Skip Navigation

renting a car for the PCH drive from LA to SD

Travel Forums North America renting a car for the PCH drive from LA to SD

1. Posted by sandy456 (Full Member 213 posts) 8y

sandy456 has indicated that this thread is about USA

renting a car for the PCH drive from LA to SD

I'd like to know which rent a car company (iN Los Angeles, CA) to deal with If I'm planning to do the following.

1) LA to San Diego (with all the scenic stops in between) on the Pacific Coast Highway. I have a Canadian driver's lisence only (and a passport) - I don't have insurance (and I'm without a credit card of my own - though I do have access to a family credit card NUMBER which I use for emergenices - and I have cash). I'd like to use the car for a max (of 2 days) while I slowly work my way down the coast (on the PCH passing all the little communities). I'm a photographer so that is the purpose of the trip - to take pictures, pictures and more pictures.

Anyways, I'd like to know which company is the most cost-effective (and most appropriate for this trip). I will of course, rent the car in LA (and return it in SD).

It's possible right?

2. Posted by pfeiffer (Full Member 211 posts) 8y

Quoting sandy456

renting a car for the PCH drive from LA to SD

I'd like to know which rent a car company (iN Los Angeles, CA) to deal with If I'm planning to do the following.

1) LA to San Diego (with all the scenic stops in between) on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Hmmm, unless you want to see a few more beaches I wouldn't have thought that there is all that much to see between Los Angeles and San Diego. We did take two days, but that was on bicycles -- which I can highly recommend, but get a route from a local bike club first.

Why not take Amtrak? That's one of the few routes in the country that it runs along.

Good luck with the rental car. Can one do that -- pick one up in city A and leave it in city B? That alone sounds more expensive (but what do I know, I haven't driven a car in several years).

-Kevin
--
Kevin Pfeiffer

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 9, 2006 4:22 PM by pfeiffer ]

3. Posted by etretr (Inactive 3 posts) 8y

The last time I drove that route, I found that PCH kept turning into Interstate 5, and when it wasn't Interstate 5, it was pretty stop-and-go with not great scenery. There is that military base near Carlsbad. As Pfeiffer suggested, the Coaster (Amtrak) goes down the coast and is much easier, not sure about the scenery but you can ask around. I know parts of it, at least, are good. Once in San Diego, drives on the coast in north county are beautiful (La Jolla Scenic Drive, Torrey Pines North, Camino Del Mar) and then you can stop at some great beaches (Del Mar, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove, Pacific Beach... the almost-deserted surfer's beach between Del Mar and La Jolla Shores--near Torrey Pines state reserve--is my favorite but a bit of a trek.)

I don't know anything about renting a car with a Canadian driver's license. I would assume it's fine, as it's perfectly fine to drive in the US with a Canadian license (I think...). Enterprise rental company is good in southern California, I think. Just don't underestimate the frustration of driving in LA. While you do need a car once in SD, I would keep driving in California to a minimum if you can. If you are really set on the PCH, I would recommend going north, around Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and up to Oregon. That is a much nicer drive.

4. Posted by pfeiffer (Full Member 211 posts) 8y

Quoting eruethling

The last time I drove that route, I found that PCH kept turning into Interstate 5, and when it wasn't Interstate 5, it was pretty stop-and-go with not great scenery. There is that military base near Carlsbad. As Pfeiffer suggested, the Coaster (Amtrak) goes down the coast and is much easier ...

Sorry, it's "Kevin" or "Kevin Pfeiffer", please, but not "Pfeiffer" (I'm not in the army.)

-Kevin
--
Kevin Pfeiffer

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 10, 2006 1:15 AM by pfeiffer ]

5. Posted by gypsierose (Budding Member 26 posts) 8y

i would agree to all the postings. The scenary isn't all that great as most people just want to get down to SD... And the traffic is really what will hold you up.

But to answer your question, most major rental companies like Hertz or national, should have something where you can drive one way and drop it in another location/state.

6. Posted by zuma hans (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

This is crazy. Any local will tell you: rent the car!

The train is great, bikes better.

But with a car your can experience the real California.

Take the freeway from LA to Long Beach - the port is very interesting. Park at the Long Beach aquarium and see that.

Then take the 405 freeway down to the 55 freeway, and then pick up Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway - at Newport Beach.

There are several wonderful things to experience there: such as The Wedge (at the very end of Newport Blvd). This is a rock jetty that funnels tremendous waves ashore, and it is reserved for death-defying body surfers. You aren't going to see that by train!

If it's board surfing you want to experience, drive down PCH to where it merges onto the 5 freeway at San Clemente (another good place to explore - look for the pier, which has some nice shops and eating nearby).

Get off the freeway at the state park exit, and ask someone how to find the walk to "Trestles". This is the best surf beach in California, and that is saying a lot.

Get back on the 5 and stay on it to about carlsbad - then exit right and pick up the old PCH, now called S-21 or Historic 101. Lots of beautiful little beaches just to the right, all the way to Del Mar and then Torrey Pines. Black's beach, just south of Del Mar, is California's best FKK beach but is remarkable for other reasons: isolated by a huge bluff, it is long and gentle. Great swimming.

Stay on local streets and just work your way south into La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach: three different and highly picturesque places. Ride the roller coaster at Belmont Park: it's a better ride than anything at Disneyland and only costs $3 (half price Tuesdays).

Mission Bay PArk is fun to look at. Sea World, in my opinion, is a tourist trap. Much better to see the Zoo, it has a well-earned international reputation.

Every one of these places can be enjoyed by using public transportation, yes.

But you will spend hours waiting, and it requires a real local's knowledge to find the right routes.

Rent the car.

7. Posted by pfeiffer (Full Member 211 posts) 8y

Quoting zuma hans

But you will spend hours waiting, and it requires a real local's knowledge to find the right routes.

Rent the car.

Yeah, that will be much easier, especially without a credit card.

-Kevin
--
Kevin Pfeiffer