Scenic Drives, Los Angeles
Concierge.com's insider take:
One of the most dramatic driving routes in Los Angeles is Mulholland Drive, which follows the peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains from the Cahuenga Pass almost to Topanga National Park. The road is lined with mansions, and has spots where both the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are visible.
The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) from the Santa Monica Freeway north through Malibu and all the way to Oxnard provides fantastic views of the Pacific, the Santa Monica Bay, and all the famed surfing spots to the north of Malibu. There are also lots of restaurants, from the hokey Gladstone's (where Sunset Boulevard meets the highway) all the way up to Neptune's Net, a shack with a parking lot jammed with motorcycles north of Trancas. At sunset, the PCH is glorious. To plan your driving trip, check out www.us-101.com.
The Angeles Crest Highway (Route 2) climbs 66 miles through the Angeles National Forest from La Canada-Flintridge into the San Gabriel Mountains, ending at Mountain Top Junction near Wrightwood, a popular ski area. The two-lane highway is a bit perilous, especially in bad weather (check the road conditions at www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo), but it's better patrolled than in the past. Drive carefully and you'll have a beautiful mountain journey, with shaded picnic stops, campgrounds, and views. At points the highway reaches nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Check out www.byways.org/browse/byways/10245/travel.html for a map and more information.