Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple
17190 Sunset Boulevard
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
This total escape isn’t even out of town. Step through the entrance gates and enter the outdoor spiritual sanctuary. Walk the loop of the gardens with their colorful flowers and exotic trees. Sit on a bench and listen to the birds flying above or watch the ducks, swans and koi in the lake. Meditation classes are held daily.
Leo Carrillo State Park Beach
35000 West Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
For a tranquil communing with the Pacific Ocean, this stretch of Malibu is secluded and quiet. The beach has caves, reefs and tide pools to wander in and around. You might grab a bite at nearby Neptune’s Net (www.neptunesnet.com) to have a truly laid-back day.
Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center
1750 N. Altadena Drive
Pasadena, CA 91107
A nature preserve at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, Eaton Canyon has many hiking and nature-walk trails for all skill levels and time durations. Get just a quarter of a mile into the canyon and you’ll no longer hear cars or city sounds. Trail maps are available online or at the Nature Center.
San Juan Capistrano
Orange County, approached from Interstate Highway 5
Visitors’ website: www.sanjuancapistrano.net
In SJC’s historic old town, you’ll find one of the finest of the California Missions (www.missionsjc.com). And on the other side of the old-time train depot, you can visit California’s oldest neighborhood, the Los Rios District. You can learn all about the history of the swallows that flock here every spring. Eat at El Adobe de Capistrano (www.eladobedecapistrano.com), a certified state landmark.
Palm Springs and Environs
East from Los Angeles on Interstate Highway 10
City website: www.ci.palm-springs.ca.us
L.A.’s favorite desert getaway, the area has expanded over the years to include a stretch of towns beginning in Palm Springs and ending in Indio. Go to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (www.pstramway.com), to walk around the towns, to see stunning examples of Mid-Century architecture, and to golf, play tennis or swim. From budget motels to luxury resorts to just making it one long day trip, whatever you’re looking for is here.
Born and raised in L.A., Andrea Renskoff’s knowledge spans trendy hubs to the diamonds in the rough to escapes from the ordinary. She currently writes about food, travel, families, health, wellness and lifestyle.