15 Superb Stops on the LA To San Diego Drive (2023 Version)

Planning a visit to California quickly and inquisitive about driving from Los Angeles to San Diego? Properly, that’s a fully glorious determination, as a result of this route is stuffed with dozens of gorgeous seashores, charming coastal cities, and plenty of unbelievable issues to do! I’ve put collectively this LA to San Diego drive/street journey itinerary, and it’ll go over what I believe are all the most effective locations to cease alongside the best way! 

Southern California is really one of the vital enchanting locations in the usA, and I assure that should you cease in all of those locations between LA and San Diego, you’ll be wanting up actual property, and can quickly be planning a transfer to California! 

Whether or not you’re in search of a fast weekend getaway, or on an prolonged street journey – seize your self some In-N-Out, and fall in love with California each night time whereas watching the sundown each night time! This LA to San Diego drive has each place cease it is best to make for the final word California expertise!

The Final LA to San Diego Drive Street Journey

How Far is San Diego from Los Angeles?

There may be solely about 120 miles between San Diego and LA, and with out site visitors will take round two hours. With that being stated, should you resolve to drive straight from one metropolis to the subsequent, you’ll be lacking out on SO many unbelievable locations alongside the best way.

There are additionally bus and prepare choices to get from LA to San Diego, however I positively suppose one of the simplest ways to journey from one metropolis to the subsequent is to have a automotive and revel in an unbelievable drive!

la to san diego

Uncommon cloudy days on the La to San Diego Drive

Completely YES! Whereas essentially the most the direct path is taking “The 5” freeway, however I’d extremely advocate taking an additional couple days and revel in a scenic street journey alongside California’s iconic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

You’ll get pleasure from beautiful coastal views, charming cities, and loads of unbelievable issues to do to maintain you busy for days! 

California Beach from above

LA to San Diego Street Journey Overview

Earlier than we dive into every of those main cities, right here’s a fast have a look at all the good stops on the LA to San Diego Drive:

  1. Santa Monica
  2. Venice Seaside/ Marina Del Ray
  3. Manhattan Seaside
  4. Lengthy Seaside
  5. Huntington Seaside
  6. Newport Seaside
  7. Laguna Seaside
  8. Dana Level
  9. San Clemente State Seaside
  10. Oceanside
  11. Carlsbad
  12. Encinitas/ Cardiff By The Sea
  13. Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve & Golf Course
  14. La Jolla
  15. Pacific Seaside

Laguna Beach Coastline

15 Finest Stops alongside the LA To San Diego Street Journey

Alright, let’s talk about intimately a bit extra on every vacation spot together with issues to do, the place it is best to keep should you resolve to spend some additional time there, and another enjoyable really helpful journey suggestions! I’ve additionally included a number of enjoyable journey movies for a number of the stops, so be sure you watch the YouTube clips for journey inspiration!

los angeles to san diego road trip

1. Santa Monica 

This journey begins in certainly one of LA’s most well-known and iconic cities, Santa Monica! It’s truly certainly one of my favourite beachside locations in California, and you possibly can spend a number of days right here having fun with all of the world-class eating places, rooftop bars, and unbeatable west coast sunsets. 

Santa Monica Beach - Places to stop between Los Angeles and San Diego

Ensure you take a stroll by means of the Santa Monica pier, take a journey on the curler coaster at Pacific Park, loosen up on the smooth sandy seaside, get some train by renting a motorcycle and using alongside its miles of motorcycle paths, and take a stroll alongside Ocean avenue.

I’d additionally advocate you expertise the beautiful view of the ocean and mountains from Palisades park, graze by means of the native Santa Monica Farmers Market (open on Saturday/Sunday solely), and do some procuring by means of the Third Road promenade! Santa Monica is solely the proper technique to begin your LA to San Diego street journey!

