We are 4 uk girls flying into san fran and out of las vegas for 6 weeks! We want to travel down the west coast from san fran to L.A then
perhaps san diego, then onwards to Las vegas were we will be flying out of.
We are 4 21 year olds and r interested in seeing costal and partying scenes!
If anyone could recommend were to stop off between san fran and l.a would be greatly appreciated!
So far we have considered the following route... San Fran- Monterey- Carmel- Santa Barbara- L.A...........
We would like to hit the O.C (love it after th famous show :-) ) and also would consider heading to the mexican border?
We are going to hire a car for the journey!
I suggest you do a bit of research on Tijuana. It can get very dicey south of the border. You will have to decide on the risk/reward.
Your US auto insurance is not valid in Mexico. Check with your rental company. Most cars have GPS installed, so they will know if you drive across the border. It will probably be smarter to walk across and then use a taxi than drive into Mexico. Good luck with your planning.
On your way south from San Francisco do stop to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is a treasure and the subsequent drive down Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is magnificent.
Okay, you want the partying scene. Let me recommend some clubs and some links. How much you want to really party depends upon you (and your budgets).
San Francisco--Main club is Ruby Skye (www.rubyskye.com) Main link to visit if you want to hit the "high end" party scene is www.donovansf.com
Los Angeles--haven't been here lately, but the parties are all in Westwood or Beverly Hills or down by the beaches. I suggest you head to Westwood (where UCLA is) and ask the students where they like to party. Probably a club right in the Westwood area is best (it's just a small few blocks) or next door in Beverly Hills (just drive down Melrose Avenue or down Sunset Strip and you'll pass lots of party places--I guarantee it). When in LA if you want to do fun stuff on a real budget, go to a TV show screening. Contact the networks (NBC, ABC, or CBS in Hollywood and ask what shows have tickets available--do this now, before you leave--since the tickets are free--and you need to book ahead. If you go to the beach, the hot spots are near 25th street (by the parking lot) in Newport Beach or just a few blocks inland on Main Street in Huntington Beach.
San Diego--main parties are in the Gaslight District or out near Shelter Island or in La Jolla.
Las Vegas--parties in Las Vegas are EVERYWHERE. The best ones for the real young crowd is at the Palms or at the Cosmopolitan or the Rio or the Mandalay Bay or at the Hard Rock Cafe or at the MGM Grand. Did I say you can party everywhere? Las Vegas--especially in the summer is just a party waiting to happen--at the pool, in the bars, in the casinos, at the clubs, at the shows--and, of course, at some of the hotels.
[ Edit: Edited on 02-Feb-2012, at 21:28 by Calcruzer ]
Let me add a few comments about Orange County--since you particularly asked about it.
First of all, both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach are in Orange County--so partying in these spots definitely qualifies.
Other places besides the beach area between 21st and 25th street in Newport or Main Street in Huntington would be the area of Highway 1 (also known as PCH (which stands for Pacific Coast Highway) in the area just as you pass Highway 55 heading south and extending all the way down to Laguna Beach. This and the Fashion Island" area of Newport are where the "high end" restaurants and clubs you are looking for would be.
If you go just south of where Highway 1 and Highway 55 meet in Newport, and turn left on Via Lido and go about 1 block down, then get out of your car and walk to the Bay (it will be on your left), you will see lots of gigantic ships docked there. Go back on a Saturday or Sunday at about 3 PM and you'll see hundreds of people in elegant dresses and suits getting on board. This is because they do two things here--(1) they have lots of giant weddings (think 200-300 people for each wedding) get on these boats and have the wedding on the water while cruising the bay--and (2) they do regular evening dinner cruises here. (Went to a wedding on board one of these boats two years ago.)
I suppose I should mention something about partying in Santa Cruz--essentially my home town.
Santa Cruz has a giant university just northwest of town (University of California, Santa Cruz)--meaning about half the people who live in this area are students. The main spots to party here are:
(1) "The Red Room", which is at 1003 Cedar. Be sure to get there before 8 PM, because by 9 the line is out the door and down the stairway.
(2) Catalyst--this is a very small, but well-known dance place/performance venue that has featured acts such as Alanis Morrisette (she started her tour here a few years ago when she was popular), The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and The Killers. Think old place but with cutting edge acts (too cutting edge for me to even known who might be playing there now). You can buy your tickets early--suggested if the performing group is known--or wait until you get to town and buy tickets that evening--if the group is not so well-known. The Catalyst is on the south end of Pacific Avenue--the main street in town, and
(3) Motiv--also on Pacific--and it also gets full--but not as much as the Red Room. You can still get in easily here until about 8:30 or 9 and then it gets packed.
Be aware that these places stop serving alcohol at 2 AM (California law)--which is why the parties start earlier than in Las Vegas, where you can drink 24 hours a day.
Good places to eat in town are Hula's, 515, Woodstock Pizza, and 99 bottles of Beer on the Wall. There are also okay places on the pier for seafood.
The really good places to eat are just east of downtown at Cafe Cruz (still in Santa Cruz city limits), Shadowbrook (a four story massive place that sits on the side of a hill and has outdoor waterfalls and herb gardens and that you get to by taking a mini-cable car down to). The Disney people essentially copied this restaurant when they built their "California Adventure" theme park (which is in southern California). The original is still here, however, and much better than the one down south. This one is in Capitola.
Also, there is a whole-in-the-wall place I love called Tequila Flats in Soquel. It is small, but the owner makes 18 types of Mexican and Peruvian moles from scratch and varies their menu almost every week.
This last place is called Tortilla Flats, not Tequila Flats (guess I was drinking too much when I wrote this). As I said it is in Soquel (it's actually right on Soquel Avenue--take the Porter offramp from the Hwy 1 freeway and turn north to Soquel, then turn left and the restaurant will be on your left less than 1 block down).
[ Edit: spelling correction ]
Forgot to mention Infusion Lounge (on Ellis near 5th street) and the Redwood Room--on Geary--both near Union Square--in San Francisco
P.S. Infusion lounge's action starts at 11 PM. Don't know about the Redwood Room.