We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California to have so many opportunities to be outside every day of the year. But with so many options to explore the outdoors, how does one decide which spots to experience first? Well, you’re in luck, as we’ve put together the ultimate Southern California bucket list for everyone who loves the outdoors. Take a look and see which ones you’ve already tackled or which spots you need to put at the top of your list. You really can’t go wrong with any one of these magnificent places. Have fun exploring!
1. Sturtevant Falls -- San Gabriel Mountains
There's something enchanting about this hike to Sturtevant Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains. You'll make your way through a magical canopy of trees and navigate a scenic path that leads to a refreshing waterfall. It's the perfect spot to experience when you just want to get away from it all.
2. Descanso Gardens -- La Canada Flintridge
At first glance this looks like it may be a movie set because the scenery looks so picture-perfect. But it's all real, I promise. Whether you spend a day touring the gardens or take a long afternoon to just relax in the heavenly surroundings, this setting will completely refresh you for that day in the outdoors you've been craving.
3. Joshua Tree
If you're seeking an outdoorsy day in the desert, then head to Joshua Tree for some hiking or for a leisurely walk along one of the trails. Pictured here: Cap Rock hike.
4. Children's Pool Beach/Sea Lion Cove
Nicknamed the Children's Pool almost 70 years' ago after a wall was built to block off the waves from crashing on shore so kids had a safe spot to swim, it's now primarily known for the nearby family of seals that congregate near the Children's pool and lounge on the sand and the rocks. It's a great spot for a day trip or a refreshing afternoon visit to breathe in some fresh ocean air.
5. Holy Jim Falls -- Cleveland National Forest
If you take this trip during the summer, you may be disappointed by the size of the waterfall. So if you have your heart set on a heavy flowing waterfall, then wait post-summertime to take this trail. If you go now, what can you expect? Gorgeous shaded trails, towering trees, and the sights and sounds of nature all around you.
6. Palomar Mountain -- San Diego County
Hiking the trail to the Palomar Mountain Observatory is a wonderful way to get outside and take in the scenery. The smell of the forest and trees will awaken your senses. And the view isn't too shabby either!
7. Santa Cruz Island -- Channel Islands National Park
Just take a moment to let this beautiful view sink in. There's no question that Santa Cruz Island is a stunning place to explore and visit when you're in the mood to be out in nature. You'll have to take a 90-minute boat trip to get here, but once you arrive you can enjoy the plentiful hiking trails and this lush scenery as long as you want.
8. Fullerton Arboretum
If outdoorsy means sitting and relaxing outside for a while, then this might be the perfect spot for you. Grab a seat at this bench at the Fullerton Arboretum and be "outdoorsy" for an entire afternoon if you want.
9. Idyllwild Nature Center
A walk in the woods is the ultimate outdoorsy experience if you ask me. One of the best spots to experience that fresh mountain air is at the Idyllwild Nature Center. Pictured here: Nature Loop Trail
10. Starr Ranch Sanctuary -- Orange County
The Starr Ranch is an unexpectedly beautiful 4,000 acre preserve where you will encounter rare wildlife and serene surroundings all in one spot. Located in southeastern Orange County, it's easily accessible for most anyone in the SoCal area.
How’s that for a healthy dose of fun? If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, here are
10 More Outdoorsy Things in SoCal that should be added to the list. Which one will you tackle first?