Planning A Road Trip

Southern California Road Trips
From Los Angeles!

When planning a road trip, you first have to decide on a few road trip destinations.

Here is a California road trip planning guide, with a checklist of what to plan and things to do, before you leave on a road trip in America and Southern California.

This free road trip plan is a Southern California Road trip sampler, that we always recommend to our visiting friends and relatives.

Our road trip planner is no more than 165 miles from Los Angeles, and it will take you through cities, past farms, across deserts, along the ocean, and into mountains and around

Few places on earth offers as many scenic road trips as Southern California. And our itiniary sampler will give you a real feel for what Southern California is all about.

It’s a great road trip plan to experience the diversity of this southern region of California.

For planning a road trip to Marina Del Rey, a wonderful oceanside boat harbor, go to this link.

And for planning a road trip to Seal Beach California, a friendly laidback California beach town with long municipal pier, and a serene beach, go to the link.

Travel a bit north from Los Angeles for a fun day trip to Pismo Beach

If you like historal places in Southern California, you should be planning a road trip to Old Towne Orange Ca.

The town of Eagle Rock is a very quaint Los Angeles neighborhood, and when you plan a day trip, check out this great day outing.

Planning A road Trip
Cleveland National Forest In Southern California

Planning A Road Trip From Los Angeles

Since you are starting this planned road trip adventure from Los Angeles, you should take the 1-5 freeway in Los Angeles, going south to San Diego

You’ll be traveling south on 1-5 going through Orange County. In San Juan Capistrano look for the Ortega Highway turnoff and take that road west into town.

This is such a charming and historic town, you’ll want to spend 2-3 hours exploring the old Mission San Juan Capistrano and the town that grew up around it.

Return to 1-5 going south which is now a scenic coastal highway that you’ll enjoy on your way to San Diego.

Planning A Road Trip/
San Diego California

Plan to spend three days exploring the many San Diego attractions, because there is a lot to see and do here.

When planning a road trip, you should make hotel reservations, if you want to stay overnight, so here is a link to San Diego’s best hotel accommodations that will fit your budget.

To leave San Diego, take 1-8 east. After about 25 miles you’ll be entering Cleveland National Forest with a peak altitude of 2,000 feet.\

Continue north by taking SR79 and drive through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, a beautiful area of meadows and mountain peaks.

About 8 miles from the park at 4,220 feet, is the charming old village of Julian, surrounded by apple orchards and horse ranches. A very pretty place in Southern California.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park

From Julian, travel northeast on SR78 out of the mountains. You’ll be entering Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a sandy desert landscape of cactus, and if you are there in late winter after a heavy rainfall, you will see a profusion of California wildflowers.

Watch out for County Road S3, and take that north to Borrego Springs. If you are interested in the flora, fauna, and geology of the desert, stop by the visitors center for an introduction.

It’s located on Palm Canyon Drive, just west of County Road S22.

Stay on County Road S22, and go east. Now you will be driving through badlands of rugged canyons and gullies that have been sculpted by erosion over centuries.

Less than an hour after leaving Borrego Springs, you will reach SR86. Turn north and drive up the west side of Salton Sea.
Salton Sea os one of the world’s largest inland saltwater bodies. The surface is 228 feet below sea level.

Planning A Road Trip
Palm Springs Golf Course

Continue your road trip plan on SR86 and go north to SR111. Follow the signs to enter the fabulous desert resort city of Palm Springs.

It’s known for being a weekend getaway for celebrities since the 1920′s, and it’s also a golfer’s paradise, as some of the best golf courses in Southern California are located here.

This is a great place to stop for some relaxation and shopping, before continuing on your Southern California road trip. So when planning a road trip allow for some extra time here.

To leave Palm Springs, return to SR111 and go northwest to 1-10. From this road junction go 22 miles to Calimesa on the northside of the highway.

Head east on County Line Road to Bryant Street, and turn north to SR38. Turn right, and in less than 3 miles, you will be in San Bernardino National Forest. At Angelus Oaks the elevation is 5,800 feet.

Continue on SR38, a winding road along forested scenic mountainsides, reaching an elevation of 8,443 at Onyx Summit.

Planning A Road Trip
Big Bear Lake

After about 40 miles you have reached the Southern California mountain resort town of Big Bear Lake. Take time to cruise the lake, or take a ski lift ride (summer or winter) for a scenic view of the lake from above.

The town also has some nice restaurants, some of them serve German dishes, as well as unique shops.

At the west end of the lake, take the Rim of the World Highway (SR18), a very scenic mountain road that takes you into the Lake Arrowhead area.

Planning A Road Trip
Lake Arrowhead Village

About a mile west of Skyforest, turn north on SR173 to Lake Arrowhead, a charming lakeside village with alpine style shops and restaurants.

We love taking the cruise around the lake. You can watch some very beautiful lake side homes, some are owned by celebrities. The boating on the lake is restricted to home owners, so these homes provide the privacy these celebs want.

To return to SR18, go west on SR189. This will take you into Blue Jay, before taking you back to the highway.

Continue west, and within 8 miles, SR18 turns south to San Bernardino. Watch for the sign to SR259, then 1-125. They lead south to 1-10, and back to Los Angeles.

Here is a page about a road trip to Pismo Beach California.

This is a page about a a day trip to San Pedro.

Return from Planning A Road Trip to Destination Southern California