Looking for the best Southern California Travel Guide? Your guide to exploring starts NOW! After visiting for the past 14 days, I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do from Los Angeles to Orange County and everything in between.
Southern California Travel Guide General Info + Tips
Traveling in a Pandemic: Before we got out and explore Southern California, it’s still very important to practice safe travel in the midst of the current climate. We all have the responsibility of protecting not just ourselves, but the people around us by implementing these safe practices: (1) Practice good hand-washing hygiene, (2) Avoid touching your face, (3) Wear a mask, (4) and Practice social distancing.
Temperature: The weather is relatively still warm around this time of year. The only time it was cooler, was around the beach due to the large body of water. A large body of water has a higher heat capacity than land, meaning it takes more energy to warm and cool the temperature of water. Therefore, cities close to water tend to have a narrower range of temperatures throughout the year.
Packing Must Haves + Travel Accommodations
Packing Must Haves: Your mask is going to be your most important accessory during a time like this. California is still climbing in record numbers of COVID-19 cases so they are taking all the precautions as they are in the process of reopening safely. In addition, I would suggest packing a couple sweaters for the cooler temperatures.
How To Get Around: Southern California is known for its bad traffic especially in LA. That was very much my experience and that is why I opted for a car rental in both LA and Huntington Beach. I took an Uber around a few times as well for versatility, but I would highly suggest getting a rental car for your stay.
Average Daily Cost: You should plan to spend around $100 per day on your vacation. Obviously you will need to budget higher if you want to visit trendy or upscale restaurants, but not everyone can afford to do that. There are a lot of inexpensive options for food and activities that will accommodate any budget. This price is based on the activities I included in this blog.
Where to Stay?
Lido House, Autograph Collection in New Port Beach, CA: The authentic beach house experience gets reimagined at Lido House, Autograph Collection, a luxury hotel nestled on Lido Isle in Newport Beach. Lido House was also kind enough to gift me a two night stay in a double bed suite. The property had a cozy beach house vibe and was “Work From Anywhere” friendly. I was able to get enhanced connectivity and premium WiFi throughout my stay. With several things to do at the hotel, my favorite amenities include The Mayor’s Table, Crew Coffee and Cremerie, and Topside Roof Deck.
Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, CA: Perched on the edge of the world’s most expansive ocean, Paséa Hotel is a dream to stay at and leave all your cares behind. Paséa Hotel was kind enough to gift me a two night stay at their luxurious hotel. I was placed in an Oceanfront Suite with the most beautiful view of Huntington Beach. The amenities and details were breathtaking, especially the double-sided shower view. Furthermore, the hotel also includes Aarna Spa and Oceanfront + Outdoor Dinning with live entertainment.
Sheraton Grand Los Angeles: Located in the heart of Los Angeles Finance District, Sheraton Grand Los Angeles is the perfect mix of luxury and urban design. I had a Deluxe Double Queen Room with a city view and stayed for 2 nights. However, I did not get to explore much of the hotel amenities. It was the design and overall accommodations that had me sold! After a long day of exploring the city, it was nice to come back to a place where I could unwind.
Things to do
Manhattan Beach: There are several beaches to visit in Southern California, but Manhattan Beach is one of the hidden gems. It’s a fairly quiet beach and less crowded so that is why it was the first beach of my choice. I was able to watch the sunset and have a relaxing day when I visited.
Lido Marina Village: This stylish, relaxed waterfront complex of boutiques, cafes & restaurants with outdoor seating is the perfect place to visit. Also, it was attached to the Newport Beach Pier, where I got to explore. It was pretty exciting seeing live clams and oysters for the first time in my life.
Carter Estate Winery: Looking for a fun girls trip activity? Carter Estate Winery has you covered. This was one of the first activities planned on my trip. Carter Estate Winery elevates the Southern California winery experience to Napa levels and beyond. Additionally, the Winery is open on a first come first serve basis.
De Buena Planta: Stopped by De Buena Planta in Santa Monica for quick drinks and the setting was filled with tropical vibes, fire pits and great service. One thing to note is that there is no reservations for De Buena Planta so make sure to get to there 20 minutes prior. Each table gets 1.5 hours to sit down and enjoy the restaurant which is completely plant based.
EP & LP Rooftop Bar: I met up with a few friends for drinks and rooftop views of Hollywood Hills and Sunset Strip at EP & LP Rooftop Bar. There was a resident DJ playing when we got there so the vibes were immaculate. Also, we ordered a ton of shareable appetizers from the Asian fusion inspired menu.
Calabra Rooftop at Proper Hotel: An excellent spot for cocktail and appetizers off the busy Santa Monica path. This is a perfect spot to go if you are looking for delicious appetizers, drinks and cozy (very aesthetic) vibes. The elevated outdoor rooftop restaurant and bar, serves Mediterranean and California cuisine, prepared in an inspiring surrounding with the ocean as backdrop.
Treehouse Rooftop Bar at Tanner’s: Let me start by saying the atmosphere and ambience at Treehouse is exceptional. The clear view of Huntington Beach, beautiful decor creating an island vibe, and delicious cocktails are the perfect recipe for a carefree evening.
Eggslut: Hands down the best breakfast I had in LA; I loved Eggslut so much that I went back twice in my trip! It’s best to say that they serve breakfast sandwiches on steroids. Each bite leaves you wanting more.
Poppy & Rose LA: Located in the Flower District in LA, Poppy & Rose LA is an award winning Black Owned restaurant. There is a nice selection of food to choose from, but they are known for their chicken and waffles.
The Mayor’s Table: This little gem in an extension of Lido Hotel in Newport Beach. The vibe is very relaxed and upscale and worth the money. I had reservations at The Mayor’s Table for both breakfast and dinner and the food for both was amazing. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and was seriously impressed by every dish I tried.
The Penthouse: This spot is a great tucked away find. With COVID and the affects of the pandemics, dining can be weird but, The Penthouse makes it effortless. Perched atop Huntley Hotel in LA, this trendy American eatery is famed for cocktails & panoramic views.
Mangiamo Ristorante: After spending the day at Manhattan Beach, I walked a few blocks over to Mangiamo Ristorante for some Italian cuisine. Firstly, the service was hospitable and the food was so delicious.
Thank you for checking out my Southern California Travel Guide and don’t forget to #VacationLikeOyin!
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