The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
The wealthiest and most desirable part of San Diego, La Jolla sits along the coast northwest of the city proper, gazing out over azure coves to the endless Pacific. Besides the gorgeous scenery, great surfing (head to Windansea Beach for the best waves), beachcombing, and skin diving, a big draw here is the recently renovated Museum of Contemporary Art (700 Prospect St., 858/454-3541, closed Wed., $10 adults), overlooking the ocean. Tons of good cafés and restaurants have long made La Jolla an all-around great day out, suiting all budgets—especially those with no upper limit.
Start the day off right at La Jolla’s The Cottage (7702 Fay Ave., 858/454-8409), where delicious food (including a divine buttermilk coffee cake) is served up on a sunny patio. For an unforgettable, swaddled-in-luxury SoCal experience, stay the night at the elegant, Craftsman-style The Lodge at Torrey Pines (11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., 858/453-4420, $400 and up), a modern re-creation of California’s turn-of-the-20th-century Golden Age.
Driving San Diego
From La Jolla south, the US-101 highway is pretty well buried by the I-5 freeway. Old US-101 can still be followed, however, by following Pacific Highway past Mission Bay and Lindbergh Field toward San Diego Bay, where it becomes Harbor Drive—where the light rail San Diego Trolley now runs.
(700 Prospect St.)
(7702 Fay Ave.)
(11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd.)