If you’re looking for off the beaten path places to explore in Southern California, check out my list below! You’re off to quite an adventure here especially if you like graffiti. I have been to these places myself. Make sure to click on the name of those places to find out more information about them such as location, direction, and associated fees.
I love the Getty, but sometimes, I just want to be away from the crowd. Below are some unusual adventures in Southern California that you can do this weekend.
Here’s the quick list and more description with pictures below.
TOP UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN SOCAL
1. Salvation Mountain
2. Griffith Park Old Zoo
3. Lost Sunken City
4. Venice Canals
5. Sculptures of Anza Borrego
6. Salton Sea
7. Abandoned Water Tanks at Slab City
8. International Banana Museum
9. East Jesus Desert Post Apocalyptic Art Project
10. Abandoned Nazi Camp
11. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
12. Watt’s Tower
This is one of the largest outdoor art installment in California. Completely hand made by one person in 30 years, Salvation Mountain is one of the must visits whenever you’re in Southern California. This place is truly amazing, and I cannot believe all the commitment and passion that are put into making this. This has been featured in the film Into the Wild with Emile Hirsch; really great film!
This place was where all the animals of LA used to live before the current LA zoo. Now all the animals have been evacuated and the cages are empty for your adventurous souls to explore!
**warning, entering is considered trespassing. A landslide caused a neighborhood in San Pedro to sink into the ocean several decades back, now the ruins are just here for explorers who are dare enough to enjoy.
Don’t need to go far across the globe. LA has its own canals and beautiful bridges as well. This free attraction will show you a completely different side of LA. Many people who dislike LA actually says that this would be the only place they consider living in the city. Well, if you want to see how beautiful and awesome Venice Canals actually is, I highly recommend that you visit the place. Now, it is a great place for all people to visit especially when it’s free. Parking is a bit tough, but that’s everywhere in LA.
If you don’t mind the heat or extreme cold in the winter, I suggest that you take a short (3 hours) drive from the OC or LA to Anza Borrego Desert Park. These animal sculptures are everywhere in the desert! They are free to visit and it’s super awesome to take pictures with. These are specific ones are located near the Borrego Spring town, so it’s not too far from civilization.
If you really want to see thousands of dead tilapia washed up the shore, then this place is a must visit. Well, this large body of water was accidentally created. Considered one of the lowest places on Earth (maybe even lower than the Death Valley national park), this place is truly fascinating. Not only the view is great, but there are also ruins of houses and buildings awaiting for you to explore!
This old water treatment stations became a popular stop for visitors at Slab City and Salvation Mountain. If you want up to the top of the Salvation Mountain, you will see these two water tanks from a distance.
Now, this is a place that I literally stumbled upon and did not know about before. I was on my way to Salton Sea and I just saw this right off the 111 hwy. Obviously, I had to stop, and I recommend that you do as well. Over 17,000 banana items and it has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Record!
This inspiring art scene has been developing in Slab City for several years now. A place where people used to come to dumb their trash turned into a garden filled with amazing post apocalyptic arts that put many museums to shame.
Who would have thought that there’s an abandoned Nazi Camp in the Santa Monica Mountain? Well, it actually exists. This short 4 miles hike and some flights of stairs will take you to see some of the most unusual sites. It’s both creepy and cool at the same time. This was the location where Hitler was supposed to use to plan plot to take over the U.S…. what!!!
So you grow trees on your front lawn? How about hundreds of trees made of bottles and glass? This fascinating site is located on the historic route 66. It can be a great detour from your Las Vegas or Mojave Desert Trip.
Simon Rodia, an Irish Immigrant, spent a big portion of his later years building these tall structures in his backyard. The tallest tower is 99 1/2 feet tall, right below the city height limit. He created them all by himself out of clay, bottles, and broken dishes he bought from his neighbors.