Recently I had the chance to spend a long weekend in beautiful, southern California. It was a whirlwind trip for a family wedding, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Spending a few days in the warm California sun after shoveling mounds of snow during the January blizzard was the perfect family getaway. Unlike most of our trips, we had no big plans, other than to enjoy the wedding with family, walk on the sand and watch the sunset. It’s these same type of laid back activities that I always find myself coming back to whenever I visit. So here are my 6 favorite free (or really cheap) things to do in southern California.
1. Dine at In-N-Out Burger. Do In-N-Out Burgers taste better when you don’t live in California? I’m not sure of the answer, but it was our first stop after leaving the airport. Yes, it’s fast food, but the burgers are fresh and the fries are made by hand. It’s a must do in California, especially since you can find locations throughout the state. Eat like a local and order from the Not-So-Secret-Menu.
2. Drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. How many times do you have the opportunity to drive next to the beach? Roll down the car windows and take a cruise from one beach town to another. Even better, rent a convertible and enjoy the wind in your hair.
3. Enjoy a Milkshake While Strolling Down a Pier. Every classic beach town has a pier, and you’ll find plenty in Southern California. Our family wedding took place at a church just two blocks from the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, and it was a beautiful day for a stroll. When you reach the end of this famous pier, be sure to stop at the popular Ruby’s on the Pier and get a milkshake.
4. Hang Out and Watch the Surfers. No matter the month, you’ll always find surfers in the ocean looking for the perfect wave. Grab a blanket and find a spot on the beach, or take in the view from the pier.
5. Eat From a Food Truck. Eating local when traveling is important to me, so when I recently read 19 Best Food Trucks in Los Angeles, I knew we would have to find one. As luck would have it, The Lobos Truck, a local favorite known for their “Wachos,” was making an appearance at the Artists and Fleas Market in Los Angeles. We tried the Cheesy Ranch Wachos, but you can be sure that next time I’m going all out with the Green Dragon Wachos!
6. Watch the Sunset on the Beach. There’s no excuse not to catch a beautiful sunset on the beach when you are on the west coast. We hit the beach in Santa Monica at the perfect time, and were rewarded with beautiful views of the setting sun.