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Best Places to Visit Along the Pacific Coast Highway
Many seasoned travelers would agree that there is almost no better road trip route than the highway that runs along the Pacific coastline. This road trip itinerary begins with picking up an San Diego Airport car rental from Avis and ends at the enchanting Catalina Island, a place of paradise and a top travel destination just off the west coast. Along the way, you’ll get dozens of opportunities to marvel at the coastal beauty, enjoy a number of road trip destinations, take tons of selfies, and get a bite to eat at some of the greatest eateries along the Pacific Coast Highway. So rent a car in San Diego, and hit the road!
Your Road Trip Transportation
Once you land at the San Diego International Airport (SAN), collect your things and pick up your SAN car rental from Avis. If you’re coming into the city by a different route, just find whatever Avis location will work best for you (we have many car rental locations in California to make things more convenient). If you’d rather skip the hassle of toll fees on this route, be sure to check out our Car Rental E-Toll program.
From San Diego to Dana Point Harbor
Your official mainland destination will be Dana Point Harbor, which is roughly 66 miles from the San Diego International Airport (about an hours’ drive). However, the Pacific Coast Highway has plenty for you to see and do on the way. Following are a few stops deemed worthy of a detour.
Start your family road trip off on an exciting note for family members of all ages. Legoland is hardly out of the way of your road trip route and only a short drive from San Diego. An hour or two spent here is a guaranteed source of good times and entertainment for the whole family.
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Less than an hour away from San Diego is one of California’s oldest historic Spanish missions, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. This religious relic dates back to the late 1700’s and has been well preserved for history fanatics and spiritual seekers alike. Stop by for a quick picture or stay a while for some soothing meditation.
Ruby’s Diner in San Clemente is a must-have foodie experience. This charming 40’s-inspired eatery will take you back to a simpler time with classic American dishes and convincing aesthetics. If you’re in the mood for a little shopping, this diner happens to be located at the Outlets at San Clemente.
Dana Point Harbor to Catalina Island
If you’re ready for another meal when you reach Dana Point Harbor, grab a bite to eat at Beach House Tacos and board the ferry to Catalina Island. Make sure you book your ferry ride in advance and arrive early enough to find parking, gather your things, and board.
After about an hour of undisturbed ocean scenery, you’ll arrive at Catalina Island, where you can go zip lining, kayaking, hiking, and so much more. Taking a glass bottom boat voyage is a one of the favorite Catalina Island experiences and one you won’t soon forget.
Although the island offers an abundance of memorable outdoor adventures and nature-oriented activities, there are plenty of other entertaining things to do that require less leg work. Relax on white sandy beaches, try your luck at the Catalina Casino, and spend some time browsing the shops that line the streets of Avalon.