Skip to Content

Top 8 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In Southern California

Share The Article

Last Updated

Southern California is a popular and timeless vacation destination. Featuring iconic attractions such as the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, as well as no shortage of beautiful beaches, it’s no wonder why. Here are eight off-the-beaten-path things to do the next time you’re in southern California.

Top 8 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In Southern California

1. Visit The Museum Of Dream Space

Here’s one for the photographers out there, as well as those looking to take some truly memorable vacation photos for Instagram shots. Located in Los Angeles, California, the museum of dream space is an interactive art exhibit that features a series of rooms filled with stunning lighting, projections, and backdrops. Tickets are available online.

Visit The Museum Of Dream Space california

2. See Sunny Jim's Sea Cave

If you find yourself near San Diego, California, his off-the-beaten-path attraction is sure to provide a one-of-a-kind experience. Sunny Jim's sea cave is one of several sea caves in the La Jolla Cove area. While most are inaccessible or require gear to reach, Sunny Jim’s is accessible from the land. It lies beneath a gift shop, with tickets available at the door.

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

See Sunny Jim's Sea Cave california

3. Explore Anza Borrego State Park

One great thing about Southern California is that it rarely experiences the cold temperatures many other places do. Anza Borrego is a great example of that. The cooler months are actually one of the best times to visit this stunning state park, as temperatures consort well past 100°F there in the summer. The state park features a number of hiking trails that lead to unique spots, such as a palm tree oasis. And the nearby town of Borrego Springs is also a great place to spend an afternoon looking around, as it’s home to many local art galleries and shops.

Explore Anza Borrego State Park california

4. Find The Secret Swings Of La Jolla

If you’re looking for a truly off-the-beaten-path adventure, consider trying to find some of – or all of – the hidden swings in La Jolla, a neighborhood in San Diego. These hidden swings have long been a tradition to find and are often located in scenic spots. The swings themselves change – they're created by community members – which can make finding directions to them difficult. If you’re looking for a quick, easy stop, this may not be the option for you, but those who enjoy a bit of mystery will love this one! One helpful tip to find where the swings currently are is by checking social media hashtags such as #secretswinglajolla (or asking a local friend if you have one!)

Find The Secret Swings Of La Jolla

5. Have A Picnic At An Abandoned Zoo

Here’s a quirky spot to enjoy a picnic or get some cool photos! Head over to Griffith Park to see the remains of an old zoo, which features the remains of some of the old enclosures as well as picnic tables.

Have A Picnic At An Abandoned Zoo

6. Stroll Along The Venice Canals

Here’s another one for those in the Los Angeles area! Head over to the Venice beach area to step into Italy for a few moments. The Venice canals are a series of canals that run through a Los Angeles neighborhood. Surrounded by lush plants and gorgeous views, they can be a great place to spend some time exploring and strolling down.

Venice Canals

7. Explore Coachella Valley Preserve

The name Coachella probably brings to mind a well-known music festival, but the valley it is named for is also home to some gorgeous examples of nature. Coachella Valley preserve, for example, is known for its palm trees oases and being home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Coachella Valley Preserve

8. Stop By Pioneertown

Take a step into the past with a visit to Pioneer Town! This quirky small town was originally constructed as an old western movie set in the 1940s but has since become an ongoing attraction. Featuring old western-style buildings and live entertainment, Pioneertown is sure to be a memorable stop!

Pioneer Town

↓ Join Our Community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily! 


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.