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Quick Tips: MAPS

Reality Check

They gave me a map at the rental car place, why would I need anything else?  There are lots of reasons, but first, the L.A. area is huge. Look at a map that shows Malibu on the west, Santa Clarita on the north, and Disneyland at the southeast.  That’s an area of almost 3,000 square miles (almost 8,000 square kilometers).

Second, consider this real-life situation: you’re driving to your theme-park-of-the-day, an accident closes the freeway and the Highway Patrol takes everybody off the freeway.  You have no idea where you are, or how to get around the delay, or where the next freeway on-ramp is, and the kids are asking “How long until we get there?”  Those little rental car maps are not going to answer any of those questions.

These are the undisputed best maps of the area!  Almost everybody who lives here is familiar with them. These are spiral-bound books of maps, extremely detailed with freeway on/off ramps, block addresses, zip codes. Your best buy is the combined Los Angeles County/Orange County book because Disneyland is in Orange County. They cost $15 ~ $30 depending on where you shop.  Get lost just once and they’re worth every penny! If you’re staying with family or friends there’s a good chance they’ll have one, see if you can borrow it during your stay.

You have to be a AAA member to get these. The Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) has offices conveniently located all over the L.A. area.  These maps are not quite as detailed as the Thomas Guides, but close.  However, a single map of the large area is not good enough.  To get the details you need, be sure to get maps for specific areas such as San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, etc.

There’s no predictable place to find these, but you can check book stores, tourist gift shops, gas stations, and some grocery stores. Again, a single map of the large area will not be good enough, get maps for specific areas. Be sure to check each map before you buy to make sure it has the details you need.

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