5 days in Los Angeles

Old Aug 19, 14, 6:09 pm
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5 days in Los Angeles

I'm staying for 5 days with my SO in Los Angeles and would like some input on where I should be staying if I wanted to see San Diego, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara. Am I too ambitious seeing these cities in one trip ?

From looking at Googlemaps the distance between lets say Beverly Hills to San Diego and Santa Barbara are stretching the 2 hr each way drive.

I would prefer to stay in one hotel and drive to each location. Can anyone recommend a neutral location that would be convenient ? I was thinking Beverly Hills.

Also if you feel I should drop a city for another, I'd be open to that suggestion.

We are young 40's who enjoy scenery, nice restaurant and shops.

Thanks in advance
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Old Aug 19, 14, 6:25 pm
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Santa Monica would be the likely place as it's sort of in between San Diego and Santa Barbara.

However, it's quite a drive if your intent is to do a day trip - at least 2 hours to each of the other cities and 2 hours back, without considering traffic.

You may wish to consider the train as well.

The better option may be to stay overnight in each city.
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Old Aug 19, 14, 9:42 pm
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I second the suggestion to stay overnight in each city as opposed to staying in LA and then trying to visit San Diego and Santa Barbara as day trips. Train trips will get expensive and eat up a lot of time. Although Amtrak does offer a California rail pass for $159 for 7 days of unlimited travel, you'd have to do the math on that. Gas is over $4 a gallon and it's a lot of driving.
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Old Aug 19, 14, 10:46 pm
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Since San Diego and Santa Barbara are roughly 2 hour drives from LA they are do-able as day trips. I did it a handful of times when I lived in LA. Bear in mind that choosing to go as a day trip means:

- You have to get up & leave LA very early if you want to get there before noon.
- After you do whatever you do during the day, you still have to drive a few hours home.
- This works okay when there are one or two specific things you want to do. It does not work as well when your goal is to "experience the city" or "look around and see what's there". (If these are your goals you really should get a hotel in town.)
- Factor in driving delays due to commuter traffic M-F and weekend midday traffic.
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Old Aug 20, 14, 2:27 pm
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I am from LA and I have done many day trips to both Santa Barbara and San Diego. I have stayed overnight at both places many times. Given a choice, I would definitely pick staying overnight over day trip. It is just not that fun to drive back at the end of the day.

But the good point about staying at one place is that you could choose NOT to go on the day trip and don't have to worry about canceling hotel reservation at the other place. Maybe the weather is not good. Maybe the road is closed for whatever reason. Maybe you visited Hollywood and got a show ticket that you really want to see but the date is tomorrow when you are supposed to drive to San Diego...
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Old Aug 21, 14, 9:40 am
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Thank you all for your advice.

We are flying in from 3 days in Las Vegas.

Since many of you have made valid concerns of travel times and the use of one hotel for the entire trip. It might just be wise to fly into San Diego, spend a night. Rent a car to travel to LA our second hotel and see the other cities closer to LA.

Returning back to YYZ from LAX

That would cut our driving time and explore more of San Diego.
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Old Aug 21, 14, 12:01 pm
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Depending on time of day and day of the week, you can easily drive from Vegas to San Diego and then work your way up the coast.

Parts of the drive from San Diego to LA are beautiful as is the drive from LA to Santa Barbara.

If you give us dates or things you're interested in seeing/doing, we might be able to help you structure an itinerary
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Old Aug 21, 14, 2:05 pm
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At this time of year, heavy traffic on the 5 freeway (anywhere between LA and San Diego) can turn a 2 hour drive into a nightmare.

The stretch of freeway along the coast is beautiful, but not when when it's stop-go, or just stop.

Check the travel times carefully...

John
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Old Aug 21, 14, 4:45 pm
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We intend to fly into Las Vegas on Sat. Oct 4th and stay for 3 nights. Leaving for LA anytime on the 7th (Tuesday ).

Places we would like to see : San Diego, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and of course Rodeo Dr etc.

I don't mind driving Las Vegas to San Diego if the scenery is worth it.

Things we like : Scenic drives, Photography, Walking , Shop, see historic sites, anything by the water, fancy restaurants, nice hotels. We are active with no restrictions.

We have allocated Oct 7th - Tuesday as travel day.
Departing LAX on Oct 12th late. ( 8:30)

I really appreciate all your input. I'm trying to make this a romantic trip for her.
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Old Aug 22, 14, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by FrankFlyer View Post

I don't mind driving Las Vegas to San Diego if the scenery is worth it.
You have about 3 hours of desert and another 3 hours of Inland Empire; I wouldn't drive it if you could fly it.
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Old Aug 22, 14, 5:34 pm
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The drive from Las Vegas to San Diego is pretty worthless - mostly a 4-lane (is it 2 each way these days?) interstate through desert. If you like desert landscapes, it's pretty. If not, you'll be bored. San Diego is only slightly longer of a drive than LA.

However, you'll only want to do it if you can do it at a time without traffic. Otherwise, you're going to hate it. Without traffic, it's almost like splitting the difference with flying. A 1-hour flight but all that time involved with getting to the airport, etc.

Once you get to San Diego, it's great to work your way up the coast. San Diego to LA/Santa Monica/Beverly Hills to Santa Barbara.
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Old Aug 25, 14, 12:04 pm
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Thanks for all your suggestions.

We have decided to fly directly from LAS to LAX and do day trips to our destinations. Seems weather and traffic are primary concerns.

Can anyone suggest a good neutral area to stay ? I was thinking Beverly Hills.
Suggestions are welcome.
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Old Aug 25, 14, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by FrankFlyer View Post

Can anyone suggest a good neutral area to stay ? I was thinking Beverly Hills.
Suggestions are welcome.
You mentioned that you want to go to Santa Monica, so why not stay at Santa Monica? I think Santa Monica is a better location than Beverly Hills.
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Old Aug 25, 14, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by FrankFlyer View Post
We have decided to fly directly from LAS to LAX and do day trips to our destinations. Seems weather and traffic are primary concerns.

Can anyone suggest a good neutral area to stay ? I was thinking Beverly Hills.
Suggestions are welcome.
When I've done trips like this I've found it's actually reasonable to stay at LAX. It's not too far to the beach cities north or south, and it's easy access to I-405 and I-10 for longer drives. Plus, there are some nice hotels at LAX. My wife was very comfortable at the LAX Marriott on our last trip together. (Their pool area is almost resort like.)

If I weren't staying at LAX I would look to the beach cities north and south of it-- especially Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. The advantage of staying in these locales is having the beach setting to "come home to" every day. But note that getting a hotel on the beach or within 1 block of it can be very expensive.
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Old Aug 26, 14, 2:37 pm
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I would stay in Santa Monica. Take a day trip to Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Includes all of your "likes."
Skip San Diego, it's just too much driving to do both cities in 5 days, especially because there is a lot to do in Los Angeles!
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