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Old 02-23-2009, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Manitoba, Canada
6 posts, read 19,460 times
Reputation: 11
Default Driving to West Coast From Vegas

My husband and I are going to be in Las Vegas for a few days in April and are thinking of driving over to the coast for a day (yes we know it's a fair bit of driving for one day). I haven't seen the West coast and was thinking this might be a good opportunity. We don't want to go anywhere near Los Angeles and the traffic if at all possible. I was looking at going somewhere like Dana Point, just to see the harbour and check out a beach for a bit or something. I'm wondering if it's possible to drive from Las Vegas out to somewhere like Dana Point without dealing with much of the traffic issues. Any suggestions you have for other places or routes to avoid or take would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:05 PM
 
Location: LB/OC for now...
5,112 posts, read 11,294,337 times
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its difficult to assess. it depends on the time of day you'll be coming in and the day you come in. sundays are terrible coming from vegas to LA. on a weekday, you'll want to avoid rushhour.

as far as routes, the best route would probably be the 15S to the 91W to the 241S(toll road). You can take that to the 5S(via 133 connector) or to completion near Oso Pkwy and head West to the 5S. The latter route would avoid some terrible rushhour traffic at the El Toro Y(5/405 merge) if you come in late in the day.

You could also take the 133(turns into Laguna Canyon Rd) straight to Hwy 1/PCH(called Coast Highway in Laguna, Pacific Coast Highway everywhere else). Head south from there through Laguna to Dana Point. This route would add a little more scenery to the end of the trip

The 91W isn't the best freeway to come into the area on(routinely backed up), but going to Dana Point it's hard to avoid unless you take the 15S to Ortega Hwy/74 in Lake Elsinore. This isn't the greatest road, but it is the only other direct way to get to south Orange County without going all the way to Oceanside on the 76. I'm not familiar with Ortega Hwy traffic patterns, but I'm sure someone can provide that information.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Northern Arizona
1,248 posts, read 1,947,349 times
Reputation: 599
I don't know what the drive on the 15 is like north of Barstow, but if its anything like the vast nothingness that make up the trip between Needles and Barstow on I-40, then god help you

And then you hit Barstow where the LA traffic essentially begins. Whatever that mountain pass is called separating Victor Valley from Fontana is a b*tch to drive.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Manitoba, Canada
6 posts, read 19,460 times
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We're looking at coming on on a Tuesday and would be leaving Vegas at around 5 or 6 am. We're not set on going to Dana Point, we're just looking for somewhere that's maybe a bit quieter and easy to get to.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:25 PM
 
Location: LB/OC for now...
5,112 posts, read 11,294,337 times
Reputation: 1762
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas09J View Post
We're looking at coming on on a Tuesday and would be leaving Vegas at around 5 or 6 am. We're not set on going to Dana Point, we're just looking for somewhere that's maybe a bit quieter and easy to get to.
Dana Point would really be as good as any. You could also go to Crystal Cove State Park/Beach(which is north on Coast Hwy rather than south). Traffic-wise getting to LA, that area probably as good as you're going to get for what you want.

You shouldn't encounter any traffic in that timeframe on a Tuesday. And depending on stops, estimate 4hrs.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:09 PM
 
198 posts, read 393,936 times
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You should try something like the La Jolla Cove, North of SD South of LA
Take the I15 south to Escondido, merge west on the 78 freeway to the I5, Take I5 south to La Jolla

http://www.lajolla-world.com/images/245_sunny_jim_cave_La_jolla_California-2.JPG (broken link)

http://encyclomedia3d.com/saveourparks/images/lajolla1bg_80199.jpg (broken link)





