5 Weekend Adventures for Mom

This year, I got to take my mom on her first 3 Shoestring Adventures. While visiting the Eastern Sierras, we wandered through the tufa towers of Mono Lake, explored the ruins of Bodie Ghost Town, and spent two days hunting down a secret hot spring.

When it comes to having a successful career or raising three daughters, my mom is the fiercest woman I know. But when it comes to the outdoors, she is definitely out of her comfort zone. That’s what Shoestring Adventures is all about!

The morning after our trip, she texted me, “I actually was disappointed that I had no where to fear going today.” I am so proud of you, Mom!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I created a list of 5 weekend adventures to share with your mom. They appear below in order of road trip distance from Los Angeles. Whether you steal her away for a day or an overnight trip, you’ll both come away with special memories and amazing photos! Speaking of photos, my mom will be getting her very own set of Thank You Photo Cards from Artifact Uprising to remind her of our adventures together.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas! Here is my gift to you.

The Flower Fields

Road Trip: 1.5 hours from LA

Instead of bringing flowers to Mom, bring Mom to the flowers!

The Flower Fields are a stunning landmark of San Diego County, founded by grower Edwin Frazee. At 16, Edwin quit high school to work full time on his father’s flower farm. Over the years, he perfected his crops and became the leading grower in ranunculus and gladiolus. Overlooking the ocean and Highway 101, Edwin’s vibrant flower fields attract thousands of motorists each year. Pair with brunch on the water. Tickets are available online and at the entrance through May 10, so don’t wait!

Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Road Trip: 1 3/4 hours from LA

A 10 minute ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway transports you from the desert floor at 2,643 ft up to the top of Chino Canyon at 8,516 ft. From there, you can enjoy breathtaking views or a hike through the forest wilderness, and end with a relaxing lunch at Peaks Restaurant.

The trails offer something for everyone, from the Long Valley Discovery Loop (3/4 mi) to the summit of San Jacinto (11-mi RT). Wilderness legend John Muir wrote, “The view from San Jacinto was the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth.” Jacinto is still my favorite summit in Southern California. Plus, the temperature is guaranteed to be at least 10 degrees cooler than in Palm Springs!

Tickets are available to purchase online.

Address: 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262


Distance: 2 hours from LA

The Integratron near Joshua Tree is a sound chamber built in 1954 by George van Tassel, who claimed to have received the plans from an alien visiting from Venus.  The public can attend 30-minute sound baths at the Integratron, in which quartz crystal singing bowls are played to provide healing and rejuvenation to the body.

Entering the Integratron feels a little like boarding a space ship.  Once you’re inside, climb the wooden ladder to the upper level, snuggle up and prepare to drift off into peaceful oblivion.  Afterwards, feed your souls with warm bowls of chili at Pappy + Harriet's.

The Integratron is closed on Mother's Day. Tickets for Saturday are available online. Book soon, before it's too late!

Address: 2477 Belfield Blvd, Landers, CA 92285

The Alabama Hills

Distance: 3 Hours from LA

Believe it or not, the Alabama Hills are NOT in Alabama!

Located in Lone Pine, CA under the shadow of Mount Whitney on the Eastern Sierras, the Alabama Hills have been featured in hundreds of Hollywood films, from old westerns to sci-fi classics. The rounded rocks are a marvelous sight against the jagged snow-covered peaks. 

Start with the Arches Trail, a flat 2-mi loop to the famous Mobius Arch. As you explore, you will discover even more arches! Can you recognize the landscape from any of your favorite movies? Visit the Lone Pine Film History Museum to find out. Before you head back to Los Angeles, enjoy lunch at the Alabama Hills Cafe. They close at 2pm.

In case you decide to stay overnight, the Alabama Hills are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, which means FREE camping! Lone Pine also has a variety of hotels to choose from.

Salvation Mountain

Road Trip: 3 hours from LA

Salvation Mountain is artist Leonard Knight’s love letter to God. Made of local adobe clay and thousands of gallons of donated paint, the monument rises from the dusty desert landscape with a message for weary wanderers: God is love. For 26 years, Salvation Mountain was Leonard’s home and full-time job. Recently, he passed away of old age, leaving the continued existence of Salvation Mountain in question. 

Get lost in Leonard’s world, filled with technicolor trees, secret layers and hidden love notes.  Afterwards, explore the haunted shores of the Salton Sea.  The sound of brittle fish bones breaking beneath your feet may cause you to think twice about long walks on the beach.  On the drive home, stop at Hadley’s Fruit Orchards for a banana date shake. Yum!

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