simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:06 pm

Hi All

Been a while since I last posted anything.

Quick question if I may.

After a long and tortuous year (studying math at University, first year). Decided to treat my family to a dream vacation.

Arriving into LAX on a Saturday Mid August (everything is booked, minus hotel near LAX). Scheduled arrival time of 2:45 local time. Have been told its an 11 hour flight from Manchester England.

The plan is to drive straight down to San Diego. Is this been realistic or should we overnight near the airport. In real life how long is the drive?

Thanks in advance
Simon
 
777klm
Posts: 523
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 am

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:16 pm

From my experience: you'll be fine driving to San Diego that same afternoon. Arriving around 2:45 will get you off the airport around 4:00. Then pick up your car and around 5pm you'll be on your way to San Diego. It's about 2 hours using the interstate.
Next flight: AMS - TLL - AMS
 
afcjets
Posts: 1722
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:03 pm

You are likely to encounter some traffic on a Saturday afternoon down south where the freeway is more coastal, I would say allow 2.5 to 3 hours. If that sounds like too much I would consider spending the night along the beautiful Orange coast instead of LAX. I would go for Laguna Beach or northern Dana Point which are the most scenic where the cliffs meet the sea. Laguna is closer to LAX and Dana Point is the halfway mark. Laguna has more to do and see and northern Dana point also known as Monarch Beach only has two 5 star resorts, and one Marriott. Dana Point itself though has more budget friendly places close to the sea. IMO if you have never been to these areas it would be a shame not to exit the freeway and see them since you are passing close by.
 
simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:32 pm

Thank you both.

We are there for 3 weeks and have never been to California. Have booked a week at Laguna Beach for the last week (Im like a little child now, so lord only knows what I will be like come the day) (and hoping for some serious relaxation).
 
B777LRF
Posts: 1765
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:23 am

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:24 am

Couple of things to consider:

When flying westbound, it's best to stay awake throughout the flight to lessen the impact of jetlag. You'll be landing only a few hours, local time, after you've departed. The trick is not only to stay awake for the crossing, but also to stay awake at destination until it's evening local time. Hit the sack at around 2200, and you'll wake up the next morning with minimal jetlag.

This does not sit well with driving a car, having been trapped all day in an oxygen deprived pressurised tube for 10+ hours, particularly not when you're braving southern Californian traffic.

If it was me, I'd pick up that rental and drive only as far as a decent hotel. Grab some dinner, drown a few adult beverages and then sleep.

YMMV.
From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
 
afcjets
Posts: 1722
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:28 pm

If you do stay at an airport hotel, you may want to consider picking up your rental car the next day, unless you plan on doing some site seeing in LA. Most of the airport hotels charge $20-$30 for airport parking, yet they have shuttle buses that will not only pick you up at the airport, but will also drive you to restaurants in the area. If you do stay in airport hotel, some of the ones near the Hawthorne, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach border do not charge for parking, i.e, Marriott Residence Inn, Marriott Spring Hill Suites, and Marriott TownePlace Suites. For the most part the nicest and closet ones though are along Century Blvd, which leads right into the departure and arrival lanes. My favorite was always the Hilton LAX, but it is been more than a decade since I have been there. I especially liked it in the 1990s when it had a 24 hour fitness, an outside gym chain but guests could still use it. It has since moved to another building on Century beside another hotel but is now smaller. The best thing I remember though is their breakfast buffet (not included with room rate though). It even offered a complete traditional Japanese breakfast on the buffet and I loved it. Most of the Century Blvd hotels have rooms with amazing views of the airfield too, especially the ones on the north side of the street (most of them are), just tell the front desk if that's what you want. You could also walk to some of the rental car facilities from there, and pick up your luggage at the hotel afterwards.
 
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N707PA
Posts: 225
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:27 pm

You could stay in the Queen Mary at Long Beach and take a tour.
 
socalgeo
Posts: 353
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:06 am

Welcome! Be sure to stop at the In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda right next to LAX before you head south. The other posters provided good info. If it's a weekday at 5pm the traffic could be pretty bad. There are plenty of nice towns along the way to visit. San Juan Capistrano has annold Spanish mission, if you spend the night there, lots to see. Bring your swimsuit for the beach.
 
simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:33 pm

We've Planned, 6 days San Diego, 11 days LA, 4 days Laguna Beach. Our schedule is REALLY REALLY tight, whence the last 4 days at Laguna. Im beginning to think we may have the planning off, and perhaps should have got a connecting flight down to San Diego.
 
socalgeo
Posts: 353
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:21 pm

simonriat wrote:
We've Planned, 6 days San Diego, 11 days LA, 4 days Laguna Beach. Our schedule is REALLY REALLY tight, whence the last 4 days at Laguna. Im beginning to think we may have the planning off, and perhaps should have got a connecting flight down to San Diego.


