Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest is a massive wildlife area just on the edge of Los Angeles. The climate here ranges from snowy mountaintops to arid desert flatlands. Because there is so much natural variety in the area, there are also a plethora of recreational activities. Hiking, camping, cycling and horseback riding are popular all year round. Swimming, canoeing and boating are popular in the summer. In the winter, skiing, sledding and snowmobiling are enjoyed on the mountain peaks.
Whatever your interests, you are sure to find something fun to do at the Angeles National Forest.
Angeles National Forest:
701 N. Santa Anita Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91006
La Brea Tar Pits
If you enjoy natural history, or if you've ever just wondered how a mammoth could get stuck in tar, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum will teach you a lot. The lovely grassy grounds of the area are covered with black gates blocking off sprouting up tar pits. Despite these measures, you are likely to still run across a few bubbling pools that have not yet been quarantined from the rest of the park.
Inside the museum, you will see full skeletons of extinct animals, a stunning atrium full of prehistoric plants and a number of exhibits about the excavation of the pits. Scientists research the fossils right inside the museum in an area where guests can watch.
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Santa Monica Mountains
If you like cowboys more than woolly mammoths, you may want to stop by the Santa Monica Mountains. Long before this park was declared a National Recreation Area, it was owned by Paramount Studios and was used in a number of Western films. When William Randolph Hearst purchased the property in the '50s, he actually used the old sets of the films to construct a permanent Old West town in the area.
If you aren't all that fascinated by Hollywood recreations of the West, you can still appreciate this area's stunning natural beauty and diversity. Guests enjoy hiking, cycling and walking through the beach cliffs, desert scenery and the forested mountains.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
401 W. Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Bike The Beach
The sun, the sand and the surf all work together here to make the beaches of Los Angeles some of the best beaches around. To really appreciate them, try cycling past the waves on the L.A. beach bike path. For the best the path has to offer, start at Marina Del Ray and ride south to Manhattan Beach. While Redondo Beach is very popular and is not that far south of Manhattan Beach on the path, it is advisable to skip the area while biking, as most of the beach requires walking your cycle and police are anxious to give tickets to offenders of this rule.
L.A. Beach Bike Path
62nd at Pacific Avenue to The Strand at Manhattan Beach Boulevard
If you have children with you, there is no better way to show them the magic of Hollywood than bringing them to Universal Studios. If you don't have kids, the trip is still fun. Universal Studios has fast-paced rides, top stage shows that incorporate real movie effects and the famous tram tour of a studio back lot. This theme park is an experience that shouldn't be missed.
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, California 91608-1085