Itineraries in the United States
Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, San Diego and Los Angeles
From the acclaimed coastline to the peaks of the mountain ranges, California offers a multitude of attractions for visitors to have a year round vacation at the “Gold State” – the Golden State, as it is affectionately known.
Beaches, great weather, surf spots, stunning cities, full of culture and entertainment, breathtaking parks and views worthy of any wish list, California is a unique place and has infinite qualities.
In this North American state, visitors can have fun in the iconic theme parks – the first Disney was built there (Disneyland) -, or enjoy some of the best food and wine experiences in the world. Whether on the balcony of a five-star hotel or camping, California is fascinating.
And it is in California that the visitor finds one of the most famous routes in the world. The one that embraces the coast and empties into the sea – ROUTE 1.
The trip can be initiated by the two cities on the edge of the state: San Francisco or San Diego. If the traveler starts in San Diego he will travel north along the coastal cities, passing through San Clemente, Laguna Beach, NewPort Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Bárbara and many other equally interesting places, following the route to Big Sur.
Continuing the road after Big Sur, the visitor will find more beaches and attractions in Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz. The entire tour ends at “City by the Bay”, San Francisco.
The opposite can also be done, leaving San Francisco to San Diego, only at that moment going south. Find out more about this route by accessing this link .
Climate and Best Time to Visit
California is a sure destination all year round. The “Gold State” has very pleasant climatic characteristics, which enchant from sun worshipers to lovers of extreme snow sports.
Defining the best time to visit only depends on what the visitor wants to see and do.
Climate and Seasons
Much of California has a typical “Mediterranean” climate, where summers are hot and dry and winters are mild and wetter.
On its coast, the maximum temperature has an average of 21 ° C, but sometimes it can reach 27 ° C or more on very hot summer days. Very low temperatures are rare, even in winter.
The famous fog (fog) of the state that often appears on the coast, surprises visitors generally during the summer months. It usually disappears at noon and reappears at dusk.
In the interior of the state, summers are hot and dry and winters are cold and humid. In high altitude regions, the climate has four well-defined seasons, with hot summers, beautiful and impressive colors in autumn, cold winters (and even with snow), and melting springs (the waterfall season).
Most tourists visit California during the summer months (June to August), which is when visitors also find large crowds at attractions and high season prices. But even in the summer, it is possible to escape the most popular routes and find forests, fields and even almost deserted beaches.
For travelers who are lovers of mountainous regions, the ideal is to wait until summer to access the higher roads and trails that cross Sierra Nevada, as well as the paths to desert areas around Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak (the highest volcanoes) of State) .
Spring (from March to May) is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Although it can still be cold at higher altitudes, temperatures are comfortable in much of the state. The deserts are flooded with poppies, castillejas and other flowers of arid climate. In those months, you also get less queues and better offers.
Autumn (September to November) brings a mild climate. This is a perfect time to visit California’s wine regions. The San Francisco and North Coast regions, often shrouded in mist during the summer, experience sunny days during the months of September and October.
If the visitor plans to ski, snow is usually present in the mountains from November to March, with some seasons remaining open even from April onwards. ( info source )
Check here some road trip tips by California indicated by the official tourism site.
And after a brief overview of the charms of California, we go on our 1 week itinerary in this region, where we visit the following cities:
- Palm Springs
- Route 1: Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Long Beach
- Route 1: Aliso Beach Park, Dana Point, San Clemente, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Encinitas and Del Mar
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- San Pedro
Also check out our 1 week itinerary in Canada (Vancouver and region), where we started this 2 week trip and traveled through these two North American countries. Access here .
# 1 day – Arrival in Palm Springs (USA)
On this tenth day of travel in North America, after the tiredness of the previous day with the problems with the airline in Vancouver, we anticipated our flight to the USA (the flight to Los Angeles would only be on May 1st), and we went to Palms Springs (a destination that was not on the script).
We left Vancouver at 7:30 am and at 10:30 am this morning we were already disembarking in a 32 degree heat.
We collect our car at the rental store inside the airport and head to the hotel we booked last minute.
