Our most recent trip to the US took us to Huntington Beach, San Diego, Santa Monica, Downtown L.A. and Topanga, all within 9 busy days!
Topanga was the last stop on our list, and we were looking forward to a trip into the mountains for some relaxation and fresh air. Topanga is one of the quirkiest places we’ve visited, and we loved our short time there. Here’s why Topanga should be on your list the next time you’re in Southwest California!
It’s only an hour’s drive from L.A..
Getting to Topanga from L.A. is easy.
We travelled from central L.A. to Santa Monica to meet some friends for lunch, which broke up our time on the road, but from L.A. the entire drive took us around one hour.
We took the I-10 West out of the city. From Santa Monica there are plenty of road signs for the Canyon, and after about 15 minutes heading west along the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll turn away from the ocean and head up Topanga Canyon Boulevard towards to town.
Melrose and Malibu.
Despite being four miles into the Canyon, Topanga is still within very easy distance of Malibu and Melrose Avenue if you fancy a city-fix.
We went to Malibu for dinner one night and had an amazing shrimp burrito, and shared nachos in Casa Escobar Malibu Beach (used to be the World Famous Malibu Inn) that overlooks the ocean.
One afternoon we also took a trip back into L.A. and spent a few hours on Melrose Avenue. The trip took around 50 minutes, but we really wanted to visit Melrose again and as we were so close, we took the chance!
It was nice leaving the hustle and bustle of these places too, knowing we were heading back to the peaceful depths of the Canyon.
You’ll get your very own frog lullaby.
We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb in Topanga that was near the main cluster of restaurants and bars. On the site too was Topanga’s very own petting zoo! There were cute baby goats as well as rabbits and chickens.
Our cabin backed onto a creek, and at night we would open the bedroom window and listen to the water and very loud frogs – a different kind of lullaby, but strangely comforting at the same time. We slept very soundly!
Hike your heart out.
We went on a couple of great hikes whilst staying in Topanga; our legs took a while to fully recover! Our first morning took us up to the dizzying heights of the Backbone Trail. It was steep work, and we walked over 10 miles in one morning on this hike, but the views were breath-taking and worth every step.
Our second hike the next day took us to Tripp Ranch and then on to Eagle Rock – a slightly shorter walk, and a slightly easier climb, but it was another lively morning exploring the Canyon by foot, building up an appetite for a big lunch.
We walked right out of our cabin door and picked up the trials for both hikes from the centre of Topanga. So, no excuses – they are very easy to find.
Treat yourself to some vintage treasures.
Topanga is seriously quirky. There are a handful of restaurants, and nearly as many vintage and handmade shops. Hidden treasures is an Aladdin’s Cave of vintage designer clothing, jewelry and accessories; treat yourself to some vintage Levis or cowboy boots. We spent a couple of hours wandering around this shop, and there are a few more similar stores within the town, but not on the same scale!
Eat in L.A.’s most romantic restaurant.
For a small town, there are plenty of food and drink options in Topanga. The Inn of the Seventh Ray claims to be the most romantic restaurant in L.A., and we’d have to say it is pretty spectacular. With fairy lights hanging in the trees, frogs croaking in the adjacent creek, and the clear skies full of stars above you, it’s a special place to be. It embodies the hippy-vibe of Topanga, too. If you visit, you’ll read about the “vibration of the violet flame of the Seventh Ray” which will help transport you to a higher plane as you spend time at the Inn. We didn’t quite get there, but the atmosphere is enchanting.
We loved Topanga! This weird and wonderful tiny town made a big impression on us.
Pairofpassports.com is a travel blog by Hannah and Rob from Peterborough, UK. They're happiest when they are exploring a new place or planning their next trip. One day they want to travel full time, but until then PairofPassports.com is the place where they will record their travel experiences and tips as they explore the world. firstname.lastname@example.org.