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Road Trips from Santa Monica: Discovering Nearby Gems and Hidden Treasures

Posted on 16 Jan, 2021 at 12:00 am - by Alex Dormer

Santa Monica, California, is not only a captivating destination in itself but also serves as a gateway to a wealth of nearby attractions and hidden treasures. Embarking on a road trip from Santa Monica allows you to explore charming coastal towns, immerse yourself in the beauty of national parks, and uncover the natural wonders that lie just a short drive away. Get ready to hit the road and embark on an adventure beyond Santa Monica's borders.

Discovering the Coastal Charm of Malibu

Just a short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica lies the picturesque town of Malibu. Known for its stunning beaches and celebrity homes, Malibu offers a laid-back coastal vibe that is hard to resist. Spend a day sunbathing on Zuma Beach, enjoy a seafood feast at one of the local restaurants, or explore the boutiques and art galleries that dot the Pacific Coast Highway. Don't forget to visit the iconic Malibu Pier for panoramic views of the coastline and a chance to spot dolphins or whales swimming offshore.

Unwinding in the Serenity of Ojai

Escape the bustling city and venture inland to the tranquil town of Ojai. Nestled in the Ojai Valley, this charming destination is renowned for its natural beauty and serene atmosphere. Explore the downtown area, filled with art galleries, boutiques, and cozy cafes. Take a hike in the surrounding mountains, such as the popular Shelf Road Trail, which offers panoramic views of the valley. To unwind and rejuvenate, indulge in a spa treatment at one of Ojai's renowned wellness retreats, or simply enjoy the stunning sunsets that paint the sky with hues of pink and orange.

Immersing Yourself in Nature at Joshua Tree National Park

If you're craving an unforgettable outdoor adventure, head east to Joshua Tree National Park. Known for its unique desert landscapes, iconic Joshua trees, and impressive rock formations, this national park offers endless opportunities for exploration. Take a scenic drive through the park, hike the various trails, or try your hand at rock climbing. As night falls, gaze up at the clear desert sky, filled with countless stars, and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Milky Way. Camping under the stars in Joshua Tree is an experience that will stay with you long after your road trip ends.

Unearthing the Charms of Santa Barbara

A short drive up the coast from Santa Monica lies the enchanting city of Santa Barbara. Known as the "American Riviera," Santa Barbara captivates visitors with its Spanish colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture. Stroll along State Street, lined with shops, boutiques, and restaurants, or visit the historic Santa Barbara Mission. For a taste of the city's natural beauty, explore the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden or take a leisurely bike ride along the beachfront path. End your visit with a sunset picnic on Butterfly Beach, enjoying the breathtaking coastal views.


A road trip from Santa Monica opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to explore the diverse beauty that surrounds this coastal city. From the coastal charm of Malibu to the serenity of Ojai, the natural wonders of Joshua Tree National Park, and the enchanting city of Santa Barbara, each destination offers its own unique allure. Hit the road, embrace the freedom of the open highway, and uncover the hidden gems that await on your journey from Santa Monica.

About Author
  • Alex Dormer

    Alex is a successful travel blogger; he gives great tips to travel enthusiasts regarding how they can save money on their vacations. He's been to 40 + countries, and he mainly focuses on how to cut down costs during travel. 

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