Southern California Coast Vacation Ideas Southern California Coast - Road Trip Planner

Places to Visit in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, Southern California Coast

Things to do / Travel Guide

Southern California is probably best known for Hollywood, which is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the largest urban sprawl in the region. Also in the metropolitan Los Angeles area are Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air. Other places of interest in the southern California region are Malibu, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, Orange County, the San Gabriel Mountains, and San Diego.


Hollywood, Tinsel Town, Dreamland - call it what you want, it usually ranks high on the priority list for visitors to southern California.
The area features Universal Studios, which is home to movie back lots as well as a theme park where guests can experience, firsthand, what it's like to be in a Hollywood film and enjoy movie-themed thrill rides.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is clean, safe, and home to great shopping, accommodations, and entertainment activities. The main sites in and around Santa Monica are Third Street Promenade, the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, and Muscle Beach.

Downtown L.A.

Downtown Los Angeles is home to some fine examples of architecture and culture, and includes Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, and Broadway. Downtown L.A. is also home to City Hall, the Brewery Art Complex, and the massive Staples Center.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is a notoriously exclusive neighborhood, characterized by long, beautifully-landscaped streets, and gorgeous homes. Various leisure operators, including the Beverly Hills trolley, offer tours that can take you around to see where your favorite actor lives (or used to live), providing you with a treasure chest of celebrity trivia.

Bel Air

Bel Air, located along the top of the Santa Monica mountains between Mulholland Drive and Beverly Hills, is also super-exclusive. The neighborhood is also characterized by narrow streets with stiff twists and turns, as well as houses propped up on stilts. And, no, the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) doesn't really live there.


Just northwest of the greater Los Angeles area is the long strip of Malibu, a celebrity-laden, super-exclusive stretch of property that extends over 25 miles from one end to the other. Visitors can drive through the area along the Pacific Coast Highway. Other sites in Malibu include the J. Paul Getty Villa, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Park, and Pepperdine University.

Long Beach

Long Beach, which hangs on the southern edge of the Los Angeles metropolis, is a nice stretch of town that boasts parades for virtually every major national holiday. The coastal strip of Seal Beach is where all the clubs, pubs, and cafés are located.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, about a 1½-hour drive north of Los Angeles, is, for all intents and purposes, a college town filled with stereotypically blonde-haired, blue-eyed cheerleaders and surfers from the suburbs of southern California. The area is home to the University of California Santa Barbara, State Street, East Beach, and Butterfly Beach.

Orange County

Orange County, just south of Los Angeles, is nothing like the FOX television series of the same name. It's not nearly as glamorous (in fact it's decidedly more suburban) but it's also the home of Disneyland (in Anaheim), Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach (home to the famous nightclub “The Boom Boom Room”). The U.S. Marine Corps Base 29 Palms serves as a buffer between Los Angeles and San Diego.

San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains

Skiing and hiking are popular activities in the San Gabriel Mountains, located in northern Los Angeles county. Two areas in particular, Mountain High and Mt. Baldy, are popular with hikers during the summer and skiers during the winter. Or you can skip the mountains and head straight to your Palm Springs motel.

San Diego

San Diego is the second-largest population center in California, after Los Angeles. Some of the more well-known areas and attractions in San Diego are Del Mar, Pacific Beach's Crystal Pier, Sea World, Legoland, Coronado Beach, the United States Naval Air Station, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Places to Visit in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Southern California

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