon Art, you walk through a relatively bright gift shop and into the back gallery which – depending on the current exhibit – will entrance you with flashing lights, kinetic sculptures, plasma art, backlit plastic, and other selections from guest artists and its permanent collection.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mona-1.jpg?itok=5Hdmbo19
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Manhattan Beach Pier
33.883892500000, -118.413208900000
This South Bay pier is the perfect spot to watch the sunset with an unobstructed view. You’ll spot some fishermen – and maybe a shark in the water – but you’ll avoid the crowds of the Santa Monica, Malibu, or Redondo Beach piers
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/manhattan-beach-pier-2.jpg?itok=pXBALwlP
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
  • Wildlife
Stahl House
34.100505200000, -118.370291300000
At one point, you couldn’t even buy a ticket to tour Pierre Koenig's Stahl House (a.k.a. Case Study House #22) for just one person. You had to find a date to take with you. Then, the policy changed so that you could go alone, but you’d have to pay the equivalent of admission for two. Although the pricing gap has narrowed somewhat since then, it still makes so much more sense to view this Mid-Century Modern masterpiece as a couple rather than going solo.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/stahl-house-2.jpg?itok=FhkKCpaq
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Barnsdall Art Park
34.100367400000, -118.294330000000
Situated high above Hollywood Boulevard just west of Vermont Avenue on what was once known as “Olive Hill,” Barnsdall Art Park is home to the Hollyhock House, which Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built for heiress Aline Barnsdall.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/barnsdall-1.jpg?itok=spoiUPZp
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Walt Disney Concert Hall
34.055346800000, -118.249921300000
Since it was completed in 2003, the Frank Gehry’s “boat-and-sail” design of Walt Disney Concert Hall has become a landmark of both Los Angeles and its downtown, having elicited some pretty strong reactions from visitors and neighbors alike.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/walt-disney-concert-hall-1.jpg?itok=aaa9JPhN
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Orange Empire Railway Museum
33.760147600000, -117.231834400000
The largest collection of locomotives, trolleys, and streetcars in Southern California
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/orange-empire-3.jpg?itok=L1axIABB
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Barstow Harvey House & Rail Depot
34.904725100000, -117.024835700000
Along Old Route 66, you’ll find a 1911 train depot known as Casa del Desierto (“House of the Desert”), one of the last remaining Harvey Houses. It was almost lost after it closed in 1971, until the City of Barstow purchased it in 1990, restored it, and reopened it in 1999.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/barstow-2.jpg?itok=tRzrRZXZ
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum
34.104255800000, -117.309538400000
The Santa Fe Depot, a Spanish Mission Revival style train station from 1918, was once the largest station west of the Mississippi. Originally built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company (now BNSF), it’s currently used by both Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/san-bernardino-1.jpg?itok=jJMqaDp_
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Travel Town Museum
34.154124900000, -118.308114300000
This free museum is open every day except for Christmas with some restored railroad passenger cars (and a dining car) on static display, parked along an actual abandoned rail line right in Griffith Park.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/travel-town-3.jpg?itok=z9YHnV7p
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Fillmore and Western Railway
34.398835400000, -118.910071300000
When they take a train out, it's made up of a jumble of pieces from different train lines and different eras, all mixed up depending on where they're going and how many passengers have booked the trip.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/fillmore-4.jpg?itok=RSFdJv9t
  • socal wanderer
  • history
  • Arts & Culture
Knott's Berry Farm | Calico Railroad
33.844243500000, -118.000334100000
There are actually two trains that run on this track: the authentic Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge steam train from the turn of the 20th century and “The Galloping Goose,” a smaller, 1930s-era narrow gauge, diesel-powered machine from Colorado.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/knotts-3.jpg?itok=0Qprw_YH
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Irvine Regional Park
33.798258600000, -117.752496400000
Irvine Regional Park sits just where the 24/7 glare of the southern L.A. Basin starts to slacken a bit, just at the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/irvine-regional-park.jpg?itok=znR-xbJu
  • socal wanderer
Crescent Bay, Laguna Beach
33.547989500000, -117.803046500000
Crescent Bay Beach at the north end of town offers a quarter mile of sheltered cove perfect for horizontal lounging and skywatching, and it's beneath a bluff that serves to block out the headlights on the Pacific Coast Highway.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/download.jpg?itok=xBvFpSIv
  • socal wanderer
Caspers Wilderness Park, San Juan Capistrano
33.533510300000, -117.551704500000
One of their catchphrases for this out-of-the-way oak woodland is "See the night sky in a different way." You won't get much night sky there if you visit on a day use basis, as the park closes at sunset.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/caspers_wilderness_park_campground.jpg?itok=m76iBFcv
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Silverado, Cleveland National Forest
33.289827000000, -116.810919000000
