California with young kids - Summer

Mar 20th, 2006, 05:01 AM
  #1  
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California with young kids - Summer

Hi, we are a french couple and we're taking our two sons (5 and 3y old) to California for 16 days end of August. Please advise us on the following trip :

4 days in SF (at a friend's place downtown)
Any special attractions for kids ?

2 days in Yosemite. Place to stay ?

Is Sequoia worth it ? Yosemite + Sequoia or only one ?

1-2 days on the road to LA. Where ? Carmel ?Good hotels ?

4 days in LA. Where should we stay ? I'd rather choose Orange County (i know Laguna). Any kid friendly place ? Hotels ?Special attractions for kids other than disneyland and Knotts BF ?

3 days in San Diego. SD or Carlsbad ? Hotels ?What to do apart from Marineland and Legoland ?
benjinho is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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Your children will love San Francisco. Make sure to take them on a trolley ride, to Ghirardelli Square (this is a chocolate factory), Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 (this is where the Sea Lions are), if you have a car they would probably enjoy Lombard Street (known as the crookedist street in the world).
They may also enjoy a boat cruise.
tcapp is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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In San Diego, it's not "Marineland", its Sea World. Your kids..and you ...will love it. They will also love the Zoo. However, what they'd probably love more than anything else is playing on the beach and we have some great beaches. In my opinion, the best for small children are La Jolla Shores and Del Mar (a little north of San Diego).
Barbara is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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I second the recommendation for some good beach time with the kids in San Diego. The theme parks are fun, but in my opinion, nothing beats a good day just hanging out and playing on the beach

Yosemite will be very crowded in August, so be prepared for that. Lodging could be tricky since things fill up in the summer. You may be looking at taking whatever you can get.

Sequoia is great - not as spectacular as Yosemite, but also not as crowded, so that is a toss up. If you can't get lodging in Yosemite, it makes a nice plan B.

For your leg of the trip between Yosemite and/or Sequoia, you basically have 2 options. You can go the quick, boring, inland route, which you can do in a day. Or you can head west and pick up the coast at Monterey and then go south through Big Sur on Hwy 1 and then on to LA. This route follows the coast most of the way and is really spectacular. The Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove area makes for a logical stop the first day. Then the next day, stop around Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, or Santa Barbara.

J_Correa is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:34 AM
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The Exploratorium is a fun museum of science for children. And they will love the sea lions at Fisherman's
Wharf. Alcatraz might be too scary and tiring but you could easily take one of the commuter ferries from the wonderful Ferry Building (great shopping for food and gifts) to Sausalito to get a feel of the Bay.

Pick Yosemite or Sequoia unless you want this to be a driving vacation. Yosemite Valley is jaw-dropping and worth braving the crowds for the views of and from the cliffs and the waterfalls. Sequoia has large trees. Take your pick (you can guess my preference).

Driving direct from Yosemite to Los Angeles is a long boring drive down the 5 freeway. But it takes a day, while detouring to the coast would require a 2-3 day trip. But Carmel is a great town and the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium is unbeatable. I would skip San Diego (although their zoo is wonderful) and take my time heading down the Pacific Coast Highway. Stop in Big Sur for its unique scenery, then pay a visit to Hearst Castle near Cambria. Santa Barbara is optional on your way to Los Angeles. I'd recommend the west side - preferably a nice hotel in Santa Monica. But I love Laguna Beach as much as you do and it is close enough for the requisite Disneyland visit. In Los Angeles the kids might be impressed by the La Brea Tar Pits. If you go downtown I prefer the authentic Grand Central Market to the touristy Olvera Street...and I can't help but recommend Philippe's, the original home of the "french dip" sandwich, to a french family. The restaurant has a unique charm and their sandwiches beat french fries, french toast, french dressing...
bobludlow is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:19 AM
  #6  
ltt
 
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if you want to stay in yosemite, need to make reservations now.
ltt is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 05:25 AM
  #7  
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where should I stay w the kids in Yosemite (or around) ?

Any recommandations on Laguna Beach hotels ?
benjinho is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 06:37 AM
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For yowemite, anywhere you can find rooms available. Inside the Park, everything is fully booked. If you check the official Park web site every day you may be lucky and find a cancellation.

Outside the Park is similar. There isn't a great deal of choice and I would look for the hotel that is closest to the Park that has rooms available when you need them. If you find something, book it at once.
Barbara is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Yosemite. It's still early here in California!
Barbara is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 06:57 AM
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As bobludlow mentioned...I highly second the Exploritorium in San Francisco. We visited it when our twins were only 5 months, but "we" also had fun in there. We are planning a quick trip to San Fran this summer and will be taking our boys there now that they are older (they are 4) yours are a great age for this as well.
vegasnative is offline  
Mar 21st, 2006, 08:54 AM
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I love the Exploratorium. It is one of those places that is fun for everyone.
J_Correa is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Sorry, I don't know any family-friendly Laguna Beach hotels (I'm sure they are there, but I just never needed one). As for Yosemite, I agree with the advice to grab whatever is available, but be warned that if you stay in "Curry Village" or "Housekeeping Camp" what you get is a canvas tent with a wooden floor and basic furniture - it can be chilly at night. Other Yosemite Valley locations offer motel or hotel quality rooms.
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