Another California Itinerary, please comment

Old May 1st, 2003, 07:38 PM
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Another California Itinerary, please comment

We are traveling to California in mid-august, with 2 daughters (13 & 5). We have decided to skip Disney (been to Fla. 2x) and Hearst CAstle ( not our thing). We've come up with the following itinerary and any comments and/or suggestions are appreciated:
Aug. 14 - aRRIVE saN dIEGO
Aug. 15, 16 - San Diego (zoo, kayaking, trip to Tiajuana(?), beach)
Aug. 17 - leave San Diego in the AM for LA (we have to go to LA, my 13 year old's best friend just moved here!)See Grumanns
Aug. 18 - LA ( Hurricane Harbor, Venice Beach)
Aug. 19 - Leave LA in the AM,go to San Luis Obispo, possibly stopping at Santa Barbara and Solvang)
Aug. 20, 21, 22 SLO and Monterrey area (Big Sur; Pfeiffer Beach, Aquarium, surrey ride)
Leave area on Aug. 22
Aug. 22 - Santa Cruz (Boardwalk the eve. of Aug. 22, Aug. 23 - Big Basin, Pt. Ano Nuevo) Leave are Aug. 23
Aug. 23 - arrive SF in the eve.
Aug. 24, 25, 26 - SF (Golden Gate Park, Exploratorium, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown)
Aug. 27 - home to NY
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Old May 1st, 2003, 08:57 PM
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OK, I have to ask: What is "Hurricane Harbor?" I have never heard of that in all my 34 years leaving in California... I would skip a daytrip to Tijuana, basically because San Diego has so much more to offer and worthwhile in comparison for the time you have. TJ can be fun (for drunken weekends with college buddies), but it is somewhat a hassle for just a daytrip IMHO. Other things in your itinerary look pretty good.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 09:03 PM
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OK, never mind about Hurricane Harbor. I looked it up online.... I never even knew when this got here. If you want a really "LA" beach experience you could spend time in Santa Monica at the boardwalk and pier (where Jack, Janet and Chrissy were walking in the closing credits). There is a strip of park on the bluff over the beach that is a great place for a walk (you've seen it in tons of movies where characters always go to think and ponder serious questions) and a picnic. You will see ALL sorts of people. A cross section of LA locals along with the tourists. Great if you are into people watching. My kids love picnicking(sp?) there.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 09:40 PM
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You have an itinerary, unlike many I have read on this board that is not overdone with knocking off every possible theme park; I wonder if anyone actually ends up doing that as opposed to getting grouchy and miserable after a couple of days of that. You will modify your itinerary along the way, but that is fine.

I was going to suggest Universal Studios in LA if you have not seen it in FL. I took my kids when they were 6 and 4 and they enjoyed it--although some of it is better for kids older than 5.

I have not been to San Diego but I know the zoo is world class and the Wild Animal Park is supposed to be terrific.

You know the best part of the trip for your 13 year old is going to be visiting with her friend. You might consider spending more time in LA so she can do a lot of that. She might, for example, be able to spend a couple of days hanging out at her friend's house while you did things to keep the 5 year old amused. For a 5 year old, a day at the beach is paradise.

Just suggestions. It is, of course, your trip and you make the decisions. Your decision to take a pass on Hearst Castle is a good one. I really do not think it would be interesting for a 5 year old.

Please note that, in my opinion, the Aquarium in Long Beach is much better than the one in Monterey. Both your kids would enjoy that and it would not be near as stressful as a day at a theme park. Your 13 year-old could bring her friend along.

If you are not stopping to see Hearst Castle, the drive up the coast is very scenic, but my kids were never big on scenic drives and I would get the infamous "When do we get there?" question and comments like "I've seen enough scenery." If I were you, when I leave LA, I would do the drive up the coast to Monterey by going back and forth between the interstate and the road that goes along the beaches. It get more interesting as you approach Monterey.

The best scenery in California is in Northern California--and by that I mean north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. It is a shame more people do not visit there. San Francisco is really in Central California.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 09:49 PM
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Also, Hwy. 1 between Hearst Castle and Monterey is very curvy. So if anyone is prone to motion sickness, be prepared.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 09:57 PM
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Two comments

I live on the Monterey Peninsula and can not figure out what surrey ride is. I can usually figure out typos.

