On a fine Saturday, Oct 21st, 2006, I was on my way back to Bangkok, Thailand (Flight time is 11:00 pm). I purposely flew to LAX as early as possible so that I had some times to see Southern California, (in my mind, anything below LA including San Diego). I arrived LAX 7:00 am and roughly planned to be back here by 8:00 pm. So I had about 13 hrs in total.
Initially, I thought city sightseeing would not take up all my day; perhaps, I should just drive straight to Sea World and spent one whole day there. My friend told me about Laguna Beach and Dana point and I told myself I shall pass by and re-visit my time based on the time I had left.
I started out from airport using Hwy 1 (not recommended if you do not have time). I know the very first portion will not really a scenic route but I told myself it will be more simple for me to strict on one highway as opposed to take 110, 405, 1, etc. I told myself the distance should be more or less the same. Oh god! believe me the traffic lights would kill a lot of your time.
My first stop of the day is supposed to be Laguna beach. The city looks really happening and just next to the beach. It should be nice to stop for a bruch. But too bad, I reached there about 10:30 am and I decided to not stop, simply because of the parking. I have a long list to attractions for today and decided to move on.
What surprise me is actually Huntington Beach (before you reached Laguna beach on Hwy 1). This city is really just the starting point of scenic route. It is much more quiet and peachful (plently of parking space too!).
After I left the Laguna beach, I found my favorite spot of a day, Dana point habour. It is only 13 miles furthursouth. As soon as you drive into Cove Dr you will see breathtaking view from the hill to the habour. I found this place is really pretty but too romantic to be alone. I completely forget about what I have to see next. I really did not care anymore (http://www.danapointharbor.com/)
The weather was just right and pretty breezy too. I walked further down and found the stones levy like a mile in distance (If you know me, this might be exaggerating, of course :p) . Few couples, either young and old were holding hands to step on the rock to make themselves closer to the sea. I tried to jump from one rock to another. It is more difficult than I thought (actually I was too jealous to see the old couple in front of me holding hands etc). I turned back unwillingnessly and continue my trip to San Juan Capistrano.
San Juan Capisrano is the city which still preserves mexican styles building the way it was. The main attraction would be the Mission building itself where you can learnt more about the history of the town (7$ for adult admission). However, what enjoyed is actually a number of good looking gift shops and restaurants in town. I feel like living in the different age for about an hour. =)
About 1pm, I really had to head to San Diego now. I found my plan was a little too ambitious after getting on Hwy 5. The traffic was so jam. I thought I would need only an hour to get to San Diego but it was 2 hrs. I took a break in visitor information in Ocean View off Hwy 5, operated by senior volunteer staff. She was very impressive in putting all her effort to advice me where to go although I told her I would have only 3 hrs in town.
I decided to go to Balboa park and the Old Town (for something uniques of San Diego with the limited time). Balboa park has a lot of good looking museums. I enjoyed the asmophere outside rather than getting inside the musuem though. Must be because lack of sleep and long driving day for me.
Lastly, I ended my trip in San Diego Old Town. The town is no longer active (more like outdoor museum) but maintained as the tourist sight seeing spot. The building is no longer in use but you will see the restaurants and shop nearby where you may find the souveniors as if you were in Mexico.