Southern CA Help!

Old May 6th, 2022, 01:42 PM
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Southern CA Help!

Hello All,
I had one trip planned running from San Francisco to LA Area that had to be scrapped due to major flight prices changing...now I'm "stuck" with flying into LAX on Day 1, and departing from Vegas on Day 10. Trip is for family of four including our 18 and 19 year old boys (men, I guess technically ). All of this is happening in late June. I desperately need help filling a few days and also figuring out where to stay in Southern California. I do not mind moving hotels, but I'm completely unfamiliar with this area and all I ever see and read is about the traffic horrors. I don't know how to best structure this itinerary as a result. Here are the "requested" items are from my family:

1. Disneyland - 2 days
2.Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
3. Studio Tour - any recommendations as to which one?
4. Sequoia National Park
5. Outdoor Adventure activities. ATV ride was requested, I have seen a tour advertised in Helendale CA that looks like something they would enjoy but open to any other suggestions/thoughts. I also recall seeing hang gliders many years ago while visiting Torrey Pines area - wondering if I could fit that in as an option? Any other ideas welcome to make my adrenaline junkie teens happy? They are not interested in Surfing or Beach activities, Hollywood in general other than the studio tour.

There's also an interest in Hiking, and National Parks in general. I can't make Yosemite work and it *seems* like Death Valley is a bad idea during this time of year but I'm happy to be told I'm wrong and given thoughts on how to include that during our trek to Vegas.

Other Notes - our flights lands by 11 am local time at LAX (we are coming from East Coast), we will have a rental car the entire time, and my only requirement is we arrive in Vegas on Day 9 by 4 pm as I will probably try to book a show for that evening. We've been to Vegas before so no sightseeing needed in that area.

Thanks in advance for the assistance!
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Old May 6th, 2022, 05:17 PM
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I'm glad you don't mind moving hotels, because you'll be doing that several times.

I live in LA but haven't been on a studio tour in at least 10 years. You should find info on each tour and decide which one matches your interests. If it matters, Warner Bros. would be the most convenient to also see the Reagan Library.

Have the young men find the outdoor adventure. You will drive close to Helendale on the way to Las Vegas.

Day 1. Arrive LAX. Pick up car and drive to Anaheim (probably an hour, but longer if Friday). Hotel #1.
Day 2. Disneyland
Day 3. Disneyland. Drive that evening to hotel near Warner Bros. (at least an hour.) Hotel #2.
Day 4. Studio tour (Warner Bros. is 3 hours). Fast food lunch. Drive to Reagan Library (at least an hour). Drive to Santa Clarita or Valencia (at least an hour). Hotel #3.
Day 5. Drive to Sequoia NP (3-4+ hours). (Do you have lodging reservations?) Hotel #4.
Day 6. Sequoia.
Day 7. Sequoia.
Day 8. Drive to Helendale (about 5 hours). Hotel #5.
Day 9. Drive to Las Vegas (3-4 hours). Hotel #6.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 05:41 PM
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When we were leaving Las Vegas there is a huge area for quad riding and rentals.https://www.atvlasvegas.com/
I would add the day somewhere else and do the riding in Vegas. The weather in June no matter what location for riding can be very hot so maybe book something really early in the mor.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 08:04 AM
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I was just curious about the cost implications of a one-way car rental between LAX and Las Vegas, and it looks like returning a rental car back to LAX could well save you something like $500 over a ten-day period. One way flights from LAX to Las Vegas (LAS) are around $50, so it might make for some savings if you took that approach. Just speculating of course.

Do you have accommodation booked for Sequoia NP? Make no mistake, it's a long, and probably hot drive, and I confess I found myself wondering if a more coastal route might not be an advantage. By the time you're traveling the coast "June gloom" might be past (if it even happens in these days of climate change) and there certainly wouldn't be any shortage of terrific sights to see along the coast. For example, you could visit the remarkable Hearst Castle, now scheduled to re-open sometime next week, and continue north along CA Hwy 1 to stunning Point Lobos, near beautiful Carmel. They aren't giant sequoias, but the coast redwoods in Julia Pfeiffer State Park, near Big Sur, and pretty doggone impressive, and the park (along with Point Lobos) has plenty of trails if hikes are in order.

