Photos by Trevor Martinez
From busy freeways to the pursuit of cheap parking, a day trip to Los Angeles is not always for the faint of heart. Fortunately, Southern California has a wealth of unique suburban towns removed of LA’s tourist traps and traffic jams. Here are three of our favorites within a two hour drive of campus.
Redlands — 1 hour, 40 minute drive
Often passed through on the way to Palm Springs, Big Bear and Joshua Tree, Redlands doesn’t always lure commuters off the 10 freeway if they’re set on bigger destinations. But that’s the draw of the city: untapped, small town charm. Established in 1888, Redlands is famed for its old buildings, historic parks and coffee shops, as well as being the best place around to find a good pizza.
To start the day off right, Redlands locals recommend a breakfast pizza from Bricks and Birch, a local family owned establishment. Other town favorites include sandwiches from Olive Avenue Market or The Eating Room, owned by baker and town celebrity Martha Green.
During the summer, The Redlands Bowl runs twice a week, which is the oldest continuously running free summer music festival in the States. And fully epitomizing the town’s “Stars Hollow” vibe, Market Night takes over State Street on Thursdays with over 150 food, produce and merchandise booths and local entertainment.
Take a stroll down State Street, enjoying the historic Downtown’s boutiques, specialty shops, and — of course — town troubadours. Watch the sun set over the city from Prospect Park, and consider yourself a local.
Ventura – 1 hour drive
Located about an hour from Pepperdine, Ventura embodies the trendy, small town vibe that makes a great day trip destination.
Visitors can spend the day shopping and sight seeing in the central downtown area located just a few blocks from the beach. Ventura offers a range of options from boutiques to thrift stores for local shopping and unique finds that can’t be found anywhere else. Stores such as The Attic Trunk, which specializes in vintage clothing, or the local book store, Bank of Books, which prides itself in supporting local authors, embody this experience.
Ventura also has a lot to offer the more active day-tripper. There are several scuba and snorkeling excursions offered out of Ventura Harbor for those looking to enjoy the nearby sea life. The nearby Serra Cross Park also offers several hiking options to visitors and, at the top of the park, a unique view of Ventura and the surrounding ocean.
Downtown Ventura is packed with chic restaurants and casual breweries to explore on a night out. Visitors can visit popular favorites such as the Lure Fish House or branch out into local destinations like the Anacapa Brewing Company.
Fullerton — 1 hour, 30 minute drive
About an hour and a half away from Pepperdine, Fullerton is another day trip off the beaten path of usual destinations.
The clusters of historic buildings now occupied by boutiques and cafes in downtown Fullerton are a promising starting destination for visitors. This eclectic collection of shops and restaurants reflect the quirky style of the town. These restaurants include tea shop and tavern The Kettle and the Keg, and Steamer’s Café which features live jazz daily.
For those seeking more time outdoors, Fullerton also has several parks and ponds to include in an outing. The 26-acre botanical garden, The Fullerton Arboretum, is a local favorite because of its network of walking trails though the thousands of plants which are divided into regional collections.
An evening in Fullerton could be filled with a visit to a local performance at centers such as The Clayes Performing Arts Center or the Maverick Theater. The theaters host a wide range of shows for would-be visitors.