When are you going back to work and/or school? Those of you who are back from your scheduled main vacation and feel you need more and still have a week of vacation time left, you can do several day trips. There are many day trips you can take coming from the Santa Clarita Valley or around the Los Angeles, CA area. Below is what my family chose to do the week of July 4th. NOTE: The schedule below did not include Independence Day; which we spent and celebrated with our friends, The Fernandezes; and is from July 2nd – July 9th.
On Day 1 we went to Huntington State Beach for a cool relaxing dip and sand crab catching. My daughters caught a lot of these alien-looking creatures, the biggest of which was a little bigger than a pressed penny. They had as much fun releasing them before we had to go home as they did catching them. There are three beaches next to each other. Huntington State Beach (Pacific Coast Highway from Brookhurst to Beach Blvd.), Huntington City Beach (Pacific Coast Highway from Seapoint to Beach Blvd.), and Bolsa Chica State Beach (Pacific Coast Highway from Seapoint to Warner). All day parking at all three beaches is $15. The distance is about 70 miles from Santa Clarita.
For Day 2, we chose to go to Bronson Canyon. Our plan was to be there at 8 a.m. and hike to the back of the Hollywood sign, hike back down, eat lunch and then proceed to The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, CA. Well, we got there late. We went to the Bronson Caves, also known as The Batcave from the 1960′s Batman TV series. This is a very short hike, which is not really part of the trail. When you go through to the other side of the cave, you’ll have a good view of the Hollywood Sign. After doing the Batcave walk through, we ate lunch, rested for a while, and then started hiking the Brush Canyon Trail. We made it about one-third of the way and decided it was too hot to continue and pledged to come back on a much cooler day and arrive earlier.
If you have not seen the Batcave, I highly recommend experiencing it. Bronson Canyon is about 30 miles from Santa Clarita. From US-101 S, Exit #8B/Hollywood Blvd., turn right on Hollywood Blvd., then right on N Bronson Ave., continue on Canyon Drive. Keep going until you can not go any further there will be a few parking spots to your left (when you get to this parking area, you would have passed the trail head to the Batcave on the right side just by a few hundred yards). After the Batcave, you go back and walk past the parking spot mentioned earlier to start the Brush Canyon Trail (NOTE: Canyon Drive becomes Brush Canyon Trail). About one-third of the way you can see the Hollywood sign, stop and snap some pictures at this point. Continue on and make a left on Mulholland Hwy., then turn right on Mt. Lee Drive, which ends at the back of the Hollywood sign. Read all signs posted on the fence and OBEY THEM!
Alternate route (note that I have not done this alternate route. I am just interpreting what I see on Google maps. Please research on your own): After seeing the Batcave, go back to your car, drive back to Franklin Avenue, turn right on Franklin Ave., then turn right on N Beachwood Dr. Keep going until you see a turn out to your right (it looks like you can’t go any further after this as you will be on a private property). Follow the trail that looks like it goes down (south) for a while and then back up again (like making a U-turn). This will cut into Mulholland Hwy., make a left and then right on Mt. Lee Drive. Click here to learn more about movies filmed at Bronson Canyon.
We then drove 13 miles from Bronson Canyon to The Japanese Garden. 6100 Woodley Ave. in Van Nuys, CA and stayed there and enjoyed it to the fullest until they closed at 4 p.m. Admission to the Garden for docent-led or self-guided tours is $3.00 per person, $2.00 for Seniors 62+ and Children under 10. Special Event admission fees are generally higher. Check their Web site for more information.
We visited Paramount Ranch and Malibu Creek State Park on Day 3. There is no fee to visit Paramount Ranch. From 1992 to 1997, Paramount Ranch was used as the setting for the television show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Expect to spend about 30 minutes just to walk through the Western Town; more if you plan to do some hiking. Click here to learn more about Paramount Ranch, and to download a hiking map or a film list in pdf form. Paramount Ranch is about 42 miles from Santa Clarita.
From Paramount Ranch, we drove about 3.5 miles to Malibu Creek State Park’s paid parking area at Mulholland Hwy and Las Virgenes Rd.
The park was the center of Chumash Native American life for centuries and was once used to film numerous movies and TV shows, such as Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H. All day parking is $15. Click here for more information and to download a trail map.
It was pier fishing for us at Port Hueneme on Day 4. We caught at least 30 pounds worth of blue mackerel, smelt, sardines and croaker. We had so much fun, I forgot to put sunblock and got so burned, my ears were extra-crispy for a few days after. For more information and fishing tips, click here. All day parking is $15.
We bought 4 tickets to Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching‘s Whale Watching Sunset Cruise via Groupon for $16 per person, regular price is $32 per person. (I later on found out that their Tuesday cruises are always half off, but this is OK since: 1. We were not forced to go on a Tuesday, and 2. There’s probably less people going on any other day since it’s regular price). We scheduled this whale watching on Day 5
and since we do not need to be there until 4:30 p.m., we decided to do something else in the morning. We went to Mission San Juan Capistrano, this way we’re just a few minutes away from Dana Wharf. Mission San Juan Capistrano may be the most popular among the 21 California Missions. The miracle of the return of the swallows takes place each year on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day, at the Mission. At 4:20 p.m. we took the last few photographs before we made our way to Dana Wharf. Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching guarantees that you will see either whale/s or dolphins or they will give you a voucher (that does not expire) to come back for another trip. We did not see any whales that day, just a pod of common dolphins and a pod of bottlenose dolphins. However, it was still very much worth the trip and we highly recommend the experience.
La Purisima Mission in Lompoc and The Chumash Painted Cave were on our itinerary for Day 6. However, we decided to do this some other time. La Purisima Mission is about 140 miles from Santa Clarita and my online research tells me that there are no restaurants and no gas stations at La Purisima, so make sure you pack lunch and fill up before you get there. The walls of the Chumash Painted Cave, which was carved from towering sandstone boulders contain some of the finest remaining rock art created by Chumash Native Americans. The Painted Cave is about 43 miles from La Purisima Mission going back to Santa Clarita. From there, Santa Clarita is about 105 miles away. Click here to learn more about the La Purisima Mission, and here for The Chumash Painted Cave.
We decided to go to The Getty Center instead, since our last visit here was about 11 years ago, when Kalia & Keeli were 0ne year old. After The Getty, we had dinner at the famous Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles… yum!
Day 7 for us was a very relaxing movies day. We saw Super 8 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
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