So Cal So Good: What to See in Southern California

Southern California is a part of the world which is perhaps best-known for its year-round beautiful climate, stunning sandy beaches, and impossibly chilled-out atmosphere. However away from the ocean, you have a diversity that makes it a perfect vacation spot, with towering mountains, wine tasting areas, gourmet food and secluded towns that make a perfect vacation.  

Though you could conceivably spend your whole vacation time in each one of the different places below, you may need to be more selective if you don’t have days and nights on end. We drove from San Francisco to San Diego on a road trip and with so many things to do we had a fantastic experience, but you do need the time to explore properly. 

if you don't have the time, however, just find a base, pick some accommodation, (we fancy The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel on our next trip), book your flights, and arrange car hire, to get a taste of a laid-back lifestyle like no other. 

Venice Beach

The original vision for Venice Beach was conceived over 100 years ago when Abbot Kinney came up with the idea to turn Santa Monica into a version of the iconic Italian city. To this day, the canals remain one of the area’s top attractions, but most tourists head straight over to the boardwalk, where street performers, food stalls, and souvenir shops all compete for your attention. Other than this, people watch at the volleyball courts, while the centre of bodybuilding known as Muscle Beach is the place to go for all gym enthusiasts and where Arnold Schwarzenegger started out.

San Diego

One of the best-loved cities on our California road trip was San Diego. San Diego boasts miles and miles of sandy beaches, a beautiful harbour, an iconic zoo, the USS Midway, Belmont Park theme park,- and we have only just scratched the surface! Situated right on the Mexican border, San Diego is known as the 'Birthplace of California', and if you are interested in discovering more about the history of the state, you have certainly come to the right place. Head to the Gaslamp Quarter for some great live music and interesting eating and drinking spots.

Santa Barbara

Take a drive north of LA along the coast and you will arrive in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara. However, if you are coming directly from the City of Angels, one of the first things that you will notice is how different the place is. The palm trees and red-roofed houses stand out if you take in the view from above, while the many beaches are all pleasant places to go to while away your time. Santa Barbara is also known for wineries and vineyards, make a stop at the many locations where the black comedy about a wine tasting road trip, Sideways, was filmed.

Palm Springs

A former playground of iconic Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra, Palm Springs has opened up significantly to the general public since those heady days of wild partying. If you want to get a glimpse of what life was like in those days, take a trip over to the Movie Colony District. Beyond the built-up centre, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding landscape. One of the best experiences is a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which whisks you up nearly 3,000 metres to give you stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

As you can see, Southern California has more than its fair share of incredible attractions. Would you visit Southern California?


  1. I would absolutely love to visit, it looks amazing. Another one for my travel bucket list! Kaz

  2. I've always wanted to go to Santa Barbara! It looks so pretty and reminds me of Spain/Portugal with the red roofs on white buildings. I've been to Venice beach and that was nice! Great place to people-watch. Thanks for your tips!

  3. We first visited in 1997, and loved it so much we made a 5 year plan to move there. Moved in 2001 and still here. In fact we're American now. I <3 So Cal!

  4. Ooh I haven't been to southern California before but after seeing your post, I definitely think I should take a trip there sometime! xxx

  5. It would be awesome to be able to visit California one day, it is a city on my bucket list

  6. I want to go and see The Original Venice Beach Psychic - only $10. Did you go?

  7. Having grown up watching the tv show the OC california has always been on my bucket list to visit. Palm Springs would be lovely to see and watch those sunsets from 3000 feet up!

  8. What a STUNNING place...and there are just TOO many amazing places in the world to visit! This one is without a DOUBT, on my list!