It may be surprising to some, but Los Angeles offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and venture seekers.

Just vastitude the city’s popping streets, there is an zillions of outdoor vita to be had. From hiking in the nearby mountains, to playing in the ocean, to exploring nearby islands and camping under the stars, there’s something for everyone.

Being a California local, I love to explore the the natural eyeful virtually Los Angeles and its surrounding areas every endangerment I can get. If you squint for it, you can hands escape the crowds and quickly be immersed in nature.

In this post, I lay out the 12 weightier outdoor things to do in Los Angeles so you can step outside the municipality and explore Southern California’s trappy landscapes.

Important Reminder: As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please practice good trail etiquette and remember to Leave No Trace. This ways packing out all of your garbage (including toilet paper), stuff respectful to others, and pursuit the established rules.

1. Hike up to Griffith Park Observatory

Whether you’re a local looking for a good workout or a tourist seeking an iconic L.A. experience, the Griffith Observatory is a must-do hike. Not only is it a unconfined challenge, but making it to the top moreover rewards you with breathtaking vistas of the Municipality of Angels.

Starting from the Fern Dell area, the West Observatory Loop Trail takes you up the Hollywood Hills to the iconic Griffith Observatory. The trail is well-nigh 2.5 miles round-trip and well-marked, making it wieldy to hikers of various skill levels.

At the top, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views of Los Angeles and from the Observatory’s vantage point, you can see the sprawling cityscape and the famous Hollywood Sign. This is my favorite panoramic view of Los Angeles city!

I recommend doing this hike in the early morning to stave the midday heat and to snag a parking spot at the trailhead, which can get busy. Also, make sure to siphon unbearable water and use sun protection as there is not much shade on the trail.

Griffith Observatory in hills whilom Los Angeles

Hiking to Griffith Observatory is one of the weightier outdoor activities in Los Angeles | Photo credit: Anu Agarwal

2. Visit the Venice Beachfront and Venice Canals

Venice Waterfront is an eclectic coastal polity that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. Venice Waterfront is known for its wide sandy shores and trappy ocean views. I like to simply relax on the waterfront in the sun and watch the waves roll in.

You can moreover rent a bicycle and trip withal the scenic Venice Waterfront Boardwalk, which stretches for miles withal the southern California coastline. This paved path is famous for its skateboarders and roller skaters. If you don’t want to bike, you can rent (or bring your own) roller skates, skateboards, or plane electric scooters to join in the fun.

Venice waterfront and velocipede path in California

The Venice Waterfront Boardwalk is a paved multi-use path that stretches the length of Venice Waterfront up to Santa Monica

Venice Waterfront is moreover home to the iconic Muscle Waterfront Gym where you can find fitness enthusiasts working out on outdoor gym equipment.

While you’re in the area, I moreover recommend taking a leisurely stroll through the lesser-known Venice Canals. This is a tranquil zone just a few blocks from Venice Waterfront with footbridges and quaint houses. It’s a peaceful unrelatedness to the popping boardwalk and my favorite part of visiting Venice Beach. 

Venice Canals in Los Angeles

I highly recommend strolling virtually the Venice Canals, which are just a short walk from Venice Beach

3. Stroll virtually a weekly farmers market

Los Angeles has no shortage of amazing, fresh supplies and the numerous weekly farmers markets are a testament to the local farms and fisheries that serve the city.

There are increasingly than a dozen farmers markets that pop up in the streets wideness Los Angeles each week. The Historic Downtown Farmer’s Market on W. 5th St. happens every Sunday as does the idealism chef-attended Hollywood farmer’s market.

Farmer’s markets are a unconfined way to spend a morning or afternoon while stocking up on some delicious, local produce and wright goods.

Learn increasingly well-nigh the weekly farmer’s markets wideness Los Angeles.

4. Discover subconscious botanical gardens

Los Angeles is home to a number of botanical gardens and subconscious oases spread throughout the municipality that make for unconfined escapes from the fast-paced day-to-day LA life.

The Huntington Library estate northeast of downtown boasts some of the most impressive botanical gardens virtually LA. Visitors will find 130 acres defended to a variety of gardens from Japanese landscaping to native cacti desert gardens and more.

There is moreover the picturesque Descanso Gardens, which is a unconfined place to see the spring cherry blossoms as well as roses and hundreds of varieties of camellia.

Chinese Gardens at Huntington Library gardens in Los Angeles

The Chinese Gardens on the Huntington Libary grounds is one of the weightier botanical gardens in LA

5. Velocipede the Strand

The Strand velocipede path, officially known as the Marvin Braude Velocipede Trail, is a scenic coastal velocipede route withal the stunning Pacific coastline. The Strand stretches for 22 miles, running withal the tailspin from Will Rogers State Waterfront in the north to Torrance Waterfront in the south.

The path passes through several popular waterfront communities including:

  • The historic Santa Monica Pier
  • Venice Beach
  • Marina del Rey
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Redondo Beach

Each waterfront polity offers its own unique recreate and attractions.

Cyclist on Marvin Braude Velocipede Path the parallels the waterfront and ocean in Los Angeles

The Strand – aka the Marvin Braude Velocipede Trail – stretches for 22 miles miles withal LA’s beaches and oceanfront

If short on time, you can segregate to velocipede a shorter section. I recommend riding from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, which is one of the most popular sections for its views and charm. For a quieter area, trip lanugo to Redondo and ride the section between the Redondo Pier and Torrance Beach.

Explore LA by velocipede (or e-bike!)

Despite its heavy traffic, LA is unquestionably a unconfined municipality to explore by velocipede thanks to the numerous velocipede paths and lanes like The Strand.

