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Southern California Road Trip

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307.4 miles: 6 hours, 52 minutes
Laid-back beach towns. Coastal bluffs. The Anza-Borrego desert badlands. The quaint mountain hamlet of Julian. Wine tasting in Temecula. All this, plus a stop in San Diego, makes for a sweet slice of the SoCal scenic pie. If heat's not your thing, take note: Summer temps in Borrego Springs routinely top 100 F, meaning this is a trip best done in spring and fall.
1
Los Angeles to San Diego
126.7 miles: 2 hours, 32 minutes
Rolling away from Metro L.A., you'll cruise I-5 as it parallels the coast to San Diego. Without stops, the drive takes a few hours. But what's your rush? Slow down. Take short detours to soak up the seaside beauty of towns like Carlsbad, Del Mar and La Jolla. In San Diego, there's plenty to keep you busy—from the world famous zoo to downtown's Gaslamp Quarter.
2
San Diego to Borrego Springs
100.8 miles: 2 hours, 17 minutes
From palms to pines, this leg leaves the coast behind for the historic mountain town of Julian, where a myriad of shops and eateries occupy old wooden storefronts. From lofty Julian you'll descend some 3,600 feet to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Here, starkly beautiful badlands and rugged desert canyons surround the tiny town of Borrego Springs.
3
Borrego Springs to Temecula
79.9 miles: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Don't leave Borrego Springs without seeing artist Ricardo Breceda's wonderfully bizarre metal sculptures (think sea serpents and scorpions) dotting the desert around town. Rolling hills and twisted oaks frame the drive to Temecula, where oenophiles will find some 30 wineries in the picturesque Temecula Valley. Don't drink? Go antique shopping in Old Town Temecula.