We drove from the airport to the hotel (approximately 15 minutes), checked in and went on to try to relax a little.
We took advantage of the pool of the place, and at about 15h we went to the room and to recover from the previous day.
At 5pm we were ready to go around the city a little and get to know the region’s Outlet – Desert Hills Premium Outlets .
In this place we stayed a little more than 2 hours and then we went to our dinner. We closed our day with few activities due to the tiredness and stress of the previous night at Vancouver Airport, Canada. The energies were depleted and the schedule was light.
Review de Hotel: Ivy Palm Resort & SPA
The hotel is ok, but with an old structure. It has the name of a resort, but it is more like a roadside American motel with a swimming pool and outbuildings (games room, etc.).
It met our needs at the time and we had no complaints or problems there.
Price: US $ 101.95 (large double room for 1 night with breakfast). The hotel also had a swimming pool and games rooms.
# 2 day – Palm Springs
Located in the Coachella Valley in Southern California and surrounded by four mountain ranges, this oasis region is comprised of nine distinct cities: Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella .
Some attractions have fascinated visitors to Palms Springs for years, and the city became famous after Holywood artists came to visit it.
In the 1920s, Palm Springs began to be highly sought after by film producers to be the setting for films. In this way, many actors began to frequent the city. And many of them started to settle there during rest periods. This fact earned the city the nickname “playground of the stars”.
In the 50s and 60s, Palm Springs was the destination of choice for none other than Frank Sinatra. After that time the city became even better known and gained its place on the map.
Play golf on one of more than 100 courses, dive into the healing mineral waters, hike over 100 trails or, perhaps, relax in style in the pools (with over 50,000, Greater Palm Springs has more pools per capita than any elsewhere in the United States) at one of the historic or luxury resorts. Enjoy the entertainment that the visitor can find in this city.
And it was in this city in the middle of the Californian desert that we followed the itinerary on our second day in the USA, after a 1 week trip through Canada (Vancouver and surroundings).
For this day, we booked some city attractions to visit and at the end of the day we continue on our way to the California coast.
Our tour started at 10 am and we drove to Indian Canyons Park . There we found three different canyons, but we visited only 2 of them: the Palm Canyon and the Andreas Canyon .
The Indian Canyons is the ancestral home of the “Agua Calientes Band of Cahuilla Indians”. These canyons are sacred to the “Agua Calientes” people and historically are very important for scientists and nature lovers.
At each point of this park (in the two canyons we visited) we spent an average of 40 minutes to 1 hour touring the place. There we find a very different scenario than one imagines of a desert and the hike is done on “short” and easy trails.
In Palm Canyon there are several secondary trails that the traveler can take if he is willing to do something more adventurous on the day. On the location map there are indications of difficulty of the routes. We only walked a few steps on the main trail out of the parking lot.
In the case of Andreas Canyon, the visitor finds a circle trail that can be covered and is very easy to access.
After exploring the canyon park, we proceed to downtown Palm Springs . We stopped our car in a public parking lot in the city and drove a little on foot.
We passed the Walk of Fame in this city (a much more modest one, of course, than the one in Los Angeles), we walked a few streets and, after we were satisfied, we went to our lunch. We chose a cheap and quick option: Taco Bell.
After lunch we head to the last attraction we visited in Palm SPrings, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram .
This place is one of the most famous in the city and has easy access. By car from the center to there, the visitor takes approximately 15 minutes.
The point of interest is considered the “World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar” (the largest rotating tram in the world) and takes tourists to the top of the city (the temperature at the peak of the mountain, at Mt. San Jacinto State Park, falls around 20/30 degrees – 8,516 feet high) and there the visitor can see the region from the top, and it is also possible to find an interesting park to explore, make trails and possibly picnic.
We climbed the tram at 3pm and in 20 minutes we were already at the peak. We barely arrived and the cold was already showing. It was necessary to put on trousers and a winter coat to walk through the park.
In winter the place is full of snow and is used for activities typical of that season. In the spring / summer it is still possible to find snow on the slopes.