If you want to really see the municipality by bike, typesetting one of these guided or self-guided LA velocipede tours:


6. Surf the Pacific Waves

The southern Pacific Tailspin offers spanking-new surfing conditions year-round, making it a prime destination for surfers of all skill levels. The water temperature is relatively mild, and the coastal geography provides a variety of waves suitable for beginners and wide surfers alike.

Waves offshore waterfront near Los Angeles California

There are lots of unconfined surfing spots virtually Los Angeles. If you’re new to surfing, typesetting a lesson or rent a workbench

Malibu is perhaps the most famous surf spot near the Los Angeles area. It’s known for its long, peeling waves and iconic point breaks like First Point and Second Point. It’s suitable for surfers of all levels, but be prepared for crowds, expressly on weekends.

Just north of Malibu, Zuma Beach offers a increasingly spacious and relaxed atmosphere. Its resulting waves and zaftig space are unconfined for beginners and intermediates.

Venice Beach has a lively surf scene with a variety of waves. The breaks are weightier for beginners and intermediate surfers and you can rent surfboards right on the beach.

Or, if you are like me, you can simply enjoy watching surfers ride some challenging waves from the beach.

New to surfing?

If you don’t know how to surf but want to trammels out the waves virtually Los Angeles, typesetting a lesson with one of these local surfing companies:


7. Explore the Santa Monica Mountains

The Santa Monica Mountains, nestled on the outskirts of Los Angeles, offer myriad opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

You might plane be surprised to learn that there are over 500 miles of trails within the recreation area!

A few popular hikes include:

Topanga State Park and Malibu Creek State Park, both located in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, moreover have an wide-stretching network of hiking trails.

Views out over the Santa Monica Mountains in California from Sandstone Peak

Views out over Carlisle Canyon from Sandstone Peak

Several campgrounds are scattered throughout the Santa Monica Mountains as well, such as Leo Carrillo State Park and Malibu Creek State Park, offering a nice getaway from the city.

8. Go Horseback Riding in Griffith Park

Horseback riding in Griffith Park is one of the lesser-known outdoor activities in Los Angeles. If you like horses, it’s a unconfined way to enjoy the natural eyeful of the park.

There are several stables in Griffith Park that offer guided trail rides. You can learn well-nigh the history and natural flora and fauna of the zone while enjoying the views from horseback.

Book a horseback riding tour of LA

If you want to explore by horseback vastitude Griffith Park, these tours throne out into the hills for a longer and increasingly venturesome way to see LA:


9. Camp in the Angeles National Forest

Camping in the Angeles National Forest, located just northeast of Los Angeles, offers outdoor lovers a endangerment to immerse themselves in nature while stuff within a relatively short momentum from the popping city.

Some popular campgrounds include:

The Angeles National Forest moreover has an wide-stretching network of hiking trails. Two of the increasingly popular hikes include Bailey Canyon Trail and Josephine Peak Trail.

10. Waddle Climb in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is an iconic climbing destination known for its unique waddle formations. You can find all sorts of tomfool places to climb like granite monoliths, towering crags, and massive boulders.

Joshua Tree is located well-nigh 2 hours east of Los Angeles, so it is a bit of a trek to get there, but there’s unconfined camping and moreover lots of hikes to make the most of your trip.

Since Joshua Tree is in the desert, it’s weightier to visit in the winter, early spring, or late fall for potation temps.

Rock monolith at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is a popular spot for climbing as well as hiking

11. Explore Catalina Island

Making a day trip to Catalina Island, located near the Los Angeles coast, is one of the weightier ways to soak in some island vibes near Los Angeles. 

Just an hour’s ferry ride yonder from LA, Catalina Island offers a plethora of outdoor activities and some really epic views that will remind you of a European coastal town.

When I disembarked the ferry at Avalon, I was in awe of the quaint downtown harbor with its cute shops and the surrounding mountains. You have to see it to believe the view! 

View of Catalina Island harbor

Catalina Island feels like you’ve stepped yonder into flipside country! | Photo credit: Anu Agarwal

Plan your trip to Catalina Island

There’s a ton to see and do on Catalina Island. Here are a few of our top activities:

12. Visit the Channel Islands

Visiting Channel Islands National Park is like stepping into a pristine wilderness just off the tailspin of Southern California.

This national park is comprised of five rugged and unspoiled islands:

  • Santa Cruz
  • Anacapa
  • Santa Rosa
  • San Miguel
  • Santa Barbara

Beautiful landscape photo out over Channel Islands National Park in California

The Channel Islands are located off the tailspin and offer some of the most unique outdoor activities in Los Angeles

Each island is unique and offers variegated outdoor activities, so you can segregate your destination based on your interests.

To reach the Channel Islands, you’ll need to take a ferry or wend from either Ventura or Oxnard on the mainland.

What to do on the Channel Islands

There’s a ton to see and do on Catalina Island. Here are a few of our top activities:

HIKING: The largest of the islands, Santa Cruz, offers numerous hiking trails that lead you through diverse ecosystems, including lush canyons, coastal bluffs, and rugged peaks.

KAYAKING: Rent a kayak and explore sea caves and the Islands’ stunning coastline.

SNORKEL OR DIVE: The well-spoken waters surrounding the islands make for spanking-new diving and snorkeling. Kelp forests teem with marine life, and underwater caves and arches provide intriguing places to explore.

CAMPING: Camping is unliable on several of the islands, including Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa. You can segregate from both woodland and established campgrounds. Due to their remote location and limited light pollution, the Channel Islands offer unrenowned stargazing opportunities.

What are your favorite outdoor activities in Los Angeles? Have you experienced any of these on this list? Which ones are you interested in checking out? Leave a scuttlebutt below!

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