SoCal and Cabo in 12 Days

by Christine Flynn

After a design-filled road trip from San Francisco to Napa and Sonoma, artist Christine Flynn craved more Pacific Coast adventures. So this time she headed south to explore Southern California’s dreamy coastline and Baja’s beach towns for 12 sun-soaked days.


Fly into LAX and hop in an Uber for the 40-minute drive (depending on LA’s infamous traffic) northwest of downtown to the unique urban enclave that is Santa Monica.


Start off with a walk to the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Rent a bike from Santa Monica Bike Rentals and cruise along the cycling path to Venice Beach. Have dinner at Gran Blanco, where the locally-sourced seasonal menu is only outdone by a great California wine list. Stop for ice cream at Salt & Straw—their Nutella strawberry banana flavor is a dream come true. For the more health-conscious, The Butcher’s Daughter is all plant-based and all boho California cool.


Santa Monica hotels

Check in at the Huntley Santa Monica Beach, an elegant, contemporary hotel only a block from the beach. Jump in the shower to wash off all the travels of the day and simultaneously take in the room’s ocean views—there’s nothing quite like freshening up while overlooking the Pacific. Up at the Penthouse restaurant and lounge, the panoramic views are next level.



Rent a car and hop on the 405 for the 65-mile drive south to the artsy seaside city of Laguna.


The city of Laguna is full of art galleries to explore, and taking in the sunset at The Deck is a must. From Laguna, venture up to Newport Beach, it’s a scenic coastal drive of approximately 25 minutes. Newport is home to some great furniture and design stores such as McGee & Co, local surf shops such as Almond Surfboards, and the best doughnuts in the state, Sidecar Doughnuts.


Laguna Beach hotels

Book a two-night stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. This special spot makes staying put and relaxing oh so enjoyable. With live music during happy hour, beach access, a golf course and serene pool scene, it’s the perfect blend of canyons and sea.


Another scenic coastal drive awaits along the I-5 for 80 miles south to San Diego and a quick stop overnight.


San Diego hotels

With its urban energy, Pendry San Diego is a stunningly simple and luxurious contrast to The Ranch. The pool is the place to be for an afternoon cocktail. With three restaurants in the hotel, there was no need to venture far for a great dinner before an early flight the next day.


Take a morning flight from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and rent a car for the one-hour coastline drive north along Highway 19 toward Todos Santos.


Plan the days around sunset cocktails at the pool, these sunsets are not to be missed! Benno is the Hotel San Cristóbal Baja’s beachfront restaurant and it is the best spot to make all your fish taco dreams come true. Take a day trip to town to check out the local surf shops, Caffe Todos Santos for fresh fish, and Todos Santos Brewing Co. for a pint or artisanal soda. For the road warrior type, a day trip to Balandra is also only an hour each way and offers a different California Sur perspective with Gulf of California views.


Hotel San Cristobal Baja

Check in for three nights at the Hotel San Cristóbal Baja—the hotel itself is the highlight of the trip. With its handmade decor from local artisans, simple lines, and the most chill and relaxed environment, the San Cristobal is a true Baja paradise.


Hop in the car for the final drive south on Highway 19. Coordinate this trip with magic hour and sunset for the most impressive views along the way.


Take a sunset sailing cruise or spend time alternating between pool lounging and walking along the beach. In the foothills of Sierra de Laguna, check out Flora Farms, a 25-acre organic farm, for a spa day, cooking class, or just a delicious lunch. Swing by Acre in the same area for a relaxed and refined dinner. A visit to the Viceroy Los Cabo’s rooftop restaurant Cielomar for wood-fired pizza is a great way to cap off the trip.


Los Cabos hotels

Spend the last three nights at Viceroy Los Cabos and pour yourself into the stunning space. The modern, one-of-a-kind architecture is designed to envelop guests in calm and tranquility. With details like the nest bar and surrounding infinity pools, this hotel is truly unique.