Will Rogers State Historic Park

Monument in Malibu & Pacific Palisades

This park sprawls across ranch land once owned by Will Rogers (1875–1935), an Oklahoma-born cowboy turned humorist, radio-show host and movie star (in the early 1930s he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood). In the late '20s, he traded his Beverly Hills manse for a 31-room ranch house and lived here until his tragic 1935 death in a plane crash.

Free guided tours allow you to nose around the Western art and Native American rugs and baskets, and marvel at the porch swing right in the living room.

The park’s chaparral-cloaked hills, where Rogers used to ride his horses, are laced with trails and offer an easy escape from the LA hubbub. The best time for a ramble is late in the day when the setting sun delivers golden views of the mountains, city and ocean from Inspiration Point. They’re yours after an easy-to-moderate 1.5-mile trek. Trails continue along the Backbone Trail into Topanga State Park.

A big polo fan, Will Rogers built his own field to battle such famous buddies as Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper and Walt Disney. The Will Rogers Polo Club still plays in the park on what is the city’s only remaining polo field.