$10 and a Tank of Gas

Have you found yourself standing in an inch of gray water, pinched between four sweaty bodies, with mounds of sticky foam raining down upon you? Have you spent yet another drunken night at the Coop, eating your sixth mozzarella stick while waiting for the foosball table to open up? Have you ever thought “I need to get out more?”Well friends, you can. The possibilities are endless in this great metropolis—you can find something fun to do off campus—day or night, indoors or outdoors, with friends or solo any day of the week.The most accessible (read: cheapest) way to break the bubble is to take advantage of Los Angeles County’s vast parklands. We have gorges, rivers, and canyons in our own backyard—check out Marshall Canyon in La Verne for some great mountain biking and hiking. If you are looking for a bigger adventure, try searching


, a Web site that lists hundreds of hiking sites throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.Sure, Los Angeles is surrounded by mountains, forests, and canyons, but there is a whole other world in the waters lapping up against the shoreline. My all-time favorite place to experience California sea life is at the La Jolla Marine Preserve, located about two hours by car from Claremont. For snorkelers, swimmers, and kayakers, the Marine Preserve is heaven on earth.Descending down the craggy cliffs to the small cove below, you can see water eating away small caves and arches along the coastline. The emerald waters shield an underwater prairie; the brilliant green grasses cover the seafloor, moving in tandem with the ebb and flow of the waves. Bright orange garibaldi weave through the grasses, disappearing into oblivion underneath the swaying blades. A hundred or so yards from shore, you may spot a harem of playful California sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins, or even a gray whale.If that lovely description does not inspire you to see this place for yourself, keep in mind that the Marine Preserve is located about 20 minutes from the famous San Diego Zoo. Though the price of admission is pretty steep at $35, the zoo is definitely worth seeing at least once and it is generally regarded as one of the best in the world.To get to the La Jolla Marine Preserve, take the I-10 West to the 57 South. Merge onto the I-5 South and take exit 28 at La Jolla Village Drive. Follow the street signs to the preserve.A final disclaimer for first years and those without cars: This is one of the few articles I will write that suggests a place accessible only by car. I promise to make a sincere effort to provide suggestions for quick and easy public transportation. So no excuses—get out there!

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