Perfect LA To San Diego Road Trip (Itinerary + Map)

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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).

Technically, the LA to San Diego drive is less than 2 hours, but it takes a full day due to many scenic stopovers.

la to san diego road trip

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.

Google Map of LA to San Diego road trip with scenic stopovers

LA to San Diego road trip - Google Map
Courtesy Google Map – Click here for Map

Huntington Beach

Distance from LA – 52 min (37.2 mi) via I-605 S

LA and San Diego road trip scenic drive

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

Newport Beach

Distance from LA – 58 min (44.1 mi) via I-5 S

San Diego to LA road trip scenic stopovers

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.

Laguna Beach

Distance from LA – 1 hr 1 min (50.2 mi) via I-5 S

where to stop la to san diego road trip

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

Table Rock Beach – Orange County

Distance from LA – 1 hr 10 min (53.8 mi) via I-5 S

LA to san diego scenic drive

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

los angeles to san diego scenic drive

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

Incredibly Charming Small Towns In California - Weekend Day Trips from Los Angeles – Best Road Trips

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

San Clemente

Distance from LA – 1 hr 7 min (61.5 mi) via I-5 S

la to san diego road trip

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

Carlsbad

Distance from LA – 1 hr 33 min (86.8 mi) via I-5 S

la to san diego road trip scenic drive stopovers

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

Encinitas

Distance from LA – 1 hr 44 min (95.9 mi) via I-5 S

los angeles to san diego road trip

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

La Jolla

Distance from LA – 2 hr 5 min (112.5 mi) via I-5 S

La to san diego road trip scenic stopovers

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

Mission Bay

Distance from LA – 2 hr (117.3 mi) via I-5 S

Los angeles to san diego coastal drive

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.

California road trip Itinerary Video tour

Picture Credits – Pixabay

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