Southern California Road Trip in 2 Days

I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip… to cruise the long stretches of highway with the windows down, sun roof open, hair blowing, sneakers up on the dashboard, and no sense of direction other than what your map GPS says.

I finally got to knock it off my bucket list when my friend and I embarked on a mini-road trip last week in California.

Of all the highways in the U.S. that you could road trip on, we were fortunate enough to cruise the Pacific Coast Highway! We squeezed in what we could, and were able to visit 8 of the famous beach towns along Route 1 in just two days.

We could have done even more than that, but we took our time exploring and soaking in as much as we could from each of the cities we did visit.


We packed our bags, crammed them into our tiny rental car and bid farewell to our lovely hotel in Beverly Hills.

From LA we drove south to Long Beach, passing through Seal Beach and on to Huntington Beach where we stopped for a quick stretch and to take in the gorgeous ocean view.

Pacific Coast Highway
Next stop, Newport Beach.

NPB is adorable and pretty big for a beach town with loads of restaurants, promenades, aquatic activities and even a vineyard. We didn’t have enough time for a wine tasting, but we grabbed lunch at a harbor-side restaurant and soaked up the view.


The next town over is Corona del Mar.

We made a little pit-stop at Inspiration Point for a moment of zen and gratitude.


… and we found #Banksy!


Finally, our last stop of Day 1 was Laguna Beach!

A local told us about a hidden gem known as Thousand Step Beach, where the only way to this beach is to walk down hundreds of steps (I don’t think it’s actually a thousand, although it sure feels like it when you’re walking back up!).

The end result is a gorgeous, secluded beach at the base of giant cliffs. The waves were too rough this day for us to venture out, but if you get the chance to come here, there is a little cave on the far left end of the beach that is definitely worth exploring!

Laguna Beach
We ended Day 1 with our toes in the sand, some beers and a front-and-center seat to an incredible sunset.

Thousand Steps Beach

Unfortunately, Day 2 meant heading back north on Route 1 to catch a red-eye home to New York. But, we spent the day exploring Laguna by foot, walking the Heisler Park Trail and shopping at local boutiques before hitting up the last few beach towns on our list…

A delicious fish taco lunch in Crystal Cove (it was Taco Tuesday!), followed by a drive through Redondo Beach, dinner in Hermosa Beach and a pit stop in Manhattan Beach.

Sun burnt, exhausted, sandy and not prepared for the arctic temperatures of New York, our mini-road trip was over.


If you are ever in California I totally recommend taking your rental car for a cruise down the PCH. Whether you only have a day or two like us, or a couple of weeks, it will definitely be an adventure! It’s breathtaking, gorgeous and even a little scary as you drive so close to the edge.

What are some other great activities and stops along the PCH to remember for next time?

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