In San francisco, I would try to do something other than Fishermans Wharf, and China town. Like a ride to Angel Island on the ferry, or even the MOMA can make an impression on a 5 year old. And around the MOMA is the Martin Luther King mamorial, and a new kids center techno center if I remember right. I think there is a skating ring.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 10:04 PM
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"Surreys" are those things that people peddle like a bicycle with bench seats (1 - 2 rows sating 2 people each) and are covered with a sort of canopy. They seem to be popular at beach towns and you see them going down lovers lane. They are especially fun with kids.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 10:49 PM
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I'd definitely recommend that you axe Tijuana and Hurricane Harbor- TJ is dirty and crowded (a terrible into to Mexico), and Hurricane Harbor is simply another overpriced, crowded water park (and is at best 40 minutes outside of the LA basin...and traffic in LA never gets close to "at best"). As a Bay Area native and a Los Angeles resident, I'd recommend spending a day in Santa Monica while in LA, hitting up the wild animal park outside of San Diego, and definitely avoiding some of the more touristy sites in SF- although Alcatraz is definitely interesting (but perhaps not the most easily navigated site with a toddler). There are some fantastic places to see all through Cali- it's hard to go wrong.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 02:05 AM
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thank you all for your responses. We are kind of committed to Hurricane Harbor ( or another water park near LA) becuase my 13 year old and her friend want to do that over Disney. Any suggestions about a better water park near LA area that is good for both 13 and 5 year olds? thanks again.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 02:33 AM
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Although Venice Beach and Hurricane Harbor may be 40 miles apart, traffic will be slow, and I doubt you can do both in a day. The beach is cool, Hurricane Harbor in August is around 100 degrees. You may have to choose one or the other, depending where in LA you are staying, and/or how exhausted you will be.
 
Old May 2nd, 2003, 02:54 AM
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thanks for the info on Hurricane HArbor. Is it any better to go to Soak City near San Diego?

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Old May 2nd, 2003, 05:08 AM
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In San Francisco, you might want to do the Fire Engine tour. We did it a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it! They even stop for a photo op--you in the fireman's coats, with the engine and the Golden Gate in tha background (if that wasn't curtailed by 9/11--we did it on 9/10/01...)
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 06:47 AM
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I think your kids might love Belmont Shores in San Diego. It's extremely poplular with all ages, but especially youth. It has an old fashion Coney Island feel (big wooden roller coaster and rides) as well as modern amusements too. I know there was a big indoor swimming pool and slides, but we didn't go there, but went to the beach instead which is right next to the amusements. There are tons of shops and restaurants and a very lively boardwalk scene, so typically southern Californian. IMHO this would be more worthwhile than seeking an amusement-park type waterpark (in CA these are usually located in wretched locations; that's why they're there because aren't those type waterparks located anywhere in the country (and world-I saw one in Spain)? The Belmont scene was chosen as the location as one of the MTV Summer Beach House scenes; that's how hip the kids think this place is.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Just to correct the previous poster, Hurricane Harbor is part of Six Flags Magic Mountain and it is in a very area, Valencia. Grandkids have season passes.
 
Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:39 AM
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Valencia may be a nice enough place to live (we have friends who have parents who live it and like it) and for locals to play, but I would hardly put it in the top 10 places to be in water for Southern CA IF you are from out of the area. Just my opinion. Not trying to offend anyone who likes and/or lives in Valencia. When I travel I try to seek the best-of-the best places to go. Sometimes they are uncrowded and undiscovered, and sometimes not. Either way, I would hope that most travelers try to seek "Local Flavor" (vs. the type of place they can find almost anywhere else). I think that is what most people hope to find when they ask questions about where to go on this particular forum. Info/tips not found in guidebooks, amrketing brochures, and tourist information pamphlets.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:41 AM
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my cousin married in a park on the water in Monterey. After the ceremony they pedaled a surrey to the restaurant where the reception was held. In their wedding clothes. There's a paved path that follows the water along the marina. So I think you're referring to those bicycle surreys, right?
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:50 AM
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SloPugs has some great suggestions-- I just want to clarify that the Coney Island-like attraction is actually named Belmont PARK-- which I think is technically in Mission Beach. Very charming park!

I'm sorry that you won't be going to Disneyland. WDW is cool and all, but face it, the Anaheim park was first. I find its size a little more manageable than the Orlando park, and it will be hot but with pleasantly low humidity.

Hurricane Harbor? Well, all that water will certainly cool you off-- Valencia is an oven in summer.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 09:26 AM
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rjw_lgb_ca: regarding your comment, "Hurricane Harbor? Well, all that water will certainly cool you off-- Valencia is an oven in summer."

That was exactly my thought! What I meant by those parks being located in "Wretched places" is that they seem to be located where it gets furnace-like temperatures (i.e. Valencia, San Dimas). Great for cooling off the natives who live there, but why would anyone want to go there on a vacation? We keep our visits to Magic Mountain in Valencia to fall-spring when the heat is not so oppressive.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 09:43 AM
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SloPugs: That's true. Ahh, the lure of cheap real estate. After all, Disneyland was built on what used to be cheap orange groves.

Magic Mountain's thrill rides will always lure in tourists in the summer, and if they're only here a week, 100-degree days are part of the experience. I'll take the cooler temps along the coast anytime.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 09:48 AM
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isn't there a "wild rivers" in irvine? this water park is in a good location in orange county, between sd and la.
irvine gets hot in the summer but no where near the valley/valencia/etc.
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