Destinations near LA and Tucson...
October 13, 2010 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan this last minute trip! West coast and the south west...

I'm planning a last minute trip leaving early November for LA and leaving from Tucson around Thanksgiving. I have friends to stay with in each city, and will probably spend about a week in LA and 2 weeks in Tucson.

Can you recommend anything to do along the way. I'm particularly interested in camping suggestions nearby, and other outdoor adventure activities. Also in bad need of tips for food, movies, music, and general hangouts along the way. I'll be taking trains/buses whenever possible, and renting a car when that's not an option. I'm wide open to suggestions and willing to travel from my base camps for worthwhile adventures.

Thanks in advance...
posted by pilibeen to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Where are you starting from?
posted by Ideefixe at 3:40 PM on October 13, 2010

Tucson: Kitt Peak, Kartchner Caverns, Titan Missile Museum, Mt Lemmon, Lots of Ghost Towns, Tombstone, Winerys in Sonoita, A hike along the Cerro Colorados if you want to know what the immigration flap is really all about(not for the faint of heart)-and it isn't racism (at least not the KKK variety), International Wildlife Museum
posted by bartonlong at 4:32 PM on October 13, 2010

I did a fair amount of food related research for my trip to Tucson/Phoenix. In Tucson, I ended up enjoying Little Cafe Poca Cosa. I didn't do quite enough research or I would have known that Pizzeria Bianco (in Phoenix) isn't open on Mondays. The restaurant is highly regarded nationally and if I'm ever within a 2 hr drive radius again I'll definitely get there. Google Maps default route from Tucson to LA takes you through Phoenix, so it's something to consider.

In LA, I enjoyed my pastrami sandwich at Langer's. The people watching at Venice Beach was great. There's a cool skateboard park. Watching a regular Hollywood movie at the Arclight Cinerama Dome was a really interesting experience. I'd definitely do that again. The Watts Towers are fascinating. I'm sorry I didn't plan it so that I could take the tour.
posted by stuart_s at 5:33 PM on October 13, 2010

If you travel along I-8 (which means you would drive through san diego) a great place to camp is 'Cuyamaca state park' in the mountains about 1 hour east of SD. It should be great in November, not too many people. If you did that, then you could also camp on the bluffs at Carlsbad beach in Encinitas and then visit the Quail Botanical garden and/or Balboa Park in SD.

Also, Anza Borrego is a great place to camp in the fall/winter. Continuing on my assumption that you're traveling I-8 (which avoids phoenix and is more peaceful than I-10, but takes longer and has more border patrol stops), I recommend stopping at a town called Jacumba and going to the hot springs there. The place straddles the mexican border and was settled by german Menonnites. Or something. Very unique. And for god's sake make sure you stop in Dateland, AZ and get a date shake.

Whether you travel I-8 or I-10, you're going to be passing through a lot of desert, agriculture and truck stop country. Not too much happening but scenery, honestly.

For music in Tucson, I recommend Hotel Congress, Plush, Red Room at Grill. You can also send me a message if you want some more info.
posted by palacewalls at 7:19 PM on October 13, 2010

Are you a climber? If so, you've gotta make a trip to Joshua Tree. Heck, make the trip anyway, Joshua Tree is pretty cool.

Also, you could take the tram in Palm Springs and hike to the summit of San Jacinto. Though, depending on how early the SoCal winter comes on, snow is not unlikely on San Jacinto in November.

There's really fun mountain biking, and good hiking near the towns of Idyllwild and Big Bear Lake. All nearby destinations if you were to take the 10 fwy.

Fall weather in SoCal can be somewhat unpredictable, especially in the mountains, it's probably best to have alternatives planned for whatever outdoor activities you have in mind.
posted by zen_spider at 9:20 AM on October 14, 2010

« Older Industrial design in coffee makers: why convex...   |   craptastic Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.