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Old 02-24-2009, 09:28 PM
 
2,648 posts, read 2,935,941 times
Reputation: 1816
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas09J View Post
My husband and I are going to be in Las Vegas for a few days in April and are thinking of driving over to the coast for a day (yes we know it's a fair bit of driving for one day). I haven't seen the West coast and was thinking this might be a good opportunity. We don't want to go anywhere near Los Angeles and the traffic if at all possible. I was looking at going somewhere like Dana Point, just to see the harbour and check out a beach for a bit or something. I'm wondering if it's possible to drive from Las Vegas out to somewhere like Dana Point without dealing with much of the traffic issues. Any suggestions you have for other places or routes to avoid or take would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone!
If you leave at 5 am, you'll arrive in OC around 5 hours later ( with minimal stops & a lead foot) at 10AM. Your biggest decision would be when to leave. 91E is a parking lot in the pm. To beat the east bound rush hour, you'll need to get back on the road and be off the 91E by 3pm or ride it out at the beach & wait until around 7pm before heading back.

Lastly, check the Caltrans website about maintainance on the 15. They had been doing a long term paving project between the NV border and Barstow. Not sure if that is done yet. I think they were doing it during the weekdays to avouid the normal tourist traffic from CA. Last time I drove (early 2008) I got caught in a 1 hour delay due to the maintainence. If you get caught up there you're totally stuck, as there is nothing out there but the freeway and open desert.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Manitoba, Canada
6 posts, read 19,460 times
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When we would head back to Vegas was our next issue because of course the most logical time to leave in terms of travel time would be right in the middle of rush hour, which we really don't want to do! We're still thinking about that part.

Does this route (mapquest) make sense as a route to take? Are there any huge traffic concerns with this route?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OC Investor2 View Post
Lastly, check the Caltrans website about maintainance on the 15. They had been doing a long term paving project between the NV border and Barstow. Not sure if that is done yet.
I believe this work is done now, but thanks for the heads up about it.

Thanks again for all the help! We really have no idea about the area, so all the help is much appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: LA
6,096 posts, read 11,001,945 times
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because of traffic concerns throughout the socal region, i wouldn't leave vegas any earlier than 7am. that will put you in the IE area around 10am, which should (note italics) be after the morning rush hour commute and into the orange county beaches around 11 or 11:30. Have lunch, walk around, see the sights, then have dinner and watch the sunset (maybe las brisas in laguna), but certainly don't leave before 7pm, seriously! I would aim for roughly an 8pm departure, which would put you in vegas around midnight or so. that's one hell of a day trip, but should be nice for someone who has never seen the pacific before. places to consider visiting besides just dana point would also be laguna beach and newport beach. have fun!
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:52 AM
 
2,648 posts, read 2,935,941 times
Reputation: 1816
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas09J View Post
When we would head back to Vegas was our next issue because of course the most logical time to leave in terms of travel time would be right in the middle of rush hour, which we really don't want to do! We're still thinking about that part.

Does this route (mapquest) make sense as a route to take? Are there any huge traffic concerns with this route?



I believe this work is done now, but thanks for the heads up about it.

Thanks again for all the help! We really have no idea about the area, so all the help is much appreciated.
Your route works fine if you are set on Dana Point.

If I were you, I would reconsider Dana Point. Except for the harbor & Doheny Beach, there really isn't much to do there. Additionally, you'll drive an extra 1/2 hour each way to get further south into OC to see less.

If I had 6-8 hours to explore OC beaches & coast I would head to newport beach, check out Balboa Island & the harbor area ( bigger & more historic then DP) then get a taste of the classic CA drive down Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach. It would be a 20-30 minute jaunt down PCH. You'll go past Fashion Island, thru the village of Corona Del Mar, then to Crystal Cove which is probabably the last stretch of undeveloped beachfront land in OC, and finally into Laguna Beach a funky, artsy beachtown with lots of pretty coastline, cute shops & good restaurants.

To do this route you can come down the 241 to the 261 which dumps you off on Jamboree road in Irvine. Follow Jamboree all the way til you hit the water & you'll be at Balboa Island in Newport Harbor. To Leave Laguna, Go straight up Laguna Canyon & it will turn into the 133 toll road. Follow that back to the 241 then onto the 91E and you're on your way back to Vegas. You'll see more, have better choice of places to check out and drive less freeway then going down to Dana Point.

Just my 2. Good Luck & enjoy your trip!
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