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Los Angeles To San Diego Road Trip: The Epic Adventure

Note: This guide was last updated 1 year and 2 months and 21 days ago. If you've spotted anything that seems a bit out-of-date or if you have some killer tips to share, we're all ears! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Los Angeles to San Diego road trip is one of the best journeys you can experience in the USA. The 120 miles of Los Angeles to San Diego drive takes around 1 hour and 55 mins without stops.

This article includes 12 tips that turn your Los Angeles to San Diego drive into an unforgettable journey. So if you’re looking for the best hotels, restaurants, and places to visit on the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego, take your coffee and keep reading!

4 Best Hotels On The Road Trip From Los Angeles To San Diego

On the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip, you may want to stay at some points. Here are the top four hotels on the Los Angeles – San Diego route!

1. Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente

Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is one of the best hotels; you can stay on the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. Driving from Los Angeles to Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente might take around 1 hour.

Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is a charming hotel that provides a relaxing stay for road trippers traveling from Los Angeles to San Diego. The hotel’s location in the coastal town of San Clemente offers guests the opportunity to explore nearby attractions such as Trestles Beach, Camp Pendleton, and Del Mar Avenue’s cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and antique, and specialty stores. The friendly and professional staff goes above and beyond to ensure guests have a comfortable stay, from the delicious breakfast served every morning to the freshly baked cookies offered in the afternoon. The all-suite boutique hotel’s amenities include air conditioning, a private balcony, a safe, a coffee/tea maker, a microwave, refrigerator, flatscreen TV, and free high-speed internet. The hotel’s pool, fitness center, and business center with internet access are perfect for guests on the go. With free parking and a convenience store on-site, the Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is an excellent choice for travelers looking for a peaceful, comfortable, and welcoming place to rest during their road trip.

Check the Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente, one of the best hotels in San Clemente, California, on TripAdvisor and Booking.com for recent reviews, prices, and availability.

2. The Green Room Hotel

Another top hotel where you can choose the stay on the road trip to San Diego from Los Angeles is The Green Room Hotel. Located in Oceanside, California, the hotel is 85.8 miles from Los Angeles, and it would take 1 hour and 23 mins to drive.

The Green Room Hotel in Oceanside, California is a hidden gem on the Los Angeles to San Diego drive. This boutique hotel offers a funky and fresh atmosphere that will make your stay unforgettable. Each of the designer rooms has been curated with individual style, making it a unique and personalized experience. The hotel’s outdoor amenities, such as the cedar hot tub, complimentary surfboards, and beach cruisers, add to the overall charm of the place. The communal patio area with a fire pit is a perfect spot to relax and unwind after a day of driving. It’s no surprise that The Green Room Hotel has been featured in top magazines like T&L, Cond Nast, LATimes, SanDiego & Locale Magazines. This hotel truly lives up to its reputation and is a must-visit on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Whether you’re looking for a fun and funky place to stay or a comfortable and relaxing experience, The Green Room Hotel has got you covered.

If you want to learn more about The Green Room Hotel, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Booking.com.

3. Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas

Didn’t our first two hotel suggestions interest you? So we would like to introduce you to the Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas. Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas is located in Encinitas, California, and it’s 95.7 miles away from Los Angeles. You can arrive there in 1 hour and 33 mins of non-stop driving.

Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas is a great spot to stop on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. The hotel is located within walking distance of numerous coffee shops and restaurants, making it a perfect place to explore after a long drive. The rooms are standard and offer comfortable beds, stand-up showers, and blackout curtains for a good night’s rest. The staff is friendly and efficient, making for a warm and welcoming stay. In the morning, enjoy complimentary coffee, fruit, and mini muffins in the lobby. The hotel amenities include a pool, fitness center, and high-speed internet. The location is perfect for beachgoers, as it’s a short walk to Moonlight State Beach, where you can swim, surf, fish, and picnic. Other popular attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and Legoland, are easily accessible from the hotel. If you’re traveling with pets, Brisa Pacifica is pet-friendly and offers free parking. Overall, Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas is a nice place to stay on your road trip, with a great location, friendly staff, and convenient amenities.

Check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas, for more information.

4. Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station

If you are taking a road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego, San Diego, California is must have a place you should visit. Plus, Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station is one of the best hotels in town. The hotel is 119 miles from Los Angeles, and it would take 1 hour and 55 mins to drive.

The Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station is a wonderful place to stay during your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. The hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms with big bathrooms and super comfy beds. Although the rooms may be on the smaller side, they are still nice and offer everything you need for a great stay. The mini fridge in the room is a nice touch, although it could keep drinks a little colder. The location of the hotel is perfect for those looking to explore the area on foot, as there are many restaurants within walking distance. For those with a car, the hotel is close enough to major attractions while still being in a quieter area. The staff is friendly and helpful, making for a pleasant experience. Overall, the Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station is a great place to stay on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego, offering everything you need for a comfortable and convenient stay.

