A 7-Day Southern California Highway Journey Itinerary

An iconic Joshua Tree from Joshua Tree National Park in California, USA
Posted: 6/29/20 | June 29th, 2020

I’ve been on many highway journeys across the US through the years. It’s by far my favourite approach to discover the nation.

One state specifically is ideal for road-tripping: California.

Occupying a lot of the West Coast, California is house to nearly 40 million individuals. Right here you discover excessive mountains, big timber, deserts, valleys, gorgeous seashores, and vibrant cities. It’s its personal little nation in some methods.

Since California is so massive, I’m going to do a sequence of posts that cowl highway journeys within the state because it’s higher to deal with smaller areas so you may actually absorb and luxuriate in every vacation spot. In journey, much less is extra.

To kick off the sequence, here’s a one-week itinerary for Southern California:

Days 1–2: Los Angeles

Looking out over Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood sign
Begin in Los Angeles, a metropolis I’ve come to like. It’s not a metropolis for vacationers. The whole lot is unfold out, you want a automotive, and the site visitors makes getting round a ache. However, should you can get pleasure from its gradual tempo, numerous food and drinks scene, and hikes, you’ll get a style of what it’s wish to dwell there. You go to LA like how you’ll spend your Saturday.

The town has loads to do. Listed here are a few of my private favourite actions:

  • Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard – Don’t miss the Stroll of Fame (the place celebrities have their names engraved within the sidewalk) and Grauman’s Chinese language Theatre (that includes celebrities’ handprints and footprints).
  • Go to LACMA – With over 150,000 works, the Los Angeles County Museum of Artwork is the biggest artwork museum within the western USA. They’ve collections from just about each period all through historical past and each area of the world. Admission is $25 USD.
  • Hike to the Hollywood Signal – Whilst you can snap photos of the signal from just about anyplace within the metropolis, it’s additionally potential to hike as much as the signal itself to soak up the view. The three trails (from best to hardest) are the Mt. Hollywood Path, the Brush Canyon Path, and the Cahuenga Peak Path.
  • Browse The Final Bookstore – That is one in all my favourite bookstores on this planet. It sells books and information, has artwork shows, and contains a cool upstairs space too with low cost books. Browse the cabinets, seize a espresso, and purchase a guide!
  • Hit the seaside – There are numerous superior seashores in and round Los Angeles. A number of the finest are: Venice Seashore, Carbon Seashore, Santa Monica State Seashore, Huntington Metropolis Seashore, and El Matador.
  • Go to the Getty Museum – Opened in 1997 as a part of the huge Getty Middle, this museum has a various assortment of work, manuscripts, drawings, and different paintings from the eighth century to current day. Admission is free.
  • Go mountain climbing – LA has numerous mountain climbing trails so it’s simple to attach with nature. Some price testing are the Charlie Turner Path (90 minutes), Baldwin Hills (30 minutes), Runyon Canyon (45 minutes), Portuguese Bend Reserve (Three hours), and Echo Mountain (3–3.5 hours).
  • See the Le Brea Tar Pits – These pure asphalt pits are situated in Hancock Park and have existed for upwards of 50,000 years. Tons of fossils, preserved for hundreds of years, have been present in them. The museum has plenty of fascinating details about the pits and the way they got here to be.

For extra matters to see and do, right here’s my full information to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles additionally has numerous meals choices. Some locations I really like are Musso & Frank Grill, Dan Tana’s, Meals by Genet, The Butcher’s Daughter, Sugarfish, and Thai Pepper.

The place to Keep

  • Banana Bungalow Hollywood – A chill, laid-back hostel that’s tremendous social and organizes plenty of actions.
  • Freehand Los Angeles – This hostel/lodge options designer rooms with snug beds, a rooftop pool and bar with superb views of the town, a foyer bar, a restaurant, and even a health heart.

For extra strategies, right here’s my full checklist of favourite hostels in Los Angeles!

Days 2–3: San Diego

The skyline of San Diego as seen from over the bay
Two hours down the coast is San Diego. It’s a well-liked metropolis for positive however not as common because the others. Personally, after LA, it’s my second favourite spot within the state! It’s simpler to navigate, cheaper, has superb climate, superior seashores, and loads of nice bars and eating places. Spend two nights right here.

Listed here are some matters to do throughout your go to:

