Venice Beach & Skatepark, Long Beach (Queen Mary), Newport Beach Pier, San Diego Zoo
I mentioned this in my last blog, but we wanted to visit San Diego. It’s a good 3 hour drive from Los Angeles, and only about an hour or less from the Mexican border.
When planning the itinerary for this whole road trip, we had discussed driving to Tijuana but we’ve heard mixed reviews about driving to the border. Also, having read the small print of our hire car, we weren’t permitted to drive it in Mexico so it’s a good job we stopped at San Diego.
Anyway, the end destination was San Diego zoo – voted world’s number 1 zoo. It was also included on our Go LA card even though it a fair distance away from LA.
However, before that, we wanted to make some stops at key locations below Los Angeles – Long Beach, Queen Mary and Newport Beach. We should have hit the road sooner as we also made a stop to see Venice Beach in the day.
Next stop was Long Beach and more specifically the Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner with her own historic story. Many people would probably make a longer stop to see this magnificent ship and possibly a tour, but we still had a long way to go to make the most of San Diego zoo.
A bonus is seeing an old Russian submarine that is docked next to Queen Mary.
Moving on, we drove to Newport Beach to indulge my nostalgic obsession for American TV drama The O.C. Ironically, most of the scenes were not filmed at Newport pier as the show suggests, but a pier and beach closer to LA. Nevertheless, it was a great stop and only a dollar to park up by the beach for half an hour. We took our shoes off and headed for the sand and waves!
Finally, we headed to San Diego zoo but we were delayed by some traffic and it meant we did not make it the zoo until a lot later than anticipated.
We only had a few hours there before it closed at 7pm so we got on their guided tour bus and skyfari sky ride to get our bearings and what turned out to be a massive zoo.
It is a massive zoo and we didn’t realise how fundamental and innovative the zoo has been in leading the best care and conservation for animals around the world.
A highlight was seeing the giant panda which the zoo had successfully managed to breed and this month, their pandas are heading back to China. Other highlights include seeing the grizzly brown bears, hippos and a Tasmanian devil.
- Days 1-4: San Francisco blog.
- Days 4-5: Beach Drive from San Francisco to Santa Monica blog.
- Days 6-8: Disneyland & Universal blog.
- Day 9: Hollywood and Downtown LA.
- Days 10-12: A few days around LA.
You can also check out our videoes from our California road trip, visit YouTube: Kluma