Los Angeles is a great place to live, but sometimes you just need to get out of the city. When you're tired of the traffic and you just need a break from it all, these offbeat locations are a great day trip destination. Whether you make additional stops along the way or you drive straight there, these spots make for a trip to remember.
1. Salvation Mountain (Niland)
Leonard Knight's art installation is made with a mixture of adobe clay, straw and paint. The "mountain" is covered with various murals, including a large "God is Love" along with the words of John 3:16. Aside from the religious tones, the 50-foot-tall, 150-foot-wide mural also includes paintings of flowers, trees, waterfalls, birds and more. Located in the desert, just east of the Salton Sea on Beal Road in Niland.
2. Salton Sea (Mecca)
If you head to Salvation Mountain, you might as well take a very quick detour to see the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland saline lakes in the world and one of the lowest points on earth (-227 below sea level). Head to the Salton Sea State Recreation Area for picnic spots, birdwatching and to learn about the area's interesting history. 100-225 State Park Rd, Mecca
3. OstrichLand USA (Buellton)
Have you always wanted to get up close and personal with an ostrich? Well, dreams do come true. At OstrichLand you can feed and take pictures with both ostriches and emus. There's a gift shop to purchase a souvenir so you'll always remember the trip, and you can also pick up some ostrich eggs and emu eggs during winter and spring. 610 E Highway 246, Buellton
4. Madonna Inn (San Louis Obispo)
If you're a fan of whimsy, you must visit the Madonna Inn. Open since 1958, this inn has a Swiss Alps-like exterior. Inside, each of the 110 guest rooms are, er, uniquely designed—and that's putting it mildly. No room should go unseen if you visit, there's even a waterfall urinal located in the men's restroom. 100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo
5. Integratron (Mojave Desert)
Do you believe in time travel? Believers, as well as skeptics, should visit this large dome that was created for time travel. The dome's creator, George Van Tassel, says he built the dome's structure based on the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from aliens. 2477 Belfield Blvd, Landers
6. Elephant Seals (Big Sur)
From November through early spring, you can see hundreds of elephant seals along the beaches near Big Sur. The large animals come here to breed, sticking around for a number of months. The sight of hundreds and hundreds of large elephant seals is truly a sight to see, especially if you catch the aggression that tends to occur between the males. Along the coast below Big Sur off Highway 1 (you'll see signs and big crowds).
7. Cabazon Dinosaurs (Cabazon)
Dinosaurs aren't extinct, at least that's what you may start to wonder as you pull up to these large life-like sculptures. Walk along the path to see more than 60 sculptures—and be sure to take a ton of photos with them. Along with the large dinosaurs (which are supposedly the world's largest), there's also a dinosaur ride for the little ones. 50770 Seminole Dr, Cabazon. Open 10am-4pm daily. $10.
8. Bottle Tree Ranch (Oro Grande)
Elmer Long inherited a collection of colorful glass bottles in 2000. What else was he to do with them than create a forest of bottle trees? The art installation has grown to feature 200 bottle trees thanks to Long's continued recycling. Other items have been added to the installation, making for a truly Instagrammable trip. 24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande
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