Nature enthusiasts are usually skeptical about venturing to an urban jungle on vacation. For many, Los Angeles seems antithetical to those who relish the joys of camping like in San Francisco, and the outdoor adventures that go along with that type of vacation experience. However, there are a surprising number of points of interest in the second largest city in the United States. A city that is home to more than 3 million people may not seem like the most likely choice for a nature loving traveler to visit but it is definitely worth being added to the list of destination possibilities.
To be fair, there are very few camping locations in or near Los Angeles. But the camping alternatives really can’t be beat. West Hollywood hotels offer visitors to the Los Angeles area a way to get a little distance between themselves and the frenetic pace of the city. They are conveniently located close to many of the best outdoor adventures in the area and give those who enjoy modern conveniences time and space to unwind after an active day enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Did you know you can climb mountains while on vacation in Los Angeles? The highest peak in Los Angeles County, Mount San Antonio, tops out at just over 10,000 feet. It is sometimes referred to as Mount Baldy due to the lack of trees at the summit. This unique feature provides breathtaking views that allow climbers to view locations as far away as the Catalina Island on clear days. During the winter, part of the area is used as a ski slope but in the spring and summer, these trails are ideal for hiking. It’s an 11-mile hike round-trip but for those who want to make it a little easier, there is a lift that will bring them to nearly 8,000 feet making it only about a 6.5-mile round trip.
Avid cyclists will be amazed at the biking accessibility along the beaches of Los Angeles. The Marvin Braude Trail will take bikers along a scenic coastline ride next to sandy beaches and under a canopy of palm trees. The seaside towns of Redondo, Manhattan, and Hermosa are worth stopping and exploring along the way. There are also the more iconic beaches such as Santa Monica and Venice if you want a view of some of the most videoed beaches in the world.
For those who want to experience the greatest variety of wildlife and plant life in the area, a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is an absolute must. The zoo was founded in 1966 and is located on 133 acres of land. The botanical gardens are a more recent addition. They offer visitors the opportunity to view 15 collections that are home to more than 800 plant species with a total of more than 7,000 individual plants. Some of the most famous animal exhibits are home to chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, and apes. The Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles (LAIR) exhibit is an immense compound that allows guests to view these species in an environment that closely simulates their native habitat.
Exploring the Ocean
You can’t visit the Los Angeles area without making time to explore the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous places to sail, fish, swim, and snorkel all within easy access of the city.
For those who want to get a little further away from all the hustle and bustle, consider sailing to Catalina Island for a day of snorkeling. It is located off the coast of Southern California about an hour away from the mainland. As part of the Channel Islands, it has a large area of protected waters to explore filled with thriving coral reefs, towering kelp forests, and numerous species of beautiful fishes all contained within the crystal-clear water.
Deep-sea fishing tours are plentiful in the area but there are many options that are far less expensive and time intensive. All along the coast of California are a series of piers filled with people who are unwinding with friends while fishing. While on the beaches you may also want to take advantage of the many surfboard rentals to give surfing a try on the famous Pacific waves.
There are plenty of outdoor activities to engage in while visiting Los Angeles in addition to the popular sport of people watching. Nature lovers shouldn’t discount the city as an option. Rather, they should embrace the opportunity to explore and enjoy nature found in this enthralling urban jungle.