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Southern California Speed Tour: LA and Orange County

Hannah Fleming

With a few visits from friends and family in the books, we have created a list of destinations we tend to take our visitors. With my brother living in Orange County, and me up in LA, we’ve figured out how to cover quite a bit of ground in a short period of time. Some of these are touristy and cliché, but that doesn’t make them any less great! 

Orange County

The spots we go in Orange County are pretty easy to cover in a day, depending on the weather and how much time you want to spend in each place. Starting in Newport Beach and ending in Laguna Beach, these stops are a great way to see a lot of what Orange County has to offer!

Newport Beach- I may be a bit biased towards Newport, but this is the beach we regularly went to when I first moved here, and one of my favorites. The beach is nice, clean, and parking is rarely an issue. There are good food options, and plenty of activities outside of working on your tan. Beach cruisers are available for rent year round, along with boogie boards, surf boards, stand up paddle-boards and kayaks in the warm(er) months.

 Laguna Beach-  Laguna is small, but if you want a quaint town to mosey along with a coffee in hand, this is a great place to do so.  There are also some great trails in the Laguna, including Top of the World and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Perfect Day: Breakfast at Stuft Surfer, rent beach cruisers and ride all the way down to “The Wedge”, head down the coast to Laguna for some window shopping, a meal, possibly another quick hike and catch the sunset.


Los Angeles

Due to the infamous traffic, LA requires you to be a little more selective when deciding what to pack in to a day.

Santa Monica- Downtown Santa Monica has tons of restaurants, shops and of course the Santa Monica Boardwalk.  While this area is a little busier, it’s a cool area to walk around and definitely do some shopping. I have yet to make it down here without stopping at either Patagonia, REI or both. 

Griffith Observatory- Seen in many movies, and has a great vantage point of the city and the Hollywood Sign. There are also tons of trails leading up to the observatory if you would rather hike than drive!

LACMA- Los Angeles County Museum of Art is another great place to spend a few hours if you’re with someone who appreciates museums. We found there were some really cool exhibits, and a few floors we definitely skipped. Make sure to check out the Tar Pits!

Rodeo Drive- Because these stores are ridiculous.

Runyon Canyon- a solid workout, great view of the city AND celebrities are often spotted here.

            Hollywood Sign- A longer hike than Runyon, but another                   great view of the city!


Other Day Trips

- The San Diego Zoo
-Potato Chip Rock (San Diego)
-Mt. Baldy

If you've visited out here and have any other great suggestions to add to the list, leave a comment below! If you're planning a visit, let me know and we can meet up!



Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon

Perfect Day: Start the day with a hike at Runyon or the Hollywood Sign, grab a smoothie or lunch at Urth, Rodeo Drive, possibly stop at Griffith before heading down to Santa Monica for shopping and a sunset along the PCH.