Just 7.5 miles from the lights of North Tustin, this 19th Century silver mining town is now a laid back unincorporated community with a roadside cafe and a biker bar in Silverado Canyon, just inside the Cleveland National Forest.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/stelprdb5392636.jpg?itok=0EI0CtJQ
  • socal wanderer
  • camping
Holy Jim Falls trailhead parking, Cleveland National Forest
33.681597100000, -117.517070600000
This spot is about as deep as you can get into the Santa Anas without strapping on a backpack. In fact, certain times of year this isn't the best place to try to get to with a low-slung sedan, unless you don't like it very much.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/fseprd517438.jpg?itok=MVpfmA_T
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Culver City
34.021109700000, -118.396573000000
Here are the five best ways to concurrently experience both the past and the present of the former “Heart of Screenland.”
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/culver_hotel_1.jpg?itok=fEYaKohq
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Pantages Theatre
34.102099000000, -118.325784800000
You can’t talk about L.A. in the 1920s and 1930s (or any time thereafter, for that matter) without mentioning the movies.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/pantages-theatre-2.jpg?itok=wruxcoCs
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Bullocks Wilshire
34.061399200000, -118.288422500000
Sure, Wilshire Boulevard has its own Art Deco movie palace, The Wiltern (which now functions primarily as a concert venue), but a more staggering example of an Art Deco landmark can be found on the campus of the Southwestern Law School, which purchased the 23,000 square-foot former home of Bullock’s department store, built in 1929.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bullocks-1.jpg?itok=Lz9-eP1Y
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Catalina Casino
33.348872400000, -118.325830300000
One of the most iconic images of Catalina Island and its harbor in the town of Avalon is of "the Casino building."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/catalina-casino-1.jpg?itok=OQ82eYZI
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Long Beach Airport
33.818509200000, -118.145838800000
But our historic LGB’s 1941 terminal building is exemplary of Streamline architecture (though it was somewhat late to the party).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/long-beach-airport-4.jpg?itok=rWPQyyDh
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Mullin Automotive Museum
34.183000300000, -119.163504200000
An easy day trip away from L.A., Oxnard is home to the other car museum of Petersen Automotive Museum’s chairman, Peter Mullin.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mullin-automotive-museum-2.jpg?itok=G29xL-yq
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Downtown L.A.
34.040708500000, -118.246760800000
There are so many Art Deco treasures in L.A.’s Downtown area that it’s impossible to choose just one, so it’s best to do an architectural crawl to hit several of them.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/dtla-union-station-2.jpg?itok=sl-Lfn06
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Griffith Observatory
34.118407000000, -118.300421900000
Griffith Park has become so popular with tourists and locals alike, I’m not sure there’s anyone left who doesn’t know about it or recognize its Art Deco façade.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/griffith-observatory-4.jpg?itok=-SgsL5yl
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
34.263946900000, -118.633650200000
The Stagecoach Trail at Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park seems innocuous at first — until you realize that you’ve got to go up over those rocks up there.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/santa-susana-pass-state-historic-park-4.jpg?itok=2OETsahL
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
34.009466600000, -118.362450800000
The Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area — tucked behind those oil fields you see while driving along La Cienega on your way to or from LAX — has a ton of history worth exploring on foot.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/kenneth-hahn-state-recreation-area-1.jpg?itok=GUjEGv6G
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Saddleback Butte State Park
34.689880200000, -117.824301400000
Created in 1960 and formerly known as Joshua Tree State Park because of its dense population of Joshua trees, Saddleback Butte State Park’s hiking trails start off modestly at the ranger station / visitor center by the day-use area.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/saddleback-butte-state-park-2.jpg?itok=quPFITE_
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
34.724911600000, -118.396906200000
. If you’re looking for a nice hike, however — with rolling hills and gradually shifting vistas — then head on into the reserve.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/antelope-valley-california-poppy-reserve-1.jpg?itok=TnwoJ0UI
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
34.747995200000, -118.486560200000
The half-mile nature trail and the mile-long Rare Juniper Trail don’t provide much ground for hiking, but you can get a nice, leisurely and relatively flat walk out of them in one of the last virgin Joshua tree forests in the Antelope Valley.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/arthur-b.-ripley-desert-woodland-state-park-3.jpg?itok=kiOs_BPq
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Antelope Valley Indian Museum
34.649594000000, -117.847417000000
As you walk upstairs into the area that now houses Edwards' personal collection of Native American artifacts, you’re literally on a slippery, wobbly rock-climbing expedition.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/antelope-valley-indian-museum-2.jpg?itok=Yki9qOIl
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Skyline Trail/HaciendaHills
