At the end of July I took a bit of a road trip, visiting Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas. Not being much of a writer, I’ll settle for summarizing the trip in a set of somewhat arbitrary chosen pieces of travel advice.
State Route 1
First of all, while traveling north-south wise in California, and not being in any hurry, do consider to at least go part of the way on California State Route 1. While it might take double the amount time compared to the freeway it really is a much more relaxing driving, full of beautiful vistas. Below is a photo taken while passing through Big Sur.
When booking a hotel room in Los Angeles, do plan ahead on what places you want to visit. Driving from one part of LA to another can easily take an hour or so. Myself I had a hotel room in Santa Monica, and ended up spending a bit to much time in my car, driving back and forth to Hollywood alt. Burbank. Not that I didn’t enjoy seeing Santa Monica. Wherever you end up staying in Los Angeles it is easily worth it to have a day exploring Santa Monica and the neighboring Venice.
Photo of Santa Monica beach, taken from Santa Monica pier.
One good spot to view both the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood sign is the Griffith Observatory. In addition to providing a good view, the observatory itself is actually quite a nice visit.
If you end up visiting Disneyland and the neighboring Disney California Adventure Park I wholeheartedly recommend that you stay until dark, and catch their magnificent World of Color show. For the full experience, also get yourself a Fastpass ahead of time, and see the whole thing from a preferred viewing area.
On Hollywood boulevard there are two wax museums; the Hollywood Wax Museum and Madame Tussauds Hollywood. Being a bit curious I ended up visiting them both. Without a doubt, Madame Tussauds is the wax museum you want to see.
While in Hollywood, one good evening entertainment option is the Laugh Factory comedy club.
Just like in Los Angeles there are multiple different areas in San Diego where you might want to stay. For me it worked out quite well to have a hotel room in downtown San Diego, and get my beach time by taking the ferry out to Coronado.
The downtown San Diego pier
Before heading down to San Diego I had heard good things about the San Diego Zoo, and it was definitely a nice visit. If I end up in San Diego again I probably wouldn’t mind also visiting the San Diego Safari Park.
One of the good things about Vegas is that the hotels are relativity cheap. So, if you like me aren’t used to staying at five star hotels, Las Vegas is a good place to experience it. I actually ended up paying less for my stay at five star Vdara than I did at the two star hotel in Santa Monica.
If you haven’t already seen the Blue Man Group, do consider doing so while in Vegas.
Finally a general piece of California advice. Before your first visit to an In-N-Out Burger you might want to have read up on their secret menu. The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (and Super Secret Menu!) Survival Guide is a good read.