Follow the route to the ultimate superstars of Southern California on a loop tour to sun, surf, and world-class play lands.
Length: 4 days
Day 1: Los Angeles to Hollywood
Directions: From downtown L.A., take State 2 (Hollywood Freeway) northwest to Hollywood. Take State 170 (N. Highland Ave.) to U.S. 101 and head northwest to Universal City. Retrace route to Hollywood.
Downtown Los Angeles. Get the beat at The Grammy Museum in the Nokia Theatre/LA LIVE complex, an eye- and ear-popping experience where you can your own beats and loops, remember greats like Michael Jackson and Elvis, and listen to everyone from Louis Armstrong to Metallica. Take a walking tour of the stunning Disney Concert Hall , whose sensual, stainless-steel curves were designed by visionary architect Frank Gehry.
Hollywood. Live out your celebrity fantasy at Madame Tussauds Hollywood , with a party room that lets you cozy up to likenesses of Johnny Depp, Jennifer Aniston, Britney Spears, and Brangelina. People watch in the soaring Hollywood & Highland Center (the main staircase is Ground Zero for the annual Academy Awards) and stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame commemorating over 2,000 legends of film, TV, song, dance, and stage.
Universal City. Head east to “the Valley” to play at Universal Studios Hollywood . Get a thrill on the wacky The Simpsons Ride , based on the mega-hit show, or other blockbuster rides. Go behind the scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour on special trams outfitted with HD monitors to put you right in the action.
Return to Hollywood to spend the night.
Day 2: Hollywood to Anaheim
Directions: From Hollywood, head northwest on U.S. 101 (Hollywood Freeway; becomes Ventura Freeway) to Santa Barbara. Retrace route south on U.S. 101 to just south of Oxnard and follow signs south to State 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Malibu. Continue on Sate 1 south to Santa Monica. Head east on I-10 (Santa Monica Freeway) and follow signs to I-5 south to Buena Park and Anaheim.
Santa Barbara. Relax in the “American Riviera,” where tile-roofed mansions with flawless ocean views dot the hillsides. Stroll the bougainvillea-trimmed grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Resort , or browse glittering boutiques and galleries lining impossibly beautiful streets. But it’s not all luxe hear—locals line up at La Super-Rica Taqueria (622 N Milpas St.); don’t miss the handmade tortillas and messy but irresistible roasted pasilla peppers stuffed with cheese at.
Malibu. Drive along some of California’s most prestigious real estate, where mansions of mega-stars line this storied stretch of sand. Try spotting celebrities at pretty Paradise Cove (parking can be a challenge; try to get there early).
Santa Monica. Toss a Frisbee on this wide stretch of beach then take a spin on a Ferris wheel or other ride on the century-old Santa Monica Pier . Head over to the pedestrian-only 3rd Street Promenade , where you’ll be tempted by countless stores and restaurants.
Buena Park. Play at America’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm. Seeking thrills? Try Supreme Scream , one of the world’s tallest, most radical adventures. Little ones love the playful fun of Camp Snoopy . And don’t miss a slice of trademark boysenberry pie—after all, this really was once a berry farm .
Day 3 Anaheim to Encino
Directions: From Anaheim, head south on I-5 to State 55 and head southwest to State 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) at Newport Beach. Follow State 1 to Dana Point. Catch the ferry to Catalina Island.
Anaheim. Who can resist Disneyland®, with signature rides like Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and dozens more keeping everyone’s head spinning. Dodge crowds by arriving early and heading to the back of the park then work your way forward. Check out progress of the expansive Cars Land within adjacent Disney’s California Adventure® Park , slated to open in 2012.
Newport Beach. Explore the distinctive character of this network of oceanfront communities and neighborhoods. Check out the scene aboard a scenic Hornblower cruise, or board a pint-size car ferry to hang out and relaxed Balboa Island just offshore—don’t miss a local frozen treat, a chocolate-coated Balboa Bar. Continue south on State 1 to Crystal Cove State Park , one of California’s coastal gems.
Catalina Island. Catch the ferry from Dana Point to this magical offshore getaway. Rent bikes to explore the town of Avalon and island back roads, join a guided eco-tour to see remote backcountry and resident bison and bald eagles, or explore what’s under the waves in aboard a glass-bottom boat.
Day 4: Carlsbad to Los Angeles
Directions: Return to Dana Point and head south on I-5 to Carlsbad. Take State 78 east to Escondido then head south on I-15 to I-8 west to I-5 North. Take I-5 South to head to Downtown San Diego. Return north on I-5 to Los Angeles.
Carlsbad. See what magic can be created out of tiny plastic building bricks at LEGOLAND California , with remarkable displays plus a host of fun rides and attractions—from the rollicking Land of Adventure to LEGOLAND Water Park. Stop by Carlsbad Premium Outlets for incredible bargains on designer labels—Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.
Escondido. Choose from a host of ways to tour thrilling San Diego Zoo Safari Park , where an extraordinary array of wild animals from Africa and other continents roam in huge, naturalized exhibits. Cruise with a guide on beefed-up Segways, Flightline Safari, or climb aboard an open-air tram for a true safari experience.
Mission Bay. Explore this 4,600-acre water wonderland, the largest park of its kind in the world, with 27 miles of shoreline and 15 miles of bayfront beaches. Swim, sail, fish, bike, stroll, or just hang out. The park’s centerpiece is beautiful SeaWorld San Diego , where you can learn about the world’s ocean life, watch shows with Shamu and more, and get a thrill on a host of rides.
San Diego. Pedal a bike through Balboa Park , one of America’s prettiest city parks, with 15 museums and the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Bask in the sun on Coronado Island, or get a taste of nearby Mexico in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Return to Los Angeles.