The place to Keep in Santa Monica:

The Garden Hide-Away | 5 Star Santa Monica FANTASTIC

This clear and vibrant Santa Monica bungalow has an unbelievable general visitor rating from tons of of completely satisfied friends. It’s only a brief stroll right down to LA’s well-known seaside and its many sights, and is without doubt one of the greatest worth stays within the space!

Santa Monica Pier - Los Angeles to San Diego Drive

Santa Monica is one of the simplest ways to begin the Los Angeles to San Diego drive

2. Venice Seaside & Marina Del Ray 

Venice Beach - la to san diego drive

Situated only a few miles south of Santa Monica, you’ll discover the colourful suburbs of Venice & Marina Del Ray. You might simply lease a motorcycle in Santa Monica, and journey down alongside the well-paved path down right here!  

Whether or not you’re in search of a cool memento, a contemporary tattoo, or simply wish to watch the full of life avenue performers, positively make a cease by means of Venice seaside! Take some pictures of the muscle males on the iconic muscle seaside, watch the gifted skate boarders within the skate park, and revel in a meal at one of many foodie hotspots within the space!

Whilst you’re within the Venice space, be sure you take a stroll or bike journey by means of the attractive canals and bridges present in Marina Del Ray!  It’s a totally charming coastal group, and in 1965,  grew to become the most important man-made, small-craft harbor within the nation. Take pleasure in its laidback environment, colourful sunsets, and partake in one of many common watersport actions. It’s one other must-visit for California guests, and can be a spotlight of your Los Angeles to San Diego street journey!

The place to Keep in Venice Seaside / Marina Del Ray:

Venice Canals Bungalow~Sexy Deck, Venice Beach, Pier & Boardwalk

This luxury VRBO situated in Venice Canals is simply blocks from the well-known seaside and its many visitor-friendly sights, and also you’ll fall in love with with the peaceable views from this quaint trip rental.

Venice Beach - LA to San Diego Drive

Picture through @adamhahn

3. Manhattan Seaside

Manhattan Beach - things to do between san diego and los angeles

I just lately visited Manhattan Seaside for the primary time (after dwelling in Southern California for 20+ years), and I utterly fell in love with it! It’s received a enjoyable pier to observe the surfers from, tons of volleyball courts to play a fast sport, and delightful beachfront properties to dream about proudly owning someday.  

There’s additionally a very nice downtown district stuffed with many family-owned eating places, boutique vogue outlets, and well-maintained paths stuffed with colourful flowers.  

Photographers will love the long-exposure pictures you will get below the Manhattan seaside pier, households will love exploring the Sand Dunes or a stroll by means of Reside Oak  Park, and artwork followers shall be ecstatic concerning the numerous galleries within the space! If you happen to’re in search of enjoyable and distinctive locations to cease on the best way to San Diego, I’d extremely advocate testing Manhattan Seaside should you received the time!

The place to Keep in Manhattan Seaside:

Designer Beach Studio In Manhattan Beach, Amazing Location! Steps to Beach!

This beautiful Manhattan Seaside studio abode is contemporary, distinctive and comfy. Take pleasure in heat California days with seaside towels and chairs supplied!

4. Lengthy Seaside

Long Beach - los angeles to san diego road trip

“With a lot drama within the L-B-C, It’s kinda laborious bein Snoop D-O-double-G. However I, someway, a way. Preserve comin up with funky ass shit like each single day” — Snoop Dogg 

One of many important locations you merely can’t miss alongside this Los Angeles to San Diego drive is Lengthy Seaside, California. 

Long Beach is one big playground situated proper within the coronary heart of Southern California. Right here you’ll be able to expertise all of it from a deep-sea journey on the Aquarium of the Pacific proper on the bay and a voyage in time aboard the historic Queen Mary to full of life guided excursions by means of downtown and the colourful East Village.”

I’d advocate taking a motorcycle journey alongside the seaside, taking a ferry over to Catalina Island for a day-trip, and taking a Whales & Dolphins watching cruise! You might simply spend 2-3 days absorbing every thing Lengthy Seaside has to supply, because it’s as one the preferred and full of life locations on this Los Angeles to San Diego drive!