If you need more info about the price and availability of Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station, check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages.

In this part, we explained four hotels you can stay at on the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. You can pick one of them that suits your taste. Don’t forget to share your experience by commenting on this post. It will help people who will take Los Angeles to San Diego route.

Now, it’s time to discover the best restaurants from Los Angeles to San Diego. We have four restaurant recommendations worth your attention.

4 Best Restaurants On The Los Angeles To San Diego Road Trip

If dining is a pleasure, some restaurants will please you on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. This section lists four restaurants to dine at on the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Stay hungry and enjoy!

1. Nick’s San Clemente

We would like to start our restaurant recommendation list on Los Angeles to San Diego road trip with Nick’s San Clemente. Nick’s San Clemente is located in San Clemente, California, and is 61.6 miles from Los Angeles. It would take 1 hour of driving.

Nick’s San Clemente is a must-stop restaurant on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Located in the charming historic district of San Clemente, it offers a perfect break from the drive. The food is simply excellent, with the standout dish being the kale salad with grilled chicken. The portion size is generous enough to make two meals, and the perfectly cooked chicken slices mixed throughout the salad are a true delight. The deviled egg appetizer is a must-try, and the trendy atmosphere with a large bar adds to the overall experience. The service is outstanding and the restaurant is well-managed. While it can get quite busy, the wait is worth it. Whether you have dietary restrictions or not, there are plenty of options for everyone, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Nick’s San Clemente truly offers a refreshing and delicious experience on your road trip.

For more information about Nick’s San Clemente, you can visit TripAdvisor or Google Maps pages of Nick’s San Clemente.

2. Beach Break Cafe

Another top restaurant you can choose to eat at on the road trip to San Diego from Los Angeles is Beach Break Cafe. Located in Oceanside, California, Beach Break Cafe is 85.3 miles from Los Angeles and would take 1 hour and 22 mins of driving.

Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside, California is a must-stop breakfast and lunch spot on your Los Angeles to San Diego drive. Located right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this local favorite serves up delicious, hearty meals that will keep you fueled for your trip. The restaurant’s vibrant decor, including colorful surfboards and surfboard-inspired ceiling fans, adds to the fun and relaxed atmosphere. Don’t miss out on their famous Banana Crunch French Toast, made with honey bunches of oats for that perfect crunch, topped with bananas and whipped cream. If you’re not in the mood for something sweet, their giant four-egg omelets and scrambles are sure to satisfy. And be sure to save room for a slice of their moist, cinnamon-laced coffee cake drizzled with frosting – it’s a crowd-pleaser for good reason. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Beach Break Cafe is a great stop to recharge and enjoy some delicious food on your road trip.

If you want to learn more about Beach Break Cafe, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.

3. Le Papagayo, Encinitas

Another restaurant that can be preferred by those who are fond of food is Le Papagayo, Encinitas. It will take 1 hour and 32 mins of car drive to take 93.9 miles from Los Angeles to Le Papagayo, Encinitas, and Encinitas, California.

Le Papagayo in Encinitas, California is a must-stop destination on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. Located on the historic coast highway 101 in Leucadia, it offers a fusion of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine along with nightly live music entertainment, all wrapped up in a quaint art gallery-style fine dining establishment. The paella, lobster roll, shrimp ceviche, and salad were all delicious and plentiful, but be prepared to take leftovers for lunch the next day! While the wait for food can be a bit long, the Shredded Pork over coconut rice with plantains is a fine-tasting alternative. The deck provides a nice quiet seat, giving off a sea feel. While there may not be a sea view, the food, and atmosphere more than makeup for it. Le Papagayo is known as one of the most popular Encinitas restaurants and all of North County San Diego. With vegetarian-friendly, vegan options, and gluten-free options available, it’s perfect for any dietary need. So why not come and check it out for yourself? With takeout, outdoor seating, parking available, television, wheelchair accessibility, serves alcohol, a full bar, table service, reservations, and live music, it’s sure to be a good time.

You can check Le Papagayo, and Encinitas, on TripAdvisor or Google Maps for more information.

4. Oceana Coastal Kitchen

Oceana Coastal Kitchen deserves to be on our list. It is one of the most recommended restaurants in San Diego, California.

