California coastal road trip is one of the world’s best road trips; therefore, LA to San Diego road trip is also worth doing with many scenic stopovers. So let’s read about things to do between LA and San Diego scenic drive (Los Angeles to San Diego drive).
- Read more on Stunning California Road Trip Itinerary 21 – 25 days
- Perfect LA to San Francisco Road Trip Itinerary 8 – 10 Days
Technically, the LA to San Diego drive is less than 2 hours, but it takes a full day due to many scenic stopovers.
Distance from LA to San Diego – 2 hr 10 min (124.1 mi) via CA-73 S and I-5 S – And through PCH – 1 – 2 hr 24 min (142.3 mi) via I-10 E and I-5 S.
Check some good Rental car options from LA Airport.
LA To San Diego Road Trip Itinerary – Where To Stop
Read about beautiful stopovers LA to San Diego road trip – Things to do between LA and San Diego scenic drive.
Read more: 7 Best California Scenic Drives – Beautiful Road Trips In California
Google Map of LA to San Diego road trip with scenic stopovers
Distance from LA – 52 min (37.2 mi) via I-605 S
Huntington Beach City is also known as the “Surf City” due to surfing waves, mild climate, and 10 miles of uninterrupted beaches. It also has luxurious oceanfront resorts, and relaxed beach stays, with breathtaking views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Famous for stunning sunsets too.
There are several beachfront restaurants with lovely food and views. Read reviews on some of them for a lovely dine-in when you are going from LA to San Diego road trip.
Things To Do At Huntington Beach City
- Huntington Beach Pier
- Huntington Dog Beach
- Downtown Huntington Beach
- Huntington State Beach
- Bolsa Chica State Beach
- Pacific City
Distance from LA – 58 min (44.1 mi) via I-5 S
Newport Beach is a beachfront city famous for its elegant and classy beachfront. It is renowned among Sailors, yachters, anglers, surfers, and sunshine lovers. Charming beach cottages surround Newport beach for the perfect relaxed beach holidays. The trip to Newport Beach is complete with a whale watching trip, as it is one of the country’s best places for whale watching.
Things To Do At Newport Beach
- Newport Beach
- Balboa Island Ferry
- Balboa Island
- Fashion Island
- Corona Del Mar State Beach
- Balboa Pier.
There are many famous hotels on New Port beach. Read reviews on some of them.
Distance from LA – 1 hr 1 min (50.2 mi) via I-5 S
The favorite beach of SoCal, which becomes vibrant on weekends, is one of the prettiest beach towns in Orange County. It is also an artist’s getaway with excellent art galleries and energetic summer arts festivals.
Things To Do At Laguna Beach
- Heisler Park
- Laguna beach open Kayaking Tour with sights of Sea lions.
- Crystal Cove State Park
- Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters
- 1,000 Steps Beach
- Crescent Bay Point Park
- Treasure Island Beach
- Top of the World
- Main Beach
- Victoria Beach
Table Rock Beach – Orange County
Distance from LA – 1 hr 10 min (53.8 mi) via I-5 S
A hidden gem with peaceful beachfront, calm waves, and excellent coves to explore. Its quiet turquoise waters and massive cliffs are perfect for nature lovers’ stunning views. It is an ideal photo-op for photographers due to the natural landscape.
Things To Do At Table Rock Beach
- Silver Dollar City Branson Landing
- Titanic Museum
- Moonshine Beach
- Table Rock Dam.
Dana Point Harbor
Distance from LA – 1 hr 7 min (59.1 mi) via I-5 S
Dana Point Beaches are considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California. It is also an excellent place for dolphins and whale watching and is one of the best in the world. Not only beaches but its town are also worth visiting.
Things To Do In Dana Point Harbor
- Dana Point Harbor
- Whale Watching excursion.
- Salt Creek Beach
- Doheny State Beach
- Catalina Express
- Dana Strands Beach
- Baby Beach
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Distance from LA – 1 hr 1 min (54.5 mi) via I-5 S
It is known as the “Jewel of the California Missions.” A perfect historic place with quiet vibes with the Spanish style of architecture.