The place to Keep in Lengthy Seaside:

1st Floor Beachfront Apartment with Ocean Views & Walking Distance to Everything

This charming Lengthy Seaside condominium options fashionable interiors and an unbeatable location. You’ll be simply seconds on foot to the seaside, downtown Lengthy Seaside, outlets, eating places and the buzzing native leisure district. 

Long Beach - Places to visit in California

5. Huntington Seaside

Huntington Beach CA - cities between la and san diego

Huntington Seaside is without doubt one of the greatest cities between LA and San Diego!

Nearly twenty minutes down the Pacific Coast Freeway from Lengthy Seaside, you’ll discover the full of life suburb of Huntington Seaside! This is without doubt one of the two important seashores I grew up going to and an excellent place to spend a day and even a few days!

It’s house to one of many longest piers on the West Coast of California (measure 1,850 ft in size), has a lot of seaside parking throughout the road (or pay $10 to park within the lot), and a vibrant nightlife scene! 

I’d advocate doing a little consuming in Huntington Seaside, because it’s stuffed with superior bars, breweries, distilleries, lounges, and nightclubs.  

Watch the sundown whilst you stroll alongside the Huntington Seaside pier, do some procuring alongside the buzzing Fundamental Road, and be sure you hit some waves, as HB is named “Surf Metropolis”!

The place to Keep in Huntington Seaside:

Classic & Affordable Beach Cottage! A Short & Easy Walk To The Sand!

This five-star Huntington Seaside surf cottage is spacious, well-situated and trendy. You’ll simply staying simply minutes from Huntington Seaside, Sundown Seaside and lots of different main native coastal hubs. 

Hungtington Beach, California - LA to San Diego Drive Places to visit

Picture through @adamhahn

6. Newport Seaside

Newport Beach - los angeles to san diego drive

Ahh, Newport Seaside, one of many shining stars in Orange County! It’s certainly one of California’s most iconic seaside cities and comes full with a large stretch of gorgeous smooth sand, two totally different piers, and plenty of enjoyable bars, eating places, and occasions to maintain nearly anybody entertained.

You might cease into the mega-shopping mall, “Fashion Island“, seize a shake on Ruby’s Diner on the Balboa pier, or take a motorcycle round by means of the tiny alleyways alongside the Balboa peninsula. 

I’d additionally advocate a fast jaunt down by means of the Crystal Cove State Park alongside PCH, which is one of “Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open area and pure seashore. It options 3.2 miles of seaside, 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness and an offshore underwater space. The park additionally options the federally listed Historic District, an enclave of 46 classic rustic coastal cottages initially constructed as a seaside colony within the 1930’s & 40’s and nestled across the mouth of Los Trancos Creek.” 

There’s additionally a buzzing nightlife scene in Newport, in addition to its inland counterpart of Costa Mesa! It’d be a implausible place to cease for a meal or sightseeing while you drive from LA to San Diego!

The place to Keep in Newport Seaside:

Clean Cottage for 2, Great Location! Large Patio, AIR, WiFi, Grill

This top-rated Newport Seaside VRBO boasts an unbelievable location simply steps from the seaside, lovely inside, and comfy bedding for an excellent keep!

Hungtington Beach, California

Picture through @adamhahn

7. Laguna Seaside

Laguna Beach CA

Persevering with down by means of Orange County alongside the Pacific Coast Freeway, you’ll arrive on the iconic Laguna Seaside, which is house to a number of the most beautiful seashores, coastlines, and homes within the state! It’d simply be essentially the most jaw-dropping cease on the scenic drive from San Diego to Los Angeles!

Now, there may be A LOT to do within the Laguna seaside space, however listed here are few of my suggestions!

