The Perfect LA to San Diego Road Trip Itinerary

Everyone dreams of cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway (put your top down, crawl into the backseat) - and while it's something I'd certainly like to do one day, time didn't permit it during my last west-coast visit. 

Instead, I settled for cruising from LA to Irvine to San Diego, for a quick 48 hour trip jam-packed with exciting things, thanks to an itinerary crafted by moi and executed by my amazing friend and tour guide Emily. 

How To Roadtrip from LA to San Diego

Here's how it went down: 

1. Workout in LA 

LA to San Diego Road Trip

LAX --> 613 N. La Cienega Blvd. (30 Minutes)

Land at LAX, drive to workout class. If you're anything like me, that doesn't sound nuts - it sounds perfect! 

I went for a killer class at Rise Nation - which you can read about here. 

2. Healthy Meal at Cafe Gratitude 

LA to San Diego Road Trip

Rise Nation --> 639North Larchmont Boulevard (15 Minutes)

I've been dreaming of eating here for AWHILE since my Instagram feed is always full of drool-worthy pictures of their veggie-centric, organic dishes. It certainly did not disappoint. 

You can read all about what we ate here

3. Sing 'Beverly Hills' While Driving Through Beverly Hills 

San Diego Road Trip

Thanks, Weezer! 

4. Brews at Ballast Point Brewery

Ballast Point Brewery

Cafe Gratitude --> 110 N Marina Dr. Long Beach (45 Minutes)

I am a big fan of Ballast Points Grapefruit Sculpin IPA and have tried a bunch of their more creative flavors - like the Habanero Sculpin. Though not all of their beers are my favorite, I appreciate their eclectic choices and was excited to check out their brewery.

The place was right on the water and though we just missed the sunset, it was gorgeous to look out at the water while we enjoyed our flights!

5.  Sleep

6. "Breakfast" at Sidecar Doughnuts 

San Diego Road Trip

270 E 17th St #18 

My friend once cried while eating a doughnut from Sidecar, and I came pretty damn close after trying their Huckleberry doughnut. They import them overnight from Oregon! While the other doughnuts didn't thrill me, it was worth the trip for that Huckleberry heaven. 

You can read my full review here. 

7. Drive to Torrey Pines 

Sidecar Doughnuts --> Torrey Pines (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

Ideally, we would have gone for a hike here, but the trails were closed because of the heavy rains that had turned everything to mud. It was still a very pretty drive and I'm glad we made the stop! 

8. Fall In Love With La Jolla Cove 

San Diego Road Trip Planning

Torrey Pines --> La Jolla Cove (15 Minutes)

Wow. Wowowowowowwwww. I could have stayed here FOREVER. It was one of the prettiest, most relaxing afternoons of my life. I mean, a freaking RAINBOW appeared. Come on, now. 

See the Sea Lions 

La Jolla Cove Seals

Seeing these little guys sunning on the sandy shores was such an unexpected surprise. I am pretty certain that I straight up squealed. SO cute. 

Workin' On My Fitness 

La Jolla Cove Rainbow

Why not get in a little exercise while you walk around? I came up with a bunch of different exercises you could do at La Jolla Cove - you can check it out here

Check Out the Sea Cave

La Jolla Cove Cave

Emily and I kind of stumbled into this - it's $5 to walk down (and eventually, UP) a shit tone of stairs - with this as the view! 

Walk Around the Shops In Town 

So many cute stores - v. dangerous for your wallet if you're anything like me. I made a few purchases that were unnecessary but, OH WELL. 

Eat at George's at the Cove

La Jolla Cove To Do List

Though the meal wasn't super amazing wonderful by any means - the view made up for it! 

You can read my full review here

9. Watch the Sunset at Sunset Cliffs 

Sunset Cliffs Sunset

La Jolla Cove --> Sunset Cliffs (30 Minutes)

There is nothing I love more than a beautiful sunset. I get emotional about sunsets. I would be embarrassed, except I'm not - because what is better than quietly sitting by the water and enjoying the beauty of nature? (While taking a million pictures to Instagram...oops). 

Emily and I drove here and pulled over on the side of the road while we waited for the sunset. There were tons of people out and about watching it with us. It was a gorgeous sunset, but I still have yet to see one that beats my hometown beach's sunsets!

10. Night Out in San Diego's Gaslamp District

Sunset Cliffs --> Downtown San Diego (20 Minutes)

After struggling for a good long while to find parking - we took a quick nap before heading out for dinner, drinks and dancing. 

The Neighborhood (777 G Street) 

Great beer, great cauliflower. 

Henry's Pub  (618 Fifth Ave) 

Interesting crowd, but great DJ. 

The Tipsy Crow (770 Fifth Ave)

Loved this spot! Multiple floors, giant connect four. Highly recommend if you're looking to go out in the Gaslamp District. 

11. Sleep

I also highly recommend NOT getting locked out of your Airbnb and spending the night in the apartment building's hallway. But that's a story for another day. 

12. "Breakfast" at the Donut Bar

San Diego Road Trip

While I didn't love these donuts, the shop was super cute and serves both donuts and craft beer. I like it, I like it. And I also got to eat a donut that had an entire pop-tart stuffed inside of it. No biggie.

You can read my full review here

13. Desert Garden in Balboa Park 

LA to San Diego Road Trip

Rumor has it that the landscaping in this section of Balboa Park is what inspired the illustrations in Dr. Seuss' work! Though it was raining when we made it there, the plants and cactus were still awesome to take some pictures of! 

14. Drive Back to LA

So there you have it! 14 steps for an LA --> SD Road Trip. 

Here are a few other things that I didn't quite fit in but I will definitely get to when I visit ERIN AND CAM in San Diego after their cross-country move! 

7 Bridges Run

The fact that we were locked out of our Airbnb until 6 a.m. meant that I wasn't about to attempt a run bright and early. But when I'm back, I would love to do this route that brings you over 7 different bridges around San Diego.

Giant Dipper at Belmont Park

Cabrillo National Monument

Liberty Public Market

I had my eye on the Yam Bam! from Fully Loaded Juice - a drink made with almond milk, beets, yams, carrots, honey and dates with cardamom and cinnamon! Thrillist has an entire article dedicated to Liberty Public Market. 

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens 

Barrel Republic

This place seems AWESOME! Self-serve taps that track how much you've had with a bracelet that dictates how much you pay when you're done. High-tech beer tasting. 

Leave your LA --> SD recommendations in the comments!