3 weeks in West coast (December'23)

Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bluegrass1
I'm not trying to burst your bubble, but I would carefully consider all the feedback you've received, and completely rework your itinerary.
I don't see this trip being enjoyable for anyone, adults or kids. With so many separate stops, the amount of time you'll spend getting to/from airports, getting to/from rental car agencies, sitting in airports, flying, checking in/out of hotels, driving from destination to destination, finding parking, ect is staggering.

And doing this all with THREE kids age 2-6?
You mention taking cabs, but how will that work transporting 4 adults and 3 kids that need to be in carseats?
And you think the 5 year old and 6 year old have enough stamina to spend two full straight days walking/standing in crowds at amusement parks, then walking around Hollywood?

The way to avoid the crime/drugs/homelessness in these cities is to avoid them. I personally would not vacation in any of these cities with my family at this time. Not trying to fear monger, I just think you should know what the realities are in these cities.

Thanks Bluegrass, I am currently changing my itinerary to include all suggested areas and try to remove where I shouldnt be going.
I will break days between amusement parks to give kids rest and see how they go. stroller is an option for both kids cuz they will def get tired by mid day.
Thanks for the insight in the big cities like SF and LA, but they are the main cities to visit with parks and things.
I dont know the current situation but does crime / drugs and all happen in day time or night time? any suggestion to avoid them and still go and visit these places?

if I dont go to SF and LA and LV then where should I visit in west coast?
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen
The car you will need to rent is a big van. Someone mentioned one way rental. I have read here that one way rentals may be available for renters outside the US so that may work for you.
Yes, you want this to be your trip also but things done for and with the kids becomes a great time for the adults too. You are traveling at a peak time. California traffic is something to be considered--in all the places you will be--as has been pointed out by people who experience it daily.
You talk about "walking around". You REALLY want to research what you want to see when you are walking around or it will be a valuable vacation day wasted. La Brea Tar Pits is mentioned. Don't miss. Art museums. Children's museums?
Yes thats what I was considering getting a big van to seat all of us. I will look up hertz and Avis.
I am still in progress of fixing my itinerary and yes I will put some places where I dont have to "walk around" much and enjoy the view.
car seat is a problem it seems, cant I book cabs with car seats?
La Brea Tits noted.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MichelleY
I agree with Barbara and Jean. SanDiego is a great option particularly with kids.

I would spend a night or 2 near Disneyland to take full advantage of it.

Once one has kids, vacations become about them. Happy kids, happy parents.
where is the Cry emoji haha, I completely agree with you Michelle.
I am gonna change it all up and make it more kids friendly.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by suze
I'm still trying to wrap my brain around going to Hawaii for only 4 days! But spending so much times in other way less interesting places.

Also there is so much car time and miles on this trip. I know thinking back to my own family vacations (I grew up in California) us kids would have been absolutely miserable. I hate to even bring this up, but do you know if any of the kids get car-sick?!?

I am updating hawaii to 5 days and reducing time some where hopefully.
Kids dont get car sick really, everything is sooooo far away in Melbourne that we travel in car a lot and kids are used to it.
I went to Sydney over christmas break which is 900+kms (560 miles) and took a stopover for night in between. Kids were absolutely fine.
Thats the reason I was thinking to take 1 day break between SF and LA bt forum suggested 2 nights, I mite do that
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Barbara
Did you have any particular type of vehicle in mind to rent? Don't forget that you'll have quite a bit of luggage as well as people and car seats. Car seats, even booster seats, significantly reduce the amount of seating space.
sadly not yet. Possibly a big van to seat 4 adults 3 kids or just get 2 car instead which will have ample storage space (SUV)
do you have any particular car you can recommend cuz the cars in US are lot different from what we have in Aus.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 03:13 PM
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"Specific location" and "close to attractions" are contradictory inquiries regarding L.A. It depends on the attractions you choose and a bit on your budget constraints. The only things you mention in L.A. are Universal and Hollywood. If that's your list, I'd stay near Universal and make a daylight visit to the area around the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Most crime here is based on opportunity (walking in isolated areas at night, flashing money/valuables, unlocked car) or acquaintance (grudge/dispute, domestic violence, etc.). BUT, the homeless population includes many with addictions and mental illness. The street encampments range from unsightly to disgusting and are sad to the extreme. I'd want to avoid going anywhere near them, esp. with little kids. There are a lot of homeless in Hollywood, Venice and downtown L.A., but you'll see random tents all over the city. Piles of bicycles and bicycle parts are a hallmark of addiction.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
"Specific location" and "close to attractions" are contradictory inquiries regarding L.A. It depends on the attractions you choose and a bit on your budget constraints. The only things you mention in L.A. are Universal and Hollywood. If that's your list, I'd stay near Universal and make a daylight visit to the area around the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Most crime here is based on opportunity (walking in isolated areas at night, flashing money/valuables, unlocked car) or acquaintance (grudge/dispute, domestic violence, etc.). BUT, the homeless population includes many with addictions and mental illness. The street encampments range from unsightly to disgusting and are sad to the extreme. I'd want to avoid going anywhere near them, esp. with little kids. There are a lot of homeless in Hollywood, Venice and downtown L.A., but you'll see random tents all over the city. Piles of bicycles and bicycle parts are a hallmark of addiction.
just wanted to find a sweet spot, I will be visiting universal and Disneyland (hopefully hollywood) and they are over 1.5 hour drive apart.
we will def be avoiding any isolated areas and night time with kids. I will avoid homeless people after reading your comments, Its very different from here.