34.002414600000, -118.009722100000
The Hacienda Heights trailhead leads you up and along the rolling hills that overlook the surrounding valley communities, with plenty of shade.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hacienda-heights-2.jpg?itok=m-BdrWvA
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Potato Mountain
34.186802400000, -117.699584200000
If you’re the type of hiker that needs a destination at the top (or the end) of a trail, the concrete tank at the top of the so-called “Potato Mountain” (sometimes spelled “Potatoe”) may just do the trick.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/potato-mountain-4.jpg?itok=6wWlMxSz
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Colby Trail
34.153005200000, -117.845767100000
Managed by The Glendora Community Conservancy, a patch of grassland off the Colby Trail has become a hub of activity surrounding rare species rescue and management — namely, of the endemic Brodiaea filifolia, a "cluster lily" that's not only native to California but also seriously endangered.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/colby-trail-1.jpg?itok=_n1a66yM
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Bonnie Cove
34.125110000000, -117.856301700000
The Bonnie Cove Trails are a nice, relatively easy and scenic multi-use route through part of the South Hills Wilderness Area in Glendora.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bonnie-cove-3.jpg?itok=LzGtOM1j
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Puddingstone Reservoir
34.086922100000, -117.799772900000
If you’re looking to go “off the grid,” Bonelli Park is not for you. It’s basically the opposite of wilderness — but because of that, there’s a lot to explore.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bonelli-brackett-1.jpg?itok=D_Q4cH4q
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Lassen Volcanic National Park
40.496309100000, -121.426399700000
Exploring Lassen Volcanic Park would take several lifetimes.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/flyfishing.jpg?itok=TnFbJIDy
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Horseshoe Mesa
36.038085200000, -111.996413900000
You won't believe the stars at Horseshoe Mesa
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/tontoplatform.jpg?itok=THsHMvfI
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Franklin Canyon
34.115909500000, -118.413949000000
If you’ve already hiked Franklin Canyon and its Hastain Trail during the day, but the heat has kept you off the trail while the sun is out, going back to a familiar place on a familiar trail in the coolness of night with a group is a good way to get back in the swing of things.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/david_lofink_flickr_franklin_canyon2.jpg?itok=dGsd-LVH
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Los Liones Canyon Trail
34.048877000000, -118.560280700000
This is a breathtaking hike, not only because of the cold wind whipping through your lungs at the top, but because it provides the opportunity to look down on the lights of Santa Monica and its Ferris wheel at the Pier.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/eric_chan_flickr_pacific_palisades_parker_mesa2.jpg?itok=gTvRfprF
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Griffith Park
34.135555100000, -118.293501700000
Griffith Park has got 50+ miles of trails, after all. Regardless of which way you take, most of your walk will be relatively shadowy even if you start before sundown.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/griffith_park_2a.jpg?itok=obl8yFNQ
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Runyon Canyon Park
34.105426800000, -118.349213700000
Runyon Canyon may be one of the most beaten paths when it comes to hiking in L.A., but something really special happens there when the sun goes down.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/runyon_canyon2.jpg?itok=wQlxA3dm
  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
34.088777800000, -118.319017400000
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the most iconic locations in the Los Angeles area.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hollywoodforevercemetary02.jpg?itok=HQFnnrB9
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Hollywood Bowl
34.112739200000, -118.338856200000
Another great way to truly experience L.A. is by spending an evening watching live music outdoors.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/300px-hollywood_bowl_and_sign.jpg?itok=o28k0wWP
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Leona Valley
34.618168000000, -118.288124000000
t can be fun to incorporate freshly picked fruits into your picnic menu, and cherries go well with many things. From late May to July, different varieties of cherries are ripe and ready for picking in Leona Valley.
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  • socal wanderer
  • hiking
Cucamonga Peak
34.227692500000, -117.590016600000
If you're looking for an epic adventure that offers an incredible view for your picnic, take a hike up to the top of Cucamonga Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cucamonga_peak.jpg?itok=y0WyoaX_
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
The Phoenix Club
33.813882500000, -117.875006000000
A group of 15 German immigrant families formed The Phoenix Club in Anaheim and built its original location in 1960.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/phoenix-club-1.jpg?itok=kufz1ENv
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Alpine Village
33.842049400000, -118.288115300000
Alpine Village in the South Bay promotes itself as the “Home of Oktoberfest Since 1968,” but this “little slice of Bavaria” is so much more than that — replete with a German restaurant, market, shops and even a chapel.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/alpine-village-4.jpg?itok=XhwFboUm
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Old World
