The car culture spans every generation – from aging community leaders, middle-aged families, and of course the excitable youth. In car language that means Supercars, Hot Rods, German sedans and Tuners. In nightlife that means high end restaurants with valet, Bob’s Big Boy Friday nights and clubbing.
The car culture and auto enthusiasts make up a huge percentage of the residents in any community. You don’t have to look far to see the dining and entertainment establishments that are filled with the automobile lifestyles. In each issue, we will highlight places in your community.
The Stonehaus, Westlake Village CA
Dining & Nightlife
If you’re in LA County, a great spot that has gained momentum lately is the Westlake Inn and the adjoining restaurants – Stonehaus, Mediterraneo, and Bogey’s, filled most nights of the week. The parking lots present a lineup of extraordinary cars, where owners have used valet parking. There’s a Dino Ferrari, a restomod ’65 Camaro, and an Audi S5. There’s always plenty of auto enthusiasts – if you want to embrace the lifestyle, we highly recommend it.
Neptune’s Net. County Line
If the coast is more your liking, check out Neptune’s Net, on the LA / Ventura County Line. This seafood hangout spot on Pacific Coast Highway was used in ‘The Fast & Furious’ (as seen above). It’s North of Kanan going-toward Ventura. Always good for some car talk, people watching and usually some exotics and hot rods. The food is great too, and very reasonable.
Road Trips and Getaways
Even though you’ll never run out of things to do in LA, the city is beautifully situated to explore the riches of Southern California and—with LA’s driving culture—a road trip is just part of the experience. Whether you live in Los Angeles and are looking for a quick escape, or you are traveling to LA and want to explore a little more of California, here are some popular road trips that can be done as a day trip or as an overnight getaway from LA. Beach options along the coast are abundant, but within one to three hours of Los Angeles, you can retreat to the mountains or desert, explore wine country, experience California history or immerse yourself in mineral springs.
Most of these road trips and getaways presented in the next pages are worth spending a night or two if you have the time and money, but if you don’t mind long days and lots of driving, you can do every one of them as a day trip. Depending on who you talk to, a visit to Santa Monica, Pasadena, Long Beach or Disneyland may be considered just another day out in LA, a day trip away from LA, or reason enough to get a room and stay overnight.
The distances we’ve listed are calculated from Hollywood, just to pick a central point. Given the size of LA, the distance could vary by 40 miles, depending on where you’re actually starting. The travel times are off-peak driving times, which can be double or more in rush hour traffic. The trick to making most of the more distant locations as a day trip is to start before rush hour so that you’re outside of LA before traffic gets jammed. The estimated times posted are for taking the quickest route, but sometimes it’s worth taking the scenic route and enjoying the drive. It is a road trip, after all.
Malibu Camping Getaway
If you want to take a drive for the joy of driving, Malibu is a great place to start. The city stretches 27 scenic miles west of Pacific Palisades in LA along the south-facing coast at the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains to the Ventura County line. Most of the city is along both sides of Pacific Coast Highway, with access roads that cut through canyons or over mountains to reach State Route 101. The windy mountain roads lead to a number of surprises in the hills, from a stunt ranch and the Biggest Loser Resort to an elaborate Hindu temple.
The Malibu Hills are also home to a number of ranches where you can go horseback riding and vineyards where you can take a Malibu wine tasting tour. The wealthy folks in Malibu don’t really appreciate tourists, so there are only a handful of places to stay in Malibu itself. At the high end, the Malibu Beach Inn puts you right in the sand with waves crashing under your balcony. Malibu does have one of the few places you can camp near the beach at the beautiful Leo Carrillo State Park. There is also camping at Malibu Creek State Park, closer to LA, which is technically in the city of Calabasas on the other side of the mountain.
There are 20 named beaches in Malibu, each with a different personality. Most of them are good for surfing. Some, like Matador, require a hike down to the water, but you’re rewarded with gorgeous scenery. Several are just a scramble down a few feet of sand next to Pacific Coast Highway. Others, like Zuma, are long stretches of nondescript sand with good surf breaks, parking, and amenities.
Things to see along the way include The Getty Villa, The Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum, and The Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University.
Ojai Spa Getaway
Ojai (pronounced Oh’ high) is a small town nestled among oak trees and orange groves in an east-west inland valley in Ventura County, about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles. It’s another popular destination for a spa retreat or romantic escape. There are multiple destinations with accommodations and day spas, a cute little Spanish-style downtown to explore, nearby trails to hike, and boating or bird watching at nearby Lake Casitas.
Romantic Santa Barbara Getaway
Santa Barbara is doable as a day trip from LA and it’s not uncommon for people to drive up just for lunch or dinner, but it’s more enjoyable as a weekend road trip. Santa Barbara is an upscale community with a uniform red-tiled Mission architecture as mandated by city ordinance. It’s most popular as a romantic destination, with lots of places to stroll along the beach, or as a girlfriends’ shopping getaway. Beyond the beach, there aren’t a lot of family attractions.
The most popular things to do in Santa Barbara are going to the beach, explore State Street shops and visit the Santa Barbara Mission, one of the oldest in California.
You’ll pass the beach cities of Oxnard, Ventura and Carpinteria on the way to Santa Barbara, which all have nice beaches, and more economical accommodations, but they don’t have the same charm as Santa Barbara. What that stretch of coast does have is the greatest concentration of places to go camping at the beach.
If you want to get even further away from it all, you can take a side trip to Channel Islands National Park, a group of five islands off the coast of Ventura, accessible by boat or small plane from Santa Barbara. There are primitive campgrounds, but no concessions on the islands, so take enough water and food for your day trip or camping needs. Outfitted trips are available.
Getaways thanks to: TripSavvy.com written by BY KAYTE DEIOMA