5 Great Places to Visit in Southern California

From San Diego to Santa Barbara, Southern California has a seemingly never-ending supply of gorgeous places to visit, exciting things to do and unusual places to explore. Whether you prefer a big city or a quiet beach town, Southern California has something for you. Here are a few of the fabulous locales you can experience along the coast, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are historical landmarks you are sure to recognize, scenery that has appeared in thousands of films over the years, and best of all, the sun is nearly always shining.

1. San Diego

Though much smaller than Los Angeles, San Diego is packed with a surprising number of things to do and see. Enjoy the historic architecture and museums of Balboa Park, then on to the San Diego Zoo nearby. Visit the shops in Old Town, and check out some of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. Drive across the Coronado Bridge to take in the historic Hotel del Coronado, an iconic seaside resort visited by celebrities and royalty over the hotel’s long history. To see San Diego from a whole different perspective, consider booking one of the cruises from San Diego and explore Southern California from an ocean liner.

2. La Jolla

You’ll find La Jolla just a few miles north of San Diego. Visit La Jolla Cove for an afternoon at the beach or try one of the fantastic restaurants nearby. For the more adventurous spirit, follow the coast highway to Torrey Pines Gliderport, and watch people hang-glide from the top of the cliffs down to the beach. Maybe even give it a try! While you’re in La Jolla, be sure to visit Mt. Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial.

3. Del Mar

A little farther up the coast, you’ll reach the town of Del Mar, home of the famous Del Mar Racetrack, where horse racing takes place in the summertime. If you prefer the seaside, head to Del Mar City Beach or Seagrove Park, or take your pup on an adventure to Dog Beach. While you’re there, you can take a surfing lesson, then head to the Del Mar Farmers Market to pick up something fresh and fabulous.

4. Los Angeles

As time goes on, it seems as if San Diego and Los Angeles may grow right into one another, but the two cities are quite different. While both have beaches, fantastic restaurants and lots of shopping, Los Angeles is truly larger than life. Theme parks abound, including Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Legoland, just to name a few. Then, of course, there’s Hollywood. Check out the stars on the Walk of Fame, and maybe even see some celebrities in real life.

If museums are more to your liking, go to the Natural History Museum or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. At the California Science Center, you can see the Space Shuttle Endeavor in addition to many other fascinating exhibits. While you’re in L.A., Be sure to visit Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach to get the full Los Angeles experience.

5. Santa Barbara

After seeing some of the iconic sights that Los Angeles has to offer, continue north along the coast to Santa Barbara, where the traffic will ease, and the pace will slow, but there are still many things to do and see. If you love historic architecture, be sure to visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse and the Old Mission. For museum lovers, visit the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum or the Reagan Ranch Center Museum. This lovely beach town is a great place to relax and unwind.

Southern California technically stretches from the Mexican border to San Luis Obispo, just north of Santa Barbara. One could fill many weeks exploring the area no matter what your interests. Steeped in history, bathed in sunshine and boasting some of the finest restaurants, gorgeous scenery and entertainment for people of all ages, Southern California is a destination not to be missed.