All posts tagged: adventure

Free National Park Week!

Aside from this glorious pre-summer weather we’re being blessed with in Southern California, all you Mother Nature lovers out there have just been given another reason to strip down and do your sun-worshipping dance! It’s National Park Week—which means you can get into any National Park across the U.S. completely FREE this week! From Saturday April 16th – Sunday April 24th, all parks that normally charge will be waiving their entrance fees. Been wondering about that rare Death Valley superbloom? Go explore for yourself! Been yearning for the epic peaks of Yosemite? Get in the car and go before the summer crowds hit! Longing for the damp moss-covered forests of Muir Woods? Let your inner wood nymph go romp! Big bonus to all you kiddos trekking back from Weekend 1 or out to Weekend 2 of Coachella—you can enjoy free entry into Joshua Tree National Park while you’re out there! Take a break from soaking in the sounds to soak in some beautiful desert stillness. LIFE BONUS: the Lyrid Meteor Shower is also happening this …

Poppy Hunt ~ Lancaster, CA

Every spring in California, the magic moment happens. We’d heard the legend for years. Fields of neon orange flowers suddenly exploding into full Technicolor glory in every direction as far as the eye can see. Mountains, hills and every surface ablaze with fiery petals. Enough California poppies to make Dorothy forget about heading to Oz. We knew this generally happens in springtime, though we had never experienced it ourselves. With spotty reports from the park service, but a few promising Instagram updates from friends, we decided to set off on our very own poppy hunt to witness Mama Nature’s majestic springtime pageant. We packed a picnic and off we went…visions of poppy fields dancing in our heads. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster was our destination, about an hour and half up off the 5 Fwy N. We threw on some good tunes, passed the wild Martian mountains of Vasquez Rocks Park and enjoyed the wind in our hair, the sun on our skin and that thrill of freedom and adventure that always comes …

The Last Bookstore ~ Downtown LA

Some people collect fancy shoes and designer bags. Some people collect the latest tech toys. Some people collect superhero action figures. I collect vintage books. In a world that has become increasingly digital, virtual and cloud-based as the new normal, I have made it my personal mission to save the world’s beautiful orphaned literature—one book at a time. If you, like me, still love the feeling of holding a REAL BOOK in your hands when you read—smelling the musty paper, feeling the crispness pass through your fingers as you turn each page, folding corners and underlining paragraphs of the passages that sing to you—then you must treat yourself to a visit to LA’s book lover’s paradise, The Last Bookstore. Located Downtown on the corner of 5th & Spring, The Last Bookstore is a giant two-story mecca that feels like an enormous gleeful protest to the rapid disappearance of the art of the paper book. In the midst of the digital revolution, The Last Bookstore is clearly making their final stand. The first floor houses a …

Paramount Ranch ~ Agoura Hills, CA

Tired of hearing the word “Runyon” after your friends invite you on a hike? Can’t handle the crowds of actors posting vaguely inspirational (mis)quotes as an excuse to sneak in another almost-naked photo of themselves hiking the go-to trail? Well, breathe a giant sigh of relief because we’re here to tell you that you never have to step foot on that over-run Tinder trail again. Plus, it’ll be closed April through July for repairs—so what better time to expand your horizons? For genuine hiking enthusiasts, LA offers endless gorgeous trails throughout all of our many mountain ranges. If you’re looking for something truly unique, then hightail it out to Paramount Ranch. Located just off Kanan on the way to Malibu, Paramount Ranch is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and is overseen by the National Park Service. Most importantly, it’s also an Old West ghost town. Or, more specifically, an Old West Tinsel Town ghost town. Built by Paramount Studios back in the 1920’s to shoot their Western “talkies”, the Wild West facade set has …

Just Float ~ Sensory Deprivation Chamber

Our mission at Sirens & Scoundrels is to go find every cool off-the-beaten-path adventure and bring it back to you so you can try it yourself. As a meditation teacher, I’m always especially curious about anything that promotes increased presence and self-awareness. So what do those things have to do with locking your naked self in a pitch-black soundproof weightless saltwater chamber voluntarily? Well, step inside and let us show you… Sensory deprivation tanks originated back in the 1950’s as a means to research the brain’s dependence—or lack thereof—on external stimuli. What they discovered is that controlled sensory deprivation (the removal of all external stimulation) over short periods of time had the same effects as entering a meditative state—moving from beta or alpha brainwaves into theta waves for deep relaxation. Starting in the 1980’s, centers began providing float tanks to the public seeking their restorative and rejuvenating properties. Over the years, we have heard about several float centers in L.A. But we knew the time had come to dive in with the opening of Just …

