San Diego To Los Angeles Road Trip: The Ultimate Adventure

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San Diego to Los Angeles road trip is one of the best journeys you can experience in the USA. The 121 miles of San Diego to Los Angeles drive takes around 2 hours without stops.

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

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

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

1. Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas

Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas is one of the best hotels; you can stay on the San Diego to Los Angeles road trip. Driving from San Diego to Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas might take around 30 mins.

The Brisa Pacifica Hotel in Encinitas is a great spot to rest on your Los Angeles to San Diego drive. The location is ideal, with many coffee shops and restaurants within walking distance. The rooms are comfortable, and typical of a modestly priced motel, and the staff is friendly and efficient. The hotel amenities include free parking, high-speed internet, a pool, a fitness center, vending machine, and pets are allowed. The hotel is conveniently located near Moonlight State Beach, a beautiful wide sandy beach that offers swimming, surfing, fishing, and picnicking. You can also visit popular attractions such as San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park, Sea World, Del Mar Race Track, Legoland, and more. Whether you are on a business trip or on a family vacation, the Brisa Pacifica Hotel is a great place to stay and explore Encinitas and the surrounding areas.

Check the Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas, one of the best hotels in Encinitas, 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 Los Angeles from San Diego is The Green Room Hotel. Located in Oceanside, California, the hotel is 36.2 miles away from San Diego, and it would take 37 mins to drive.

The Green Room Hotel in Oceanside, California is the perfect destination for those looking for a unique and stylish stay on their Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. The hotel’s funky and fresh vibe is evident in every individually curated designer room. The outdoor amenities are a highlight of this hotel, including a cedar hot tub, complimentary surfboards, beach cruisers, and a communal patio area with a fire pit. The hotel has received rave reviews in top travel publications like Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast, and San Diego Magazine. The location is also ideal, just a short drive from major attractions like Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, and Sea World. Whether you’re a surfer, a beach lover, or just looking for a unique place to stay, The Green Room Hotel is a must-visit on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego.

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

3. Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente

Didn’t our first two hotel suggestions interest you? So we would like to introduce you to the Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente. Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is located in San Clemente, California, and it’s 58.0 miles away from San Diego. You can arrive there with 55 mins of non-stop driving.

Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is a great option for those looking for a comfortable stay during their Los Angeles to San Diego drive. The staff at the check-in desk were welcoming and helpful, giving me recommendations on local attractions to visit during my stay. The housekeeping staff were also friendly and did a great job of keeping my room clean and tidy. Despite being located near the highway, the walls in my room were soundproof and I couldn’t hear any outside noise. The hotel offers a range of amenities, including free parking, high-speed internet, a pool, and a fitness center. The complimentary breakfast each morning was delicious and a great way to start the day. The hotel is ideally located in San Clemente, a charming town that offers plenty of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and specialty stores to explore. With Trestles Beach, Camp Pendleton, and San Onofre Camp Grounds nearby, Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente is a great place to rest during your road trip.

Check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages of Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente, for more information.

4. The Prospect Hollywood

If you are taking a road trip from San Diego to Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California is must have a place you should visit. Plus, The Prospect Hollywood is one of the best hotels in town. The hotel is 127 miles from San Diego, and it would take 2 hours and 8 mins to drive.

The Prospect Hollywood in Los Angeles is the perfect destination for travelers looking for a sophisticated and stylish stay on their Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. The hotel boasts an intimate atmosphere and elegant design, making it an excellent choice for adults seeking a refined getaway. The location is also ideal, as it’s within walking distance of a plethora of top-rated restaurants and bars, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable stay. The architecture and cleanliness of the hotel are noteworthy, and the friendly service truly sets it apart. Overall, The Prospect Hollywood is a highly recommended choice for those seeking an upscale stay in Los Angeles.

If you need more info about the price and availability of The Prospect Hollywood, check the TripAdvisor and Booking.com pages.

In this part, we explained four hotels you can stay at on the road trip from San Diego to Los Angeles. 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 San Diego to Los Angeles route.

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

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

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

1. Le Papagayo, Encinitas

We would like to start our restaurant recommendation list on San Diego to Los Angeles road trip with Le Papagayo, Encinitas. Le Papagayo, Encinitas is located in Encinitas, California, and is 27.7 miles from San Diego. It would take 31 mins of driving.

Le Papagayo in Encinitas, California is a must-visit restaurant on your Los Angeles to San Diego drive. The fusion of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine is unique and delicious. The Paella is a standout dish with plentiful and tasty seafood. The Shredded Pork over coconut rice with plantains is also a fine option. The restaurant has a quaint art gallery style and offers nightly live music entertainment, adding to the ambiance. The outdoor seating provides a nice sea feel and is perfect for a nice time with a loved one. Le Papagayo is a popular restaurant in Encinitas and North County San Diego, so reservations are recommended. The restaurant also caters to various dietary needs with Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, and Gluten-Free Options. If you are on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego, make sure to stop by Le Papagayo for a tasty and unique dining experience.