There are evidently ATV/quad tours available in several areas, such as near Santa Barbara, but also historic missions in Carmel and Santa Barbara, and the big elephant seal colony just up the road from the Hearst Castle. You could pretend you're Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth (or Liz and Dick) at Nepenthe, You could also stop at Pinnacles National Park, relatively unknown and under-rated, for more hikes.

Here's a map for use just as a thought experiment; google the places on it. https://goo.gl/maps/4Ja4FaepjynQVec57

I'm sure your trip, even as planned, will be terrific, but I thought I might throw this idea out.

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Old May 7th, 2022, 11:36 AM
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Here is a list of the top ten ATV rental tours in or near LA:
https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=atv...+Angeles%2C+CA

I would skip the one in Helendale for 2 reasons, the first is, the ATV rental site I found in Helendale says the DRIVERS must be 21 or older and also, they are located in the desert, which is fragile, and those things tear the crap out of the land and its flora.

I think Jean has given you a pretty good itinerary and agree with her. Warner Bros is in Burbank and after the tour you can eat at Bob's Big Boy, the one in Burbank was the first one, the home of the double burger. Pre-COVID the Burbank one used to have a car show on Fridays from 4-10pm. Speaking of car shows, have them take a look at the Petersen Automotive Museum, if they like or love cars, this would be worth a couple of hours.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 12:26 PM
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The OP should check on the one-way surcharge. Driving Sequoia NP to LAX to return the car would be a beast of a drive... to save about $300 ($500 surcharge less 4x air fares). It's easily 4-5 hours, and it will feel like the last 3 hours (exaggerating) are spent crawling the final 30 miles. Then go through the return process, shuttle to the airport, check in at least an hour before flight, then the flight.... and don't book one too early in case there's a delay in the drive.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 01:11 PM
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Personally, I would cut out Sequoia and leave it for another trip, as it is a bit of a drive to get there. Possibly Joshua Tree NP, or Palm Springs, although it would be hot at the time you are planning to go, and then head up to Las Vegas. We did enjoy the Cirq de Soleil show "Love" in the Mirage when we were there a few years ago, but I think it is still there.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 02:34 PM
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It's not particularly clear what you want to see and do in Los Angeles; knowing more would help us help you decide where to stay. A studio tour and the Reagan Library, that's it? So two days for Disney, two days for Los Angeles, and the other 7 days for National Parks and Las Vegas?
And by "late June" do you mean that you're heading to Las Vegas over the insane 4th of July weekend period?

The one-way rental car does look prohibitively expensive. So you should rent a car for the Southern California portion only, the first 7 days or whatever, and return it to somewhere in the local area. Then rent another car just for the one-day one-way drive to Las Vegas. For instance, two weeks rental LAX to Vegas looks like $1500. But a full-sized car for a week pickup Los Angeles and return in Burbank is $500. You could do your "movie studio" tour on your final day in the area and then return the car to the Avis Burbank airport just up the road from WB studios. A one way rental from there to Vegas is $150. They would probably just process new paperwork and tell you to keep the same vehicle. You could drop at LV airport or at one of the strip hotel Avis locations.

Last edited by clarkgriswold; May 7th, 2022 at 03:03 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2022, 10:21 AM
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July 4th! Yikes! I hadn't thought of that. FYI, the holiday weekend will "start" on Thursday, 6/30, as people leave/arrive. If your trip encompasses that weekend, make lodging reservations ASAP. Most vacation spots start getting really booked up after schools let out (June 10th for LA public schools).

If you're "stuck" with the flights, I would drop Sequoia and go to a mountain resort closer to LA after Disneyland, before the studio tour/Reagan Library. You could turn in the car and fly to LV, perhaps from Burbank as clark pointed out. If you kept the car, you could do the studio tour/Reagan Library and then head to Big Bear Lake which would be an easy destination on the way to LV.
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Old May 8th, 2022, 11:15 AM
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If you're in Burbank, maybe the teens in your group would be interested in seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl? It's a fun venue, and you can usually bring in a picnic w/drinks.
https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/events...wl&Season=null

City Walk is fun also for that age group. Loads of places to eat. Tour Universal Studios there, as well.
https://www.universalstudioshollywoo...to-do/citywalk

If you have the time to get tickets, maybe you'd like to attend the taping of a show, like Kimmel, in Hollywood?
We once saw Johnny Carson, and then Jay Leno years later. It's fun.
https://www.tvtaping.com/tvshows/jimmy-kimmel
Although, I see that you're not interested in Hollywood?

