Wilderness escapes in LA

Wilderness escapes in LA

Photo: Wiki Commons

Photo: Wiki Commons

MOST OUTSIDERS seem to associate Los Angeles with traffic and sprawl and the TV / film industry. But when you really dig in here you realize right away that America’s 2nd biggest city is actually in an unbelievably beautiful natural setting with world-class surf spots, mountains, and desert terrain all within striking distance.

From dramatic coastlines and beach parks to the banks of the much-maligned LA river, here are the urban escapes into nature that keep my soul alive here.

And lastly, these spots are all taken directly from my travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, plus build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Now grab your sunscreen, we’re going outside.

Terranea Cove Beach

Terranea Cove Beach

Rancho Palos Verdes, United States

This tiny cove is surrounded by sea cliffs and although it is within the Terrranea Resort grounds it is assessible to the public as are all of the nature trails and beaches on the resort. Look for migrating grey whales in the spring. #beach #resort

Bowtie Project

Bowtie Project

Los Angeles, United States

A nearly empty piece of public land used by an artist collective for sculptural works and live performances. One of the very few places you can actually camp in LA (although I can’t recommend it.) – this is a cool stop on a bike ride around the LA River and certainly the most post-apocalyptic state park your likely to find. #losangeles #park

Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach

Malibu, United States

Leave LA behind and drive south up the PCH and pull off at Zuma Beach – a local favorite for chilling out on the sand and surfing. Adopt the local attitude and plan on spending the day in the waves and under the sun. #beach #surfing #malibu

Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Los Angeles, United States

One of the only places you can have a bon fire on the beach around LA. The Dockweiler fire pits are awesome but suuuuper popular, especially on the weekends in the summer months. Bring plenty of fire wood and friends and pass the night telling spoony stories! Nearby rv camping can be found as well. #losangeles #camping

El Matador State Beach

El Matador State Beach

Malibu, United States

A few miles north of Malibu is a magical beach named El Matador. It is lined with sea facing cliffs and riddled with huge rock structures that rise from the sand and surf. The little tunnels and caves are crowd favorites. Warning: this place is very popular with film, commercial and photo shoots…which can really kill the vibe… #beach #malibu

Wisdom Tree

Wisdom Tree

Los Angeles, United States

A secret LA pilgrimage, the hike to the Tree of Life is a perfect way to bring in the sunset. A solitary tree on a ridgeline near the Hollywood sign, the Tree of Life is surrounded by rock art and good vibes. A personal fave. #losangeles #hike

Amir’s Garden

Amir’s Garden

Los Angeles, United States

This place is an oasis within an oasis. A renegade garden created and tended over years in Griffith Park, Amir’s Garden is an amazing place to chill after a hike or ride. If you find it, be glad. #park #losangeles #hiking

Topanga State Park

Topanga State Park

Topanga, United States

Topanga is an enormous park that staddles the Santa Monica Mountains and is criss crossed with trails for hiking and biking. In the Spring it is a glory of green just minutes from LA. There is a small camp ground as well. #biking #hiking #camping

Los Angeles River Bicycle Path

Los Angeles River Bicycle Path

Long Beach, United States

One of my favorite places to bike in LA, the Los Angeles River bike path follows a beautiful 7 mile stretch of the LA River known as the Glendale narrows. You can always spot lots of wildlife such as ducks, cranes, turtles and from the comfort and safety of a dedicated bike lane. In a busy city known to be unfriendly to cyclists – this bike path is a relaxing respite from the risks of city riding. #bike #park #bicycle

Inspiration Point Tide Pools

Inspiration point tide pools

Rancho Palos Verdes, United States

Check the tide charts and explore at low tide, searching the colorful tide pools for sea stars, anemones, fish, crabs and all sorts of ocean critters. An amazing place to picnic and take photos while you explore the coast. You’ll probably have the place to yourself. #beach #ranchopalosverdes

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