For more information about Le Papagayo, Encinitas, you can visit TripAdvisor or Google Maps pages of Le Papagayo, Encinitas.

2. Beach Break Cafe

Another top restaurant you can choose to eat at on the road trip to Los Angeles from San Diego is Beach Break Cafe. Located in Oceanside, California, Beach Break Cafe is 36.4 miles from San Diego and would take 37 mins of driving.

Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside, California is a must-stop for those driving from Los Angeles to San Diego. This charming breakfast and lunch spot is situated right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, offering stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere. The menu features delicious dishes made with fresh, local ingredients, including the famous Banana Crunch French Toast, which is a crowd-pleaser. The restaurant’s surfboard-inspired decor adds to the laid-back vibe, and the friendly staff makes you feel right at home. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you’ll love the moist, cinnamon-laced coffee cake and giant four-egg omelets and scrambles. Plus, the colorful surfboards and photos on display provide a perfect backdrop for an Instagram-worthy picture. Overall, Beach Break Cafe is a great place to grab a delicious meal and take a break from the drive.

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

3. Nick’s San Clemente

Another restaurant that can be preferred by those who are fond of food is Nick’s, San Clemente. It will take 58 mins of car drive to take 59.3 miles from San Diego to Nick’s San Clemente, San Clemente, California.

Nick’s San Clemente is a must-stop on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Located on a charming street in the historic district, it’s a great place to take a break from driving and explore the area. The kale salad with grilled chicken is a standout dish that is not to be missed. The chicken breast is cooked to perfection and the salad is so big, it can easily make two meals. The deviled egg appetizer is also highly recommended. The atmosphere is trendy and the large bar is a great spot to grab a drink. Despite being busy, the service is top notch and the restaurant is well-managed. With seafood and American cuisine, Nick’s offers a variety of options for special diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Don’t miss out on this amazing restaurant on your next road trip.

You can check Nick’s, San Clemente, on TripAdvisor or Google Maps for more information.

4. Brent’s Deli Northridge

Brent’s Deli Northridge deserves to be on our list. It is one of the most recommended restaurants in Los Angeles, California.

Brent’s Deli Northridge is a must-visit deli on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. This iconic restaurant has been serving guests for over 50 years and is renowned for its delicious, traditional recipes and premium cuts. The friendly, family-owned atmosphere will make you feel right at home, and the staff will be happy to guide you through their extensive menu. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic pastrami sandwich or one of their famous breakfast burritos, Brent’s Deli Northridge has something for everyone. Make sure to pair your meal with a cup of their great coffee, which perfectly complements their delectable desserts. Stop by Brent’s Deli Northridge for a satisfying meal that will fuel you up for the rest of your drive.

Brent’s Deli Northridge is 149 miles from San Diego, and it would take 2 hours and 27 mins of non-stop car driving. If you want to learn more about Brent’s Deli Northridge, you can check it on TripAdvisor or Google Maps.

This section lists our four restaurant recommendations for your road trip from San Diego to Los Angeles. We hope these suggestions will help you turn your 121 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 Los Angeles 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 San Diego to Los Angeles. Keep reading.

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

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

1. San Diego Botanic Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden will be the first destination we recommend you stop by on your San Diego to Los Angeles road trip. Located in Encinitas, California, San Diego Botanic Garden is 26.8 miles away from San Diego, and it would take 31 mins to drive.

San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, California is a must-visit destination on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. The garden boasts over 37 acres of beautiful landscapes, including rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, and Mediterranean climate landscapes. The diverse topography of the garden provides a variety of microclimates, making you feel like you’re in a desert environment one minute and tropical rainforest the next. The bird and butterfly garden with plants that attract them is a must-see, along with the herb garden. Although not all plants and trees are labeled, the garden is very well laid out and well maintained. With four miles of garden trails, you’ll enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms, and more. This gem of a garden is only 30 minutes north of San Diego and features exhibits from all over the world, making it a great place to get some fresh air and take in a lot of visual beauty. Don’t forget to check out the Hamilton Children’s Garden, the largest interactive children’s garden on the West Coast.

If you want to learn more about the San Diego Botanic Garden, 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 San Diego to Los Angeles route. It’s 39.2 miles from San Diego, and it’ll take about 42 mins of driving.

The Oceanside Pier is an absolute must-see destination on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. At 1/3 of a mile, this is the longest wooden pier on the California coast, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s perfect for a stroll or a day of fishing, with a convenience store halfway out stocked with all the necessary supplies. The highlight of the pier is Ruby’s 50’s diner at the end, where you can enjoy breakfast or burgers with a breathtaking ocean view. With its 24/7 access, you can visit at any time and take in the beautiful scenery. If you’re looking for a unique stop on your drive down the coast, the Oceanside Pier is worth a visit. Don’t forget to snap a few photos while you’re there to capture the unforgettable experience.

