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Best beaches b/w SD and LA

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New York City
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Best beaches b/w SD and LA

After spending a few days in the LA Valley area, we will be driving down to San Diego. We will have time for a few hours of stops along the way. I was thinking of stopping to check out the Venice canals and some of the beaches.

Does this sound like a good plan? If so, which beaches would you recommend as the prettiest or most interesting along the way? Are there any other viewpoints or activities along the way that we should make time to check out?

I posted this in the LA forum as well, but then realized that not all SDers will necessarily read that forum, and some of the beaches that look really are actually closer to SD, so I figured I'd post here as well. Thanks!

San Diego...
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1. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

Between San Diego County and LA County is Orange County.

In Orange County, Id suggest Laguna Beach if you only have time for just one of their great beaches.

Miami, Florida
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2. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

I would second Laguna Beach....Venice might be more famous, but Laguna is much nicer in my opinion. I would even take Manhattan Beach over Venice--but Laguna is definitely my first choice....picturesque and artsy town with great restaurants.

Manhattan Beach...
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3. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

I would not make the detour to Venice Beach canals from the Valley, not much to see. There are some nice beaches in the South Bay in LA County, but I'd just head to Laguna Beach in Orange County. Nice place to have lunch and look around the shops.

Corona del Mar, CA
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4. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

My advice from the LA thread stands.

I would not swing from the Valley to Venice just to see the canals, they are really not that special,.

I would off the freeway (405) at Seal Beach Blvd or Goldenwest Blvd and drove along the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County. It takes you through Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and more.

You can stop where you like that looks appealing.

Edmonton, Canada
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5. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

i'd head south on the freeway (and get out of the la area as soon as you can) and turn off at laguna beach. great place to spend a few hours. then you have to get back on freeway 5 for a short spell but then cut back over to the coast road at oceanside and take the coast road down to san diego. carlsbad has a nice pier you could stop at for a walk. there is also a nice spot just past the del mar race track by the torry pines state park that you can pull over and park (if spots are available) to watch the sunset or go for a walk on the beach.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

My personal favorites (http://www.thebestbeach.net/beach-reviews/) between LA and San Diego are Balboa Beach in Newport Beach, Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach, Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point and La Jolla Shores (which is considered part of San Diego). I hope this helps and have a great trip.

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7. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

I agree with Scott075 to take PCH starting from Seal Beach. If there is anything I miss about CA it is traveling down this wonderful coastal road and stopping wherever the wind took us.

Now if you still want to see canals but not take the detour to Venice you can always exit the 405 at Studebaker Rd (which is the exit before Seal Beach) and turn on 2nd Street and you'll find a wonderful spot called Naples. Once there you have the option of walking, taking a gondola ride, or renting a kayak or even an electric boat (all are fun).

brucebrealty.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/… (sorry I do not know who this Realtor is I just like the picture).

After Naples (Long Beach) is -Seal Beach- which is a nice little beach with a great little main street. Lots of shops and eateries (Walt's Wharf is a must), along with a pier.


As you move on down PCH you'll pass such places as Sunset Beach (look for the house that was once a water tower), Bolsa Chica and then Huntington Beach (Surf City is a great place to stop).



Newport Beach is very nice but I am rather partial to Balboa Island (fun shops, fun zone, and I love the ferry)


As you move on there is Corona Del Mar, Crystal Cove, Laguna (can you say money - but Laguna is really a great place even as you move away from the coast the views do not subside.

FYI: You will start pulling away from the coast a bit after Dana Point (Military Base)

San Clemente then San Onofre (we use to refer to it as Old Man beach as it is a great place to learn to surf - nice and slow).

After Camp Pendleton you don't have much farther but still have plenty of neat and quirky beaches to choose from (with Encinitas being one of them).

If you have the time stop in at the Scripps/Birch Aquarium you will be glad you did.


Have fun in San Diego and hopefully you take the time to enjoy the coast via PCH (heck odds are you are going to be stuck in traffic anyway isn't it better to at least have a coastal view?) :)

Corona del Mar, CA
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8. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

Nice suggestion lovetegacaysc, I do love Naples and it is a really overlooked area.

9. Re: Best beaches b/w SD and LA

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