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  1. Default San Diego to Palm Springs


    I m coming over from the UK for another trip and trying to take in as much (as my wife will let me) via a scenic route. last year we drove from SF to LA along the cost which was fantastic Big Sur etc... Although we some how managed to miss a 17 mile scenic road (I believe some where between SF and Monterey, possibly Carmel... I don't rememebr exactly) which everyone we met talked about as being the highlight.. How we missed it I don't know!

    The trouble is, we will be doing these drives in a day rather than stopping off to stay so they may be pit-stops rather than really exploring.

    This particular trip will mean flying in to Las Vegas
    Las vegas to San Diego - Driving
    San Diego to Palm Springs - Driving
    Palm Springs to LA (to fly home from LA) - Driving.

    I read the threads on the drive from Las Vegas to San Diego which I have scribbled down and will be following... Thanks for those

    Any tips or suggestions on driving from San Diego to Palm springs would be appreciated...

    Oddly perhaps, I enjoy (not shared by too many people) visiting sleepy, back-water (I don't mean that in a derogatory sense), untouched, old fashioned (kind of 50's America for want of a better term) type towns or villages etc... My assumption is that I would probably find more of these driving through the Mid-West than I would the South Western corner but...

    1) Any recommendations or places I could include on this leg of my trip?
    2) As according to the maps, Joshua Tree is a fairly short drive from Palm Springs - I think this is worth visiting?
    3) Lastly before I do more research do you have any tips on things to do and see in and or around San Diego (I have no particular bias so indoor, outdoor, driving, walking, weird or wonderul.. Throw it out there to me!). Lets say within a 50 mile or so radius.

    I suggested dropping over the border to Mexico however we have been recommended not to do that in light of the recent trouble in Mexico and also apparently there isn't a great deal to see literally just over the border, only the more touristy type stuff.

    Any recommendations and or pointers are graciously received.

    Best regards
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-12-2010 at 06:02 AM. Reason: Moved to own dedicated thread.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Saving miles.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Is there a particular reason for heading to San Diego then back to Palm Springs ? You could save miles by heading to Palm Springs first and have a little more time to explore by cutting your driving day[s] down. From Vegas you could drive through the Mojave NP to Palm Springs and visit Joshua tree on the way, or next day on route to San Diego, depending on how you go for time. You could then continue past the Salton sea and through the Anza Borrego desert state park to SD.

    Staying clear of Mexico doesn't sound such a bad idea at the moment, and as half of your 50 mile radius from SD is sea, you are looking at visiting places that you could visit as you are heading to SD or from on route to LA. Not having the full picture of your itinerary also makes it tricky , for instance there are some cool day's out from Vegas, or if you had a little more time you could drive through some old route 66 towns, such as Oatman.

    Have a look around the forums and roadtrip planning/route pages for more idea's.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default backwards

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Is there a reason that you're going from Vegas to San Diego and then backtracking to Palm Springs before going to LA? It would seem to make a whole lot more sense to do palm springs on the way to SD.

    If you did that you could go south either along the Colorado River, or you could go through the Mojave Preserve, and of course yes, Joshua Tree (I've never found a national park yet that wasn't "worth it"). On your way to San Diego you could also travel through Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

    In San Diego, you've got probably the most famous zoo in the world, the gaslamp district, and Coronado for a few of the biggest name stops.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I can suggest a very scenic way to go from Palm Springs to San Diego. Of course, it can be driven in either direction.

    Go to Palm Desert (next town east) and take CA-74 south up into the mountains. Turn left on CA-371 and take that to Aguanga. Turn left on CA-79 and take that through Warner Springs to Santa Ysabel. Turn left on the CA-78/CA-79 multiplex and head into Julian. The town is somewhat of a tourist trap but you should enjoy it. Make sure you sample some apple pie at the Julian Pie Company. From Julian, stay on 79 south through Cuyamaca State Park to I-8, which you can take into San Diego.

    Allow about 4 hours plus stops for this drive, it's about 160 miles.

    Another option is take I-10 east from Palm Springs to CA-86. Take it south past the Salton Sea to the Anza-Borrego entrance on County S-22. You can take that into the town of Borrego Springs - then either take S-22 to CA-79 or work your way down to CA-78 and head into Julian.

  5. Default Thank you Midwest Michael and Southwest Dave

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your replies!

    Sounds like we made an error here...Especially as both of you have pointed out the back tracking. The thinking behind (what is probably an ill conceived plan!) was to go nuts in Vegas, semi-relax and have fun in SD and finally chill out and do nothing much in PS (bit of golf may be and just recharging before we get back to (a cold, windy, wet and grey) London. We thought we were sort of doing a triangle... Oops. Ultimately we didn't want to do Vegas as the last venue because we would probably come back pretty needing another holiday.

    We have 4 nights in Vegas
    6 nights in SD
    6 nights in PS

    We were thinking that the driving between these places could be done in around a day.

    Oatman sounds interesting by the way - We stumbled some time a go on a place called

    The actual driving part I enjoy, it's really a nice change to driving over here - I have yet to be bored by driving in the US! So in terms of the extra miles I m not too perturbed unless it encroaches on the trip, in which case should we think about tweaking this trip?

    Another thing you could help me with is we would both like to see a sports game of some kind, football (yours not our soccer), baseball or basket ball... Are these seasonal? We actually arrive in LV on Thanks Giving and come back 11th December.

    Thanks again for your advice above, very much appreciated - I shall follow your toher links

  6. Default


    Many thanks for your advice too - I m going to look at Julian shortly - I m intrigued by Julian Pie Company... I m a foodie as well so we'll look forward to this...

    As a side issue we did a detour on our way to LA last year to go to a place called Ojai (I think I spelled it right) for BBQ... It was worth it!

    someone told me to look out for Randy's Donuts in LA as well... Plus In and Out Burger... I better buy some trousers with an elasticated waist!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The San Diego Chargers (American football) are home on Sunday 12/05, but the game is against the Oakland Raiders and it appears that it may be sold out. However, tickets will always be available for a price from resellers and scalpers. Note that SD-OAK games are noted for unruly fan behavior.

    For basketball, you would have to go to LA, they have 2 NBA teams and they will be in season.

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