California trip suggestions needed

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May 18th, 2009, 06:12 AM
  #1
KEC
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California trip suggestions needed

We are planning a trip to CA (from PA) for next summer 2010. I need some ideas so that I can start my research and planning. We are a couple in our 30s with kids who will be 4 & 6 at the time. The plan is to fly to LA area & stay with family in Orange for a week or 2. During that time we will spend a couple of days in Disneyland with the kids.

During that time, my husband and I will take off on a side trip (to celebrate 10 year anniversary) for 3-4 nights & leave the kids with the family in Orange.

Some thoughts that we had:
- San Francisco
- Mexico
- Wine country

We have done the drive from LA to Pebble Beach area

Any other ideas for this side trip? We like romantic & relaxing, but we also like to do & see things. Favorite trips before kids were Italy, Ireland, Alaska, London, France, Swiss Alps.

We were also thinking of spending another week after that with the kids somewhere within a few hours of Orange. Maybe renting a house somewhere for week? We usually do a trip to the beach & one to the mountains every summer on the East Coast. Any ideas for a good family house rental location in that area?

Thanks so much!!!!
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May 18th, 2009, 07:03 AM
  #2
Kal
 
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Central Coast Wine Country?
Yosemite?
Sequoia National Forest?
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May 18th, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #3
 
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Lake Tahoe is spectacular. Its quite a drive from Southern CA tho.
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May 18th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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Are you planning on flying or driving to your side trip destination? As far as Mexico goes, in my opinion, I wouldn't go anywhere I could drive to. Maybe fly to Cabo San Lucas.

The Napa Valley is always wonderful, but quite a drive. There is the Santa Barbara wine country as well. Santa Barbara is just beautiful and there is lots to do and see in the area.
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May 18th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Fly to Reno, rent a car and spend 2 or 3 days in Lake Tahoe. Go for the North Shore.

MY
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May 18th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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I vote for San Francisco.

~Liz
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May 18th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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For the 10th anniversary getaway, I recommend either SF or wine country on the Napa side. SF can be cool in the summer but you could hit a warm spell. In Napa, you are almost guaranteed warm weather throughout the summer, if that matters. Food is great in either place but with only 3 days I wouldn't suggest trying to do both. For SF, I'd fly into SFO and stay somewhere around Union Square which is the perfect central location, no need for a rental car. For wine country, flying into Oakland is slightly more convenient but SFO is OK. I like staying in either Yountville or St. Helena, you'll need a car and can easily take a day trip over to the Sonoma/Healdsburg side of wine country.

For the week with the kids within 2 hours of Orange I suggest Santa Barbara, it really is beautiful but there aren't too many economy options there, it's a pricey area. For options that are further out I agree with MichelleY and suggest a week in Tahoe. There are hundreds of home rentals available, try Craigslist Bay Area, Sacramento or Reno or vrbo.com. Incline Village is pricier than South Shore, either would be a fine place to spend a week, plus there are many other cities around the lake with rental possibilities.

I'm not a fan of Mexico but lots of people go there. Cabo is very popular.
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May 18th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Incline Village is pricier than South Shore, either would be a fine place to spend a week, plus there are many other cities around the lake with rental possibilities.

I love Lake Tahoe. We used to go for a week every summer when our kids were younger, and we still go for weekends (both winter and summer). I would NOT want to spend a week on the South Shore personally. It's just not quaint or charming. There are plenty of places to stay on the North shore in addition to Incline.
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May 18th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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Mexico - many people & organizations are advising against this these days, due to the level of violence in Mexico, and the area around Tijuana is one of the worst, I think. From what I understand, tourism is way down in the areas close to San Diego - people are just afraid to go there.
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May 18th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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You could spend your anniversary trip on Catalina Island.
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May 18th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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I like the idea of Catalina Island, too, and possibly combine this with a stay at a romantic resort in Dana Point or Laguna Beach. You'll be far enough away, but you won't waste much time on traveling. Catalina and Laguna are walkable in the charming towns, have camping and hiking possibilities, unusual tours (flying fish, Avalon), historical inns, history, wildlife, good restaurants and simple nightlife.

For a family week, I think San Diego is really fun, with a relaxing stay on the beach, an educational trip to Balboa Park museums, wildlife excusions (zoo), amusement parks (Lego Land), beautiful scenery (La Jolla). I also really like the Hotel Del Coronado (where Some Like It Hot was filmed).
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May 18th, 2009, 04:17 PM
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No need to go to Napa for wine country, Central Coast/Santa Ynez Valley with a stop in Santa Barbara.
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May 18th, 2009, 06:09 PM
  #13
 
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Stay at the Montage in Laguna Beach, it's amazing! I also like the idea of going to the wine country, we spent some time in Healdsburg this past March, we stayed at the Inn @ the Plaza and have also enjoyed the Hotel Healdsburg there. A meal at Cyrus would be very special. Have fun! ***kim***
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May 18th, 2009, 06:21 PM
  #14
 
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Hello KEC, personally I would chose SF for the Anniversary getaway without the children.

For the additional week with the children I would chose San Diego. I don't know anything about renting a house in San Diego however as we always stayed in hotels. But perhaps one of our S CA Fodorites can give you information about rental houses.

It sounds like you will have a fun vacation and also a good 10th Wedding Anniversary.
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May 18th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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smetz, the areas of Mexico near San Diego have experienced a decline in business because they are no longer safe. This is not a rumor, it's a fact. I have friends in San Diego and was chatting with a couple with property South of Ensenada and they said they have to be much more careful now than they used to be about where they drive and what time of day, etc. So I think anywhere in Mexico near the US border just isn't a good place to visit.
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May 18th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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I love www.vacationbeachhomes.com for San Diego rentals. Theirs are all up in Solana Beach which is the next town North from Del Mar, and they have a great selection.
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May 19th, 2009, 03:06 PM
  #17
KEC
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Thank you all SO MUCH for the replies! Keep them comin' I am going to start researching these suggestions.

I forgot to mention that we visited this family 4 years ago & did a side trip (just husband & me) from Orange to Pebble Beach for a few nights - staying in Santa Barbara, did Santa Ynez wine tour, Cambria.

We can take a short flight for our anniversary trip, but would prefer to drive for the family week. Thanks!!!
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May 29th, 2009, 11:25 AM
  #18
KEC
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Any more ideas?
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May 29th, 2009, 11:52 AM
  #19
 
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A possibility for a weekly rental would be on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

http://www.balboaisland.com/

The island is small, with child sized beaches all around. Kids can fish off the public piers with drop lines (I think).

The main street is a couple of blocks of toy and swimsuit shops, restaurants, and the famous frozen banana/Balboa Bar stands. http://www.balboa-island.net/h.htm

You can take a ferry across the bay to the Newport Peninsula, and you can rent boats and cruise around the bay. http://balboaislandferry.com/

Even if you don't stay there, it would be a fun day trip with your family in Orange.
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May 29th, 2009, 12:26 PM
  #20
 
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I also suggest the Northern Ca wine country. I prefer Healdsburg over Napa. It will be about 1.5 hours north of SF driving time. When you decide, ask again and I can offer some places to stay.
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