Roadtrip from Santa Monica to San Diego


Duration: 11 nights

Price: From $2,550 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including accommodation, car hire and taxes

This luxury self-drive holiday to southern California takes in some of the very best that the Sunshine State has to offer. Beginning on the sandy shores of Santa Monica, you can explore the cinematic landscapes of the Hollywood hills before heading inland to the desert and Palm Springs. From there, it’s on to the photogenic coastline of chic Laguna Beach, before finishing up laid back San Diego, home to beaches, culture, and the best weather in America.
Perfect forFamilies and younger couples looking to explore southern California on their own terms.
In the knowSpending some time on a Wyoming ranch – we love the scenic Goosewing Ranch – before heading to south California for the ultimate Wild West, city and beach combination.

Best for

  • Beach
  • Couples
  • Family-friendly
  • First-timers

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Itinerary details

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Flying in to LAX, you’ll collect your car and begin your southern California adventure in sizzling Santa Monica, a beachfront city located 25 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. Head down to the Pier to delight in some old-fashioned fairground fun at Pacific Park, where you'll find amusements, rides and indulgent sweet treats. While away an afternoon reclined on the white sands of Santa Monica beach, or wander around the streets and parks to discover the city's vibrant arts scene. The iconic sights and attractions of LA are all within easy reach from here, too. Your quintessentially Californian home here will be Hotel Oceana, set on Ocean Avenue, just moments from the Pacific shores.
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Departing Santa Monica after three nights, you’ll drive for two hours into the desert to the next stop on your Californian adventure, Palm Springs. The playground of the Rat Pack in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Palm Springs retains its retro charms and has more in common with Hollywood than with its rustic neighbours like Joshua Tree. Indeed, Palm Springs’ glitz and glamour draw celebrities from the Hills every weekend, but this desert city’s good for much more than just celeb spotting. The Palm Springs Art Museum is dedicated to American art from the last one hundred years, and includes works by the likes of Millard Sheets and Nicolai Fechin. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, meanwhile, is the largest rotating tramway in the world, and affords magnificent views of the desert as it climbs two and a half miles into the San Jacinto Mountains. Your home for two nights in Palm Springs is The Parker, a quirky design hotel with wild, beautiful gardens.
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The next stop on your Californian adventure is Laguna Beach, around one and a half hours’ drive back to the coast from Palm Springs. With beautiful coastal scenery, a photogenic populace to match, serene parks and plenty of culture – not forgetting, of course, fantastic beaches – Laguna Beach is classic coastal California. Main Beach is best for swimming, volleyball and surfing, while Heisler Park offers beautiful views of the ocean and rugged coastline. Laguna Art Museum is the only collection in the state devoted purely to Californian art, and tells the story of Laguna’s rich artistic history alongside contemporary artworks. Your hotel, Surf and Sand Resort, lives up to its name by sitting right on the beach, and delivers the ultimate Laguna experience with excellent food and bars and water sports opportunities.
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3 nightsSAN DIEGO

The final stop on your journey is San Diego, a little over an hour down the coast from Laguna. Laid back and home to great beaches and outdoor activities, San Diegans enjoy some of the best weather in the country, and their hometown is known as ‘America’s Finest City’ for good reason. Old Town San Diego Historic Park tell the story of the area’s Spanish colonial history through restored buildings like the historic La Casa de Estudillo, complete with period furniture, and the Maritime Museum includes submarines and tall ships like the vast Star of India. Your hotel in San Diego is the oceanfront Hotel Del Coronado, located on upmarket Coronado Island. San Diego Zoo is just 15 minutes away, while a 25 minute drive will bring you to La Jolla, a beautiful, high-end seafront village home to an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego which contains pieces by Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon. After three nights in San Diego, your southern California holiday reaches its end, and you’ll drive to LAX for your onward flight.
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Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

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