Nearby getaways and vacation spots

Big Sur is known for its blue water and green scenery, making it an ideal destination for camping. Photo credit: Michelle Moran

With the holiday season just around the corner, students look for affordable getaways. These destinations are ideal for vacationing without being too far from Los Angeles.

1) San Diego: Filled with beaches and breweries, San Diego is an ideal location for young people to spend a weekend visiting the museums in Balboa Park during the day and bar hopping at the Gaslamp Quarter at night. A roundtrip ticket on the Amtrak from Union Station in downtown L.A. to San Diego costs about $37. The ride is about two and a half hours, but the coastal scenery leading to the destination can be entertaining.

2) Santa Barbara: Only about a two hour drive away, this location can easily be a day trip. For those who don’t want to drive, round-trip Amtrak fares to Santa Barbara are as low as $23, and the train ride is only about two and a half hours. While there, enjoy some of the nice restaurants close to the beach, catch a show at SOhO in downtown Santa Barbara or take a wine trail.

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San Francisco’s Chinatown is a popular destination, filled with decorations and little shops and restaurants to appeal to all tourists. Photo credit: Michelle Moran

 

3) San Francisco: Greyhound tickets to San Francisco can be purchased cheaper online than at the station. Round-trip tickets online start at around $56 and, if purchased in person, can cost $142. The ride can take about eight hours, so be sure to have a pair of headphones and a pillow to make the ride more enjoyable. San Francisco is home to popular tourist destinations like Alcatraz Island, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. For the beer geeks, there’s a few breweries like 21st Amendment or Speakeasy, or beer bars like Toronado. Enjoy the nightlife in the Mission District with nightclubs like the Beauty Bar.

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When visiting San Francisco, Alcatraz island could be a cool place to visit if you’re into history and haunted places. Photo credit: Michelle Moran

 

4) Grand Canyon: There are many places in Arizona to visit, but the one attraction that stands out is the Grand Canyon. Not only is it stunning and a one of a kind destination, it is not that far from Los Angeles. It is about a six-to-seven hour car ride from L.A., and the Hoover Dam is on the way if you want to see a historical monument. If you are the adventurous type, you can hike down the Grand Canyon and sleep in a cabin by the Colorado River overnight. However, you are required to book a reservation in advance. Reservations go fast, so be sure to check out the Grand Canyon Lodges website for availability.

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The Grand Canyon is only about 6 hours away from Los Angeles and is number six of the top tourist destinations in the world, according to the LA Times. Photo credit: Michelle Moran

 

5) Big Sur: If the city isn’t your type of vacation and you love camping by the ocean, then Big Sur is a place to go. U.S. Highway 1 North from L.A. is a beautiful scenic drive, and it is an inexpensive trip for students on a budget. It takes about five and a half hours to get there, but Big Sur is breathtaking. All you really need money for is gas and food, and, if you are camping, buying food to grill is ideal. There are several different camping spots that you can find on the Big Sur Camping Guide.