Downtown Field Trip

Earlier this month, we invited our readers to cut class and ditch work with your resident Ferris Buellers for our first official Sirens & Scoundrels Field Trip. We were beyond thrilled to have an awesome group of artists and innovators come together for a rogue weekday art, food & culture adventure to Downtown LA! Who knew Tuesdays could be so cool? We started our adventure at the new Broad contemporary art museum on Grand. We first wrote about the Broad in our December article: HERE. Many readers wanted to check it out for themselves afterwards, but were surprised that tickets were booked out months in advance. So we decided we’d make it really easy: secure a bunch of tickets and invite people to just show up. This is the best way for you to do it with your friends, too. Tickets are free and you can reserve up to nine at a time, so we suggest that you just take the initiative for your gang and book the earliest date available online: HERE. The good news is …

Le Garage ~ Sausalito, CA

What’s a Siren or Scoundrel to do when they’re itching for the South of France but also need to pay the rent? Head up to Sausalito and experience the Riviera’s kissing cousin in all its dreamy aquamarine glory. If you really want to set the scene, go straight to Le Garage for a French Bistro dining experience that will leave you asking, “Cannes who?” Sitting right along the waterfront with big white sailboats and shiny yachts glittering and bobbing lazily in the afternoon sun, you can relax with a glass of French rose and dust off those phrases you haven’t used since high school: “Ah oui, Monsieur, je vais tres bien, merci beaucoup. Umm…that’s all that I remember.” Le Garage is a true fine dining experience made refreshingly accessible and delicious. The French owners wanted to bring some of their local comfort foods to the traditional bistro menu. So alongside their exquisitely executed staples like Steak Frites and Salade Nicoise, you’ll also find Country Pork Chops and Crispy Panisse—french fries made from chickpeas. The highlight …

California’s French Riviera ~ Sausalito & Marin, CA

One of the greatest joys of living in California is that you can hop in your car at a moment’s notice and create the instant epic road trip of your dreams. Snow, surf, forest, mountains, desert—whatever your heart desires, it’s right here for the taking. And if you’re like us and dream of wearing stripes while sipping rosé by the waterfront in Nice, then it’s time to head up to Northern California for a taste of the French Riviera in our own backyard! We feel the call of Northern California quite often. Big fans of a road trip, we answer that call by piling our gang into our (eco-friendly) cars and making the drive up the coast. It’s the perfect time to get in some 80’s-power-ballad sing-alongs, have some deep and meaningfuls, explore sleepy unknown towns and their many dried fruit & nut options, and of course—catch up on Serial and backlogged This American Life episodes. On our last trip up, even though we were seeing Hall & Oates play The Greek in Berkeley, we …

Wolf Connection ~ Acton, CA

Does the Month of Love have you feeling the call of the wild? Looking for that perfect hot date to get your blood pumping and make your temperature rise? Wanna let your inner beast out to play? Well, we’ve got just what you need to satisfy your cravings. If you’re ready to TRULY take a walk on the wild side, then grab the one you love (or the one you’d like to love) and head over to the Wolf Connection for their once-a-month Hike With the Pack. Located in Acton just 45 minutes north of LA, the Wolf Connection rescues and rehabilitates wolves and wolf dogs from across the country. The sanctuary is home to about 30 wolves, most of which are neglected and abused domestic rescues from owners who didn’t get that wolves and dogs are not the same thing. But luckily, the incredible staff here at the Wolf Connection is dedicated to making sure that their adoptees get a second chance at life, nursing them back to health and heartiness with loving care …

Mountain Escape ~ Idyllwild, CA

After many years of patiently waiting, winter has finally decided to grace us with her presence in Southern California. The recent rainstorms have brought fresh snow throughout our local mountain ranges…just in time for everyone to go back to work. For those of you suffering from Mountain Fever and looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway, we’ve got just the thing for you. But here’s the catch: you have to promise to keep this between us, okay? Purposely kept extremely hush-hush within the mountaining crowd, Idyllwild is a quaint and charming artists’ colony located just two hours east of LA in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. It’s such a hidden gem that we debated even writing about it. But since we are sworn to provide you with the inside scoop on all things off-the-beaten-path-awesome in California, our sense of duty won out in the end. So without further ado, may we present: Idyllwild, the place to make all your mountain dreams come true. The first thing you should know is Idyllwild is …