Things to do in San Juan Capistrano
- Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Zoom bars Petting zoo
- Festival of the Shallows.
- Los Rios Historic District
- Coach House
- O’Neill Museum
- Old Capistrano Certified Farmers Market
Distance from LA – 1 hr 7 min (61.5 mi) via I-5 S
San Clemente is a Hidden gem in Orange county with an outstanding beachfront, stunning ocean view, mild temperatures, and spectacular sunsets. It is a beautiful stop from LA to San Diego road trip. It is also excellent for hiking trails, foodie destinations, and boutique shopping.
- San Clemente Pier
- Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
- San Clemente Coastal Trail
- San Clemente State Beach
Distance from LA – 1 hr 33 min (86.8 mi) via I-5 S
Carlsbad is the prime vacation spot for families due to its laidback stunning beaches, eclectic, colorful village, and kid-friendly attractions. It also has its little downtown area known as Carlsbad Village, with a wide range of boutiques, funky restaurants, and bars. Carlsbad downtown is walkable, and also the beach is within walking distance from downtown. It is also famous for sunset, stunning beaches with blue waters, surfing, and beachside plush resorts, and so one of the scenic stops from LA to San Diego road trip.
Things To Do At Carlsbad
- South Carlsbad State Beach
- Carlsbad Village
- Carlsbad Food and Wine Tasting tours.
- The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
- LEGOLAND California.
Distance from LA – 1 hr 44 min (95.9 mi) via I-5 S
Some of the most beautiful beaches in California are located in Encinitas. Not only for surfing, but Encinitas is also famous for meditation and relaxation zones, exotic gardens, and therefore a perfect stop on LA to San Diego road trip or San Diego to LA road trip. It has excellent surfing conditions; thus, local surfers’ tournaments are held annually.
Things To Do At Encinitas
- Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens
- San Diego Botanic Garden
- Moonlight State Beach
- Swami’s Beach
Distance from LA – 2 hr 5 min (112.5 mi) via I-5 S
La Jolla Shores is one of the world’s most famous and beautiful beaches. Its breathtaking views, upscale shopping village, surfing waves, white sands, and mysterious sea caves make it worth visiting. This beach is also known for scuba diving and snorkeling. La Jolla is the perfect scenic stopover on San Diego to LA road trip.
Things To Do At La Jolla – Where to stop LA to San Diego
- La Jolla Shores Park
- La Jolla Cove – La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak tour.
- Torrey Pines Gliderport
- Children’s Pool
- Birch Aquarium
Distance from LA – 2 hr (117.3 mi) via I-5 S
Mission Bay is a paradise for water sports lovers. With the distinct largest waterpark in the world, it also offers terrific opportunities for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, water skiing, sailing, kite surfing, and everything on the water. You can have your water Nivarna in Mission Bay and a lovely stopover from LA to San Diego road trip for all water sports enthusiasts.
Things to do at Mission Bay – LA to San Diego scenic drive
- Bastion Point
- Tamaki Ride
- Boutique Beauty on the Bays.
- Mission Beach Boardwalk
- Spend a Day at Belmont Park
- Learn How to Surf
Now you know where to stop while going from LA to San Diego road trip or San Diego to LA road trip. This enchanting road trip with the coast on one side and rugged cliffs on the other is very scenic and full of beautiful vistas or overlooks.
Read San Diego Itinerary 3 days with detailed day-wise breakup + hotel stay options.
California road trip Itinerary Video tour
Picture Credits – Pixabay
Follow more on social media channels at
Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest
DISCLAIMER – The blog’s content is solely my views of a place or a thing. This does not offend any class, religion, ethnicity, or nation. My thoughts can change from time to time. This blog may contain some advertisements or links to commercial products, so this site is not responsible after you click those advertisements.
We are the independent owner of this site, and the views expressed in this are our own. All photographs are owned by me. There can be slight differences in distances, locations, or some details for which I (owner) am not responsible. This post may contain some affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you. I will earn if you will click through affiliates and make a purchase.