  • Take a stroll by means of Heisner Park
  • Go to Fundamental Seaside
  • Go to 1000 Steps Seaside Throughout Sundown 
  • Discover the Tide Swimming pools
  • Trip the Free Trolley by means of city
  • Take a look at Treasure Island 

If you end up with a number of days in Laguna, I’d advocate testing this text for the TOP 100 THINGS TO DO IN LAGUNA BEACH“, because it’s stuffed with epic concepts, actions, and sights!

The place to Keep in Laguna Seaside:

In the heart of Laguna Beach! Walk Everywhere!! Location! 5 star

This beautiful one bed room beachfront condominium is mild, contemporary and oozes Laguna Seaside vibes. Excellent for a comfy seaside getaway, the pad boasts views from its entrance patio, and is simply minutes stroll from the guts of downtown Laguna Seaside and to Fundamental Seaside.

Laguna Beach - LA to San Diego Drive

Picture through @adamhahn

8. Dana Level 

Dana Point - la to san diego road trip

So my cousins have been dwelling down in Dana Level for almost 15 years, and it’s positively one of many higher areas in Orange County!  You’ll be able to take in the solar at certainly one of its many beautiful seashores, expertise marine life on one of many many ocean cruises, or go boat procuring by means of the wondrous Dana Level harbor.  

If you happen to occur to be on the town on a Saturday, cease within the Dana Level Farmer’s Marketplace for some contemporary produce and native wholesome snacks, fruits, veggies, nuts, and freshly baked bread!  

If there’s one factor you gotta do whilst you’re in Dana Level, it’s the fast 0.2 mile Bluff Prime strolling path, which offers an incredible panoramic view of the harbor! This may very well be a enjoyable and simple cease when Driving from LA to San Diego  

The place to remain in Dana Level:

Newly Remodeled Dana Point Beach Getaway

Reasonably priced, enjoyable, and completely situated in Dana Level – you’ll love this bed room apartment and exploring all of the close by sights!

Take a look at this superior Youtube Video for a bit extra Dana level journey inspiration!

9. San Clemente State Seaside

Are you curious about doing any seaside tenting? Properly, that is precisely the place it is best to go in Southern California! However even should you don’t, it’s nonetheless price a go to 

San Clemente is a beautiful mile-long seaside that’s common for swimming, bodysurfing, skimboarding, and naturally, browsing! 

Take a look at the San Clemente State Beach website for extra info, opening hours, and making a seaside tenting reservation!  

San Clemente Beach, California

The place to Keep in San Clemente:

San Clemente’s Most Popular Vacation Rental – Check out our reviews!

The identify speaks for itself! This fashionable apartment is simply steps from the seaside, eating places, bars and procuring within the coronary heart of San Clemente, California. 

10. Oceanside

Welcome to Oceanside, the northernmost metropolis in San Diego County! Situated proper alongside the Pacific Ocean, you will see that over six miles of beautiful seashores, great sights, a full of life boardwalk, and the longest picket pier on the California coast, measuring at 1941 ft in size ( which 1/3 of a mile)!

I’d counsel testing the preferred Harbor Seaside, take a go to by means of the Seaside Home vineyard, and take a gander by means of the Oceanside Museum Of Artwork!  

If you happen to’ve received an honest journey funds, than I’d look into chartering a ship, so you’ll be able to sail up and down the California coast for a number of hours!   

The place to remain in Oceanside:

1 Bedroom With 2 Queen Beds Beautiful New Remodel With Harbor View From Balcony

Certainly one of Oceanside’s most in-demand and highly-rated trip leases, this one bed room beachfront apartment is fashionable and high-end. Its patio boasts views over Oceanside Harbor and the seaside is true at your fingertips. 

LA to San Diego Drive 01-5

11. Carlsbad

After a brief drive down from Oceanside, you’ll rapidly enter the small city of Carlsbad, however it’s listing of sights is sort of large! The one vacation spot that tops any listing is a go to to the epic LEGOLAND California Resort. If that doesn’t curiosity you, then as an alternative ebook your self a ticket to the Sea Life Aquarium.

