A misty sky hangs over Los Angeles when we land at LAX in the morning at the end of May. It even rains when an airport shuttle, which only goes to the car rental companies, drops us at the company where we rented a car for our road trip. We can choose a rental carwithin the rented category and we choose a nice red one, which stands out cheerfully against the misty sky.
On the way to Santa Monica, the sun breaks through and we see more and more blue in the sky. But chilling on the beach is not an option in our opinion, although the Americans in Los Angeles do not shy away from somewhat grayer weather. Strange but true, we think there is a chilly north wind. The sun only breaks through in the afternoon. We decide to test other to do’s for Santa Monica, are you reading along? There’s plenty to do in Los Angeles right at the start of your road trip.
Start your road trip in Santa Monica, the best part of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a mega expansive metropolis and the best place to stay in our opinion is Santa Monica. Because it lies on a fault line and is regularly hit by earthquakes, there are few high-rise buildings in Los Angeles. Everyone takes the car and the city is notorious for its traffic jams. It is better to avoid the evening and morning rush hours. We therefore spend the weekend at the (budget) Palm Motel in Santa Monica. On Saturdays we walk along Pico Boulevard to the Santa Monica Pier near the old town. On Sundays, that must be a car-free day, we take the car to Hollywood and look for the world-famous letters.
Rain or shine, this is what you want to do in Los Angels at the start of your road trip
- Go to the terminus of Route 66, which is the more than 100-year-old Santa Monica Pier
- Visit one of the many restaurants in downtown Santa Monica
- Shopping! Go shopping on 5th Street
Visit the Comedy Club
- Rent an (electric) bicycle on Ocean Avenue; drive to Venice Beach at your leisure and look around the Marina
- Look for the white bridges, the Venice Canals
- Take the bus to Montana Avenue; visit the historic theater or eat in one of the trendy restaurants
- On Saturdays, don’t miss the Farmers Market on Pico Boulevard
- And when you’ve seen enough of the city… head to the national parks in the area!
Leave Los Angeles and start your road trip to the most beautiful National Parks in Western America
Los Angeles is the ideal base to visit the most beautiful National Parks of Western America. The following places are located within a day’s travel:
- Death Valley, the hottest place in the US
- Joshua Tree National Park, discover our tips
- Zion National Park
- Sequoia National Forest, with the largest trees in the world
- Yosemite National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Antelope Canyon (officially not a national park, but a beautiful nature reserve)
- Horseshoe Bend (officially not a national park, but an incredibly special piece of nature)
The choice is huge as you can see. We leave the cold Los Angeles behind us and opt for a road trip to the Mojave desert, follow a route to Death Valley and admire Joshua Tree National Park.