LAX, Los Angeles’ main international airport, isn’t really anyone’s idea of a destination in its own right. Instead, it’s a gateway to the City of Angels for millions of people every year. And although this big and bustling airport may not be the most fun place to visit while you’re in Southern California, you’ll be glad it’s there when you consider what it can offer you.
LAX has scheduled flights to more than 170 destinations around the world, so the truth is, you can get just about anywhere from here. But if you’re looking to spend a weekend out of the city, it’s probably not a smart idea to jump on the next redeye to Tokyo. Instead, you should check out some of the destinations you can reach from LA in only a couple of hours without having to worry about jet lag.
All of these destinations can be reached from LAX by a direct flight, and none take more than three hours, making them ideal for weekend getaways. Drop off your bags at an LAX luggage storage so you can save money by packing light and make the most of this incredible gateway to the United States and beyond.
The flight from Los Angeles to San Diego only lasts an hour, so it will be over before you know it. Once in San Diego, you can explore the waterfront Gaslamp District, visit the world-famous Balboa Park, or go for a hike in one of the many stunning canyons.
San Diego is known for its beautiful coastal location, along with its many beaches and reliably warm and sunny weather. It’s also home to an excellent zoo and some fascinating museums, plus a food scene that may not have all the variety you’ll find in LA but still offers some truly incredible dishes from around the world. San Diego makes a great city break if you don’t want to go too far from LA but would like to experience more of that Southern California vibe.
San Francisco may share a state with LA, and both cities may boast a beautiful coastal location, but that’s more or less where the similarities end. San Francisco is a completely different city and one that’s well worth visiting for a weekend getaway.
This historic city is home to world-renowned sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, plus an array of excellent museums, galleries, and parks. From LA, you can fly to San Francisco in just over an hour, making it the perfect destination for a short break.
Las Vegas is one of the most popular weekend getaways from LA, and it’s not hard to see why. This city is a non-stop party, with world-famous casinos, hotels, restaurants, and clubs.
And although it may be best known for its nightlife, there’s plenty to do during the day in Vegas too. You can explore the nearby desert, go for a swim in one of the many pools, or simply spend some time people-watching on the Strip.
Vegas is an ideal destination if you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend away from LA. Just make sure you don’t blow all your money in the casinos!
Phoenix is another great option for a weekend getaway from LA. This city is only a short flight away, and you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied when you’re there.
There are some excellent museums in Phoenix, including the Heard Museum, which focuses on Native American art and culture, and the Arizona Science Center, which has interactive exhibits that are perfect for kids. And if you’re looking to escape the heat of the desert, you can always take a short drive to Sedona to enjoy its cooler temperatures and stunning scenery.
As close as it is in relative terms, Arizona is a very different state from California, and Phoenix offers an atmosphere that is completely different from LA. If you want to see more of the Western states, this is a great way to add some variety to your trip without traveling too far from LA.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you’re planning a weekend getaway, but it’s well worth considering. This city is home to some excellent museums, including the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Leonardo, as well as a number of parks and gardens.
And if you’re a fan of skiing or snowboarding, then Salt Lake City is the perfect place to hit the slopes. With several world-class ski resorts within easy reach of the city, you can easily spend a day or two on the slopes before heading back to LA.
Whether you’re looking for culture, history, or simply some time in the great outdoors, Salt Lake City makes an excellent destination for a weekend getaway from LA.
This destination is only three hours from LAX by direct flight, but again, you’ll find it hard to believe just how different it is. The first destination on this list that’s in a different country, Vancouver is the biggest city in British Columbia and one of the biggest in Canada.
Surrounded by ancient forests and beautiful mountains, this coastal city is within easy reach of the pristine Canadian wilderness. Like Salt Lake City, you can also hit the slopes in less than an hour from the city. And although it may mark itself as Hollywood North, due to the popularity of the city with the film industry, Vancouver’s laid-back and outdoorsy charm is a world away from the glamour and fast pace of LA. Just a member to bring your passport!
San Jose Del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo is a small town located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Although it’s often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo is well worth a visit in its own right.
This charming town has a very different feel to the rest of Mexico, with its colonial-style architecture and laid-back atmosphere. There are some excellent beaches nearby, too, making it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that’s a little bit off the beaten track, then San Jose del Cabo is definitely worth considering. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of LA and enjoy some time in a more relaxed setting.
As you can see from this list, there is no shortage of incredible cities you can easily visit with a direct flight from LAX. Leave the heavy bags behind and get ready to see more of the United States and of North America with these intriguing day trips.