Destinations, Guides, Road Trip, USA, USA

The road tripper’s guide to Los Angeles

2 Comments 19 February 2013

The road tripper’s guide to Los Angeles

More than any other city, people need their own vehicle to tour Los Angeles. Getting around on public transportation is extremely time consuming and can be quite complicated. The city is very spread out and public transportation is, unfortunately, somewhat unpopular here. To make matters worse, because of how large the city is, taxis can be expensive as well.

So by choosing to road trip to Los Angeles, rather than just arrive by plane and spend a few days here, you’re already one step ahead.

Basing your trip on the fact that you will need a car, makes things like picking a campground to stay a lot easier, because location doesn’t matter. On the other side, it makes things like planning nights out a bit more difficult because either someone must volunteer to be designated driver or you need to split the the cab fare. This guide will help you understand the city of LA better, from a road tripper’s point of view.

The view from Malibu Beach RV Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Sleep

Since Los Angeles is very spread out, finding the perfectly-located accommodation is not as much of a concern. Most of your camping options in Los Angeles are going to be on the coast, which makes for some gorgeous beach locations, slightly out of the city. Dockweiler Beach, a state park close to LAX, is a favourite among campers. Malibu has quite a few camping options, including Malibu Beach RV Park, which is located right on the Pacific Coast Highway with an incredible view of the coast. Plus there are options outside Disney Land in Anaheim.

Staying at a campground or RV will save you a lot of money in LA as they average about $35 for partial hook up per night, whereas you’re looking at spending at least $60 per night on a hotel in the city. But if you choose to stay in a hotel, whether or not they’ll have free outdoor parking depends on their location, so call ahead to find out if they do and if there are any height restrictions.

Go

Those driving in LA should avoid doing so during rush hour. Since almost everyone here drives, the traffic is horrendous. If you can, always have at least one passenger in the car so you can use the carpool lane on the freeways. There are a lot of parking options here, usually affordable ones depending on the area. However, fuel is not. Stay away from wealthy areas like Beverly Hills and Malibu when fueling your car.

A crab cake sandwich from Neptune’s Net, located right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Eat

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods rule this city, as well as a few high-end grocers. I would say Trader Joe’s is the most affordable and plentiful option to choose from. It’s very easy to find grocers with parking inside the city. It might be better to go during the week rather than the weekend to avoid any kind of rush by locals off work.

For meals out, take advantage of having a car by visiting restaurants on the coast with the perfect view of the sunset in beach towns like Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. A lot of these are going to be pricey. A popular option that’s very affordable is Neptune’s Net in Malibu.

Whiskey A Go Go is a major venue in music industry. The Doors were the house band here for a while. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Drink

While there is no one party area in this city, there are plenty of places to party. LA is known for its trendy and unique bars and clubs as well as a few timeless rock venues like Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Blvd. If you want to have a big night out, research LA’s most popular clubs at the moment, choose one then plan your night around getting to and from there whether it be by public transit or sharing a taxi. If using public transit, check to see if your service runs late.

Having a car in LA makes it a lot easier to reach spots up in the hills like Griffith Observatory. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Play

Arrange your trip by accomplishing everything you want to do in one section of the city in one day. For instance, spend a day in Hollywood doing the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Hollywood sign and any tours you fancy. Let another day be all about Disney Land. This will avoid you wasting money and time going back and fourth to an area.

Some musts for those with cars include cruising on the Pacific Coast Highway, driving up to the Griffith Observatory and visiting famous homes like the Getty Villa.

Road tripping to San Francisco or Los Angeles? There’s a guide for that!

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

As always, all opinions are my own.

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- who has written 310 posts on Heels and Wheels.

Creator of Heels and Wheels. Writer, traveler and more.

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  • http://twitter.com/globalgrasshopr GlobalGrasshopper

    We went to all these places in September and I still miss LA, great place for a road trip!

  • http://www.heelsandwheelsonline.com/ Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    It’s such a great city! Perfect road trip stop. Thanks for commenting.

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