Road Trip For College Students

Often time college life begins to feel like a fantasyland—one where the only adults you interact with are professors and the only places you go are school and social gatherings. Although it is awesome, sometimes you just need to get away.

Besides the standard weekend trips home, a good way to get away but still make memories with your new college friends would be planning a road trip. Spending hours on end in a car with people can be some of the best bonding time and road trips are the perfect way to experience adventure.

If you go to school in California, you should add a road trip up the coast to your bucket list right now. You could split gas between five people and stay with friends at different colleges along the way so this could potentially be a relatively cheap trip.

Regardless of where you would begin and end your road trip adventure, I imagine it would include some variation of these cities. Here are some crucial activities for you to do along the way, starting from the bottom up:

San Diego

There are many colleges in different parts of San Diego—UCSD, SDSU, USD, Point Loma, etc. The city as a whole has a lot to offer.

Seeing as it is always sunny in San Diego, the number one thing that should be on your agenda is to go to the beach. There are some low-key beaches that are good for relaxing and surfing, but also beaches with crowds and restaurants such as Mission Beach.

Another thing you could do in San Diego is go to the zoo or Sea World. Both are very fun and touristy daytime events, but Sea World is more unique to the area. A good place to go for dinner would be the Gas Lamp District, which is in the heart of downtown San Diego.

Los Angeles

Another road trip idea for college students/must-see city is Los Angeles. LA County has a diverse compilation of colleges and cities with corresponding vibes. It would be a great idea to try and plan your visit on a weekend when there is a football game at USC or UCLA because these are some of the most hyped up college sporting events in California.

There are beautiful beaches in LA such as Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu. If you don’t want to do the beach thing some great spots for shopping are Third Street Promenade, Melrose Avenue or Rodeo Drive for high-end brands. You could also spend the day walking around Universal City Walk, Hollywood or Westwood.

Santa Barbara

This is one of the most beautiful college-oriented coastal cities. State Street in Santa Barbara is famous for having the best shopping, dining and atmosphere. The beaches here are amazing and an absolute road trip visit for college students as well.

If you are visiting friends who go to UCSB you will most likely stay in Goleta. The main area where students live there is called Isla Vista—you know you are guaranteed a good time when thousands of college students live in an area of about 0.6 square miles overlooking the ocean. When you’re there you have to get a burrito or nachos from a famous Mexican place within walking distance called Freebirds.

San Francisco

Unlike other “college towns”, the eccentric nature of the city of San Francisco is what makes going to college here so unique and fun. There aren’t many colleges located in the city itself, but there are in surrounding cities.

There are plenty of fun and touristy places to visit in San Francisco during a college road trip, which is highly recommended if you haven’t seen them before. You could go to Union Square or Haight Street to shop, and you definitely need pictures at Golden Gate Park.

If you don’t like any of the places on this list, don’t worry! There are plenty of other cities along the West Coast that would be worth visiting during your college road trip.

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Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander is a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. In her free time she enjoys traveling, dancing, exploring, swimming, laughing, shopping, napping, writing and spending time with her family and friends.
Natalie Alexander

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