The Best Day Trips From Inland Empire Communities

The Inland Empire in California has a prime location, perfect for day trips.

Active adults living in Southern California’s Inland Empire are well well aware of the area’s biggest draws—its location. The Inland Empire is an extremely popular place for active adults, which is why there are so many 55+ communities in the area. Active adults flock to the Inland Empire not just because it’s affordable and beautiful, but also because the area is close to so many entertaining and exciting destinations.

Whether you live in the sprawling 55+ community Sun City in Menifee or the lovely Trilogy at Glen Ivy in Corona or the intimate Terramor in Corona, you’ll be near lots of exciting hotspots. Read on to discover some of the best day trips to take from the Inland Empire.

Palm Springs

Only about an hour’s drive from most Inland Empire communities, Palm Springs is a haven for active adults looking for entertainment, pampering, and delicious dining. Boomers flock to this desert oasis to golf at one of the stunning courses in the area, including the Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort and the courses at Indian Canyons Golf Resort and Desert Willow Resort.

The Palm Springs Art Museum is a fun and popular diversion as is the Air Museum. Many choose to whittle away an afternoon by taking a trip on the world’s largest rotating aerial tramway to the top of Mount San Jacinto—a popular choice among tourists who aren’t afraid of heights. The Moorten Botanical Gardens are a lovely way to get some walking in, and those up for a longer stroll should explore the Indian Canyons on the Andreas Canyon Loop Trail.

Every Thursday night in Palm Springs, the city hosts a fun street fair dubbed VillageFest with art displays, food stalls, entertainment, and crafts. Those looking to relax will find numerous day spas in the area, ranging from luxurious to budget friendly.

Lake Arrowhead

Another hour-long drive from the Inland Empire will bring you to Lake Arrowhead, a family favorite getaway for generations. While this picturesque and charming lake community may be packed with children in the summertime, the fall is much quieter. Enjoy forested views of the San Bernardino Mountains, observe the calm water on a rented kayak, or set up a picnic by the water’s edge.

At the nearby Lake Arrowhead Village, there are charming shops, dining spots, and markets to purchase provisions. During the winter, Lake Arrowhead gets snowfall from December through March, and in the springtime, daffodils and dogwoods delight nature lovers. In the fall, guests cozy up to cabin fires and enjoy picturesque hikes along the many winding trails.

Lake Arrowhead is extremely pet-friendly too, so be sure to bring Fido along for the adventure. Fishing enthusiasts will find catfish and panfish biting year-round, while largemouth bass and muskellunge season begins in May.

Huntington Beach

As the original “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach is the epitome of a laid-back beach town. As a day trip from the Inland Empire, it’s a great option—less than an hour’s drive away and worth every mile. There are dozens of cute boutiques to browse and a dizzying array of delicious beachside eateries to choose from. Spend an afternoon sampling libations in some of the many local breweries, wine bars, and distilleries, or perhaps embark on an afternoon whale-watching cruise.

Many visitors stroll along Huntington Beach Pier, where you can fish right off the pier or watch surfers in their element. Fittingly, Huntington Beach is home to the International Surfing Museum, which highlights its rich surfing culture and epic surfing history. Those who like to bike ride will appreciate the miles of paved paths right along the beach. And those who like to take it easy can relax on one of the city’s five beaches, including the popular Huntington Dog Beach, named a “Top Orange County Attraction” in Forbes’ Travel Guide.

Los Angeles

A day trip Inland Empire residents will likely take again and again is the just-under-an-hour-drive to Los Angeles. This vibrant city offers a multitude of diversions, including epic shopping on Rodeo Drive and hundreds of exciting dining destinations.

Playing tourist never gets old here, and a celebrity Hollywood Homes Tour on a double-decker bus is a fun and exciting way to spend a few hours. Popular attractions include the Griffith Observatory (a planetarium where you can take in city views and stargaze), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Getty museum (free admission), and movie studio tours. Sports fans will want to take in a game at Dodger Stadium, and foodies will appreciate the delicious and authentic offerings in Koreatown, the nation’s largest Korean neighborhood.

Temecula Valley Wine Tasting

Located in southwestern Riverside County, the Temecula Wine Region boasts 40+ wineries, many with tasting rooms and entertainment. The region is favored with great weather and rich soil, and it’s known for its delicious red blends. It’s just under an hour away from the Inland Empire, making it the perfect day-trip destination.

Some of the most popular wineries in the area include Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Ponte Winery, Wilson Creek Winery, and Vindemia Estate Winery. The region is also popular for its hot-air balloon rides, its farmers market, and its historic Old Town with shopping and dining destinations. There are also many farms in the area, where you can purchase or pick-your-own fresh, in-season fruit.

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