One other vital attraction in Carlsbad is the stunning Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch! It’a “fifty-acre dazzling rainbow of gorgeous ranunculus flowers set on a hillside overlooking the putting Carlsbad, California shoreline. The outside area is idyllic for planning weddings, occasions and company gatherings held among the many lush gardens, or it’s possible you’ll select to nestle indoors in our 200-seat Paul Ecke Jr. Barn for particular events!”

The place to Keep in Carlsbad:

Gorgeously Remodeled Carlsbad Beach Bungalow

This sylish one bed room Carlsbad bungalow is simply steps from seaside and Carlsbad’s many eating places, bars and naturally – LEGOLAND! The fashionable area is without doubt one of the greatest on the town, and ideal for a Carlsbad getaway in your street journey!

Carlsbad - Los Angeles to San Diego Drive

Picture through @adamhahn

12. Encinitas & Cardiff By The Sea

Persevering with down the coast, you’ll end up within the charming metropolis of Encinitas, which is Spanish for “hills of dwell oaks”. It’s one other quirky beachside space, extraordinarily common for surfers, households, and seaside enjoyable! 

Ensure you take a stroll alongside the favored “Moonlight Seaside”, discover the San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation Space, and get misplaced amongst in San Diego Botanic Gardens!  

Cardiff by The Sea - Los Angeles to San Diego Drive

Picture through @adamhahn

13. Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve & Golf Course

Whereas Torrey Pines may be situated inside San Diego metropolis limits, it someway stays one of many wildest space of land on the Southern California shoreline! Visiting right here is like taking a time machine again, and also you’ll expertise what it appeared like centuries in the past!  Full with the maritime chaparral, the uncommon Torrey pine, miles of pristine seashores, and a lagoon that could be a essential factor to migrating chook species! It’s actually a must-visit, with it’s shoreline crammed pine timber,, sandstone canyons, and all kinds of grime climbing trails overlooking the ocean!

Torrey Pines can also be house to California’s most pristine and well-known golf course, however any fan of golf is already conscious of that little tidbit!  Head over to the Torres Pine Golf Course web site for reservations, costs, and extra data!

14. La Jolla Cove

If I ever transfer again to California, I’d personally love to seek out myself an condominium or home within the La Jolla  district in San Diego!  With its choice of the mesmerizing seashores, unbeatable shoreline views, and charming metropolis middle, it’s such a implausible place to spend an excellent period of time!

La Jolla is a small beachfront metropolis situated solely about twenty minutes north from downtown San Diego, and is really a gem! Full with so many superior eateries (with rooftop terraces overlooking the seaside & sunsets), almost good climate year-round, and a number of the greatest snorkeling and scuba-diving in Southern California!  

There’s a extremely implausible strolling path stuffed with totally different viewpoints and photograph alternatives, and also you positively should expertise La Jolla Cove for your self!

La Jolla- LA to San Diego Drive

15. Pacific Seaside

Final, however actually not least, Pacific Seaside is the PLACE TO BE when you’ve arrived in San Diego. This suburb is principally the “epitome” of Southern California tradition, and you’ll fall in love with every thing this space has to supply! With all kinds of bars and eating places lining the seaside, lovely sunsets each night time, and a welcoming atmosphere- you’ll end up wanting to remain in “PB” so long as attainable!

Take a look at this superior article by my fellow blogger titled “25 Things To Do In Pacific Beach San Diego” for extra inspiration and data!  

Do I have to something to this LA to San Diego Drive Itinerary?

Being a so-cal native, I may in all probability add at the least a dozen extra locations that I believe can be price a go to, however I needed to maintain it to fifteen. If you happen to suppose I would like so as to add any particular vacation spot alongside the Pacific Coast Freeway, please do let me know! I’d additionally love to listen to of your favourite eating places and bars within the space, as I plan on finishing this drive quite a bit within the coming months, and would love some suggestions!

Mission Beach- San Diego

Picture through @adamhahn

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LA to San Diego Drive

Thanks for studying my LA to San Diego Drive Itinerary!

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