Explore icons and the Ice Age in sunny L.A., float a river, and head north for black gold history and wine-country fun.
LOS ANGELES (7mi/11km; 23min). See mammoths, saber-tooth cats, and other Ice Age creatures trapped eons ago at La Brea Tar Pits ; the naturally seeping tar is icky and sticky and everything kids like. INFO Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board ; 213/624-7300
PACIFIC PALISADES (3mi/5km; 9min). Let the kids run free at Will Rogers State Historic Park ; a gentle three-mile trail loops from the Visitor Center to Inspiration Point. Picnic by the gurgling fountains of Getty Villa , an opulent homage to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Grab some visitor guides at the Oxnard California Welcome Center. INFO Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce ; 310/459-7963
VENTURA (61mi/98km; 1hr 8min). Explore funky boutiques and antiques stores downtown, then float the Lazy River at Lake Casitas (water park open all summer long and the family camping is great year-round). INFO Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau ; 805/648-2075
VENTUCOPA (51mi/82km; 59min). High atop Highway 33, stop to stretch your legs and sample award-winning wines and wood-fired barbecue at Sagebrush Annie’s , a backcountry fantasy of California. INFO Taft Chamber of Commerce ; 661/765-2165
TEMPLETON (7mi/11km; 14min). Fuel up at Farmstand 46 , where locally sourced sustainable ingredients lead to wood-fired pizzas with fresh, seasonal toppings. Or consider tri-tip at Hoover’s Beef Palace (401 N. Main St., Templeton; 805/434-2114). INFO San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau ; 805/541-8000