Located in San Diego, California, Oceana Coastal Kitchen is a must-visit for anyone on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Situated along Pacific Beach, this bayfront restaurant offers a dining experience like no other. From the moment you step in, you’ll be greeted with an ambiance that perfectly blends modernity with coastal charm. The restaurant’s menu boasts an impressive selection of seafood dishes, including delicious sushi. The staff is friendly and attentive, ensuring that your dining experience is nothing short of exceptional. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner by the beach, Oceana Coastal Kitchen is a perfect stop on your drive. The view of the bay and the food will leave you with unforgettable memories of your trip. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit this iconic Pacific Beach hideaway.

Oceana Coastal Kitchen is 115 miles from Los Angeles, and it would take 1 hour and 55 mins of non-stop car driving. If you want to learn more about Oceana Coastal Kitchen, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.

This section lists our four restaurant recommendations for your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. We hope these suggestions will help you turn your 120 miles journey into a feast of taste. Of course, you can choose a suitable restaurant from the list according to your preference. Remember, like you, people planning a San Diego road trip need your opinion. Therefore, we kindly ask you to share your experience with us in the comment field at the end of the blog post.

In the next section, we list the destinations worth seeing along the route from Los Angeles to San Diego. Keep reading.

4 Places To Visit On The Los Angeles To San Diego Drive

A unique experience awaits you in San Diego. However, there are also some unique destinations like San Clemente, California on your road trip. We want to explain the top four destinations we recommend on the San Diego route.

1. San Clemente Pier

San Clemente Pier will be the first destination we recommend you stop by on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. Located in San Clemente, California, San Clemente Pier is 62.1 miles from Los Angeles, and it would take 1 hour and 5 mins to drive.

San Clemente Pier is a must-visit spot on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. This small beach town is famous for its long sandy beaches and its chilled-out vibe. The pier offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is a popular spot for surfers, beachgoers, and foodies. You can take a leisurely walk along the pedestrian trails, enjoy some local grub at the restaurants, or simply soak up the sun on the beach. If you’re up for an adventure, take a trek to the famous surf beach Trestles, which is located just south of the pier. The Metrolink train station stop is conveniently located at the pier, making it easy to explore nearby cities like San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside. Whether you’re a surfer or not, San Clemente Pier is well worth a visit for its relaxed atmosphere and stunning ocean views.

If you want to learn more about the San Clemente Pier, you can check it on TripAdvisor or the official website.

2. Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, California is one of the destinations we recommend you stop by on the Los Angeles to San Diego route. It’s 83.1 miles from Los Angeles, and it’ll take about 1 hour and 23 mins of driving.

Oceanside Pier is a must-see destination for anyone traveling from Los Angeles to San Diego. This 1/3-mile long wooden pier offers breathtaking ocean views and a unique experience for visitors. The convenience store located halfway down the pier has everything you need for a fun day of fishing, including pole rentals, bait, and tackle. You can also grab a snack, beverage, or souvenir to remember your visit. At the end of the pier, you’ll find Ruby’s 50’s diner, where you can enjoy classic American cuisine while admiring the stunning view. Whether you’re an angler or simply looking for a picturesque spot to take in the scenery, Oceanside Pier is the perfect place to stop on your road trip. Don’t forget that the pier is open 24/7, so you can visit any time of day or night. Make sure to bring your camera and capture the memories of this unique experience!

If you want to learn more about Oceanside Pier, you can check it on TripAdvisor or their website.

3. San Diego Botanic Garden

One of the stops you should not neglect to stop by when you take the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego in Encinitas, California. And if you visit Encinitas, California, we suggest you visit San Diego Botanic Garden. You can arrive at San Diego Botanic Garden after 1 hour and 33 mins of driving.

The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, California is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling from Los Angeles to San Diego. This beautiful 37-acre garden is home to an impressive collection of plants from around the world, including rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, and tropical rainforest. Visitors can explore four miles of garden trails, which wind through restful vistas, flowering trees, and majestic palms. The garden also features a herb garden and a bird and butterfly garden, which are sure to delight nature lovers of all ages. While the garden is well laid out and maintained, it would be helpful if all plants and trees were labeled. The Hamilton Children’s Garden, the largest interactive children’s garden on the West Coast, is a must-see for families with young children. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the city or a fun family outing, the San Diego Botanic Garden is an excellent choice.

You can visit TripAdvisor and the official site of the San Diego Botanic Garden for more information.

4. USS Midway Museum

Do you also like to travel and experience new things? Then, it would be best to visit USS Midway Museum, in San Diego, California on the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. USS Midway Museum is 121 miles from Los Angeles, and you can arrive there after the 1 hour and 58 mins of drive.

The USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California is a must-see attraction on any Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. This interactive museum is a tribute to the 225,000 young men who served on the aircraft carrier during the 20th century. Walking in their footsteps is an unforgettable experience for the whole family. The museum showcases decades of information and history, and it’s easy to spend several hours exploring all that it has to offer. You’ll get to see first-hand what life was like on an aircraft carrier and learn about its many missions. The exhibits are incredibly informative and engaging, providing a glimpse into the lives of the brave sailors who served aboard the USS Midway. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this historic museum and gain a deeper appreciation for those who have served our country.

In addition, you should check TripAdvisor and the official website of the USS Midway Museum before going there.

FAQ of the Road Trip From Los Angeles to San Diego

Here we are answering the frequently asked questions about the Los Angeles to San Diego drive.

How Long Is The Road Trip From Los Angeles To San Diego?

  • With ideal traffic and weather conditions, the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip takes approximately 1 hour and 55 mins to drive. The driving distance between Los Angeles to San Diego is 120 miles.
  • If you want to make the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip by bike, the time you spend on the road will be 11 hours.
  • If you are crazy enough and plan to walk the Los Angeles-San Diego route, then you will have to walk for 1 day 19 hours.

Where Do You Stop On Driving From Los Angeles To San Diego?

There are many beautiful pits stops along the way to San Diego. You can visit San Clemente, California; Oceanside, California; Encinitas, California; San Diego, California; on the road. Here we list four places to visit for you. For more information about the best places on the Los Angeles to San Diego journey, you can check the 4 Best Places To Visit On The Los Angeles To San Diego Road Trip.

  1. San Clemente Pier: 62.1 miles / 1 hour and 5 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 59.7 miles / 58 mins of driving to San Diego.
  2. Oceanside Pier: 83.1 miles / 1 hour and 23 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 38.8 miles / 42 mins of driving to San Diego.
  3. San Diego Botanic Garden: 95.1 miles / 1 hour and 33 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 27.0 miles / 31 mins of driving to San Diego.
  4. USS Midway Museum: 121 miles / 1 hour and 58 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 1.4 miles / 10 mins of driving to San Diego.

Where Should You Stay On The Road Trip From Los Angeles To San Diego?

There are many excellent hotels from Los Angeles to San Diego during your road trip. We have selected four hotels for you. These hotels are listed below. Remember, you can find detailed information about these hotels in the 4 Best Hotels On The Road Trip To San Diego From the Los Angeles section.

  • Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente: 63.3 miles / 1 hour to drive from Los Angeles | 57.6 miles / 55 mins of driving to San Diego.
  • The Green Room Hotel: 85.8 miles / 1 hour and 23 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 35.9 miles / 37 mins of driving to San Diego.
  • Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas: 95.7 miles / 1 hour and 33 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 26.6 miles / 30 mins of driving to San Diego.
  • Courtyard San Diego Airport/Liberty Station: 119 miles / 1 hour and 55 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 5.3 miles / 12 mins of driving to San Diego.

Where To Eat Between Los Angeles to San Diego?

If you are thinking of taking a break and having a nice meal on your Los Angeles to San Diego drive, you can consider the four restaurants we have chosen. In addition, you can read detailed information about the restaurants in the section titled 4 Best Restaurants On The Los Angeles To San Diego Road Trip.

  1. Nick’s San Clemente: 61.6 miles / 1 hour to drive from Los Angeles | 59.2 miles / 57 mins of driving to San Diego.
  2. Beach Break Cafe: 85.3 miles / 1 hour and 22 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 36.1 miles / 37 mins of driving to San Diego.
  3. Le Papagayo, Encinitas: 93.9 miles / 1 hour and 32 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 27.5 miles / 30 mins of driving to San Diego.
  4. Oceana Coastal Kitchen: 115 miles / 1 hour and 55 mins to drive from Los Angeles | 8.8 miles / 17 mins of driving to San Diego.

Conclusion

So, there you have it- a complete guide to planning a road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. We have listed four hotels, four restaurants, and four places to visit on the Los Angeles to San Diego drive. We have also given you detailed information about each place so that you can make an informed choice about where to stay, eat, and what to see. We hope this guide has helped make your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego as enjoyable as possible.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you ever taken the Los Angeles to San Diego road trip? So, it would be perfect if you shared your experience with other travelers who want to have the same experience. You can share your thoughts about the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego and your recommendations about this route by using the comment field below.

Video: San Diego Road Trip – Travel Guide

In this video, you can find a detailed travel guide to San Diego.




Tolga

Hi, I'm Tolga. Your guide for unforgettable road trips across the USA, Europe, and Australia. I offer destination insights, tips, and occasionally use AI for added accuracy. Let's explore the world one road at a time!

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