How Long Should I Spend in California? Allocate More Time Than You Think

How Long Should I Spend in California
How Long Should I Spend in California

California Dreaming

I desperately wanted to go somewhere for my birthday that wasn’t a beach but a place where I could explore, have fun and celebrate.      Maybe its just me but I find it extremely difficult to plan a trip with another person.  It’s not just the pressure of organizing logistics and activities but the anxiety of knowing I have to be “on” all the time.    Pushing all that aside, I googled the crap out of Los Angeles and unknowingly created a “how not to plan a trip to Los Angeles” guide.  

lol Just joking, sorta

How Long Should I Spend in California
How Long Should I Spend in California
California Beach

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned

I had an entire itinerary planned for our short trip to Los Angeles, California but as soon as we got there I realized that I might as well throw it in the garbage.    First of all, the jet lag hit me like a tonne of bricks, by 7 pm I was exhausted and ready for bed.  My cousin said she was tired too but I think she was just saying that because of me.   We forced ourselves to stay awake for dinner and drinks and hit the sack, pretty damn early.  

If there is one takeaway from this short trip, it's to rent a car.  My cousin wanted to rent a car and drive along the coast but I decided against it.  I wanted my cousin to drink freely and not be stressed out over traffic and directions.   I learned the hard way that LA doesn’t have the best public transportation and that pretty much everyone drives.  We found ourselves waiting 20+ minutes for subways going a short distance (a walkable distance) and over an hour for buses on congested roads.   I always account for delays whenever I plan a trip but this was BS, we wasted 1/2 our day on delayed transit.  

We missed out on many things that I regret now, like:  spending time at Santa Monica Pier, fully exploring San Diego or even exploring the City of Los Angeles more.  

But you know what?  We had a great time regardless and when we return, we’re staying much much longer.

Some California Highlights

Griffith Observatory

It took forever to get to the Griffith Observatory (even with a car) as it was backed up (in both directions) but we made it on time to watch the beautiful sunset over the Hollywood sign.


Hollywood Sign, California.
California. Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory, California


San Diego

Even though I chose the earliest train to San Diego, it was delayed by over an hour which cut our already short time in San Diego to merely a few hours.    We walked around the town and ended up bar hopping during happy hour and got quite a good buzz.   If we didn’t have to catch the last train back to our hotel, I am sure we would have seen what San Diego has to offer. 


San Diego, California
California Selfie. Anita Gore


Universal Studios Hollywood

Do I really need to sell anyone on Universal Studios in California?  Sometimes you just have to let your inner-child out and have some fun.  I had a great time here, although we ended up staying too long.  


Universal Studios, California


Hollywood Walk of Fame / Chinese Theatre / Tourist Trap

It was my cousins first time to California, so we absolutely had to visit the iconic landmarks.  But honestly, other than some stars on the ground and buildings that haven’t changed in decades, all it was souvenir shops, gas stations and x-rated anything.    The most memorable part of that area was finding an Irish pub that had endless drinks during brunch (thank you, Lord). 


Hollywood's Walk of Fame, California
Hollywood Walk of Fame, California
California Subway




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  1. Wow you did a lot while there! Sounds like every time I go to California. There is seriously WAY too much to do and see there. I have been going for 15+ years now (since early childhood) and still have so many things on my list to go see.

  2. We went there last year and visited some of these places. Hopefully we can do the rest next trip. Can’t wait to go back. So different from Virginia. Thanks for these.

  3. You sure covered a lot of ground, but there’s lots to see! I live in LA, and always forget how much of a vacation destination it is. I was just saying I need to experience my city more, this helps light that fire even more!

  4. I haven’t been since I was little but I am dying to go again!! I always see the cutest places in bloggers posts like yours and it makes me want to go that much more. Love your blog such great tips and tricks.

  5. I’ve never been as an adult, I want to go so bad and your post made me want to even more! I have cousins in Fresno so I really don’t have a reason NOT to go! This is great advice!

  6. Having been to California a number of times, I can totally agree with what you say. Certainly, once you get there, there is never any shortage of things to do and you just keep discovering more! You have included plenty of the highlights but I think it’s important to resign yourself to the knowledge that taking in all that California has to offer is just an impossibility

  7. I’ve been to LA before but for work, when I used to model in my teens, so exploring back then was at a minimum. I’d love to visit Griffith Observatory, see San Diego, San Francisco, hang on the some of the best beaches. But the smog and pollution, holy crap is it bad there!

    I thought I added your blog to my feed but hadn’t; you’re there now so I won’t miss any of your posts. 🙂

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