Staying in town over the Labor Day Weekend? There are plenty of fun places to explore across Southern California, without spending much money. And, with gas prices at their lowest levels in months, why not hit the road? Here are five free (or nearly free) So Cal day-cations.
Palisades Park: Santa Monica
Palisades Park stretches several blocks across a bluff overlooking the Santa Monica shoreline and Pacific Coast Highway. Stroll along the tree-lined pathway from San Vicente to the Santa Monica Pier or Third Street Promenade as you take in the gorgeous views. Pack a picnic, or choose from a variety of restaurants to enjoy a meal. The famous Santa Monica Pier is an easy walk from Palisades Park, and admission is free to the pier amusement park. Tourists from around the world visit Santa Monica and the Malibu coast, so it’s definitely worth the drive across town.
California's Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) between Oxnard and Santa Monica offer is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA! Here are some photos I took along the way. Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself. I highly recommend it!
Point Dume offers a hiking trail down a hill to a beautiful secluded beach.[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_pointdumemalibu.jpg]7420
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupointmugulookoutpoint.jpg]7490Point Mugu Lookout Point
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucampingthornehillbroomebeach.jpg]6310Beachside Camping Malibu
How's this for a camping spot?!? Thornhill Broome Beach State Park is an ideal place to cool off in the summer. Bring your camper, motorhome or fifth wheel and you're all set![img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibucountrymart.jpg]5570Malibu Country Mart
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_santamonicabaygettyvilla.jpg]5530Getty Villa, Santa Monica Bay
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchdriveroadsign_traffic411.jpg]4930California's Finest Drive: Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard
This stretch of California coastline is among the most beautiful in the state. Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is also a great alternative to the 101 freeway when traveling between Ventura County and Los Angeles.[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/malibu-ca/thumbs/thumbs_malibupchwindyroad.jpg]4080
Pacific Coast Highway will likely be very busy over the holiday weekend, but if you’re patient and feel like a scenic road trip, the PCH drive through Malibu (Santa Monica to Oxnard) offers some of the most stunning views of the California Coast. North of Point Dume, to Ventura County, the coast is undeveloped. You might even recognize the view since it’s a popular location for new car commercials.
Gardens of the World
Soak up botanical beauty at this best-kept Conejo Valley secret, located across the street from the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center. Admission is free to Gardens of the World, a stroll through the grounds will take you on a tour of lush landscapes from around the world.
Balboa Island, Orange County
A stroll on Balboa Island will have you feeling like you’re in New England. The quaint streets and bayfront homes are surrounded by water, which will help to keep you cool. Parking is tight on the island, especially on a holiday weekend. You might want to park in Newport Beach, and walk across the small bridge that leads to Balboa Island.
It’s a Los Angeles landmark, but a lot of locals have never been to The Hollywood Bowl. Movie music takes center stage this weekend, with a concert by John Williams ( Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc) and a tribute to the Henry Mancini and director Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) fans will enjoy the tribute to Henry Mancini and director Peter Sellers.
I recently attended a Hollywood Bowl show at the last minute and was surprised to get a ticket for well under $20. You don’t need the best seats in the house to enjoy the experience. This weekend, tickets start at just $15, and you can avoid online ticketing fees when you buy tickets on site at the box office, just call ahead to make sure it’s not close to a sell out.