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

3. San Clemente Pier

One of the stops you should not neglect to stop by when you take the road trip from San Diego to Los Angeles in San Clemente, California. And if you visit San Clemente, California, we suggest you visit San Clemente Pier. You can arrive at San Clemente Pier after 59 mins of driving.

San Clemente Pier is a hidden gem along the Los Angeles to San Diego drive. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs while enjoying the ocean views. The pier is famous for surfing, but even if you don’t surf, it’s still worth a visit. There’s a long pedestrian trail along the beach that takes you to other nearby beaches and even the famous Trestles surf beach. The pier has a relaxed vibe that reflects the mellow atmosphere of San Clemente. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, shop for souvenirs, or just take in the stunning views of the ocean. If you’re taking the Metrolink train, the San Clemente Pier stop is a must-see. With its nearby restaurants and attractions, it’s a great place to stop and explore before continuing on your journey. Don’t forget to check the seasonal train schedule before you plan your trip.

You can visit TripAdvisor and the official site of San Clemente Pier for more information.

4. Universal Studios Hollywood

Do you also like to travel and experience new things? Then, it would be best to visit Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on the San Diego to Los Angeles road trip. Universal Studios Hollywood is 129 miles from San Diego, and you can arrive there after the 2 hours and 8 mins of drive.

Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles is the perfect destination for a fun-filled day on your Los Angeles to San Diego road trip. The park offers a wide range of thrilling theme park rides and shows, making it the ultimate Hollywood experience. But it’s not just about the entertainment, you’ll also get a glimpse into the real working movie studio that has been the location for countless movie and TV productions. The park is a great place to visit with friends or family and there’s something for everyone, from children to adults. Additionally, CityWalk, which is located right next to the park, offers a fantastic selection of shops, restaurants, and cinemas, making it the perfect spot to relax and grab a bite after a long day of adventure. All in all, Universal Studios Hollywood is a must-visit destination that should not be missed on your road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego.

In addition, you should check TripAdvisor and the official website of Universal Studios Hollywood before going there.

FAQ of the Road Trip From San Diego to Los Angeles

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

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

  • With ideal traffic and weather conditions, the San Diego to Los Angeles road trip takes approximately 2 hours and to drive. The driving distance between San Diego to Los Angeles is 121 miles.
  • If you want to make the San Diego to Los Angeles road trip by bike, the time you spend on the road will be 11 hours and 9 mins.
  • If you are crazy enough and plan to walk the San Diego-Los Angeles route, then you will have to walk for 1 day 19 hours.

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

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

  1. San Diego Botanic Garden: 26.8 miles / 31 mins to drive from San Diego | 95.4 miles / 1 hour and 38 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  2. Oceanside Pier: 39.2 miles / 42 mins to drive from San Diego | 83.8 miles / 1 hour and 28 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  3. San Clemente Pier: 59.3 miles / 59 mins to drive from San Diego | 62.8 miles / 1 hour and 9 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  4. Universal Studios Hollywood: 129 miles / 2 hours and 8 mins to drive from San Diego | 9.4 miles / 18 mins of driving to Los Angeles.

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

There are many excellent hotels from San Diego to Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles From San Diego section.

  • Brisa Pacifica Hotel Encinitas: 26.8 miles / 30 mins to drive from San Diego | 95.2 miles / 1 hour and 38 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  • The Green Room Hotel: 36.2 miles / 37 mins to drive from San Diego | 86.2 miles / 1 hour and 28 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites San Clemente: 58.0 miles / 55 mins to drive from San Diego | 63.2 miles / 1 hour and 7 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  • The Prospect Hollywood: 127 miles / 2 hours and 8 mins to drive from San Diego | 7.4 miles / 16 mins of driving to Los Angeles.

Where To Eat Between San Diego to Los Angeles?

If you are thinking of taking a break and having a nice meal on your San Diego to Los Angeles 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 San Diego To Los Angeles Road Trip.

  1. Le Papagayo, Encinitas: 27.7 miles / 31 mins to drive from San Diego | 94.7 miles / 1 hour and 37 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  2. Beach Break Cafe: 36.4 miles / 37 mins to drive from San Diego | 85.8 miles / 1 hour and 28 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  3. Nick’s San Clemente: 59.3 miles / 58 mins to drive from San Diego | 62.3 miles / 1 hour and 7 mins of driving to Los Angeles.
  4. Brent’s Deli Northridge: 149 miles / 2 hours and 27 mins to drive from San Diego | 31.9 miles / 40 mins of driving to Los Angeles.

Conclusion

So, there you have it- a complete guide to planning a road trip from San Diego to Los Angeles. We have listed four hotels, four restaurants, and four places to visit on the San Diego to Los Angeles 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 San Diego to Los Angeles as enjoyable as possible.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you ever taken the San Diego to Los Angeles 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 San Diego to Los Angeles and your recommendations about this route by using the comment field below.

Video: Los Angeles Road Trip

If you are looking for suggestions about the city of angels, you should check this video.




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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