No - it's only 100 - 120 miles to San Diego. You will be ok. Beautiful drive if the traffic is good.
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:41 am

Last year, we arrived at LAX at around this time on a Friday afternoon, As foreign visitors immigration took the best part of 90 minutes, we then hit the evening traffic and arrived at San Marcos which is 50 or so miles less than San Diego at around 8pm. Fortunately we knew just where we were going, and know the area (wife's family live there) if you aren't used to US roads and the area, I would suggest a drive from LAX to San Diego is the last thing you want after a transatlantic flight.
 
mdsh00
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:29 pm

The drive to SD from LAX is beautiful but just know that Saturday afternoon traffic in LA is often as bad as weekday rush hour traffic. It might not be a bad idea to spend the night and leave the next morning and have no traffic on the way down.

Also, be sure to visit the La Jolla cove/village (great restaurants), Mt. Soledad, and Balboa Park.

If you're in to it, San Diego has an amazing Craft Beer scene. Karl Strauss, Modern Times (great coffee stouts), and Stone (known for IPAs) are the most popular and offer tours and have tasting rooms.

Send me a PM or reply on this thread if you need more recommendations. Have fun!
 
mdsh00
Posts: 3978
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:12 pm

System won't let me edit. I would also suggest spending some of your "LA" days visiting the Central Coast. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Cambria/Hearst Castle are great places to visit.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:19 pm

mdsh00 wrote:
The drive to SD from LAX is beautiful but just know that Saturday afternoon traffic in LA is often as bad as weekday rush hour traffic.


:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:

I actually try and avoid driving on Saturday afternoons. It's even more frustrating than weekdays, because mentally, I still expect Saturdays to be relatively traffic-free. Sadly, that's just not the case, and it's only getting worse.

I can tell you that I wouldn't want to do the drive to San Diego after an 11-hour flight. But that's obviously up to you.

N707PA wrote:
You could stay in the Queen Mary at Long Beach and take a tour.


Hopefully that's not the day it decides to sink:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-q ... story.html
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:25 pm

Thank you all for the responses. Im edging towards doing the drive, and drinking copious amounts of coffee on the aircraft. Possibly also to get my body clock into the time zone as quickly as possible.
 
jetwet1
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Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:58 am

I've done what you are planning to do a few times, it's not to bad as long as you get a nap in on the flight over, lay off the coffee until you're on the ground. Yes traffic can be a pig, but compared to say the M60 it's the same.

Just get on the 405 and pray that Orange County isn't to busy, once you're clear of Dana Point traffic should be fine, just set the cruise control and enjoy the drive.

Where are you staying in San Diego ?
 
simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:25 pm

We are staying on Shelter Island Dr (Humphreys Half Moon Inn)
 
johns624
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:07 pm

mdsh00 wrote:
System won't let me edit. I would also suggest spending some of your "LA" days visiting the Central Coast. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Cambria/Hearst Castle are great places to visit.

I agree. I'd even try to get up to Big Sur/Monterey.
 
mham001
Posts: 4690
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:52 am

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:21 pm

johns624 wrote:
mdsh00 wrote:
System won't let me edit. I would also suggest spending some of your "LA" days visiting the Central Coast. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Cambria/Hearst Castle are great places to visit.

I agree. I'd even try to get up to Big Sur/Monterey.


The road is closed, probably for at least one year.
 
afcjets
Posts: 1722
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:46 am

jetwet1 wrote:
Just get on the 405 and pray that Orange County isn't to busy, once you're clear of Dana Point traffic should be fine, just set the cruise control and enjoy the drive.


I think its going to be worse in Northern SD County because the 5 runs close to the coast there and people will be leaving its beach towns and many will head south to SD. In OC you can take the 73 Toll Road San Joaquin Hills which begins in Costa Mesa from the 405 and ends just south of Laguna Niguel into the 5. It is about 15 miles long and slightly more direct but there will be no traffic on it, should cost around $6 offpeak and you pay online later. Even without traffic it should save you at least 10-15 mins. It is somewhat scenic too as it goes up high up and you can see the coast from parts of it. If you drive back that way at night at the right time you can even see the fireworks from Disney off in the distance.
 
jetwet1
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:52 am

The toll road is a good point and idea, just remember to jump online and pay the tolls, the fines are eye watering.
 
simonriat
Topic Author
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:25 am

Thanks for the info about the Toll roads. Also noticed that the (please forgive me for this, going to use a Brit term) main road route 1 looks like it could be pretty interesting with views. Would that be just as busy?
 
afcjets
Posts: 1722
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Drive from LA to San Diego

Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:36 pm

1 is the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). With all the stoplights it would take much much longer and definitely not something you would want after a long flight. Also, it is not even coastal in some parts, especially in parts of Long Beach where it goes nowhere near the coast and is very urban. Since you are spending time in Laguna Beach you will get to see the most beautiful parts of the Orange Coast anyway.

One exception I would consider is northern SD county. You will get great views along Camp Pendleton the marine base, where the 5 freeway and PCH are the same and is almost oceanfront, but they split off again at Oceanside, which is not very scenic IMO. The stretch between Carlsbad and Encinitas is however and does not have many stoplights so it moves fast. It is really the 101 at that point but it's the same thing. The same goes for the stretch between Del Mar and La Jolla but the latter is part of SD and both are so close I am sure you will be going to both anyways during your stay in SD.

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