Southern California for a young family

Jan 16th, 2013, 10:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Southern California for a young family

We are a family of five heading to Southern California at the end of March. Our kids are 10, 8, and 4. We have never been to California before. We want to spend about a week seeing big attractions and also beaches, local attractions. We definitely want to go to Legoland, Disneyland, and Sea World with quiet days in between. We are more interested in the San Diego area, and being close to the ocean, not L.A.
Where should we stay? We are open to hotels or renting a condo.
Should we stay in more than one city, or find one good spot and commute?
What are the best beaches for kids, to play in tide pools?
What are some family friendly local attractions in San Diego?

Please help me plan!
Sparks13 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,974
I'd split my stay between San Diego (for the Zoo, Sea World and Legoland (about 45 minute drive north of San Diego) and Anaheim for Disney, because you want to get to the parks when they open and are less busy, rather than driving an hour or more from San Diego.
jamie99 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Our very favorite thing was the Wild Animal Park (owned by the zoo-I think it's now called Safari Park). Anyway, what made it good was the extra's which are pricy. We feed giraffe and saw cheetah run/show.
Something else that might appeal to you would be the roar and snoar at the Zoo. This is where you actually spend the night in the zoo. I haven't done that, but I think would be neat experience for kids.

The beaches are brutally cold in my opinion, even in the summer. But, if you don't mind cold water then you would be ok.

I would probably just stick with San Diego. You can keep plenty busy enough there for a week. Maybe spend just one night at Disney. I like the actual Disney Properties--their "onsite properties" is what I mean. I think they have three different options for lodging.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,593
You really need two full days at Disneyland/California Adventure - especially w/ a 4 yo who may need more down time. So I'd stay 2 nights in Anaheim (3 if you also wanted to visit Knott's Berry Farm)

Then the rest of your time in San Diego.

Where are you flying in/out of?
janisj is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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We don't know where we will fly into yet - either LAX or San Diego.
I know the beaches will be cold, we don't plan on actually swimming.
I really like the idea to stay right at Disney for 1 or 2 nights, then the rest of the time in San Diego.

Sparks13 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,593
You could fly in to John Wayne/Orange County and out of San Diego. But in to LAX and home from San Diego would be OK if the fares are better.
janisj is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
The tide pools by Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma) - are very good, and there is also another site that lists some tidepools. and

And we like both the Zoo and Wild Animal Park/Safari Park (buy the 2 day ticket if you want to see both)- and while we fed the giraffes with my niece at Safari Park - have yet to see what I am really waiting for - the Cheetah Run.

Also - the young ones would probably like Seaworld, and the Orca and Dolphin shows, and so forth.

Would also vote for more days in SD - as it's less congested than Orange County/LA. I think you could spend a night at Disneyland - and see it in a day and a half - and then get down here.

For where to stay - check out other posts in here under California - and if you scroll down far enough - you will see some good discussions. If you still need recommendations - ask again, ok?

Have a blast.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 130
Carlsbad is worth considering, especially if you want to stay in one spot. I think it is (relatively) quiet and beautiful.
denise8101214 is offline  
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