33.734552500000, -117.997137400000
. Old World’s founder, Josef Bischof, came to the U.S. from Germany in 1952 and brought the Bavarian style to both the South Bay and Orange County, having also founded Alpine Village.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/old_world-2.jpg?itok=Uo1K4RKx
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Goethe Institut
34.049169200000, -118.258966400000
With locations in several major U.S. cities — including Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, San Francisco and L.A. — Goethe-Institut has got the market cornered on promoting German language skills and cultural exchange among other cultures.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/krampus-1.jpg?itok=_X4KuCSt
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Villa Aurora
34.046208200000, -118.555968100000
Once the home of German-Jewish journalist, playwright and novelist Lion Feuchtwanger, who purchased the 14-room, 6,700-square-foot house with his wife Marta in 1943, this Spanish Colonial Revival home became a haven for the German and Austrian intelligentsia who’d immigrated to the U.S.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/villa_aurora_11_14_01.jpg?itok=Cu3WAojU
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Los Angeles City Hall
34.053526700000, -118.242931600000
It’s no longer L.A.’s tallest building, and it hasn’t been since 1966. But prior to that, City Hall was the skyline of downtown L.A. – and for four decades.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cityhall_2.jpg?itok=9AeoXT6e
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Wilshire Grand Center
34.049395200000, -118.259911600000
Topped by a stainless steel spire, the Wilshire Grand Center’s 1,100-foot glass skyscraper is not only the tallest building in L.A. (beating out the U.S. Bank Tower, though just barely), but also the tallest west of the Mississippi.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/wilshiregrand_3.jpg?itok=XkSSeC2W
  • socal wanderer
  • history
U.S. Bank Tower
34.051080100000, -118.254352600000
Until the new Wilshire Grand opened a year ago, the U.S. Bank Tower (a.k.a. the Library Tower) was the tallest building west of the Mississippi – at least, since it was built in 1989.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/banktower_2.jpg?itok=ytfT3PwG
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Aon Center
34.049218700000, -118.257002100000
Completed in 1973, the Aon Center (a.k.a. United California Bank Building and the First Interstate Tower) is one of L.A.’s most misunderstood and underappreciated structures – falling just short of the 50-year period of significance and representing a “lost” part of L.A. that many preservationists still mourn.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/aon_1.jpg?itok=4O3Yf-3L
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Westin Bonaventure Hotel
34.052254100000, -118.256225500000
At once utopian and dystopian (hence its appearance in various sci-fi movies and T.V. shows), The Bonaventure Hotel is a thrilling part of the L.A. skyline and an adventure to explore, as you try to navigate your way through the six-story atrium and, eventually, its glassy cylinders to the upper floors.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bonaventure_1.jpg?itok=f5t1Cy7P
  • socal wanderer
  • history
San Diego County Fair
32.971954600000, -117.260446000000
San Diego County is leading the charge in updating carnival-style amusements and attractions for modern times and today’s youngest audiences.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sandiego_1.jpg?itok=zyQ0qxAK
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Orange County Fair
33.666057300000, -117.901004100000
Orange County’s fair holds the distinction of having some of the most exciting programming that involves demolition derby.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ocfair_1.jpg?itok=C3brXPLk
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Los Angeles County Fair
34.086301200000, -117.767652100000
The Fair ranks as the country’s fourth-largest and runs for nearly three weeks. And that’s despite the fact that September is our hottest month of the year!
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/la_county_1.jpg?itok=bWVK2CTY
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Kern County Fair
35.342308000000, -119.011554500000
Over the course of just a week and a half, this fair crams in top-notch concerts from incomparable heritage artists like The Beach Boys, War, and Air Supply, provides unique food offerings from local businesses.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/kern_1.jpg?itok=k9A3JbyC
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival
33.714549800000, -116.224878300000
Among all of our county fairs, the one representing Riverside County is a real standout.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/riverside_1.jpg?itok=ICZ-UXfG
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
33.958145900000, -116.483166700000
For a truly oddball experience in the Palm Springs area, head north to Desert Hot Springs, where you’ll find Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, the grand palace of Cabot Yerxa.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/cabot_1.jpg?itok=ooxHsU96
  • Arts & Culture
  • socal wanderer
Ruddy’s General Store Museum
33.820800000000, -116.547000000000
Stepping onto the Village Green of Palm Springs is like stepping back in time to the 19th century.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/general_1.jpg?itok=2X4FLw8u
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Palm Springs Stadium
33.817727400000, -116.526193300000
There’s only one baseball game in town – that of the summer collegiate league team, The POWER.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/bb_1.jpg?itok=HvB-Dfdx
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Palm Springs Air Museum
33.832666900000, -116.505039500000
