L.A. Times Lists Top 40 Outdoor Experiences in California Just in Time for Summer

Graphic that says "The outdoor California list"
(Ana Gomez Bernaus / For The Times)

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times debuted a list of The 40 best California outdoor experiences. The map-based points-of-interest list features the top summer destinations for those getting to know the area – as well as seasoned travelers of the Golden State. Each destination includes a pro tip.

Compiled, written and road-tested by Times Travel Writer Chris Reynolds, the project grew out of his 2017-2018 series, California Bucket List.

“From that project, and from more than 20 years as our travel writer, I had a lot of California locations fairly fresh in my brain,” he said. Then, as the pandemic began to ease, Reynolds and the Features team began thinking about how to approach the reopening of the state and how people would be looking for trips within California.


“We focused on outdoor destinations that made most sense in summer and this list emerged,” said Reynolds. “Beyond celebrating the state’s natural landscapes, it’s a chance to remind people about important people and places that have been short-changed over the years, including locations like Chicano Park in San Diego and Angel Island, near Alcatraz, which served as a grimmer version of Ellis Island for thousands of Asian immigrants from 1910-1940.”

This list is only the first installment. Reynolds and the Features team plans to do more locations later in the year, which will allow them to cover more indoor venues, along with deserts and other fall/winter destinations.

The guide is available online now. An eight-page print version of the guide will be featured in the Saturday section on May 22.