We’re fortunate to enjoy relatively mild weather all year long here in Southern California, but spring and summer are particularly well known as flower seasons. If you’re ready to get outdoors and enjoy our lovely natural scenery, these destinations make for terrific day trips.

Anza Borrego State Park. Just a two-hour drive from San Diego, the Anza Borrego State Park features otherworldly desert beauty in the middle of the Colorado Canyon. Take the Borrego Palms Canyon Loop for a three-mile hike through rugged cacti and desert brush. Toward the end of the trail, you’ll reach a palm oasis.

Visit in the spring and enjoy the seasonal waterfall which is quite a sight in the middle of a desert! Due to the high summer temperatures, we recommend visiting Anza Borrego State Park between October and May, but if you do visit during the summer, make sure to take plenty of water.

Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area. By comparison with many other dusty desert trails in the region, the Solstice Canyon Trail at the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area feels almost tropical. Your three-mile hike will take you through a lush canyon, featuring a decent amount of shade, and even past a small waterfall. If you’re looking for a longer day of hiking, the recreation area features several more trails that are all three to four miles in length. Do check the wildfire report before heading to this popular Malibu spot in the summer.

Torrey Pines State Reserve. For a shorter hike that ends at the beach, take the Yucca Point Trail at Torrey Pines State Reserve just north of La Jolla. The reserve features 2,000 acres of desert flora and fauna, in addition to the golden cliffs and ocean views. It’s also the home of the Torrey Pine, one of the rarest trees in the world. The Reserve also features several other trails, for those of you who want additional outdoor adventure.

Joshua Tree National Park. If incredible rock formations appeal to you, the Joshua Tree National Park is right up your alley. For a great workout, take the Ryan Mountain trail which features a 1609-foot elevation change in just 1.5 miles. From the summit, you will view Joshua Trees, rock formations, and the ruins of abandoned mines. Go in the spring to enjoy an abundance of wildflowers along the trail.

Channel Islands National Park. For a more secluded island hike, head over to the Channel Islands National Park and take the Smuggler’s Cove trail. You’ll first take a ferry from Ventura, a great opportunity to spot migrating whales in the winter or bottlenose dolphins at any time of year. The 7.7-mile hike features local vegetation, rocky cliffs, and views of Santa Barbara and Ventura from across the ocean.

And as always, give us a call if you return from your trip feeling inspired. We can help you incorporate native plants and other new features into your existing landscape design.

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