Cruise from Los Angeles

As anyone who has flown into LAX knows, Los Angeles is beyond huge. The Greater L.A. area is home to 18 million people, hemmed in between the Pacific to the west and mountains to the north and east. It's home to Hollywood, and the attractions of Universal Studios. It's home to credit card-killing shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It's home to an increasingly funky (in a good way) walkable downtown. It's home to beaches that spread for miles and it's home to great eating, from high-end to cheap and cheerful. But the hidden virtue of L.A. is its natural beauty — head out of town and into the hills for a rewarding sample of Los Angeles beyond the sprawl. You'll be glad you did.