Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Is this the best way to do LA and San Diego? (

sharonb May 23rd, 2006 01:01 PM

Is this the best way to do LA and San Diego?
We traded our timeshare to stay at Marriott Newport Coast. We want to spend time siteseeing in LA and see Santa Monica, Hollywood, Movie Studios, Knotts Berry Farm and one day at Disney. But looking on a Map with the exception of Disney and Knotts Berry the other places do not look that close. We also wanted to go to San Diego Zoo, La Jolla and Sea World. What I was thinking was that we should fly into LA and stay 2 nights in LA and do the LA siteseeing, then go to Newport Coast for the week and do Disney Land and Knotts Berry Farm, then leave and stay 2 nights at a hotel in San Diego and then fly out of San Diego. My question is, is this a good plan or is Newport Coast not a bad location to go back and forth to LA from? We really don't want to stay that many nights but we also didn't want to spend our whole vacation in the car. Also, my other question is about Knotts Berry Farm. We have a 4, 6 and 8 year old. Is there enough for them to do, or is it geared to older kids? Thanks for your help!

rjw_lgb_ca May 23rd, 2006 01:28 PM

I'd look at the map again. The "LA" sites you want to see are also pretty far-flung. Two days will be insufficient. By the way, with kids your age, the only studios you might be able to visit are Universal Studios Hollywood and NBC Studios (the minimum age at Warner Bros is 8). For what you want to do, I'd say 3 days is the minimum amount of time.

Your plan is a little skimpy on anything other than the tourists' highlights. Have you done any research into the area around where the timeshares are: south-coast Orange County, including cities like Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente? There's quite a bit to do in the area. The same for San Diego (a great city). And LA (indescribable and not for everyone).

The Newport Coast area is a bit of a challenge to get into and out of if you're not using PCH, so no, it's not the best place to tour LA from. However, for touring coastal Orange County it's great.

stumpworks73 May 23rd, 2006 02:06 PM

Disney is probably 30 minutes from the Newport condo. You will be able to use the HOV lanes on the freeway with 5 in the car, getting around much of the traffic.

Knott's might be 45 minutes, but you are no closer in LA. Cover from the condo.

You'll enjoy the coastline S. from Newport. Las Brisa's outdoor patio in Laguna Beach is OK even for young kids. Appetizer type snacks that they'll enjoy and one of the best coastline views anywhere.

San Diego zoo is absolutely too far from Newport Beach to do an out and back. Cover from a San Diego hotel.

Have fun!

Chele60 May 23rd, 2006 02:52 PM

First, just a small note on the NBC Studios Tour: don't do it. Spare yourself. Unless you are a HUGE Tonight show fan, this is simply not worth it. And children will be bored silly. Not worth the drive. Not worth the price of admission. I would skip it.

As to your question regarding Knott's, yes, there will be enough for your kids to do. There is a place within Knott's called Camp Snoopy that is geared towards smaller kids, and it is actually quite large. Depending on when you go, do expect long lines, especially in the afternoons. The rides only take a limited number of riders, and most times a parent accompanies a child. There are also shows that would interest them, involving characters from the Peanuts comic strip. In addition, you would not be necessarily "banned" to the little kids section. There are also other areas of the park that both you and kids would enjoy, specifically Ghost Town and Fiesta Village. In Ghost Town your children might enjoy riding on the stage coach (ask if they can ride up top!) or, for some down time, take the train ride (on a real locomotive). There are also some rides in Fiesta Village that could be enjoyed by the entire family. Plus, the kids might enjoy poking around in some of the old buildings. And then there are the hands on stuff the kids can do, like candle dipping. So, um, yeah. I think your kids would have more than enough to keep them busy!

Another thing to consider, although I'm not sure when you will be here, is there is a water part right next door to Knott's. It's called Soak City and is open during the summer. If you happen to be here during the week and looking for things to do, that might be something the kids would like to do.

Being in Orange County and trying to sightsee is a bit akward. Not impossible, but a lot depends on attitude. I think spending a couple of nights in LA first might be the easiest thing to do, though. Best on the kids, too, rather than battling the freeway!

rjw_lgb_ca May 23rd, 2006 02:53 PM

Las Brisas is fine for the views and a drink or two. Get an appetizer or two, then find another restaurant to actually eat. Laguna's got some stellar restaurants; Las Brisas ain't one of them.

rjw_lgb_ca May 23rd, 2006 03:03 PM

Oh, and Chele60 is 100% right on the NBC Studio tour. Eminently skippable.

To get to Disneyland from your timeshare, the best route will be Newport Coast Drive to CA-73 N to CA-55 N to I-5 N; Disneyland exits are marked (the Katella Ave. exit is convenient). I'm not sure all of the 73 and 55 have carpool lanes; you'll only hop the 5 for about 6 miles. Thirty minutes is a good estimate; YMMV.

To Knott's, it's similar: Newport Coast Dr. to the 73 N to the 55 N to the 5 N, then take the 91 W, exit Knott Ave. (as I recall, it's a left to head to Knott's, but it's been a few years). It should be 35-40 minutes door to door.

sharonb May 23rd, 2006 04:41 PM

Thank you all for your replies. If we do stay in LA for a few nights and if for some reason we wanted to go back and do something we didn't have time for, how much time would it take from Newport Coast to get to the Hollywood area?

rjw_lgb_ca May 23rd, 2006 04:53 PM

That trip would take about an hour: Newport Coast Drive to the 73 N to the 55 N to the 5 N to US-101 N into Hollywood.

sharonb May 23rd, 2006 04:59 PM

Thank you! I will look also look into things to do in the Newport Coast area. I just incorrectly assumed that was not where all the action was, it was either north or south of us. What not to be missed things are there to do in that area? I have heard the resort is nice, is it if you have ever been?

trippinkpj May 23rd, 2006 05:11 PM

I agree with others on enjoying the area where you are staying. Balboa Island (Funzone) is close to Newport Beach.

trippinkpj May 23rd, 2006 05:22 PM

Oh, note the Catalina Flyer link on the Newport Beach website. It's very fun for a daytrip. Non-drwsy dramamine if you are prone to seasickness.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:08 PM.