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Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

Ontario
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Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

We will be flying into LAX after an overnight flight from Tahiti on a Sunday in early February, and getting a rental car. We won't be in a hurry because we can't check in to our Oceanside condo until 3, so I was wondering what route might be the least stressful, as we will most likely be sleep-deprived, but caffeined up. Probably we'd be leaving LAX area by noon.

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

The only real choice is the I-405 south to the I-5 south to Oceanside. You could use the toll road CA - 73 south from the I-405 to the I-5. That road has much less traffic than the 405/5 through southern Orange County.

The only other choice is a long stressful slog down Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1.

Maui, Hawaii
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2. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

I find the 405 freeway extremely stressful. With car flying by going 75mph plus and doing wild lane changes on a freeway that is getting bumpy from old age and way to much use, Me personally I always take Pacific Coast Hwy now when visiting family between the South Bay and Encinitas. From Long Beach down it is scenic and I find that it flows pretty good.

Thousand Oaks...
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3. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

LOL.... I have never been able to go 75mph on the 405 on a Sunday afternoon!!! Weekend traffic can now go head to head with weekday traffic, especially on the 5 and 405.

Why not just take the train and relax? You can take the Flyaway to Union Station and then take the train to Oceanside. There is a stop there also.

Dr. Z

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4. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

This is kind of a tough one! I tend to try to avoid freeways when traveling down the coast, but it isn't always possible and it isn't always necessarily less stressful. I've driven from the LAX area to Irvine, sticking to the coast as much as possible. The drive around San Pedro is lovely but it can get slow and you need to pay attention to navigation in a few places, and I was quite happy that I was done in Irvine and didn't have further to go down the coast. I'd suggest hopping on the 405 as far as Seal Beach and then going down the PCH to Dana Point or as far as San Clemente (you have to get on the I5 there anyhow for a short bit to get to Oceanside). There will be lots to look at and some decent places to stop for a stretch , etc., but it will take time to do it.

If it were me, even with my aversion to freeways, I would just get on the I405 to the I5 and be done with it. If you get tired it is easy to get off the freeway for a break here and there.

Santa Monica...
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5. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

You have just one choice, actually, and that's the 405.

The abovementioned PCH route is double the time.

Ontario
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6. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

Thanks for all the advice. All the routes I was thinking about were mentioned by someone, and the train as well, which I was considering. If we take the train though, we'll have to go to the San Diego airport the next day to get the car, I think. When we return the car, it will be to SFO, so I think we'll have to pick it up at an airport, rather than in the city of Oceanside. The route that looked good to me was the one outlined by arf68, but then I thought that on a Sunday, it might be worse than the freeway for stress. Since we'll have at least 3 hours for making this journey (due to a check-in time of 3pm at the condo), I really don't care if it's slow, but I don't want bumper-to-bumper traffic or navigational problems (though we will bring our GPS), because we probably won't be as alert as we would normally be.

West Hollywood...
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7. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

If it were me, I'd take the Flyaway Bus from LAX to Irvine and a train to Oceanside Then arrange for a car there, if possible. Why do you need to pick up at an airport? Can you pick up a car in Oceanside (for your local visit) and then drop it on the way north, say at SNA (John Wayne Airport) for another one to drive 'up the coast'?

Corona del Mar, CA
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8. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

Enh.... just get a car at LAX, drive down the 405 Freeway until Seal Beach Blvd, take Seal Beach Blvd until you hit Pacific Coast Highway and stay on PCH until you have to get back the freeway at the end of San Clemente to pass through Camp Pendleton.

Are you getting your car with no drop off charge?

Ontario
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9. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

I haven't looked into the car rental in too much detail yet. I can get a discount with Hertz as a CAA (Canadian AAA) member, so I got an internet quote, just for an idea. We will be renting for about 7 weeks, and their price was around $1300 with pickup at LAX, return at SFO. There's a Hertz at Oceanside, but on the Hertz website, I couldn't pick up there and return to SFO. However, I could call and ask them if I could do that. I hear that they can't charge for the second driver in California. Is that true? Any other car rental suggestions?

So.Cal
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10. Re: Least stressful drive LAX to Oceanside

If you're a Costco member, check them for car rentals. We've several times rented a car thru them with pickup atMcClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, right next door to Oceanside, and dropped it off at LAX. If they allow LAX dropoff, I'd think they'd also allow SFO. I think it was Avis, but they may also have Hertz there. You can also probably arrange a pickup there through AAA. I think the issue is the 7 week rental period - that may require you to use one of the larger airport locations.

Another option might be to take the train all the way to San Diego, take a cab to the airport there (just a few miles, shouldn't be expensive), then drive to Oceanside. San Diego to Oceanside is a much faster and easier drive than LAX to Oceanside. Yes, it's still freeway, but nothing like the 405 except at peak rush hours. It should only take about 40-45 minutes if it's not rush hour.

As far as your question about CA not allowing a 2nd driver charge, I don't think that's true. One of the main reasons we like renting through Costco is that they give us the 2nd driver free.