Scenic Drive from Disneyland to San Diego?

Discussion in 'Southern California' started by sturner324, Jun 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM.

  1. sturner324

    sturner324 Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone! In September we are taking a trip to SoCal starting with a few days at Disneyland followed by a cruise out of San Diego. The cruise starts on Sunday, and our plan is to rent a car first thing in the morning and drive to San Diego from Disneyland. From my research it seems to take 2-3 hours (depending on route). Now for my question...

    What is your favorite "scenic" route to drive along the coast from Disneyland to San Diego? I've been trying to research the PCH, and it seems the more popular stops are north... but I'm hoping the drive might still be enjoyable. We would be up for a few quick stops if there is anything worth pulling over to see, but I don't think we want to take more than 4 hours since we do have a ship to catch. I want to feel like we've seen a little more of California than just Disneyland and the interstate (though we are staying one night in San Diego after the cruise), but our time is limited. Am I hoping for an experience that doesn't exist?

    Side question - how is the traffic on a Sunday morning? I'm hoping it will be better than a weekday.

    Our group consists of 4 adults pretty unfamiliar with SoCal. We are coming from Alabama, so we don't get to the west coast often. If you know of any nice "picture" spots or interesting things to see along the way, please let me know! If you think its a waste of time and we'd be better taking the interstate, I'd like to hear that too. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. SMD

    SMD DIS Veteran

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    Take I-5. Somewhere between Oceanside and Carlsbad take PCH to somewhere between Del Mar and La Jolla or until you get sick of traffic signals. If you don't go all the way to La Jolla you can check traffic on Waze and switch freeways if you want to. You might want to rent the car the night before, a lot of local rental locations don't open until 9am and taking 4 hours plus returning a rental is cutting it a little close if there end up being traffic near the port.
     
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  4. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    Doesn't PCH end in Orange County?
     
  5. SMD

    SMD DIS Veteran

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    Maybe. I don't think all of route 1 is technically PCH. But there's a road west of I-5 in SD county that has signs that says coast highway that runs through Del Mar and Encinitas. It shouldn't be too hard for the OP to find it.
     
  6. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I-5 is the coastal route though. I haven't taken then extensively, but those are "surface streets" slightly closer to the coast.
     
  7. loloandstitch

    loloandstitch Earning My Ears

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    I recommend this route... We did this in reverse coming from La Jolla and joined I-5 N in Oceanside. It did take more time (probably an additonal 30 min), but seemed to be worth it on a weekend.

    Solana Beach is such a cute coastal town and the shops & restaurants there are neat to look at. But if you're on a time crunch and just looking for a photo spot, Del Mar's North Beach is easily accessible from the main road and has a very short path/stairs leading to a bluff which overlooks the coastline, and provides for a very nice photo opportunity. You can get a decent view of the fairgrounds as well.

    I would not recommend trying to do the OC coastline like Newport and Laguna. Depending on the time of day, the PCH can get crowded and it's kind of far from the 5.

    Have fun!
     
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  8. Purrkins

    Purrkins Mouseketeer

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    Traffic should be OK, depending on how early you leave. You'll find most of it closer to San Diego in the Encinitas/Del Mar area.

    It's not a very scenic drive unless you want to take surface streets which will increase your driving time considerably. Best bet is to get off at Encinitas and putter down along the coast until the Del Mar area before heading back to the 5.

    Might be worth stopping at Bull Taco for lunch and for the views. That's always nice. Have fun!
     
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