If the Reagan Library isn't a must, I recommend visiting the Getty Villa or Getty Center. Both are amazing.
And/or Griffith Park Observatory, Lake Hollywood and other things in that area.

Other random ideas for teens: UCLA, Westwood, Malibu, The Will Rogers Park for a weekend polo game?

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Old May 8th, 2022, 11:54 AM
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Hollywood Bowl will have Steve Martin and Martin Short on July 4 (and several days before) plus fireworks.

Dodgers will be playing the San Diego Padres July 1 (with Friday fireworks) and the Colorado Rockies (snooze) July 4 (with fireworks) if sports would be of interest.

I'd stick to Warner Bros (or maybe Paramount) since Universal is really more of a theme park than movie studio. WB has small group tours (about 12-16) with your own guide and you get toget on and off the van to visit sets (not ones where they are taping) and ask questions. Universal takes you around on these giant trams holding about 100 or more people and the narration is over a loudspeaker. Sony also does tours but it is via walking and frankly they have not done any good movies other than Spiderman in a decade or more. I guess it just depends on what you are interested in.
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Old May 8th, 2022, 02:36 PM
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First of all, thank you all for the suggestions and information! I'm definitely making some changes based on the info here - dropping Sequoia altogether now. I'm not worried about the car rental (I have a family discount with a major carrier so the one way drop off really isn't awful money wise for us) and we are actually visiting in mid June - no 4th of July crossover. Based on what I've read I'm thinking....

Day 1 - Arrive. We land at 10:30 am...not sure what to do this afternoon - something easy that is sight seeing in downtown area? No clue still lol. Drive to Anaheim hotel.
Day 2 and Day 3 - Disney, drive to hotel near Warner Bros (Burbank area hotel? or is there another area that I should book).
Day 4 - Warner Bros Tour, Bob's Big Boy for lunch (one of my teens is actually loves eating at "local" fast food places so I appreciate this random but truly helpful food suggestion!), Reagan Library.
No idea where I should book hotel for this night...
Day 5 - Head to Big Bear Lake - this is another awesome suggestion because it allows for outdoor time but much more viable since we have to go to Vegas
Day 6 Big Bear Lake
Day 7 - Drive to Vegas, Aerosmith that night (another unexpected bonus since my son is turning 20 during this trip and it's his favorite band but initially we weren't going to be in Vegas this night so seeing them wasn't going to happen)
Day 8 - ATV tour in Valley of fire
Day 9 - fly home

I'm also saving Gardyloo's trip info for a future trip when we actually have proper time to drive and enjoy PCH.

Any new thoughts/critiques of this itinerary? I know for some folks it's probably a bit busy but we are definitely a family that likes to go non stop...
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Old May 8th, 2022, 03:02 PM
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I’d recommend a hotel in Studio City, as I think it’s better than Burbank. Sorry I don’t know of a hotel to recommend, though.
If you’re there, favorite places to eat include Mercado, especially for happy hour (they call it their Hollywood location— https://www.cocinasycalaveras.com/mercado-hw-menu) and Mazza for very good Mediterranean food. https://www.mazzakitchenla.com/
Mendocino Farms is great for sandwiches.

Last edited by MoBro; May 8th, 2022 at 03:08 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2022, 05:06 PM
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I like the revised itinerary!!

