SoCal is the perfect destination for a short USA road trip. Los Angeles is about in the middle of Southern California with only a 3 hour drive to the northern border and two to the southern. 

So this post focuses on things to do beyond Disney, and since so many international travelers fly into LA, it’s normal to want to explore this region more in-depth. 

Day 1 – Mission Beach and Pacific Beach

Arrive and check into your accommodation. Our recommendation for family accommodation in San Diego is the Bahia Beach Resort. 

Day 2 – La Jolla & Balboa Park

Put your walking shoes on and head into Torrey State Pine National Reserve. It’s one of the best places to visit in Southern California for coastal hiking. 

Day 3 – Ocean Beach, San Diego

Rent some kayaks and stand up paddle boards from Active Sports Rentals at the Bahia Resort and have a relaxing hour or so out on the water. 

Days 4, 5, 6 in Orange County

I know you are sad to leave such a cool place like San Diego. But don’t be. You are in for a treat in Orange County – sweet and refreshing, just like the fruit. 

Ventura County, California is about an hour north of LA and 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara. Be sure to leave your pretense and busyness on the highway out of LA, because it doesn’t belong in Ventura County.

Days 7, 8, 9 in Ventura County