We walked through the park and explored some small trails. After we were satisfied, we returned to the building where the tram was located. We still walk a bit further (there the visitor finds a lookout) and then take the cable car back to the parking lot. We closed our route here in Palm Springs.
At 5pm we were already on the road towards the Californian coast and looking for the scenery of this region. We continue on to Laguna Beach .
It took us about 2 ½ hours to our hotel. We checked in, retrieved the road, and at night we went out for a deer and dinner. Our route for the day was finished.
Some values of this day’s journey:
- Indian Canyons Park admission: $ 18 (two adults)
- Palm Springs Aerial Tram: U $ 8 (entrance to the parking lot) and U $ 51.90 (two adults to use the cable car)
Review de Hotel: Laguna Beach Lodge
The hotel is OK and has a good location.
It met our needs, but it disappointed us a little. Old structure, the old room (tube television still rs) and the internet very bad.
Value: US $ 217.44 (large double room for 2 nights with breakfast, very simple). The hotel also had a swimming pool and was right in front of the beach.
Laguna Beach & Region
# 3 day – Laguna Beach
And after exploring the Californian desert we went on to enjoy the beach style of this state and chose Laguna Beach as a base.
In this full day in the region of the beaches, we booked a route along the famous Route 1 passing through the regions / beaches from Laguna Beach to Long Beach.
We left the hotel relatively early, and on foot we went to see the first beach of the day: Treasure Island Beach , the beach that was right in front of our hotel. We walked a little along the boulevard that this place has (which by the way is very organized and structured), we took a lot of pictures and returned to the hotel to then follow the path along the road.
At approximately 10 am we followed the road up the map. Our first stop was Newport Beach . From Laguna Beach to Newport it is 20 minutes driving.
We parked the car in a public parking lot (U $ 1.05 for 30 minutes) and walked to the beach and the pier area of this city.
Most of the towns on the Californian coast have a pier on their beaches as a central point. In all of those we run on this coastal path, we find this type of structure.
In Newport we stayed about 45 minutes and then we left for the next destination. We continue to Huntington Beach , in our opinion the most interesting beach on this route.
The drive from Newport to Huntington is approximately 10/15 minutes.
When we arrived at the place, we parked the car again in a public parking lot (U $ 2 for 1 hour) and we took advantage of the place for a walk on the pier and stroll along the main shopping street in front of the beach .
We stayed there for 1 hour and then we left for the last coastal destination of the day: Long Beach . To this city, the journey takes about 30 minutes. At this stage, we were almost close to Los Angeles, and it was time to go back.
In Long Beach we went to the port area and were satisfied. We thus close the route by route 1.
From this last point of interest we went to our lunch on the road and then returned to the hotel.
In the evening we booked to watch the sunset on Main Beach , in Laguna Beach, and have dinner at a local brewery. We ended the day in this way.
Rota para San Diego
Route to San Diego
# 4 day – Laguna Beach to San Diego (Route 101)
After exploring the Laguna Beach region, we decided to follow the road to San Diego and get to know the beaches a little more. Only this time down the map.
We left Laguna Beach right after breakfast, around 9:30 am, and our intention that day was to take Route 101 (the coast to San Diego). That’s how we did it.
In some of the cities / beaches we travel, we stop and visit the main pier. In others we just passed by car and in one of the last ones, we stopped for lunch. Below we list the locations:
- Aliso Beach Park
- Dana Point
- San Clemente
- Del Mar
At approximately 4pm / 5pm we were already checking in at the hotel in San Diego .
After hitting the road it was still time to see more places, and we went to explore San Diego a little.
In the evening we head towards Little Italy , an Italian neighborhood full of restaurants and very interesting in this Californian city.
We stopped the car in a public car park (this was the most expensive car we found, $ 15 for 4 hours) and headed towards the main street in this neighborhood.
We located the restaurant we wanted to eat and there we were delighted with delicious pasta and wine.
After we were satisfied, we returned to the car and to our hotel. We closed our script for this day.
