Welcome to our Los Angeles to San Diego road trip planner!
Planning a road trip along the coast of southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego or in the opposite direction and looking for things to see between San Diego and Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway?
This is one of our favorite short road trips in California and consists of many excellent pit stops such as beaches, state parks, famous eateries, theme parks, and more! There are so many places to visit between San Diego and Los Angeles that you are spoiled for choices.
How long does it take to drive from San Diego to Los Angeles?
San Diego and Los Angeles are just under 125 miles apart from each other and the road trip takes about two hours via I-5. That’s right, in this part of the state, the Pacific Coast Highway is actually the I-5 in some parts and it travels pretty close to the coast. You will also be driving along small coastal roads, wherever possible.
While you can actually take a plane, bus, and even a train – the Pacific Surfliner – between the two cities, taking a road trip in your own car allows you to fully enjoy the coastal attractions.
So, Is the drive from San Diego to Los Angeles scenic?
While the most scenic part of the Pacific Coast Highway is undoubtedly in Big Sur and then in Coastal Oregon, the road along the coast (Old Highway 101) from Oceanside or Laguna Beach is really pretty.
How many days should you keep aside for the drive from LA to San Diego?
You can easily complete this road trip in anywhere from a day to a long weekend since the drive time is just 2 hours. However, to fully enjoy each and every stop on the road and enjoy the relaxed vibe of southern California, we recommend keeping aside at least 3 days for the San Diego to Los Angeles drive.
Los Angeles to San Diego Road Trip: 24 Essential Stops
Wondering what to see between San Diego and Los Angeles? Or vice versa? There are plenty of charming small towns and scenic natural attractions on the road.
Most of these can be easily seen on a weekend road trip to Hollywood City, making this one of the most popular drives in California and the West Coast.
You will be driving through Orange County and see some of the famed Southern California beaches. You can relax by the Pacific Ocean, enjoy the legendary SoCal sunshine, and dine on seafood.
Here are our favorite stops on the LA to San Diego road trip.
Marina Del Ray
Table Rock Beach
Dana Point Harbor
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Los Rios District
San Clemente State Beach
Cardiff By The Sea
La Jolla Cove
Other useful posts to plan your Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Planner
Pacific Coast Highway 4 day Itinerary
Pacific Coast Highway 5 day itinerary
Pacific Coast Highway 7 day itinerary
Pacific Coast Highway 10 Day itinerary
All PCH Itineraries
Best Places to Stay along the Pacific Coast Highway
Best Pacific Coast Highway Stops