Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from San Diego to Santa Monica. If you're planning a road trip to Santa Monica, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Traveling with a dog or cat? Find pet-friendly stops. Camping along the way? Search for RV campgrounds. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.
10:00 am start in San Diego
drive for about 36 minutes
10:36 am Carlsbad (California)
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 11:36 am
drive for about 51 minutes
2:29 pm Manhattan Beach
stay for about 3 hours
and leave at 5:29 pm
drive for about 32 minutes
driving ≈ 3 hours
Carlsbad (California) (30 answers)
Legoland (8 mentions)
Self-Realization Fellowship (6 mentions)
Swami's Beach (5 mentions)
San Elijo Lagoon (3 mentions)
The Flower Fields (3 mentions)
restaurants around Carlsbad (California):
La Costa Resort & Spa
Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse
hotels around Carlsbad (California):
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
Tamarack Beach Resort
Laguna Beach (61 answers)
Crystal Cove State Park (10 mentions)
Balboa Island (8 mentions)
Balboa Island (3 mentions)
Victoria Beach (3 mentions)
Dana Point Harbor (2 mentions)
restaurants around Laguna Beach:
Javier's Restaurant - Newport Beach
The Beachcomber Cafe
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa
hotels around Laguna Beach:
Montage Laguna Beach
Surf and Sand Resort
The Inn at Laguna Beach
La Casa Del Camino
Laguna Beach House
questions about Laguna Beach:
Where to stay and non-surfing things to do in Laguna Beach
What is your favorite restaurant in Laguna Beach?
Manhattan Beach (125 answers)
Venice Beach Boardwalk (62 mentions)
Abbot Kinney (56 mentions)
Manhattan Beach Pier (22 mentions)
Trilogy Spa (12 mentions)
Hermosa Beach Pier (9 mentions)
restaurants around Manhattan Beach:
Fishing with Dynamite
North End Caffe
hotels around Manhattan Beach:
Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach
Sea View Inn At the Beach
Hilton Garden Inn
questions about Manhattan Beach:
Favorite restaurants in Manhattan Beach?
Where's the best dessert in Manhattan Beach?
What's the best neighborhood in Manhattan Beach for a first time visitor?
Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?
The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in Santa Monica.
If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Shutters On the Beach, which was mentioned 36 times on Trippy.
Here are some more hotels people talk about:
Want to research more popular hotels in Santa Monica? Click the blue button below.
Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?
Trippy members suggest Gjelina, which was mentioned 44 times.
Here are some more restaurants people talk about:
Want to research more popular restaurants in Santa Monica? Click the blue button below.
This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.
These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:
Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!
Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Santa Monica.
Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!
Looking for ideas for more destinations within driving distance of San Diego? Try searching for places within 2 hours of San Diego.
Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.
And if you know San Diego well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about San Diego!