Driving PCH from LA to San Diego...how long?

May 12th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Driving PCH from LA to San Diego...how long?

Hi All,

Just wondering how long it takes to drive to San Diego from LA on PCH.

Is the scenic drive worth the long trip?

bettyo70 is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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First of all, you can't drive LA-San Diego all the way on PCH. It's discontinuous and frankly ugly for a good stretch through south LA County.

Second of all, we're talking a 120-mile journey. Two hours on empty freeways, three to four hours on typical freeways. Doing a PCH detour can add 60-90 minutes.

Here's what one can do:

-- From wherever you are in Los Angeles, hop the 405 (I-405) southbound to Long Beach (unless you're coming from Malibu, it's not worth catching PCH at any point within LA). Exit at Seal Beach Blvd.

-- Follow Seal Beach Blvd. west to Pacific Coast Highway. Take a left onto PCH.

-- Follow PCH all the way south to San Clemente. You will have some very pretty vistas along the way, especially Crystal Cove and south into Laguna Beach.

-- Rejoin the 5 southbound.

-- If you're feeling adventurous, as you get into San Diego on the 5 you will see signs pointing to "CA-1: Beach Towns" or something like that. I say "adventurous" only because I consistently get lost. But you should be able to take PCH (aka CA-1) south into San Diego this way.

Because of the Irvinization of coastal Orange County, this drive is not quite as spectacular as up north. But hey-- it's cliffs and ocean and surfers for miles and miles. Try to find that in Nebraska!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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First of all, the drive along PCH is not always scenic. Please consult a map. South of LAX, almost to Orange County, PCH runs pretty far inland, sometimes through some not-so-attractive areas.

There are some roads that run along some beautiful oceanfront scenery in these areas (Vista del Mar through El Segundo, Esplanade through Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Drive in Palos Verdes, Paseo del Mar in San Pedro) , but it would be kind of a disjointed drive. I also think that the drive through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are kind of interesting.

In the interest of saving time, though, you might just want to pick up PCH in Seal Beach and go from there.

lvk is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Thanks to you both!
bettyo70 is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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I suggest you just take the 5 which will get you there most quickly and then enjoy San Diego.

If you get hungry, I suggest stopping in Carlsbad at Veracruz for delicious and inexpensive fish meals.
enjoylife is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 11:11 PM
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Thanks, enjoy!

Any tips on cute bed-and-breakfasts to stay in San Diego (especially La Jolla)?
bettyo70 is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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I am not sure what part of LA or time of day, but a friend and I drove from LAX to San Diego on a weekday afternoon - late enough that we ran into commute traffic on the 405 freeway. Even in the carpool lane, traffic was sluggish. On another friend's recommendation we took a toll connector road - I think it is 73 - between 405 and I5. For a few dollars in tolls, we avoided a lot of traffic and saved some time. Keep this in mind if you run into traffic.
J_Correa is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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We'll probably travel on a Saturday morning. Don't know how bad 405 or 5 will be at that time. I'm expecting anything!


bettyo70 is offline  
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