Review de Hotel: Super 8 Wyndham El Cajon
The hotel was not very good and was well away from the center (when booking we made a little confusion between the hotels of the Super 8 chain and ended up booking one more away from the center – approximately 20/25 minutes by car).
Despite a lot of problems (location, old and finished physical structure and “kind of weird” neighborhood) the room itself was presentable and OK. The only problem is that we asked for a non-smoking room and when we got there it smelled like cigarettes.
Price: AUD $ 148.49 (large double room for 2 nights with breakfast, very simple).
# 5 day – San Diego
For San Diego we set up a tour focused on the coast and visit the island of Coronado, one of the main points of this city.
We start the day at 10am and head towards the first point of interest: La Jolla Cove .
In this place the visitor finds a very small and unattractive little beach (the only one is the presence of seals and sea lions everywhere), a boardwalk with parks and nature and a view of the stones and the local coast.
There, many people doing water sports, such as diving and kayaking, and many tourists taking photos of the seals and sea lions that inhabit that place.
We stayed, more or less, 1 hour in this place. After being satisfied with so much photo of seals, we followed our script for the day.
We covered the following points on this day:
- Pacific Beach Pier
- Belmont Park (located on Pacific Beach)
- Mission bay
- Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
- Point Loma
It takes approximately 15 minutes to half an hour to reach each point.
In some of them we stop for photos and in others we just stop by to know.
After reaching the tip of the coast (Point Loma – which is a naval base), we proceed to our last point of interest of the day: Coronado Island and its glamorous hotel – Hotel Del Coronado .
On this island we park the car in a public parking lot and go for a walk on the beach and the hotel. We took a lot of pictures and were satisfied. We then proceeded to lunch, as it was after 2 pm.
We chose a Mexican restaurant on site and after being fed we went to the last destination of the day: Las Americas Premium Outlet .
Actually the intention and idea was to visit the border between USA and Mexico and get to know the city of Tijuana , but we read a lot about what to do there and all we found were not very good opinions about the city and few attractions.
Thus, the way we found to go to the border and see a little of this reality and still know an outlet was going to this place.
We found a very strange reality there. A wall that separates the two cities, plenty of security in place and a typical Latin American city (with the poverty aspects – slums) in the background.
We stayed at the outlet for about 2 hours and after we were satisfied we followed our return to the hotel. Before we went to a mall for dinner and around 7pm / 8pm we were already at the hotel closing our day’s itinerary.
What you need to know about the border between San Diego and Tijuana, check out this post here .
# 6 day – Los Angeles
We were almost at the end of our 2-week trip, but we still had one more destination to see.
A destination that we had already visited 7 years ago, but for reasons of transit traffic we had to pass again. So we try to enjoy, with the little time we had, a little bit of the city.
We left San Diego for LA at about 10 am. We followed the road in and in approximately 2 and a half hours, we were already on the access roads of the city.
Our destination for the day was to visit the Grifitty Observatory and then Farmer’s Market, but our plans went downhill. When we got close to the observatory we saw that it was closed.
At that moment the idea was to do something close and to enjoy and have lunch. We then proceed to the Walk of Fame and its ultra busy and very crowded region.
We stopped the car in a parking lot inside the Dolby Theater and went for a short walk in this very crazy center of Los Angeles.
After being satisfied with the walk, we headed in for our lunch. We chose Hard Rock and its always delicious food.
We stayed at the place for approximately 1 hour and after being well fed, we went to the car and to the next destination: The Grove .
We stopped at this mall quickly and then headed towards the hotel for check in. At that time we had to close the schedule because the night we had already scheduled a very interesting show.
At 5:00 pm we arrived at the hotel, recovered from the fatigue of LA travel and traffic, and around 6:30 pm we left again.
We are now heading towards San Pedro (a small town right next to LA) to see a Cirque du Soleil show . That was our official schedule for this day.
We watched the AmaLuna show and it was an incredible moment to see and live. The circus was seated at the base of the navy / port region of this city and we enjoyed the whole show a lot.
