With perfect weather year-round, picturesque nature, an infinite number of beach towns, and some of the best food in the country, a trip to Southern California has something for everyone. The journey starts in the 90210 zip code and ends with brew tours San Diego style. Here is your list of can’t miss stops on your SoCal road trip:
The first logical stop on any trip to Southern California is Los Angeles, and no visit would be complete without exploring Hollywood, America’s epicenter for the television and film industry. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is the most notable landmark, featuring the Walk of Fame just outside. If you’re a true movie buff, there are several historic theatres in town that screen classics when there isn’t a premier happening, like El Capitan and Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. Keen to get some exercise? Hike to the Hollywood Sign, or walk through Runyon Canyon Park, where you’ll be treated to expansive city views and maybe even a celebrity sighting!
Other activities in LA include shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and visiting the infamous Muscle Beach in Venice Beach. No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without sampling some of the best food in the country. East Hollywood is home to amazing Armenian food, the famous burger shack In’ N Out has chains across town, and incredible Mexican food can be found in every corner of the city.
As you head south down the coast, be sure to stop in the quaint town of Dana Point. Dana Point is known as the jumping off point for dolphin and whale watching cruises, or most famously, for visiting Catalina Island. Only an hour ferry ride from mainland California, Catalina Island offers world class snorkeling and diving where rays, sharks, and giant grouper can be seen. For those who prefer to remain above water, glass-bottomed boats are also a popular option.
With its infamous beaches, burgeoning craft beer scene, and sprawling urban parks, San Diego is the perfect final stop on your trip down the Southern California coast. Beach lovers look no further than Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, two laidback communities with a variety of cute shops and restaurants, and a distinct hippie feel. If you seek a slightly more upscale beach town, head to La Jolla, home to stunning cliffside beaches, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and the award-winning Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Located in the heart of the city is Balboa Park, the second largest urban park in the world. In addition to its numerous themed gardens and hiking trails, there are also a number of art and history museums and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
Another can’t miss on your SoCal adventure is attending one of the numerous brew tours in San Diego. Called a “sunny haven for suds lovers” by the New York Times, San Diego is home to over 100 breweries. The trend was started by entrepreneurs Chris Craner and Matt Rattner, who opened the Karl Strauss Brewery in 1989. Other worthwhile stops include Stone Brewing and Ballast Point. For those looking to continue the party, head to the Gaslamp Quarter, which contains numerous bars and clubs.
No matter where you choose to visit on your trip to Southern California, you’re bound to have a fabulous time!