Even if you’re just passing through Palm Springs, it’s worth the detour to check out the Palm Springs Air Museum’s stellar collection of warbirds – and maybe even take a ride in one.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/airmuseum_1.jpg?itok=GSC6gbSy
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Robolights
33.831885600000, -116.535883400000
Its creator, outsider artist Kenny Irwin Jr., calls it simply "Robolights."
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/roboeyes_2.jpg?itok=SDuLg0jM
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center
34.248456600000, -119.266543300000
Technically, you’d have to get on the water to reach one of the actual Channel Islands. But technically, the national park experience extends to the mainland – starting at the visitor center at Ventura Harbor.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/center_1.jpg?itok=A6xPg5la
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Ventura Village Carousel
34.239958300000, -119.264655800000
The carousel attraction at Ventura Harbor Village is nearly a half-century old and the only carousel to be found in all of Ventura County.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/carousel_1.jpg?itok=j5aCvBTZ
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Ventura Harbor Boat Rentals and Charters
34.241326300000, -119.265854800000
Besides cruising to the Channel Islands courtesy of Island Packers, you can linger closer to the mainland by renting a pedal boat, kayak, or paddleboard or even taking advantage of one of Ventura’s many popular surf points.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/boating_1.jpg?itok=MNhDTS62
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
The Old Mission San Buenaventura
34.281103300000, -119.298191800000
If you’re going to spend some time digging into Ventura, one of the best places to start is the mission that helped put the city on the map – The Old Mission San Buenaventura
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mission_4.jpg?itok=7vK0HqsO
  • socal wanderer
  • history
Ventura Murals
34.279935100000, -119.290273700000
Thanks to everything from FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s to the Ventura Public Art Commission in modern times, this "City of Good Fortune" takes the cake in showcasing monumental works where “old” and “new” Ventura collide.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/murals_1.jpg?itok=tF9UJS3c
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Dennison Grade
34.436306000000, -119.201788000000
California State Route 150 – known colloquially as the Dennison Grade – is an incredibly scenic and informative way to Ojai.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ojaivalley.jpg?itok=CT0AFoC8
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Frog Creek Farm
34.433512000000, -119.161207400000
Lavender season is short, and usually starts in June when the temperatures are already rising, so wear a hat and bring some water for your visit.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/frogcreekfarm.jpg?itok=HkSLVxnM
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Ojai Olive Oil Company
34.468530500000, -119.206146000000
A visit to Ojai Olive Oil Company is worth it if even just to meet the makers and, during harvest time in October or November, watch the workers handpick the olives
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/oliveoil.jpg?itok=w3lrJwT1
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Ojai Valley Museum and Visitors Center
34.447922000000, -119.247794000000
Starting at the Ojai Valley Museum and Visitors Center, you can learn about Libbey and the development projects he contributed since first vacationing in Ojai in 1908.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/ojaivalleymuseum_1.jpg?itok=3qOmwe41
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
Meher Mount
34.412115500000, -119.171601400000
A good way to start your spiritual journey is to make a pilgrimage to Meher Mount, a “gateway to the divine” perched atop Sulphur Mountain.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/mehermount.jpg?itok=M_0zrxEZ
  • socal wanderer
  • Arts & Culture
The Alpaca Hacienda
33.508447900000, -117.157751400000
If you’ve ever dreamed of having land — say, a sprawling ranch up on a hill — and a herd of fluffy animals, a visit to The Alpaca Hacienda may prove to you that dreams really do come true.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/hacienda_1.jpg?itok=RA5tMh0X
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Canzelle Alpacas
34.398972000000, -119.518047000000
Though it’s literally three quarters of a mile away from the 101, Canzelle Alpacas at Lonson Family Farm couldn’t feel farther from civilization.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/canzelle_1.jpg?itok=74df7AS3
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Sweet Water Alpaca Ranch
34.519564900000, -118.254616300000
Though some alpaca breeding facilities are closed for general public visits and open by appointment only if you’re in the market for a stud or some offspring, Sweet Water Alpaca Ranch welcomes visitors of all types — as long as you’re genuinely interested in “alpaca culture” (and you call ahead).
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/sweetwater_1.jpg?itok=Uwg4kswd
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
Alpacas at Windy Hill
34.349314300000, -118.986788900000
While this ranch does breed and sell alpacas, it also offers a support system for anyone interested in learning the ropes of alpaca ownership, including providing boarding.
https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/styles/kl_image_small/public/thumbnails/map/windyhill_1.jpg?itok=vD9Sb6eu
  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife
The Barnyard at William S. Hart Museum
34.376355000000, -118.525966900000
In the barnyard, you’ll meet the five resident South American domesticated alpacas, all females.
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  • socal wanderer
  • Wildlife