to be honest based on the comments so far, it seems I should just go to hawaii, stay there for 2 weeks and come back home
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 03:41 PM
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it seems I should just go to hawaii, stay there for 2 weeks and come back home

Bingo!!! YES yes yes... That is what I would do without a second though. And I bet the kids if they understood the implications, would agree! And even your other adults, thinking about driving a van all over the place thru US southwest... or sitting on a beach in paradise!

Or maybe 1 week on the west coast, if you want that diversity but only San Francisco and fitting in Los Angeles, the Disney time etc. Then one week on one island in Hawaii. I will bet my last mai tai that would work out better.

People often think of plans like you have clearly spent time thinking out, but which remind me of The Amazing Race TV show! And IF you want to keep something keep the the Grand Canyon... not Vegas and Palm Springs
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by suze
it seems I should just go to hawaii, stay there for 2 weeks and come back home

Bingo!!! YES yes yes... That is what I would do without a second though. And I bet the kids if they understood the implications, would agree! And even your other adults, thinking about driving a van all over the place thru US southwest... or sitting on a beach in paradise!

Or maybe 1 week on the west coast, if you want that diversity but only San Francisco and fitting in Los Angeles, the Disney time etc. Then one week on one island in Hawaii. I will bet my last mai tai that would work out better.

People often think of plans like you have clearly spent time thinking out, but which remind me of The Amazing Race TV show! And IF you want to keep something keep the the Grand Canyon... not Vegas and Palm Springs

I m not fuzzed over SF to be honest but def want to do Disneyland, Universal and possibly legoland and Zoo in san Diego. GC will have snow so gonna skip that and vegas too.
saves me $3000 on car rental for sure. I couldnt believe when I saw the price for car rental. $3500aud for 2 weeks for 7 seater or $5000 for 2 x 5 seater cars!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Makkks
Thanks for the insight in the big cities like SF and LA, but they are the main cities to visit with parks and things.
I dont know the current situation but does crime / drugs and all happen in day time or night time? any suggestion to avoid them and still go and visit these places?
if I dont go to SF and LA and LV then where should I visit in west coast?
I don't live in California, so I can't answer your specific questions, but some good info has already been posted here by locals.
Do some research. Here is a sampling...
https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco...san-francisco/
https://www.abc10.com/article/news/p...a-259c11fb6f0a
https://www.latimes.com/california/s...o-lead-the-way

There is so much to do and see outside of these 3 cities, particularly with three young kids.
Just google 'top things to do in California' and select activities outside these crime/drug/homeless infested cities.
Many have already given good suggestions.
Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Redwood & Sequoia National Park, Tar Pits, Legoland, smaller towns/cities. Plus Grand Canyon, Hawaii, ect.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 04:15 PM
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Random comments:

• Believe us - you are not the first visitor who dreams of visiting Hollywood . . . but it really is NOTHING to make a special trip for. Decades ago it was OK, fun even. But now it is really just a freak show with a bunch of sidewalks with metal stars in the pavement that celebs pay to have installed. It isn't anything to write home about -- unless you are writing a weird novel

• Because it is the Christmas holiday season both DisneyLand/other theme parks and Hawaii will be very popular/crowded, but both are great family destinations.

• Winter isn't the best time to visit the coast between SF and say San Luis Obispo. Now, there could be decent weather, but winter storms, road wash outs, and such are very possible. And it won't be beach or tide pool exploring weather.

• Universal is really better for older kids and adults

Now that I see you are re-thinking things I'll throw this idea out to consider . . .

How about doing a trip split between Orange County / San Diego . . . and Hawaii. You could spend 3 or 4 nights in Anaheim -- there are several hotels/motels right across the street from DisneyLand/California Adventure so you'd be able to return to the room during the day if the kids need a rest and then head back into the parks later. Then go south to San Diego -- Lego Land, The amazing San Diego Zoo and Animal parks, Balboa Park, great Mexican food, Old Town, harbor and beach locations, etc. Then fly to Hawaii and spend the rest of your time there. You could book open jaw OZ to LAX and Honolulu back to OZ. From San Diego you could book a separate ticket to Hawaii on any airline including one you may not be familiar with in OZ . . . Southwest, Alaska, Hawaiian, etc.

IMO that would be a great winter holiday with tons that both adults and kids would enjoy.

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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Random comments:

Believe us - you are not the first visitor who dreams of visiting Hollywood . . . but it really is NOTHING to make a special trip for. Decades ago it was OK, fun even. But now it is really just a freak show with a bunch of sidewalks with metal stars in the pavement that celebs pay to have installed. It isn't anything to write home about -- unless you are writing a weird novel

Because it is the Christmas holiday season both DisneyLand/other theme parks and Hawaii will be very popular/crowded, but both are great family destinations.

