Landing at LAX at 1900 in mid-September (first time in area) and expecting 2 hours once off plane to clear immigration and customs. Then another hour to get to car rental office (seen posts that the queue/line at Avis can be long), which takes us to 2200.
Current plan is to drive to Santa Barbara after collecting car for two nights, then onto Monterey, Yosemite back to LA. Have looked at driving distances and it says 1.45 mins to Santa Barbara which takes us to midnight.
Now thinking should we stay in Santa Monica for first two nights as it's nearer to LAX. We really only want the first two nights to get over flight/adjust to time zone before driving to Monterey.
Any advice please?