Traveling along the coast of southern California is a beautiful adventure. For a sunny and beach-filled journey, rent a car and hop onto Interstate Route 5 that stretches through the middle of California. This 796-mile road, running from Mexico to the Oregon border, is a convenient way to travel the California coast, land in some picturesque beach towns and get some fantastic seafood.
Centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego is the popular beach town of Oceanside. Sparkling beaches and dramatic sunsets are a mainstay here. After you’ve combed for shells (shelling, as the locals call it), take a walk on the Oceanside Pier, one of the longest wooden piers on the western United States coastline. Or if surfing is more your style, Oceanside Beach is often ranked one of the best in southern California to ride the waves. Rain or shine, the surf’s up in Oceanside. If you’re looking for a stop for history and faith, the Mission San Luis Rey provides a wonderful day trip. Located in Oceanside, this Franciscan mission is over 200 years old. Nicknamed the “King of the Missions,” San Luis Rey is known for its stark white architecture, vibrant community and peaceful cemetery.
Heading south, stop by Carlsbad for scenic views of the ocean and open access to several small beaches. One of our nation’s institutions of military leadership and training, The Army and Navy Academy, has its campus in Carlsbad. Visiting the campus is a real treat for history and military buffs. For a kid-friendly trip that’s sure to make memories for the kids, travel to Legoland California Resort. This park is for the Lego fan or fanatic – with over 60 rides, attractions and shows, Legoland also has a hotel and a new water park.
The affluent city of Del Mar is about 11 miles away from Carlsbad. This city, whose name means “of the sea” is known for its two miles of gorgeous beaches, upscale shopping and eateries (make sure you get some calamari), and the Del Mar Racetrack. It doesn’t hurt that the average daily temperature is 71 degrees.
Continuing on I-5, you will discover La Jolla (pronounced “la HOY-ya”). Only 25 minutes from San Diego, this “the jewel of Southern California,” is known for its frequent visitors, culture, and shopping and dining districts. Locals enjoy fresh seafood delights including fish tacos and ceviche; you won’t walk away hungry from any La Jolla restaurant. The Torrey Pines Golf Course is also well-known in La Jolla, as it hosts professional golf tournaments.
Even if you don’t make it all the way to San Diego, traveling any part of the SoCal coast will be a memorable trip.