Winter isn't the best time to visit the coast between SF and say San Luis Obispo. Now, there could be decent weather, but winter storms, road wash outs, and such are very possible. And it won't be beach or tide pool exploring weather.

Universal is really better for older kids and adults

Now that I see you are re-thinking things I'll throw this idea out to consider . . .

How about doing a trip split between Orange County / San Diego . . . and Hawaii. You could spend 3 or 4 nights in Anaheim -- there are several hotels/motels right across the street from DisneyLand/California Adventure so you'd be able to return to the room during the day if the kids need a rest and then head back into the parks later. Then go south to San Diego -- Lego Land, The amazing San Diego Zoo and Animal parks, Balboa Park, great Mexican food, Old Town, harbor and beach locations, etc. Then fly to Hawaii and spend the rest of your time there. You could book open jaw OZ to LAX and Honolulu back to OZ. From San Diego you could book a separate ticket to Hawaii on any airline including one you may not be familiar with in OZ . . . Southwest, Alaska, Hawaiian, etc.

IMO that would be a great winter holiday with tons that both adults and kids would enjoy.

I was literally talking to my partner just before I read you comment and suggested almost identical itinerary to her instead and explaining her what all the lovely people here has suggested.
I am inclining towards doing this instead of my previous itinerary. I need to talk other family and see what there thoughts are decide and book stuff asap.
thanks heaps for your amazing insight
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bluegrass1
I don't live in California, so I can't answer your specific questions, but some good info has already been posted here by locals.
Do some research. Here is a sampling...
https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco...san-francisco/
https://www.abc10.com/article/news/p...a-259c11fb6f0a
https://www.latimes.com/california/s...o-lead-the-way

There is so much to do and see outside of these 3 cities, particularly with three young kids.
Just google 'top things to do in California' and select activities outside these crime/drug/homeless infested cities.
Many have already given good suggestions.
Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Redwood & Sequoia National Park, Tar Pits, Legoland, smaller towns/cities. Plus Grand Canyon, Hawaii, ect.
i actually did google top things to do in california and based my itnierary accordingly. It seems I have to change all that after reading all the comments and skip national parks, vegas, SF, GC and stick to Hawaii, san diego nd LA and have a relaxign holiday than rushign to things
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 05:18 PM
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This may /will make eyes roll here, but my grandchildren, ages 5,6,6,10, all love Great Wolf Lodge. They call it the "Wolf House". It's a chain of hotels with indoor water parks. There's one in Anaheim, near Disney in Orange County and a night there might be fun. The ocean will be much too cold to play in.

https://www.greatwolf.com/southern-california
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 06:58 PM
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I won't eye roll Barbara. As a kid I would have LOVED that. There's one here near Seattle too.

Back to Makks ~ Three weeks including San Diego, Los Angeles, maybe even San Francisco, and one island in Hawaii would be fantastic! So much more enjoyable than the original "road trip" Amazing Race schedule
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 07:05 PM
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Here's my plan for you:
Day 1-5 San Francisco area
Day 6-8 drive down to Los Angeles, including Santa Cruz, San Jose, or Santa Barbara stops (maybe Winchester Mystery House, Hearst Castle)
Day 9-14 LA and San Diego (maybe Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and SD Zoo)
Day 15 fly to Oahu, arrive Honolulu, get hotel in Waikiki
Day 16-22 Hawaii
Day 23 fly home from Honolulu
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 09:08 PM
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Hate to disagree with suze (hi suze ) but the whole SF/coastal drive is extremely iffy at that time of year. Which is why I suggested simplifying the trek and concentrating on OC/SD and Hawaii.

Chances for better weather, and lots less car time.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 09:10 PM
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ps: and FYI strollers are not allowed at Hearst Castle.

edit . . . nor at the Winchester Mystery House

Last edited by janisj; Jan 31st, 2023 at 09:13 PM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
How about doing a trip split between Orange County / San Diego . . . and Hawaii. You could spend 3 or 4 nights in Anaheim -- there are several hotels/motels right across the street from DisneyLand so you'd be able to return to the room during the day if the kids need a rest and then head back into the parks later. Then go south to San Diego -- Lego Land, The amazing San Diego Zoo and Animal parks, Balboa Park, great Mexican food, Old Town, harbor and beach locations, etc. Then fly to Hawaii and spend the rest of your time there.
IMO that would be a great winter holiday with tons that both adults and kids would enjoy.
This is the winning comment of the thread.
A much more enjoyable trip for everyone involved.

I would definitely urge you to google "Disneyland crowd calendar" and "Disneyland trip planning".
You will be visiting theme parks at the absolute worst time of the year, so you should do some planning in order to salvage some quality time there.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 08:18 AM
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hola janisj You know more than I do, so I do not disagree. And yes I was forgetting how little the "littles" are on this thread.

Truth be told, if I could truly be the one to plan this family's trip, I'd bag all of the mainland portion and spend three weeks in Hawaii !!! see a couple islands. aloha!
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