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ASAP Help w/San Fran to San Diego 12 day road trip with young kids

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Hi all. I'm trying to finalize the details of our trip to Cali, starting in SF and driving down to SD, which is just a few weeks away! We are a family of 5 with kids ages 6, 10 and 12. All kids are animal and science lovers. I love the beach.. My basic itinerary is as follows, but I am trying to decide how many days seems best for what we have potentially planned. Staying approx 3 nights in each location (SF, Carmel, LA, SD)..want this vacation to be somewhat relaxing! Of course, I am open to all suggestions.

List of things to do in SF - just trying to figure out order. Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park and Exploratorium, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Chinatown (possible tour?), Cable Car ride, Lombard Street, Ghiradelli, Ferry Building, Muir Woods/Sausalito, Would love to do Alcatraz but all sold out.

Day 1 - Arrive in SF from East Coast around 2 pm. Staying in SoMA/Union Square for 3 nights. Kids may be tired after flying so don't want to do anything too hard core when we arrive. Thoughts on which of the above to do?

Day 2 - 3 - Would like to attack the above to-do list. Thoughts on doing a HO/HO tour for some of options above or get a City Pass?

Day 4 -6 pick up rental car at SF and drive to Monterey/Carmel. (Debating if should stop at Santa Cruz along the way). Also, trying to figure out if should stay 2 or 3 nights here. presently have reservation in B&B in Carmel for 3 nights Things on list to do....Monterey Aquarium, Dennis the Menace Park, Point Lobos National Reserve. Whale watching tour? Big Sur. Biggest question I have is how much time do we need in Big Sur? My husband wants to spend the day along stops in Big Sur on day 6 ( but understanding its closed at Pfeiffer) and then going back to stay third night in Carmel and leave next morning for drive down to LA area. I'm wondering if it's enough (or too much) to do Big Sur and then drive down on day six. Assuming it may be too late in the da

Day 7 - Possible things to stop and see/do along drive to LA: Elephant seals in San Simeon, San Luis Obispo bubble gum wall, dune buggy in Pismo Beach?, (is Santa Barbara necessary with kids?), Malibu (one of my favorite places),

Arrive in LA area day 7 at night - Deciding whether to stay in Manhattan Beach or LA? Advantage to staying in LA - proximity to Universal, etc; Advantage to staying at Beach - at the beach to relax at the end of the day, but have drive to LA (although over weekend)

Day 8 - 10 - Things to see/do in LA area..... Santa Monica/Venice Beach, Universal VIP Pass, Chinese Theater/Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign, (Griffith Observatory?) Rodeo,drive (yes, that's for me!), Anything else for kids?

Day 10 noon, 11 & 12 - San Diego . Stay in Coronado. Things to do: Zoo (thinking about skipping Wildlife Park bc have Six Flags safari near me at home), Balboa Park, Gaslamp district, La Jolla . Thoughts on what to do, or just relax on beaches? Red eye flight at 10:30pm back home on 12th day so basically have full day before flight out.

I am not sure if I have enough time to relax, especially on the beach. Thoughts on if I should or how to rearrange to get more beach time in San Diego county beaches. If I change a night above somewhere, would have more time in SD. Or does Itinerary sound ok as-is?

Suggestions and input are very much welcome.

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