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  • Writer's pictureMallory Harper

Road Trip: 9 Day Itinerary for Exploring Southern California


In mid-September, my husband and I had planned to take another trip to Vegas, one of our favorite places but currently, with lots of construction taking place for the upcoming F1 race we decided we wanted to do something a bit different. We ended up deciding on using Vegas as a home base and taking off on a road trip exploring Southern California! Over the span of seven days, we'd witness the breathtaking desert landscapes, iconic landmarks, and captivating coastal scenes that define the essence of California.


Below I outlined our itinerary, packed with lots of unforgettable experiences, restaurant and hotel recommendations, and tips that will inspire you to plan your own road trip and uncover the marvels of this dynamic region.


Day 1: Fly into Las Vegas, NV

  • Fly into Las Vegas from your home airport

  • Pick up rental car

  • Relaxed and had dinner before calling it an early night

  • Hotel Recommendation: Waldorf Astoria - Quiet and relaxing, best for getting ready for the trip!


hotel room at waldorf las vegas


Day 2-4: Las Vegas, NV to San Juan Capistrano, CA (285 miles)


San Juan Capistrano historic district sign


Day 4-6: San Juan Capistrano, CA to Oceanside, CA (30 miles)


sunset over the ocean at the seabird resort


Day 6-8: Oceanside, CA to Coronado, CA (45 miles)


Hotel del Coronado sign with flowers underneath


Day 8-9: Coronado, CA to Las Vegas, NV (285 miles)

  • Visit Joshua Tree National Park

  • Drive through Mojave National Preserve

  • Restaurant Recommendations:

    • Bring road trip snacks, food options minimal on the drive

  • Hotel Recommendation: Mandalay Bay


Joshua Tree National Park entrance sign


Day 9: Fly Home

  • Head back to reality and plan your next trip 🙂



Our Southern California road trip was a whirlwind of discovery and delight, a departure from the usual Vegas retreat. From the charming allure of San Juan Capistrano to the lively shores of Oceanside and the timeless elegance of Coronado, each stop offered unique experiences. From walking on beaches, exploring local boutiques, relished delightful meals at recommended eateries, and the natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park.


We invite you to plan your own road trip, embracing the allure of discovery and the promise of adventure on the open road. Until the next adventure, may your travels be filled with joy and new horizons!







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