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Easy Road Trips From L.A.

Los Angeles has plenty to offer tourists -- beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants, world-class shopping and, of course, all the glamour of Hollywood. But if you have extra time and a car, you can easily drive two hours or less and experience some of southern California’s other popular destinations.

Santa Barbara

Drive an hour and half north of Los Angeles and you’ll be transported to the American Riviera. Downtown Santa Barbara is teeming with art galleries, unique shops and quaint cafes that line historic State Street. Spend the day at Leadbetter Beach and then head to the harbor to sample some of the local fresh catch. About another 30 minutes north are the vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley where you can sample award-winning pinot noirs and chardonnays. Among the charming hotels in the area, the Hotel Corque is now offering a $99 midweek special for travel through December.

San Diego

With year-round temperatures that rarely dip below 65 degrees, San Diego remains a perennial local getaway favorite. Families are particularly drawn to popular attractions like Sea World and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. But there’s plenty of adult fun, too. Stroll through the Gaslamp District and you won’t have a shortage of restaurant, bar or shopping options. Or rent bikes and cruise along the shoreline of Coronado Island, then stay overnight at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Spa for $169 this fall. Just 15 minutes north of the city is La Jolla, home to one of the area’s most popular beaches and the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course. The Sheraton La Jolla is currently offering a special rate of $89 for stays Thursday-Sunday.

Palm Springs

If the desert life is more your pace, head an hour and a half east of Los Angeles to the weekend retreat of old Hollywood -- Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Bob Hope and others sought refuge from the bright Hollywood lights here. These days, Palm Springs attracts a steady stream of resort vacationers who kick back by the pool with cocktails in tow, or who wile away their days over games of golf or tennis. The area also happens to host a number of famous mid-century modern architectural gems, including works by Albert Frey and Richard Neutra. During the fall and winter months, the weather cools making it an excellent time to visit. Check out our list of hotels currently offering deals to Palm Springs, including a $129 per night stay at the 4-star Riviera or Miramonte resorts.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Los Angeles
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
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Lily Fu