Southern California -- 10-day itinerary

Old Feb 4th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Southern California -- 10-day itinerary

Hello Travellers!
I am looking for advice on a family trip to Southern California in August 2014. We are a family of four (kids will be 11 and 9).
We want to hit some of the touristy stuff but we also want to get off the beaten track. Would love your recommendations for sites and accomodations. Regarding hotels, we are looking in the moderate range. So this is what I have in mind so far. But I don't know how many days for each and what if I am missing something amazing. Distances?
LA/Hollywood (walk of fame, star tour, etc.); Getty Center, what else?
Hearst Palace
visit seaside towns for typical beach/surf scene -- we prefer quiet, artsy...Huntington, Laguna, Newport? Other?
Is a visit to Catalina Island worthwhile?
Should we go north at all for better scenery but not too far? San luis Obispo?
We would love to see the desert but is that crazy in August? Death valley. Want to see a starry night in the desert.
Maybe a day at Disney Land.
Okay, so that is the wish list. Please, please help. As specific as possible would be so appreciated. Any activities that should not be missed please include too.
Thank you!!! Frieda
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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IMO yes, it's a bad idea to visit Death Valley in August. Temperatures go as high as 120 degrees. People still do it, but I sure wouldn't.

Lee Ann
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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just a few random points:

>> we are looking in the moderate rang>Hearst Palace>Should we go north at all for better scenery but not too far? San luis Obispo?>We would love to see the desert but is that crazy in August? Death valley.>Maybe a day at Disney Land.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 03:48 PM
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From LA, you could easily day-trip to the Mohave desert, like Apple Valley (home of Roy Rogers). We used to live in that area, and we'd day-trip to Newport Beach and back. Not sure it's worth it, unless you must see the desert. Personally, I enjoy the desert, but couldn't live there again. A clear, starry night in the desert is awesome.

Instead of going north, you could go south stay in Laguna Beach a night or two. It's lovely there. So is Newport Beach. Whale watching is fun at Dana Point (half price on Tuesdays). We were in Laguna recently and liked the Pacifica property there. I reviewed it in a thread here.

In LA, the Getty Center and the Getty Villa are wonderful.

How many nights do you have? I'm not sure you'd want to dedicate two whole days to Disneyland.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Tabernash2: >>How many nights do you have?
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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Thank you for the advice! I need to look at map. Obviously I'm off track with SLO and Hearst! Moderate range for us is 250-300 per night. We went to Disney World last year so I really don't want to do more than 1 day at Disney Land. Keep the great ideas coming. Thank you!
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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If you've recently been to DW then yes, one day is fine. California Adventure is worth a day and you could skip Disneyland.

Your budget is quite generous -- most of the time folks say they have a 'moderate' budget and turns out they mean $100 a night
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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So, does this sound like a good trip:
3-4 days in Los Angeles (Hollywood, Getty, Griffith Park, Studio tour, Tv audience, Space Shuttle)
3-4 days at beach town (Malibu or Laguna or Huntington Beach??) (visit Disney, beaches, wildlife)
3-4 days WHERE? San Diego? We don't want to go to SeaWorld or the Zoo. What else is there?
Any secret amazing areas inland we must see/visit?
What about hotels in the 250-300 per night range? Any suggestions. I like the Magic Castle Hotel in LA...any thoughts on this.
Thank you again!
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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I would do 5 days based in Los Angeles, and 5 days in Laguna with one of those days being basically a travel day down from Los Angeles and one of those days Disneyland.

For L.A. I would choose the Best Western Sunset Plaza because I'm not crazy about the Hollywood/Highland district...but Magic Castle would be fine. Just know that there is nothing magic about it as far as the accomodations go and it is not a castle, it is a courtyard motel. Youtube has a couple of videos that show the rooms and layout. It's fine, but most people only choose Hollywood because its a hub for the metro subway and the metro really hasn't much to do with your itinerary except for the day at the Science Center/Shuttle.

Day one arrival/ see the Walk of Fame/Grove/Farmers Market/La Brea Tar Pits/ Audience Show
Day two Santa Monica Beach/see Bev Hills on the way
Day 3 WB Studio Tour/ Griffith Park/ Observatory at night (closed Mondays)
Day 4 Science Center/Shuttle and Natural History Museum next door. Hotel pool/ shopping/ etc
Day 5 Petersen Auto Museum or The Getty or both. Or you could take a day trip to see Ojai, or Santa Barbara, or Lake Arrowhead on one of your five days.

For Laguna, the Laguna Riviera is a great hotel right on the beach. You might have to choose a less-pricey hotel in LA in order to up your budget for the Laguna accommodation since it's August. There are several other beaches to visit near Laguna, as well as day trip to San juan Capistrano/ Casper Regional Park or Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park if you like to hike. The San Diego Wild Animal Park/now called the San diego Zoo's Safari Park, is great and quite different from the zoo.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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Thank you Clark Griswold. Great ideas. That Best Western looks really good. Magic Castle doesn't seeming so magical now.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Unfortunately your children are too young to attend most TV tapings. They MIGHT be able to get into a Disney or Nickelodeon show. Look at seeing-stars.com and see if there is anything in their age range.
I would not skip Disneyland, there are a dozen or more rides that are not at DW and others that are different at Disneyland than DW.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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We liked Laguna Cliffs Inn, for moderate lodging in the middle of Laguna walking area, and just above the beach (no ocean views, though).
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