There are many reasons why Los Angeles is the movie capital of the world, but one of the biggest reasons (literally) is the landscape. Filmmakers liked making their movies in Southern California because they could be shooting in the desert, in the forests, in the mountains, or on tropical beaches, all within a couple hours of each other. Times have changed and most movies these days are shot all over the world, but the beautiful and varied landscape of Los Angeles remains, and it is paradise for outdoor recreation.

Perhaps the best part about the LA outdoors is how underused it is. Most Angelenos are simply too busy or too involved with their business to appreciate the area’s natural beauty. In fact, the mountains and beaches are more often used for expensive real estate than for outdoor activities. But within a few minutes, you can go from noisy and grungy Hollywood to the peaceful serenity of Griffith Park. You can drive a few miles up the coast to Malibu and enjoy endless miles of trails through mountains and valleys (many of which with expansive views of the Pacific). The San Fernando Valley is surrounded by towering peaks on all sides; you quite literally can’t leave without slicing your way through the hills. You can even hike to the Hollywood Sign (a favorite amongst tourists).

If you’re not into hiking, there are numerous water sports to be enjoyed (surfing perhaps being the most popular), there are miles of bike trails along the beaches, and you’re also within a few hours of some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks: Joshua Tree, Death Valley, the Sequoias and Redwoods, Yosemite, to name just a few.

Los Angeles is a bustling and sprawling metropolis, and like most big cities, it can be exhausting and stressful to have to deal with on a daily basis. Angelenos are lucky to have so many outdoor resources at their fingertips, and if you don’t live in LA, the hikes and the many other activities are certainly worth checking out during your next visit. You’ll see why early filmmakers chose to shoot their movies here; escape is everywhere!

And did I mention the weather?

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