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Advice on Southern california in 7 nights?(w/ spouse & 2 teens)

Advice on Southern california in 7 nights?(w/ spouse & 2 teens)

Old Mar 31st, 2011, 07:27 AM
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Advice on Southern california in 7 nights?(w/ spouse & 2 teens)

My husband and I are planning our first trip to SoCal in July. We are bringing my teenage daughter and her friend. We want to spend time on the beach and do some touristy things in LA, but want to have a nice mix of relaxing and sightseeing (without having a crazy packed schedule).

Would love advice on the following:

1. We were thinking of flying into San Diego from NJ then depart from LAX. (rates are cheaper than flying into LAX). Since we would like to drive the PCH up to LA or Santa Monica, should we stay at a couple different hotels along the way or stay somewhere in between and travel back & forth? I hear the traffic can be crazy so, concerned about driving back to same hotel each nite. I don't want to stay in more than 2-3 hotels though.

2. If we stay in 2 different cities between San Diego and LA, which ones do you recommend? We were thinking LaJolla, Laguna, Santa Monica?....

3. Would love some hotel recommendations, (
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 08:18 AM
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It's only two hours (3 in traffic) between San Diego and LA. No reason to stay anywhere between.

Torrey Pines is a good choice in July, since it gets the cooling sea breeze. If you want beach time, I would suggest that north San Diego County and Torrey Pines State Beach is a lot nicer than Santa Monica beach. There are a number of hotels in Del Mar nearby. You might consider staying there for 2 or 3 nights.

I like the zoo, yes it can be hot but it's well landscaped and there is lots of shade. You might switch days 1 and 2 activities. Day 1 you could visit Torrey Pines and perhaps La Jolla, Day 2 go early to the zoo.

Why not stay another night Day 3 & do the surfing lessons in San Diego?

On Day 4, Since you're not sure about Disney, I'd say skip it. It can be very crowded. I might suggest San Juan Capistrano as an option instead. See the mission, galleries, cute little town, good tacos across from the Mission or a fancier lunch near the train station. I might do this for lunch and then overnight in Laguna Beach.

On Day 5 I'd head to LA. I think you might want to split the sightseeing into two days. Note that the Observatory is now closed Monday and Tuesday. Getty Museum(s) are closed Mondays. There are other interesting museums in LA since you seem to like those, I might suggest a visit to downtown Los Angeles, if you'll be in town Thursday, from 5 to 8 is free in the evenings. There is lots to see downtown, including the three art museums (Japanese American is my favorite), Disney Concert Hall, new Cathedral (be sure to go inside), some great new restaurants and cool old ones (Philippe's lamb dip), architecture tours on Saturday, and I think Olvera Street is fun.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 08:19 AM
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Rethink this entire trip. I strongly suggest you choose a week in San Diego or a week in LA. Both areas have excellent beaches and enough to see and do to keep you busy for more than a week Pick one and save the other for a future week's trip. What you have right now is way too much and no time to enjoy any of it.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 08:23 AM
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I don't know where you're from, but many people from out of town (and me, even when I lived there) like to drive through Beverly Hills to see Rodeo Drive and the incredible mansions. Actually, since you want to go to Santa Monica, just drive all the way from Westwood to the Pacific Coast Highway on Sunset Blvd.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 10:00 AM
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If you can get a cheap flight to Las Vegas, Allegiant Airlines has cheap flights to the Long Beach/Anaheim airport 4 days a week-MTThF. http://www.allegiantair.com/
They are known for bundling tours, shows and car rentals with your airfare.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:04 AM
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A week to see two cities two hours apart is too rushed? Crazy. I often go to San Diego for a 3 day weekend and it's just about right.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:10 AM
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Heck, I've gone to San Diego for the day and enjoyed it!
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 11:15 AM
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I agree with bardo1 because I think you're setting yourself up to sitting in lots of traffic every day. If this trip is around the 4th of July, good luck!

FWIW, Day #6 of your plan could be the traffic day from hell. FYI, the Tar Pits close at 5:30 pm, but the Grammy Museum is open until 7:30 pm and the Observatory until 8:00 pm (but closed most Mondays and Tuesdays due to budget cuts). Parking at the Observatory can be very scarce. If you must do these things in one day, I'd order them Tar Pits, Hollywood, Grammy Museum, Observatory so you can see the spectacular city lights view at night from the Observatory.

I would combine SD with Laguna Beach -or- LA with a beach town rather than all seven nights in one place. I wouldn't pick Santa Monica because I'm not a fan, but this is your trip and not mine. I wouldn't fly into SD and out of LA or vice versa; I'd round-trip in/out of the same airport.

Signed,
L.A. native and Manhattan Beach resident
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 12:49 PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice!! San Diego up to LA in one week sounded good until I started mapping it all out and sounded like alot of driving and stopping.

Back to the drawing board, but THANK YOU.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 02:33 PM
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On Day 6 have an hour or so drive to your hotel if you stay in Laguna Beach, heck some of us go to dinner or lunch there for a few hours.. The LA sights you've selected are all within a few miles of each other, although I think there are too many of them for a day, myself.