The city itself, we know little about it, only the show area, but we could see that it was very tidy but poorer and with popular houses / condominiums.
At 10pm / 10:30 pm the show was over and we followed the direction of the hotel. So we closed our day in LA.
Review de Hotel: LAX Stadium Inn
The hotel was very simple (motel style) and was right next to the airport (we had chosen this point due to the itinerary of the trip).
Value: U $ 85.68 (large room for a couple for 1 night with breakfast, which we couldn’t even consider breakfast as bad as it was).
# 7 Los Angeles
On the last day we didn’t have much time and disposition, so we did something light in the morning. We went to see the Citadel , a very large outlet in the LA area and spent the morning there.
We had lunch at the place, around 1 pm we returned the car at the rental store and headed for our return to Sydney.
Our flight would have two stages: Los Angeles to Vancouver and then Vancouver to Sydney.
It was thus closed another trip on our curriculum.
With ups and downs, everything was worth it and it was amazing!
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- Indian Palm Springs Canyons
- Off Road Rentals
- The Best of the Best – Tours
- Hike-Bike-Jeeo Tours & Bicycle Rentals
- Palm Springs Biplane Rides
- Magical Adventure Balloon Rides & Aerial Tours
- Helicopter Adventure Tours
- Windmill Tours
- Palm Springs – Bicycle Rentals & Tours
- Steve’s ATV Rentals – Dune Buggy (Quad)
- Horzeback Ride into Beauty – Smoke Tree Stables
- Elvis’ Palm Springs – Honeymoon Hideaway House
- Hummer Tours
- Red Jeep Tours – Mountains of Fun
- Palm Springs Tours
- Palm Springs Air Museum – Warbird Rides
- El Paseo
- Tour de Balão – Fantasy Balloon
- Balloon Above The Desert – Tour de Balão
LAGUNA BEACH, NEWPORT BEACH E HUNTINGTON BEACH
- Catalina Express – Boats to Catalina Island
- Temecula Valley – Wine Country
- Temecula Valley – Southern California Wine Country
- Outlets San Clemente
- Whale Watching – Newport Beach
- Visit Huntington Beach – Site Oficial
- City of Huntington Beach
- Davey’s Locker Newport Beach – Whale Watching & Fishing Tour
- San Diego Safari Park
- Magical Adventure Balloon Rides & Aerial Tours
- Hornblower – Dining Cruises
- San Diego Seal Tours
- San Diego – Sightseeing Tour
- La Jolla Kayak
- Sea World San Diego
- Visitor Savings San Diego (cupons de descontos para atividades)
- Old Town Trolley Tours – Sightseeing Tour San Diego
- Belmont Park
- Maritime Museum of San Diego
- Bike & Kayak Tours – La Jolla
- Baja California Tours – Mexico
- San Diego Trolley System (sistema de trens)
- Capital of Craft (San Diego é a capital americana da “craft” – chopp)
- North Park
- Surf Lessons – San Diego Surf School
- Balboa Park
- The Wineries on Highway 94
- Beer, Wine & Spirits Tours
- Cafe Coyote Old Town – San Diego’s Best Mexican
- Point Loma Sportfishing
- Sea & Land Adventures – San Diego Seal Tours
- Whale Watching – San Diego Whale Watch
- Surf & Standup-paddle Lessons & Rentals
- San Diego’s Fisherman’s Landing
- Bazar del Mundo – Old Town (Traditional Mexican Dining & International Boutique Shops)
- San Diego Botanic Garden
- San Diego Parasail Adventures
- San Diego County Wine Tasting
- San Diego Helicopters Tours & Adventures
- Birch Aquarium – San Diego
- Cannabis Tours – West Coast
- Cannabis Tours – California
- Explore Legal Cannabis – Kush Tourism
- Six Flags – Magic Mountain
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Hollywood Wax Museum
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour – Hollywood
- Citadel Outlets & Outlets at San Clemente
- City Sightseeing Los Angeles
- Madame Tussauds
- California’s Premier Whale Watching
- Farmers Market
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier
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