The Broad ~ Downtown LA

If you’ve been wondering about those mysterious photos of your friends seemingly floating amongst infinite cosmic light that have been popping up all over your feeds this fall, it’s time to trot yourself down to The Broad (like “road” with a “b”) museum and experience it for yourself. The newest arrival on the contemporary art scene, The Broad is already a hot-ticket destination for the city’s trendsetters, who flock through the doors each day to take in the likes of Warhol, Basquiat, Lichtenstein and Koons, amongst a plethora of modern art heavy hitters. Built from scratch to host the 2000-piece art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum opened in September 2015 and has become an architectural destination in and of itself. Located adjacent to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed museum boasts a huge looming perforated metallic “honeycomb” exterior that adds even more wow factor to your walk down Grand Avenue—the two enormous landmarks at once opposing and complimentary. The interior is everything a modern …

Stargazing ~ Joshua Tree, CA

Looking for a fun, easy, affordable excursion to entertain your out-of-town visitors this Holiday season? Jump in the car and head out to Joshua Tree for a night of midwinter stargazing! Less than two hours away, Joshua Tree is one of our favorite places to get away from it all and get in touch with that deep desert stillness that always stirs the soul. In these winter months, the best way to camp out is in a little desert hacienda—so you can be sure to stay toasty and warm when it comes time for sleeping. Joshua Desert Retreats has become our go-to purveyor of desert retreat houses. With twelve adorable, well-appointed and very affordable rental properties ranging in occupancy from 2 to 14 people, they have every kind of getaway home to fit your needs. All houses come with fully stocked kitchens, so you never have to leave the property unless you want to. So cooking and sharing meals together becomes a part of the fun. Most houses also include an outdoor fireplace, pool and …

Go Rogue! ~ Opt Outside on Black Friday

This Friday, instead of facing the real-life version of The Walking Dead at your local retailers–witnessing throngs of people stampeding each other in a crazed daze for a cheap(er) wide-screen TV…why not reclaim your sanity (and your humanity) and Opt Outside instead? REI started this inspired movement by pledging to close its doors on Black Friday and #OptOutside in an effort to get families to bond out in nature instead of under glaring fluorescent lights buying a bunch of crap no one needs. You can find awesome hikes in your area just by entering your zip code here. Save the Redwoods League has even upped the ante—offering free day passes to 49 California State Redwood Parks in Northern California. Happily, there has been an overwhelming response to this rogue reclaiming of the day after Thanksgiving and some park passes have already sold out. But there are still plenty of parks available. You can find a list here. For those of us in Southern California looking for a place to spend November 27 in peace, we have some …

Get Your Meteor Shower On Tonight!

Stargazers! Head outside the city lights tonight to catch the Leonid Meteor Showers shooting their glittering cosmic display across the night sky! Drive out in any direction where you can see the stars clearly and you should be good to go—north into deep Malibu is always a good option if you’re pressed for time. We’re heading out to Joshua Tree and will report back with our celestial findings. The showers will peak between midnight and dawn. We’ll be blessed with perfect sky-watching conditions—no clouds and a newly waxing moon that won’t cause light interference. So bundle up, grab your gang, throw some blankets, binoculars & hot toddies in the car and enjoy the heavenly show. Hope you have a bunch of wishes saved up for all those shooting stars! Words by Christina Huntington // Photography & video by Josh Yeo & Michael Beach © 2015 Sirens and Scoundrels

Apple Picking Season ~ Oak Glen, CA

Every Fall I go apple picking. And each time I come back with my bags of apples and Mile-High Apple Pie in tow, everyone asks, “WAIT!—You can go apple picking in LA?” YES. Yes you can. Meet Oak Glen, CA. Nestled up in the mountains about an hour & a half east of Los Angeles, the folks in Oak Glen have been growing apples since 1867. If you imagine Autumn-in-Vermont Pioneer Village meets 1950’s Frozen-in-Time Americana, you’ve got Oak Glen. It’s a magic combo that makes you feel like you’ve just stepped inside a Charles Wysocki puzzle. Located a mile up the mountain, this 5-mile loop of sweet old-fashioned apple orchards actually experiences all four seasons beyond just “warm and warmer”. Official apple picking season runs September to November, when the trees explode with ripe juicy apples of every flavor and the surrounding landscape bursts into an impressive show of bright yellows, reds and oranges. The best time for apple picking is the start of the season. But if you wait until later, there is …