From Oxnard in the west to Lancaster and Pomona in the east and from Frazier Park in the north to Long Beach in the south, the Los Angeles area offers such a stunning amount of activities that the question is not what to do, but where to begin. As the region where glamour was perfected and hip trends developed, the Los Angeles area dazzles. With its film stars, world-class museums, famous shopping venues, and miles of parks, recreation areas, and sunny coastal fun spots, this area is one of the planet's great vacation destinations.
The Los Angeles area has been one of the fastest growing regions in the United States for decades. With a population of 3,792,621 (2010 census), the city of Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. Los Angeles County is one of the most multicultural counties in the U.S. and the entire Los Angeles area itself is recognized and regarded as the most diverse metropolitan area in the United States. Los Angeles is also a leading center of industry, commerce, transportation, and entertainment.
Los Angeles is the land of superlatives for anything ranging from world movie premieres, spectacular art, and sensational music, to acclaimed five-star restaurants. Maestro Vener and the California Philharmonic bring critically-acclaimed and world-class performances to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. A museum of international stature, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the western United States. Consistently recognized as the ultimate in fine dining and showcasing the best of California’s produce and products, Spago Beverly Hills is the flagship restaurant of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. After the sun goes down, nightlife has a special place in the heart of the Los Angeles region. A diverse array of bars and clubs offer something for everyone’s taste.
There are nearly two dozen beaches in Los Angeles County and several recreational areas that offer outdoor recreational opportunities. The Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, established to protect the dwindling California condor, has notable physical features in the San Andreas Fault and the dramatic Bitter Creek Canyon. The Angeles National Forest provides a thousand square miles of open space and spectacular scenery along with the opportunity for swimming, fishing and trails for hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and off-highway vehicles.
Popular destinations (to name a few) are: Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles Zoo, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, Hurricane Harbor and Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, and Malibu.
Thousands of years ago the the Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes. Early European contact occurred in 1542, and the area was claimed as land of the Spanish empire, however European settlement did not occur until much later. The official date for the founding of the city of Los Angeles is September 4, 1781. At the time of settlement the area was a heavily wooded floodplain with abundant wetlands and swamps. Some of the wildlife included antelope, deer, an occasional grizzly, and steelhead and salmon in the rivers. With Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821 came a population growth of the area as Indians were assimilated and immigrants arrived from America, Europe and other parts of Mexico. The Mexican American War (1846-1848) ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and California was ceded to the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as an American city on April 4, 1850. Five months later, California was admitted into the Union. Completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1876 helped to change southern California forever. Los Angeles’ population went from 5,000 in the 1870’s to over 100,000 by 1900. The 1940’s saw the spread of the Los Angeles area with the development of the San Fernando Valley and the building of freeways. During World War II the area grew as a center of production of aircraft and war supplies and by 1950 Los Angeles was an industrial and financial giant. The census of Los Angeles showed populations of more than a million in 1930, more than 2 million in 1960 and more than 3 million in 1990.
The Los Angeles area occupies part of a mountain rimmed lowland fronting on the Pacific Ocean and encompasses towering mountain ranges, deep valleys, forests, islands, lakes, rivers, and desert. Most of the city of Los Angeles has level to rolling land and lies in an earthquake zone near the San Andreas Fault. The primary mountain ranges are the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains which bisect the city of Los Angeles. Several smaller, lower mountains are located in the northern, western, and southwestern parts of the area, including the San Emigdio Mountains, the southernmost part of Tehachapi Mountains, and the Sierra Pelona Mountains. The highest peak, located in the San Gabriel Mountains, is Mount San Antonio (10,068 ft) at the Los Angeles-San Bernardino county lines. The western extent of the Mojave Desert begins in the Antelope Valley where the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale are located. Other valleys include the San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Santa Clarita and Crescenta. Major rivers of the area include the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo, San Gabriel and the Santa Clara. The Los Angeles River, the primary drainage channel, was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. Lakes of the area include Pyramid, Castaic and Boquet Reservior. The 22 mile Catalina Island and Terminal Island are part of the Los Angeles region.
The Los Angeles area has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate and enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. However the San Fernando Valley Region of Los Angeles can get between 16 and 20 inches of rain per year. The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 36°F between inland areas and the coast. California also has a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer. The pattern of rainfall is bimodal with a short string of dry years followed by one or two wet years that make up the average. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches in 1932. The average annual temperature is 66°F to 75°F during the day and 57 °F at night with cooler temperatures in the mountains. In the warmest month – August – the temperature typically ranges from 79 to 90°F during the day and around 64°F at night. Temperatures exceed 90°F on a dozen or so days in the year. The highest recorded temperature in downtown Los Angeles is 113°F on September 27, 2010 and the lowest recorded temperature is 24°F on December 22, 1944.
Learn more about the Greater Los Angeles Region including these areas:
- Downtown Los Angeles
- Hollywood / San Fernando Valley
- Santa Clarita Valley
- Mid-Wilshire / Beverly Hills / Westside
- Along the Coast
The Los Angeles Area has a wide variety of attractions including the thrill of seeing stars, movie premieres, downtown Los Angeles with the financial district and many shopping districts, the Long Beach harbor with the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose, and even an Island (Catalina) ... just to name a few!
CLICK HERE to view Los Angeles Area attractions. Check back often as more attractions will be added.
With so much to explore, isn't it time to Camp California? Make your campground or RV Park reservation now. Click here.