Pali Spring Break Staycation

Clockwise from top-left: The stunning view that awaits hikers at the end of the Los Leones Trail, the Getty Villa, Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, Will Rogers State Historic Park. Photos: Courtesy.

By Melanie Williams-Galuten

School’s out! No plans? 

No worries!  Pacific Palisades just happens to be one of the most spectacular places on the planet brimming with fun things to do. The upcoming wondrous weather guarantees a perfect ‘staycation’. Hey, even if you DO have plans to travel somewhere, keep this intel handy for the next time you’re itching for adventure in ‘your own backyard’. 

I travel a LOT and am often asked why I bother leaving when I happen to live in such an amazing place.  A visiting pal from Paris said the Palisades is like giant resort with perennial good weather. I recently put that theory to the test and found an astounding number of immensely enjoyable destinations that totally fill the vay-cay bill.  From hiking to massages to museums to shopping to world-class food…our town’s got it all!

1. Take a Hike

Temescal Gateway Par: 141 explorable acres just a block from Gelson’s. Hike the 2.6 mile loop and catch some awesome canyon and ocean views. Not enough for ya? Take an extension for up to four miles of extra enjoyment. Record rainfall has put a crowd-pleasing cascade back in action! In addition to hiking trails you’ll find picnic tables and big grassy areas. Go to Gelson’s, grab some food, have a picnic and take a hike!

Los Leones Trail: You are bound to be breathless. If the steady initial climb doesn’t get ya the ocean view will! After 1.3 miles you’ll find a bench where you can catch your breath and take in the beautiful blue Pacific. After a rest and a wonder you can hike on if you are up for more. The top of the Los Liones Trail joins East Topanga Fire Road. So if you fancy an astonishing view of Topanga State Park go for it and hike all the way to Parker Mesa Overlook. 

Will Rogers State Historic Park: This wonderful historic park offers a LOT more than just a great hike. Will Rogers, a 30s movie star and ‘cowboy philosopher’, loved horses and built this ranch to enjoy with friends and family. The 2.25 mile hiking trail leads to Inspiration Point. You can also hike The Rivas Canyon Trail to Temescal Gateway Park. After your hike tour the historical Ranch House, check out the Polo Field and have a picnic. Polo games are usually held every weekend. And that’s not all. You can also… 

2. Ride a Horse

The Westside Riding School

Will Rogers: Book a lesson or a guided trail ride and as the website says, “You will experience the park in the way Will Rogers used to love to experience it, on horseback.”  Horse owners are welcome to bring their own horses.

3. Go to a Museum

The Getty Villa: This ancient Roman Villa replica and a world-class museum boasts ancient art, enchanting gardens, ocean views and a place to grab a bite and a glass of wine…what more could you want? Oh, did I mention entry is free? Just get a timed entry ticket and pay for parking. 

4. Hit the Beach 

We have many lovely beaches and I particularly love family friendly Will Rogers Beach because there are so many things to do: Swim, surf, bike ride, play volleyball, picnic or just build a sandcastle. Fun fact, Creature From the Black Lagoon was filmed there…and we just thought it was all about Baywatch. Also just a whisper over the city line to Santa Monica Beach you will find The Annenberg Beach House with lots of facilities including a historic pool. 

5. Spa Day: Get Massages and Go Zen!

The Massage Palace Palisades has excellent therapists in residence. Receptionist Yami will pair you with just the right person. After your massage get your tranquility on at the 

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Wander the beautifully landscaped path, watch swans slide across the spring-fed lake and literally stop to smell the many flowers. This chill-in-a-bottle is located on Sunset just a few blocks from the sea. 

6. Go Old School!

Have visited our wonderful library lately? They offer family story time, mindfulness meditation, movies and great book sales. Expand your world for free.

7. Eat!

Speaking of ‘old school’, we certainly have exciting restaurants in the ‘new’ village to explore but when was the last time you left The Village and visited one of the restaurants on West Channel? Delfini, Patrick’s Road House and The Golden Bull have been around for decades and the rebooted Bull has become a great community-gathering place. Newcomer Tallulah’s is owned by community supporting Palisadians. Back in The Village stop by the Palisades family owned Yogurt Shoppe for dessert. 

8. Enjoy the Farmers Market

Sunday mornings head to Pali High and enjoy the Community Farmers Market and its bounty of beautiful fruits and veggies, artisan pastries and breads, delicious premade dips and salsas, flowers, ceramics, jewelry and more. The market is the perfect place to pick up the makings for a picnic before you hit one of our amazing parks, a hiking trail or the beach.  

Or maybe, you’ll just head back to another fabulous staycation destination…your own backyard. 

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