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San Diego and LA -suggestions for order of trip

San Diego and LA -suggestions for order of trip

Old Jan 17th, 2022, 04:48 PM
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San Diego and LA -suggestions for order of trip

DH and I fly into San Diego @6:00 pm Friday, Feb 4 and we depart Saturday, Feb 12 @8:45 am. We have reserved a rental car. We want to see both San Diego and LA. Tentatively plan to drive to LA Friday night, and headed south to San Diego area Monday or Tuesday. Or, we can stay in San Diego at the beginning of the trip. Any pros or cons? Thank you. I’ve been to both locations a few times, but this is first time for DH. We are in our mid 60s.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 07:17 AM
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Since you are flying to San Diego first, why not stay there first? You probably won't feel like driving all the way to LA right after a flight. My plan would be to take an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner (6:01AM or 7:01AM) from San Diego to Los Angeles Union Station (about 3 hours). Coach fare is $36/pp. Rent your car in Los Angeles. Can you open jaw your trip and fly home from a Los Angeles area airport? (I like Burbank).

Last edited by tomfuller; Jan 18th, 2022 at 07:29 AM. Reason: punctuation
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 09:00 AM
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Perhaps, as you've been here before, you could make a list of the things you want to do with your husband then plan around that. I would not, personally, take the train because the cliffs in Del Mar and San Clemente are crumbling. There is constant work to strengthen them, but long-term, they'll have to move the tracks, the big problem being-to where?
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 10:02 AM
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I agree it would be better to explore San Diego first and then drive up to LA. En route you might want to check out Laguna Beach which is an artists community with lots of natural areas. it has many fine art galleries and museums and great restaurants. You could also check out the old Spanish mission Mission San Juan Capistrano.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Unless you are going to run into some terrible rush hour traffic (maybe some fodorites from the area can comment on that), I would drive to LA after arriving in San Diego. It's only about 60 miles. I'd rather be close to my departure airport for an early flight.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 12:45 PM
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It's actually 120 miles and the traffic is always heavy, but it depends exactly where you're going. LA is a huge area! If you arrive in San Diego at 6pm, by the time you get your car you will be at the tail end of the rush hour, but Fridays are always busier. I agree that it would be better for your departure flight to be in San Diego after LA.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 01:00 PM
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"I agree it would be better to explore San Diego first and then drive up to LA"

I totally disagree since they have to be in San Diego to fly home. I'd get as much travel out of the way on arrival day as possible and get to LA and then hit SD at the end.

However, where are you flying in from? I'd HATE fighting traffic all the way to LA after a cross country flight. If so, maybe just drive half way like to around San Clemente and say one night before heading north the next day. Just an option -- there will be traffic whatever you decide.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 03:47 PM
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I drove one Friday from La Jolla to Hollywood, left about 11:00 am, took over 4 hours. I wouldn’t want to drive it twice in the same trip. I had banked on the HOV lanes helping but they were worthless, often slower than the regular lanes.

How about a couple nights in Borrego Springs to explore the desert, a couple nights in Temecula wine tasting, and the rest of the time in San Diego at the different beaches and the attractions in Balboa Park, skipping LA?

Last edited by tom_mn; Jan 18th, 2022 at 03:50 PM.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 04:50 PM
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Save LA for another trip focused on it. Enjoy San Diego and the surrounding area!
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 05:19 PM
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We are flying from Panama City, Florida. Have reservations at an Embassy Suites with an Arcadia/Pasadena address. For San Diego, have reservations at a Best Western on Coronado Island. Both reservations can be canceled with no penalties.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 06:32 PM
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I am not an LA expert but Arcadia is not near the obvious tourist sites, and the freeways going through downtown can gridlock. The location is fine for many things like the Huntington and Pasadena attractions, but for Hollywood, Westwood, Santa Monica— that location could be a hassle. Maybe a local can chime in.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 07:00 PM
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As you'll be on East Coast time, I vote against driving to LA on arrival. It would likely be well after midnight (your body time) when you get to LA, you're driving in an unfamiliar area, it's dark, etc.

After landing, I'd pick up the car, get some dinner and check into a hotel/motel a few miles north. Plan on getting an early start to LA/Pasadena Saturday morning.

Can you tell us why you picked the Embassy Suites in Arcadia? It's definitely NOT in Pasadena and is a loonng drive to most of the usual LA sights. I love Pasadena, and there's a lot to see there and in DTLA. But if your plans included going west of downtown, I'd pick a different place that is farther west. One positive about the Embassy Suites Arcadia is its proximity to the light rail line that runs through Pasadena and into DTLA.

If you keep the reservation in Arcadia, you have a choice of two routes from SD and back. You can take I-5 which runs along the coast for about half of the drive. You can also take I-15 which goes inland. The drive times are usually the same, and both routes have a couple of good stops. San Juan Capistrano or Laguna from the 5. Temecula and Lake Elsinore from the 15.
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Old Jan 18th, 2022, 07:27 PM
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Embassy Suites in Arcadia? That is maybe only an hour longer drive from Las Vegas than it is from SAN . . . and definitely not a base for seeing most of the major LA sites (it would be fine for a trip to Pasadena)

Are you using Hilton points?
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
It's actually 120 miles and the traffic is always heavy, but it depends exactly where you're going. LA is a huge area! If you arrive in San Diego at 6pm, by the time you get your car you will be at the tail end of the rush hour, but Fridays are always busier. I agree that it would be better for your departure flight to be in San Diego after LA.
That's weird. When I googled it, it showed 60 miles. I thought that sounded too short. If I was planning this trip, I would have flown into San Diego and out of LA (or vice versa) so as to avoid having to drive back. Whatever way the OP decides to spend the time, it will be a hassle - either at the beginning of the trip or the end.
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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Panama City, Florida is in thr central time zone.
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 07:44 AM
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We got an incredible rate by flying in and out of San Diego. It’s rare to be able to find a flight out of our home town at that price.
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by gracie View Post
We got an incredible rate by flying in and out of San Diego. It’s rare to be able to find a flight out of our home town at that price.
Sounds .like a good deal. I hope your car rental after 6PM works out for you. Maybe spend the night in San Diego and then rent the car in the morning (maybe downtown?) I don't like the idea of driving over 100 miles after flying across the country. The first Pacific Surfliner of the morning leaves San Diego at 4:01AM daily if you want Amtrak to do the driving.
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 09:24 AM
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It will be dark by the time you get your car, so do you want to drive in the dark on heavily-travelled freeways?
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 09:30 AM
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Have canceled reservations at Embassy Suites Pasadena. Will stay the first night just north of San Diego. Made reservations for Saturday through Wednesday at Jamaica Bay Inn Marina Del Ray.
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Old Jan 19th, 2022, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by gracie View Post
Have canceled reservations at Embassy Suites Pasadena. Will stay the first night just north of San Diego. Made reservations for Saturday through Wednesday at Jamaica Bay Inn Marina Del Ray.

Great - Jamaica Bay Inn Marina Del Ray Rey is a much better location for anything on the west side of the LA basin and is right on the Marina
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