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San Diego, Los Angeles, California Tourist Attractions & Road Trip Getaway Planner

Things to do / Travel Guide

Southern California Vacation Spots

This region is centered around metropolitan Los Angeles. The hub of the U.S. entertainment industry, the area offers beach towns, mountain hiking, thrilling theme parks, and plenty of cultural institutions. To the south, San Diego is a very attractive city with many sights and attractions to offer visitors. Further south, you can cross into Mexico. To the north, it's the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) on the way up the coast past Malibu and some of the most scenic and accessible coastline in the country.

Los Angeles Tourist Attractions

Los Angeles tourists often have a few goals when planning their itineraries.
They want to get the scoop on the rich and famous; they want to do some out-of-this-world shopping; and they want to have some fun!

When it comes to the rich and famous, you don't have to go too far. If this is on your to-do list, then a trip to Hollywood will certainly be in order. Here you'll want to walk the Walk of Fame, visit Grauman's Chinese Theater, and do some star-sighting. You may also want to pick up a map of stars' homes and do a little drive around Beverly Hills (90210 included) or Bel Air to peek in at some famous digs.

Another way to get up close and personal with the rich and famous is to go on a studio tour. Warner Bros. Studio and NBC Studio both offer tours. You can also get tickets to the filming of a TV show.

Shopping options in LA comprise some of the most visited tourist attractions in the area. A walk down Melrose Avenue will have you gaping at trendy vintage shops, one after the other. The Grove is another great place to shop, as well as stop for a bite and enjoy some outdoor entertainment. Last but not least, while the prices may not quite be in your league, you may still want to do some window shopping on Rodeo Drive.

And in terms of fun…well that shouldn't be too hard either. Popular tourist attractions in the category of fun include Disneyland, Santa Monica Pier, and beaches and boardwalks almost everywhere you look (in the westward direction, that is).

San Diego Tourist Attractions

Fun in the sun is also a key tourist goal moving southward to the beaches of San Diego, California. Coronado Beach, Black's Beach, and Imperial Beach are a few of the beaches in the area known for the wide sandy shores, clear water, and water activities.

Other water-related tourist attractions include Knott's Soak City Water Park and Sea World of San Diego—two kid-friendly options you won't want to miss. And speaking of kid-friendly, make sure not to skip the world-renowned San Diego Zoo—where else can you walk through a hot-weather central African rainforest and visit cold-weather Siberian reindeer within minutes of each other?

While it's always sunny in San Diego, some tourists may want a break from the great beachy outdoors and choose to spend their time museum hopping, which won't be hard to do with all of San Diego's world-class museums. Most tourists find the Women's Hall of Fame, the Marston House, the Junipero Serra Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art particularly interesting.

Southern California and San Diego Vacation Spots

It's not hard to find vacation spots when you're in a prime vacation location. Los Angeles is one of the most visited cities in the United States so is well equipped to provide tourists with the best of the best when it comes to lodging, dining, entertainment, and relaxation.

If that last point—relaxation—is important to you, then you may want to take up temporary residence just outside of the big cities. Southern California has some less-known vacation spots that can afford busy travelers with a calm respite. Consider going on a winery tour of the area. While it's not Napa Valley, Southern California is home to a few wineries. Visit San Antonio Wineries near LA, or travel a bit down south to Leoness Cellars, Miramonte Winery, Belle Marie Winery, and Bernardo Winery. You can continue your relaxing tour at a nearby spa. Stay out of the cities and spa-it-up at The Golden Door in San Marcos, Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, or, heading a bit north of Los Angeles, California, the Oaks at Ojai Health Resort & Spa. Stroll through Los Padres National Forest while you're there.

San Diego, Los Angeles & California Road Trip Planner

Rent a nice car and be prepared to spend a lot of time in it, like the locals do. Los Angeles is infamous for its traffic problems, so if you want to avoid staring at the bumper in front of you for hours, try and avoid driving during rush hour. Staying in a central location will also cut back on your car use. Give yourself one day for each major attraction in the area you want to visit.

Once outside of the metro area, a Los Angeles to San Diego road trip makes for a nice excursion. Choose an under 2 hour trip down I-5 or a slightly slower trip along the coast. Make sure to pick up a nice map of Southern California at the car rental counter.

Tourist Attractions and Highlights in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, Southern CA coast

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