Los Angeles Travel Guide

With San Diego and Southern California

This Los Angeles Travel Guide from Lonely Planet also covers the most popular places in Southern California. The coverage ranges from Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park in the east through San Diego, Disneyland, and north along the California coast to take in Santa Barbara too.

Los Angeles at NightLos Angeles at Night

If you’re planning to drive the Pacific Coast Highway then this guidebook will give you travel advice from San Diego and La Jolla at the southern end, through places like Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, then through Los AngelesSanta Monica, Malibu, and as far north as Santa Barbara. That’s the place we always recommend as the ideal first night’s stop if you’re driving PCH north from Los Angeles.

And we have to admit we liked this book from the start, as right at the front the authors listed Driving the Pacific Coast Highway as one of the 25 Top Experiences covered in the guide.

Who Are Your Los Angeles Travel Guides?

So, if you are going to be driving this southern stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, and maybe taking in Disneyland or a side trip to Palm Springs, who will be your guides? It helps to know who’s holding your hand if you’re going on what might be the trip of a lifetime. Fortunately this guide is written by a bunch of knowledgeable people:

  • Adam Skolnick, a third-generation Los Angeleno who still lives in Santa Monica.
  • Sara Benson, who has written for The Los Angeles Times and contributed to several other Lonely Planet California guides.
  • Andrew Bender, who moved to LA twenty years ago, and stayed, and who has also written for The Los Angeles Times and other Lonely Planet California guidebooks.

Travel Advice

There was a time when guides like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides were aimed squarely at the budget traveler, and you could expect them to be snarky about unashamedly touristy places like Disneyland. Not any more. After all, tourists buy guidebooks!

This guide has a good Disneyland section, with almost twenty pages, which should be more than enough if Disneyland is on your itinerary, although if Disneyland is your main reason for visiting California, you’ll want to get a special guide like the excellent and thorough Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.

Hotels and Restaurants

So how good will this guide be when you’re both planning and making your trip? Well, both hotels and restaurants are thoroughly covered and when we checked their reviews of places we’ve stayed at or eaten in ourselves, we found them spot-on. We didn’t always agree with their verdicts, but we could certainly tell that they’d been to the places and were giving their own opinions.

The reviews were brief, but informative and useful. You could certainly rely on the book for advice when you’re choosing where to stay and where to eat.

Is It Worth Buying?

Definitely worth buying, if you’re traveling around in the areas covered but don’t want to buy a hefty guide to the whole of California and only use 25% of it. If you’re only planning to see LA, get a dedicated LA guide.

If you’re visiting LA and Disneyland, say, then buy two dedicated guides. But if you’re doing more sightseeing than that in Southern California, this will be a very useful companion both before and during your trip.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles



Other books pages

  • Your Insider's Guide to San Francisco

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's book review of Insider's Guide to San Francisco guidebook by Jill Loeffler, publisher of the San Francisco Tourism Tips website.

  • West Coast RV Parks

    One of the best guides to West Coast RV Parks, covering campgrounds in California, Oregon, and Washington, is West Coast RV Camping from Moon Guides.

  • Washington State Travel Guide

    The Washington State travel guide from Frommer's covers hotels in Seattle, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Olympic National Park, where to eat and more.

  • Vintage Hollywood

    Vintage Hollywood in Los Angeles is an extract from the Lonely Planets book Culture Trails.

  • Cycling the USA West Coast

    Lonely Planet's Guide to Cycling the USA West Coast is a bicycling guidebook for anyone touring California, Oregon and Washington by bike.

  • California Camping Book Review

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's California Camping book review rates the 20th anniversary edition of Moon's complete guide to over 1400 tent and RV campgrounds.

  • The Best Coast Book Review

    The Best Coast is a west coast travel guide, sub-titled A Road Trip Atlas it doesn't use photos but instead has hundreds of beautiful illustrations.

  • Soul of Los Angeles

    Soul of Los Angeles from French publishers Jonglez is a travel guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences in California's largest city.

  • Santa Barbara Guidebook

    The Santa Barbara Guidebook from Moon Handbooks also covers California’s Central Coast with Ventura, San Luis Obispo, wine country, and Hearst Castle.

  • Road Food Guide

    West Coast Road Eats is a road food guide covering the Pacific Coast from California through Oregon to Washington, giving the best road trip food stops.

  • Books About the Pacific Coast Highway

    Books About the Pacific Coast Highway in California, Oregon and Washington including travel guidebooks, route guides, restaurant guides, and many more.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Road Trips: Lonely Planet Guidebook Review

    Review of the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trips book from Lonely Planet, which includes a California Driving Guide, by the Pacific Coast Highway Travel website.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide book covering the drive from Vancouver to San Diego.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Moon Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip guide from Moon covering California, Oregon and Washington

  • Pacific Coast Highway in California

    The Pacific Coast Highway in California book shows in historic photos the building of the Pacific Coast Highway from its earliest beginnings in 1911.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Guides. Book and ebook hotel guides to PCH

    Pacific Coast Highway guides include our own printed book and ebook guides to the best hotels along the PCH, available in paperback, PDF and Kindle formats.

  • Olympic Peninsula Travel Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews an Olympic Peninsula Travel Guide published by the Beautiful Pacific Northwest website.

  • Northwest Wine Country

    Northwest Wine Country is a food and wine lover's guide to vineyards, fine dining, accommodation, restaurants in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia.

  • Napa and Sonoma Guidebook

    The Napa and Sonoma Guidebook to California Wine Country is from the Moon Handbooks’ travel guide series with reviews of wineries,vineyards, and wine tastings.

  • Michelin Guide to California

    The Michelin Guide to California is a gourmet's guide to the best restaurants along the Pacific Coast Highway and elsewhere in California.

  • Michelin Green Guide California

    The Michelin Green Guide to California covers the whole state and is good on maps, the sights, major cities and towns, less good on hotels and restaurants.

  • Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast

    Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast, published by Voyageur Press, is a guide in words and pictures to historic lighthouses along the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • John Steinbeck California Guide

    This John Steinbeck California Guide, A Journey into Steinbeck's California, shows readers how towns like Monterey, Carmel and Salinas influenced the author.

  • Guide to the Olympic Peninsula

    Moon's Spotlight Guide to the Olympic Peninsula covers hotels, restaurants, and sights, including Forks, the Olympic National Park and other places.



Recent Articles

  1. Best Things to Do in Ventura

    May 12, 22 09:53 AM

    The best things to do in Ventura include beaches and museums, seeing the mission, going to Ventura Pier, and a boat trip to the Channel Islands National Park.

    Read More

  2. A BOOKISH COASTAL U.S. ROAD TRIP: PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

    May 04, 22 03:24 AM

    Welcome back to the bookish road trip series. This is going to be an exciting one, folks. We’re going to explore one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the country, and this coastline is hiding some a…

    Read More

  3. Seal Beach Classic Car Show motors back to Main Street Saturday, April 30

    Apr 26, 22 03:32 AM

    Downtown Seal Beach will become a pedestrian plaza on Saturday, April 30, but the emphasis will remain on cars — it’s the 34th annual Classic Car Show.

    Read More