If you’re planning a West Coast California road trip, this USA travel guide is for you. My Californian road trip from LA down to San Diego in the back of my friends truck is hands down one of my favourite travel memories so far.
Back to this West Coast dream. Why did I love the LA to San Diego route so much? Most of my adventures are working adventures with itineraries, early starts, energy-consuming days, late nights editing and to be honest… very little time for relaxing. But this Californian road trip seemed to come at a perfect time and was EXACTLY what I needed to switch off, kick back, relax and indulge in every single thing I love most about exploring the world.
No alarms, spontaneous detours, beautiful sunsets, camp stove dinners, fresh air, surfing, bare feet, palm trees, sunshine.
The West Coast of California is designed for a more relaxed road trip, think palm trees, beaches upon beaches, surfing, sunsets and coastal drives. If you’re looking for those dreamy SoCal Laguna beach vibes, look no further.
As I become a more seasoned traveller I’ve realised its so much better and more rewarding to spend more time in fewer places, to not rush and to really immerse myself in places. Combine that with the fact I didn’t want my new travel partner (who I met randomly whilst adventuring in Paris last year) to feel like he was on a working mission with me.
So though our Californian road trip from LA to San Diego was only 120 miles in distance (which in a straight run would have taken about 2.5 hours) we meandered down the route over a week. Happy happy days.
The stretch of path that runs along the beach front is 3 miles long. It takes about an hour to walk it, which we did, but cycling is a popular alternative. There are many bike rental shops along the front and plenty of spaces to lock up your bike when you want to dip into a restaurant for dinner.
The beach fronts definitely weren’t what I had pictured them to be. I quite literally saw EVERYTHING on this day. On TV, in films, in media, LA falls nothing short of glitz, glamour and fame and that’s the image I had, over the years, built in my head. But that image is very different to the reality. Yes all of that stuff is there, but LA is MASSIVE, seriously. And like any other city, there are the homeless, there are the rich and there is everything in-between.
After being quite taken aback by some of the sights and situations I witnessed on the beach front, I can’t say I felt much at home on first impressions. But a chance to catch up with my friend just a 10-minute walk off of the beach in Santa Monica town, had my opinions turned around pretty quickly…
We shared the enchiladas from the Mexican… but yes we are also piglets and ate here too!
On our first night we stayed in hotel near the airport, which we booked through price get up to £30 off your first stay with this link.. AirBnb is also a great option if you’re on a budget –
You could also just opt to drive to the front of the sign for a photo, which requires about 30 seconds of walking.
I had one peanut butter cookie and one smart filled chocolate cookie with rocky road icecream inbetween. UNREAL.
Find Diddy Riese’s here: 926 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024, United States
Rumour has it that ‘Nick’s’ is a great restaurant choice here in Laguna too, but we didn’t book ahead and it was full on the day we were visiting.
We stayed over night on San Elijo State Beach campsite – book here.
It’s quite a challenging 8 mile hike and is BEST avoided between the midday heat hours. We begun at 8am and didn’t return to our car until 1.45pm, that included waiting in line to take the ultimate photo and resting to catch our breath for half an hour at the top.
It’s not a hike to be underestimated with a pretty consistent incline on the way up and there’s no water along the way so make sure you take a load with you plus some snacks!
Recommend: Sweet potato pancakes, OMG! French Toast, Eggs Benedict
THIS PLACE IS GOD, ESPECIALLY AFTER SUCH A HIKE!
Honestly, my Californian road trip was a week filled with moments, memories and sunsets that I’ll still be reminiscing over and telling my grand children when I’m 70 years old.
Shout out to T for driving and for being the best adventure buddy.
What were your favourite spots? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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