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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Jefferson chapter.

Driving up the Pacific coast, sun shining on your face, music blasting, wind blowing, with nothing but palm trees and mountains and beautiful blue beaches in front of you is a dream that a lot of people have on their bucket list. California is one of the biggest states in the US and has thousands of beautiful towns and beaches to visit, and when you’re there you want to make it worth it and see as much as possible! Fortunately, I have done lots of research and made a 10-day long itinerary with some of the most unforgettable spots on the west coast of California. This is just from my personal experience based on my own recent trip, and there is always more to explore, so feel free to learn and research more things.

Day 1-3

First, the flight gets into San Diego airport, at night. It is a smaller and less crowded airport then LAX. They have a shuttle that brings you right to the rental car garage, and once you have a car, you’re right in the middle of the bustling beautiful city of San Diego! There is lots to see, and fortunately you have two days to explore! You are going to be staying at an inn right in a part of town called Sunset Cliffs, which has a beautiful rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, and you arrive right as the sun is setting red and orange over the water. The next day, you wake up ready to explore the city of San Diego! There is lots to do in the downtown area, also called the Gaslamp Quarter. There is the oldest house in San Diego, the Davis-Horton House, which is now a museum to marvel at; there are street festivals, bookstores, shops, and lots of good food. After a morning in Downtown, there is a short drive to the amazing and glorious Balboa Park, which is 1,200 acres of museums, flower and cactus gardens, walking paths, and even the San Diego Zoo. The next day is a beautiful sunny day (as they all are in San Diego) at the beach! La Jolla is a short drive away, where you can admire the array of wildflowers, the ocean and cliffs, and the birds and seals that make this shore their own. There is a coastal trail to walk and vendors on the path, as well as a tour of the sea caves and tidal pools. After all the sights, up one street there are many delicious ocean-view restaurants in the La Jolla village. Dinner is served and the night continues back in Sunset Cliffs, as a farewell to the city of San Diego.

Day 4

The plan now is to drive up from San Diego to Los Angeles, but to enjoy the cute beach towns on the way. Next stop, San Clemente! Fun fact- there are many towns named after Spanish saints in California, especially along the coast, giving way to names like San Diego, San Clemente, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, etc. San Clemente is a small town, but full of life. There are shops and restaurants along the downtown strip, leading down to a beautiful vibrant beach and pier where you could surely spend the entire vacation. Nonetheless, it is still a great break from driving, and you grab something to eat, stroll around, maybe even lounge by the water with a book. On the way up to LA, there are many other beaches to admire along the Pacific Coast Highway, and this stretch of highway to the city is the California dream, with palm trees, ocean, and mountain views.

Day 4-6

On the night of day 4, we arrive in the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, and get some much needed rest for a day of exploring on day 5. The day begins with a drive up to the Griffith Observatory, where there are hundreds of miles of trails to hike. The best one is going to be the Mt. Hollywood trail to see the iconic Hollywood sign and the entirety of the city of LA. Next is a trip back down to go visit Hollywood Boulevard. The best place to start the walk is going to be the corner of Highland Ave and Hollywood Boulevard. Along the famous strip is all of the famous stars on the Walk of Fame, along with the TCL Chinese Theater, where hundreds of movie premiers have been hosted throughout history. To continue the feeling of stardom, it is time to drive up to Beverly Hills and experience the lifestyle of luxury. Even walking through the streets feels fancy, and maybe you’ll get to see a celebrity getting out of a big black SUV or a fancy Italian car! After getting into the LA spirit, you decide to attend an LA Dodgers game, and now you’re really into it. On day 6, you feel excited to learn all about the city where movies are made, and you decide to do a studio tour. There are many to choose from, such as Universal Studios, Paramount Studios, and Sony Studios, and depending on location and what you want to experience, you can pick whichever one! After learning all the behind-the-scenes, the glitz and glam of show biz, and maybe even seeing the magic being made, you miss the beach. So, you drive through Venice over the pretty canals, and head to the iconic Santa Monica pier and watch the sunset to wait out the traffic, then enjoy the peaceful nighttime drive up to Santa Barbara.

Day 7-9

After the hustle and bustle of the big city, it is time to kick back and enjoy some beach time in Santa Barbara. The morning of Day 7 you get up and go on a leisurely bike ride along the Cabrillo Boulevard bike path, which is along the ocean. After a relaxing bike ride along the coast, you bike through the downtown, where a strip of State Street is completely car free to explore the shops and restaurants! You spend the day in all the delicious cafes and locally owned stores, and even the farmers market if you make it on a weekend. The next day is another chill day, where you relax on the beach and take in the crisp cool California breeze. Unfortunately, the trip has come to an end, but you are sun-kissed and relaxed, and on day 9, ready to take on the travel back to the San Diego airport. Thankfully, it is always a beautiful drive, and you marvel at the wonders and are already planning your next trip back.

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Lilliana Cerrato

Jefferson '25

I love cooking and baking, especially everything from scratch! I love taking care of my indoor plants and watching them thrive, as well as learning how to care for and identify outdoor native plants. I am in a 3+2 PA program at Jefferson University, and am an Emergency Medical Technician as well!