I'm not sure what map people are looking at that shows you sitting in traffic for hours each day. It just isn't true.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 05:04 PM
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Sounds like a great trip to me, I also am not sure why people are discouraging you. Might want to check one-way car rates between San diego and Los Angeles to make sure that it doesn't eat into your airfare savings.

July airfare sale should pop up sometime late April/ early May.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 05:24 PM
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Most locals don't refer to things being x or only a few miles apart because the number of miles are meaningless if you're in rush hour traffic and don't have local knowledge about alternate routes or spots to avoid. (There's an entire local vernacular about traffic and problem areas: sigalerts, the South Bay Curve, the Orange Crush, the Downtown 4-level, etc.) If you're going against traffic and/or using the HOV lanes (where they exist), you can make better time, but it's not guaranteed. Even maps.google thinks Laguna Beach to Hollywood in traffic would take over 2 hours.

I sometimes use this website if I have to go somewhere outside of my norm. If it could predict accidents, it would be more helpful.

http://trafficpredict.com/ [There's a link for San Diego.]

FWIW, my commute to work is 18 miles one way, and I drive outside of both rush hour periods. 50 minutes this morning; 65 minutes this afternoon.
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 05:25 PM
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awesome,thanks! do you think its btr to go from LA to SD or SD to LA? Any hotel recommendations that are on the beach??
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Old Mar 31st, 2011, 05:25 PM
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awesome,thanks! do you think its btr to go from LA to SD or SD to LA? Any hotel recommendations that are on the beach??
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 12:44 AM
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"My husband and I are planning our first trip to SoCal in July. We are bringing my teenage daughter and her friend."

Are you getting connecting rooms, or all 4 of you sleeping in one room with 2 Q beds for $300?

A favorite place of ours to stay in SD, is the Pacific Terrace in Pacific Beach. Their 2 Q rooms are very large, and come with mini fridge and coffee makers and large patios or balconies. The boardwalk is in front of the hotel, as is the ocean where you can watch surfers.

http://www.pacificterrace.com/index.cfm

If you want to be on the beach in LA, take a look at the Beach House, on the Strand in Hermosa Beach near LAX. Lots of action right out in front during the summer, volleyball players, bike riders, surfers, etc. Pier is close as are many restaurants.

http://www.beach-house.com/hermosa-beach-hotels.html
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 01:49 AM
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Ive never had 1way fees for rental cars going either direction. Just go with whatever gets you better airfare.

Id do 3 nights SD, the rest in whatever LA base you choose.

For SD, Id go to
1. SD Zoo
2. Padres game - best stadium of 3 in area
3. Drive up to Cabrillo Monument on Point Loma
4. USS Midway tour (Aircraft Carrier)
5. Walk around Gaslamp District
6. Drive up through La Jolla and Del Mar. I always do it North to South but you could do it leaving to LA. Just leave a lot of time for that drive.
7. SD Harbor Excursion
I always stay downtown so not on a beach. You could stay on Harbor or Shelter Islands so you would be on the water but no beach.

1. Bay Club - Shelter Island
2. Humphreys Half Moon - great pool area
3. Hilton Harbor Island

Downtown
1. Hilton Bayfront is where I have been staying.
2. There are a lot in the Gaslamp. Do a board search.

Could also look on Coronado Island. I'm not very familiar with the hotels out there.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:24 AM
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This place might work for at least 1 night in San Diego.
http://www.sandiegohostels.org/downtown/downtown.html

The ones closer to the ocean are not as good from what I'm told.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:33 AM
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What might save you a bit is to see if rates are better in one place or the other on weekends vs weekdays.

I'd try the Best Western Stratford Inn in Del Mar. No extra charge for an ocean view if it's available on your dates.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:36 AM
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good question about connecting rooms....hadn't thought of that. If the rates are right, I'd do connecting rooms.

Which beach would be the best for a beginner surfing lesson?? San Diego or LA area?

This is all great advice..thanks!!
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:44 AM
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How's this for a REVISED ITINERARY?:

Day 1: Arrive in San Diego in AM, go to Torrey Pines, Hotel DelCoronado, Dinner in Seaport Village. Stay at Pacific Beach Resort.

Day 2: San Diego zoo in am. Beach rest of day. Dinner in Gaslamp. Stay at Pacific Beach Resort.

Day 3: Check out of hotel. Drive the PCH to Laguna Beach. Take surfing lessons at Laguna beach, relax on the beach. Head to LA at night to check in to hotel (not sure what hotel in LA? Beach House is a bit pricy, but would love to stay on beach)

Day 4: Spend day sightseeing in LA, Venice Beach, Chinese Theater, Griffith observatory at nite. (Stay at same LA hotel)

Day 5: More LA stuff: Grammy museum, tar pits, other stuff.. (Stay at same LA hotel)

Day 6: More beaching... (Stay at LA hotel)

Day 7: Back to Jersey....
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