  • Go to the usMidway Museum – This plane provider was the biggest ship on this planet till 1955. It noticed motion in quite a few conflicts earlier than being decommissioned in 1992 and changed into a museum. You may discover the flight deck in addition to lots of the rooms under.
  • Have enjoyable at Belmont Park – This kitschy amusement park is true subsequent to the ocean and ideal for some tacky enjoyable. It has a number of basic rides in addition to video games and many greasy (and scrumptious) meals and snacks.
  • Log on – Whether or not you’re a veteran or a beginner, seize a board and hit the waves. There’s some superior browsing right here. You may normally hire a board for round $30 USD a day. 90-minute classes price round $70 USD.
  • Go to the San Diego Zoo – Situated in Balboa Park and with over 3,500 animals and 700,000 plant species, the San Diego Zoo is an enormous, 1,800-acre park the place you possibly can simply spend a complete day. It’s probably the greatest zoos within the nation and an amazing selection for anybody touring with youngsters.
  • Discover Balboa Park – This is without doubt one of the oldest leisure parks within the US. Along with the zoo, there are dozens of museums, in addition to gardens, strolling paths, sports activities fields, stadiums, theatres, and extra. It’s an enormous cultural heart and inexperienced area with a ton to see and do.
  • Take pleasure in Pacific Seashore – Head to Pacific Seashore if you wish to absorb the solar, surf, or go for a swim. The realm can also be recognized for its nightlife and provides plenty of bars, golf equipment, and eating places too.
  • Go whale watching – Between December and April, California grey whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico. They’ll develop as much as 49 ft lengthy and are unbelievable to see up shut. Excursions normally price round $35 USD.
  • Hike Level Loma – This peninsula is the place Europeans first arrived in California. You may stroll out to the tip and benefit from the sweeping views of the ocean, go to the outdated lighthouse (in-built 1855), and watch locals climb the cliffs of Osprey Level.

The place to Keep

  • HI San Diego – This hostel organizes tons of occasions and excursions, contains free breakfast, and has a giant kitchen so you may cook dinner your individual meals to economize.
  • ITH Journey Hostel – This eco-hostel has a vegetable backyard (and provides free veggies to visitors), a recycling and compost program, and even yard chickens. There may be plenty of outside frequent area to calm down in too.

For extra strategies, right here’s a listing of my favourite hostels in San Diego!

Days 3–5: Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

The iconic Joshua trees growing in the aria California desert
Sandwiched between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, Joshua Tree Nationwide Park provides a number of the most unbelievable landscapes within the nation. Swaths of cacti and towering boulders dot the arid panorama, all peppered by the well-known Joshua timber and their distinct twisting trunks and branches.

It’s an otherworldly place, a Martian panorama good for mountain climbing, tenting, and escaping the busy cities alongside California’s coast. There are numerous trails to get pleasure from, starting from brief and simple to multiday challenges. Some strategies:

  • Ryan Mountain – A steep 3-mile hike providing some unbelievable views.
  • Wall Road Mill – A straightforward 2.8-mile hike that results in an outdated mill used to refine ore throughout from gold mining.
  • Cut up Rock Loop – A quiet 2-mile hike with plenty of neat rock formations.
  • Barker Dam Path – A 1.1-mile loop providing an opportunity to see rabbits, bighorn sheep, and every kind of birds.

The customer heart has extra info and path maps. It’s solely $30 USD for a seven-day automobile cross, which is sweet for a number of entries in case you keep exterior the park itself. The park is three hours from San Diego.

The place to Keep
Airbnb is the most suitable choice right here should you don’t have your individual tenting gear, though there are additionally glamping and extra rustic choices across the space too.

Days 5–7: Sequoia Nationwide Park & Kings Canyon Nationwide Park

Massive redwood and sequoia trees in Sequoia National park in California, USA
Begin early and head to Sequoia Nationwide Park. It’s a protracted drive from Joshua Tree (it takes about 4-6 hours to get there).

The park itself is comprised of towering redwood and Sequoia timber, a number of the largest timber on this planet. I’m speaking timber so thick you may drive a automotive although them and so tall you could’t see their crown!

Begin matters off by visiting the Big Forest Museum to be taught in regards to the geography, historical past, and significance of the park. Afterward, stroll the Huge Timber Path, a brief loop that can get you in and amongst the timber. It additionally has the biggest single-stem tree on this planet, Basic Sherman!

For a sweeping view of the forest, hike up Moro Rock. Standing 250 ft tall, it’s an enormous granite dome that juts out of the encompassing hills and forest. Stairs and a viewpoint have been constructed into the rock itself so you may climb to the highest safely and benefit from the magnificent vista.

Whilst you’re right here, go to close by Kings Canyon Nationwide Park, a mountainous park with stunning lakes, valleys to hike, and spectacular views. It’s additionally the place you may see “Basic Grant” (the third largest tree on this planet). For a scenic drive, cruise the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, a slender highway alongside the aspect of a mountain that gives extra picturesque views of the rugged panorama.

The place to Keep
There are many locations to camp right here, each inside and out of doors of the parks. Nonetheless, if tenting isn’t your matter (it’s probably not mine), there are many lodges and resorts within the space. You could find them by way of Reserving.com.

Day 7: Head again to Los Angeles

After that, it’s again to LA. It’s solely a 3.5-hour drive, so should you’re not in a rush, benefit from the desert views and cease alongside the way in which should you see something that piques your curiosity.


California is a big state with limitless road-tripping potential. And, whereas there are 1,000,000 totally different routes you possibly can take for a seven-day journey, I feel this itinerary covers a number of the better of SoCal.

E book Your Journey to the USA: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You may guide your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost resorts.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions up to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the most effective service and worth are:

On the lookout for the most effective firms to economize with?
Try my useful resource web page for the most effective firms to make use of while you journey! I checklist all those I exploit to economize after I journey – and I feel will assist you too!

Need Extra Info on touring the USA?
Make sure you go to our strong vacation spot information to the US for much more recommendations on find out how to plan your go to!

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