East of the Serra Chapel, you’ll find the mission’s historic cemetery (a.k.a. Camposanto, or “holy field”), where burials of Native American men, women and children – essentially, those who built the mission -- and Spanish soldiers of the mission era began in 1781. Nearly 2,000 of them were buried here, though not everybody got their own grave, coffin or marker. The last and perhaps most famous of those interred at the tiny cemetery was Father Saint John O’Sullivan, who died in 1933 (and has both a large monument and a plaque in his honor). In 1910, O’Sullivan had moved out West with tuberculosis and had set up shop, so to speak, among the ruins of Mission San Juan Capistrano – the first padre to reside at the mission in over 20 years, when his only companionship came from the critters that roamed the desolate site. Soon after his arrival, he made restoring the mission his life’s work – earning him the nickname “The Great Restorer.” It was he who is credited for elevating the swallows to legendary status, having co-authored the book "Capistrano Nights," which brought the story to the masses. Father O’Sullivan also created the annual “Return of the Swallows” celebration, a tradition that’s continued since the 1920s.

Pro Tip: Walk up to the altar inside the Serra Chapel and you’ll be standing above the spot where three former mission pastors -- José Barona, Vicente Fustér and Vicente Pascual Oliva – are also entombed.

tombstone.jpg

Corey Seeman/Flickr/Creative Commons

san_juan_capistrano

Serra's Chapel, Mission San Juan Capistrano | Ken Lund/Flickr/Creative Commons

5. Head to Historic Downtown San Juan Capistrano

Not only should you go to Mission San Juan Capistrano for more than just watching the swallows return, but you should also visit the town of San Juan Capistrano for more than just its mission! In fact, between the Mission District and the Los Rios Historic District, there’s plenty to keep your entertained well within walking distance of the mission (which publishes a handy map for its visitors).

Starting at the historic Capistrano depot from 1894 – the oldest Mission Revival style train depot in SoCal -- grab a bite to eat at either Trevor’s at the Tracks (a relatively recent addition to the trackside dining options) or The Vintage Steak House (where you can dine inside a 1927 Pullman rail car). On the other side of the tracks, you’ll find over 30 landmarked structures (including a few adobes) dating back to 1794 along Los Rios, known as “California’s oldest residential street.” Don’t miss the old Capistrano jail cell that was relocated to Los Rios from the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Ortega Highway – which also happens to be the intersection where Mission San Juan Capistrano stands. And you can find one more former jail in the cellar of El Adobe de Capistrano, a Mexican eatery whose southern end is housed in the former juzgado (courthouse) of San Juan Capistrano.

Pro Tip: Along Camino Capistrano, don’t miss the Esslinger Building at 31866 Camino Capistrano, a Streamline Moderne stunner that was built in 1939 as a medical clinic for Dr. Paul H. Esslinger. It’s featured on the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce’s architectural walking tour guide, among many other historic gems.

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Sandi Hemmerlein

 

Top Image: Sandi Hemmerlein 

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