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Jonathan Stull | 02.13.2017

Los Angeles is underappreciated for its outdoor adventures, and they are legion. Within the confines of city limits, the adventurer can find parks and preserves, beaches, and local landmarks of historical, botanical, or architectural importance—not to mention the hallmarks of Hollywood, like Griffith Park. Whether you envision a short trip to the beach, wandering the hills of the Santa Anas, soaking in swimming holes along a waterfall hike, or wandering the crowded boardwalks of Santa Monica or Venice Beach, Los Angeles has just about everything you could ask for. Here are 15 incredible adventures to inspire your sojourns.

  1. Griffith Park: An obvious answer, yes, but adventures to Griffith Park offer options. Explore the Los Angeles Zoo, hike to the Hollywood Sign via the Hollyridge Trail, hide away in Amir’s Garden, check out the Griffith Observatory and hike the Observatory Trail, or take a look into the Bronson Caves. There’s too much here to pass over.
  2. Point Fermin Park: Spectacular views from oceanside bluffs attract more than casual strolls. The park is home to Shakespeare by the Sea and the Sunken City, an oceanside bluff that once held luxury homes that was destroyed by landslides in 1929. Since its heyday, the historic site has become a graffiti-covered ruin.
  3. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden: Here visitors will find flora from five different bioregions and a waterfall that is ideal for weekend walks with family or friends. Watch for more than 250 different bird species that visit the park, including the resident peacocks.
  4. Huntington Botanic Gardens: Botanic gardens for the urbane, these sprawl over 120 acres on a historic estate that includes a library (where one of the Gutenberg Bibles resides) and an art gallery.
  5. Venice Beach: A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without visiting Venice Beach—whether for the surfing, shopping, or people watching. Explore the would-be resort town along the Venice Canal Walkways.
  6. Hermit Falls: One of the area’s few waterfalls in the spring, by the summer Hermit Falls outside of Pasadena turns into a swimming hole with cliff jumps up to 45 feet.
  7. Caspers Wilderness Park: Offering 7,600 acres in the Santa Anas, Caspers Wilderness Park has miles of interlocking trails to slip into for a weekend in the wilderness.
  8. Sturtevant Falls: Already one of L.A.’s most popular hikes, the hike to the year-round waterfall also features swimming holes and wildflowers along a trail that stays cool in the summer.
  9. Rubio Canyon: It can be hard to get away in a metro area with several million residents, but Rubio Canyon is one of them. The waterfall is variable and may not be flowing, but the views of the city skyline and local wildflowers sure help.
  10. White Point - Royal Palms Beach Park: Rumor has it the tide pools at White Point - Royal Palms are the best in the metro area, thanks to the ideal ocean conditions here that keep the pools at an optimal temperature. Unexpected bonus: The beach is relatively secluded.
  11. Malibu Creek State Park: With miles of trails, rock climbing opportunities, swimming holes, proximity to the beach, and the relative seclusion of being out of town without fully leaving town, look no farther than Malubi Creek State Park.
  12. Gamble House National Historic Landmark: The Gamble House is a unique bungalow styled in the architecture of American Arts and Crafts, one of the most famous American residences short of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  13. El Matador State Beach: Rock formations on the beach are a big thing in the Pacific Northwest, and El Matador State Beach is Southern California’s homage to the rocky columns and seastacks of the north. Great for photographers.
  14. Santa Monica State Beach: Another of Los Angeles’ iconic landmarks, start at the Santa Monica Pier and its carnival atmosphere, and keep your feet for a 3-mile walk down the beach.
  15. El Pescador State Beach: Far from the carnival rides of Santa Monica, El Pescador is a beach hideaway for those who are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle without having to leave the metro area. Keep an eye out for wildlife.

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