The Nissan in Southern California roadtrip

There is nothing better than the Nissan Roadster for a road trip in Southern California. Photo: Gold Cook

CALIFORNIA, November 11, 2013 — If you are looking for the perfect road trip vehicle then the Nissan 370Z Roadster Tour 6MT with the convertible top is a fast little car just waiting to explore the Southern California area.  While the trunk will prove to be a challenge for a two-week road trip, that’s okay, because there is so much more the Nissan offers?

The freedom of Southern California on the open road.

The freedom of Southern California on the open road.


In fact, there is nothing better than the Nissan Roadster for the kind of road trip that will not only set your spirit free, but also have  heads turning no matter where your adventure takes you. 

For a first stop, check out the Sirtaj Hotel in Beverly Hills (, a 32-room boutique hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills along a tree-lined street and located just two blocks from Rodeo Drive. The property is modern, sleek and with a touch of the East. 

Take note of the restaurant called p.s. beverly hills at The Sirtaj with a healthy menu featuring farmer’s market ingredients and contemporary presentations while the bar offers hand-crafted cocktails and craft beers.

The next day, driving further south stop for the night in Laguna Beach and the Inn at Laguna Beach ( located on the Pacific Coast Highway at the popular Main Beach. In fact, for great views and, in my opinion, the best location in the town the Inn at Laguna Beach is the only place to stay while visiting.  Even better, this recently renovated boutique property is highlighted not only by the spectacular views, but also a new pool and large, spacious and very comfortable guests rooms.  There are 70 rooms at Inn at Laguna Beach with the ocean at the doorstep and it’s also just a short walk into downtown, yet it still feels perfectly intimate.

The town of Laguna Beach is located about midway between Los Angeles and San Diego and offers seven miles of sand and surf.  It is also an art lovers delight as well as a great place for nature lovers and beachgoers.  Actually, there is about 20,000 acres of wilderness in the area offering dramatic cliffs, verdant hills and marine sanctuaries.  The Laguna Coastal Wilderness Park and Crystal Cove Park are must visits.

Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach.


After one night in Laguna Beach, a drive to San Diego will take about two hours and you can spend a few nights there.  

Stop first at the Grand Del Mar (  The resort has an on-site equestrian center so horseback trail riding is an option or, I opted for a wonderful  nature hike in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, a naturalist’s haven and an outdoor enthusiast’s playground and just behind the resort, a stunning 4,100 acres.

With two signature restaurants, dinner at Amaya is a must, but wanting to explore the nearby area of La Jolla is also a must.  For example, the walking tour of the new murals of La Jolla will open your eyes to new experiences and then a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art will also feed the soul like it did mine. 

A restaurant called Herringbone will also prove more than perfect and start your meal with a variety of oysters from around the country.  Herringbone features 100 year old olive trees growing among the tables inside and with a cool vibe of lounge music and an easy menu from Chef Brian Malarkey, here you will find a unique if not completely original take on meat and seafood from the menu offering a good number of choices that are hard to choose from just one.

At the Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego (, you will be pleased with the spacious rooms and even better, dinner next door at Jsix. 

Finally, for one or two more nights check out the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort ( in nearby Carslbad.  The spa is the standout here you can enjoy a variety of treatment options and the Park Hyatt Aviara Spa Director, Kyra Johnson is a real pro giving tips on how to “spa” better.

For the trip to the airport to head home, the drive from Carlsbad to the San Diego airport takes about 45 minutes and there you have it, a relaxing simple trip to lovely southern California.

Why the 2013 Z Roadster Tour, Why Not?

With 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway, this 2013 Z Roadster Tour made my San Diego trip from good to fantastic.  For those who are interested in keeping the memory alive even as summer ends, the 370Z Roadster has a price tag of $50,055.  Features that came on the vehicle I drove included a 3.7 liter DOHC V6 engine with variable valve event and lift.  It was 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet-of-torque with a six-speed manual transmission.  At first I thought the manual transmission might not be a good choice in Southern California, but I soon realized there could be nothing else on this sexy little car. 

Also worth mentioning for the best performance there are front and rear stabilizer bars, three-point front strut tower brace, front and rear vented disc brakes.  

For safety, expect driver and front passenger side impact and curtain airbags, anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, brake assist and the Nissan vehicle immobilizer system. 

I also had the Sports Package on my 370Z ride, that included 19” RAYS forged aluminum alloy wheels, Nissan sport brakes, limited slip differential, Euro-tuned sport shocks and a navigation system.  For comfort with or without the Sport’s Package you can also expect an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, four-way adjustable passenger seat, driver lumbar support, heated and cooled, ventilated leather seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Highly drivable and comfortable, drive it on a vacation for sure, but my recommendation is also to own one of the 370Z’s at home and take it home.

Rita Cook  is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association and can be followed on Twitter at @ritacook13. She is also a 15-year veteran journalist and author, her latest book from History Press  is about Prohibition-Era cocktails in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.




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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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