I would stay near Warner Bros. Studios. Look at The Tangerine. Retro, mid-century motel (with a pool!) remodeled to boutique-cool standards. Bonus: It's 5 minutes to Bob's Big Boy and 5-10 minutes to WBS. There's also a Best Western Plus across the street. After visiting the Reagan Library, I'd return for a second night at whichever hotel you book.

https://www.thetangerine.com/
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Old May 8th, 2022, 10:01 PM
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Day 1 No, you shouldn't head to downtown Los Angeles because that's no place to park a vehicle full of baggage all afternoon. Really nowhere in the state is a good place for that nowadays. Manhattan Beach would probably be safe...you could probably find parking in front of a busy restaurant on MB Boulevard and walk down to the pier, walk for miles along the paved strand. Plenty of dining options for lunch. You'd want to head for Anaheim around before 330pm probably or traffic will get messy til after 7. Dinner at Downtown Disney maybe.
or
Day 1 option two, just drive to your Anaheim hotel and get them to store you baggage. Then take a drive down to Huntington Beach or Newport Beach for the afternoon. However, I think i'd go with option 1 because Manhattan Beach is very nice and because it'll be after 2pm east-coast time and you'll be starving. MB Pier is just 15 mins south of LAX but a world away.

Burbank- My hotel choice would be Best Western Media Center walking distance to WB., or the Coast Annabelle a mile up the road. Tangerine is just too noisy...noisy A/C units and noise from the restaurants on either side of the motel, especially in the early morning/coffee time. Request a top fl room if you choose the Best Western or the Annabelle.

Dog Haus is a local burger/dog chain across the street from WB and an easier walk than Bob's if you're pressed for time before or after your tour. Actually I would probably just opt to head for Simi Valley straightaway after the morning WB to There's a bit of a traffic lull on the freeway from maybe 10:30am to 130pm and after that it starts to get nasty already. fire island grill near the library is good, or Urbane Cafe. There's also a famous local chain called THE HAT (Pastrami & burgers) not far from the library that your son might want to consider.

Instead of switching hotels that night I would remain near WB. You'd get a much better start off to Big Bear in the morning than you would from Simi Valley/Ronald Reagan...plus one less change of hotels always makes things easier. I would, however, have dinner nearer the Reagan Library so that you're not making the drive back to Burbank until after 7:30pm or so. The drive could be well over 90 mins at 5pm but only 45 mins after 7:30pm. So spend your time dining in Simi Valley instead of on the freeway.
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Old May 9th, 2022, 07:22 AM
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Re parking in Manhattan Beach. Don't count on any available parking in front of a restaurant. Most spaces have been converted to dining decks during Covid. (Several decks have ocean views.) There are metered parking lots at the pier, a large underground lot at the corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd. and Valley, a few smaller lots behind the retail shops in the downtown area, and a small free! lot at the police/fire/library complex. Lunchtime can be very busy in the small downtown area of MB. esp. in summer and on every Tuesday year-round because of the weekly farmers' market. The earlier before noon you can get there, the better.

Picking up something for lunch at the farmers' market (adjacent to underground lot) would be a fast dining option. There are tables in the adjacent plaza (which is above the underground parking lot). In the plaza are three restaurants open for lunch, and at the far end of the plaza (at Manhattan Beach Blvd.) is a Lemonade restaurant. Otherwise, walk down Manhattan Beach Blvd. toward the pier... so many choices that run the full spectrum, upscale to midrange to funky.

I agree with clark -- don't go to DTLA.
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Old May 9th, 2022, 11:57 AM
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Manhattan Beach would be my suggestion, there is a Municipal Lot M under Metlox on Manhattan Beach Blvdor check out parking lots on Parkopedia or Google Maps.
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Old May 9th, 2022, 07:21 PM
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I would just head to Anaheim and do a bag drop (you never know they might even let you in to the rooms early). We like to tour two of the Disney hotels, the Disneyland Hotel has lots of replica art, and the Grand Californian is pretty special. They all have associated dining venues (such as Trader Sam's). Or you can head for the beach.

If you are starving and can't wait until Anaheim for food, there is a Habit Burger at 311 N Sepulveda about 2 miles south of the airport. Better than In-N-Out. And those tempura green beans are the best (the onion rings are good too).

https://www.habitburger.com/locations/el-segundo/

Last edited by mlgb; May 9th, 2022 at 07:28 PM.
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Old May 10th, 2022, 07:08 AM
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I love Habit Burger!! Also, if you are misled to believe that In-n-Out is a "must," be prepared to spend a looonnnggg time in line, either in your car or inside.
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