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Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

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Galveston, Texas
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Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

As part of my trip (beginning 5.19) we'll be staying right near Universal and doing that one day and sightseeing for a few more days. On the last day in the area, we plan to go right out to Santa Monica, do the pier, etc. and then drive down the coast to Laguna (or so), and then end up in Anaheim right across from Disneyland by 9pm to see the fireworks (from the hotel). Anything I MUST see on that stretch?

Also, anything I need to avoid or can skip to save time? Would like 1 or 2 best beachs to stop at for a bit to get the "California vibe" (with wife and 2 kids 3 and7). All the other sightseeing will be brief photo-op type of stops along that stretch. Where are the best stops on PCH?

So, how should I proceed on that day? THANKS!

Galveston, Texas
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238 posts
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1. Re: Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

Oh yeah....failed to mention...this drive will have to occur on Memorial Day. I have no other choice, it's my one shot that day only. What can i expect?

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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2. Re: Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

First of all, you can't drive PCH from SM to Laguna, unfortunately. It's a freeway trip, totally uninteresting, no scenery - no chance to get a California vibe. No photo-ops. You would have to get off of the 405 and drive about 30 minutes (it's Memorial Day we're talking about) to get to any of the South Bay beaches (Hermosa, Redondo, etc), and another 30 back to the 405.

Secondly, on Memorial Day, you'll be in bumper to bumper traffic trying to get from beach to beach! I would recommend planning a day in Santa Monica/Venice (but parking will be difficult, so set out early), and that's that - you'll have to leave for disneyland from SM at about 6:30PM.

Or, you could head out first thing in the morning to Laguna, then leave there by 6PM, at the latest, to Anaheim - skipping SM entirely.

Galveston, Texas
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3. Re: Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

Maybe I'll just take your advice and skip Santa Monica then and go right to Crystal Cove/Laguna first thing that day. (Crystal cove seems like it would be amazing). I just wanted to possibly hit some of the famous beaches like Muscle beach, etc. along the way, but if you say there's no real stuff to photograph then....ok

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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4. Re: Beaches tour, Santa Monica down to Laguna....TIPS?

There's plenty to photograph in Venice and Santa Monica - it's just that on Memorial Day, it's an all day event. So it's best to choose one city or the other (unless you start out very early, go to SM and park at Muscle Beach, then head down to Laguna. But there's no coastal route from SM to Laguna (well, there is, but it starts in Playa del Rey and would take hours and hours) - so no photo ops there.