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Trip to Southern California - wide open to ideas

Trip to Southern California - wide open to ideas

May 31st, 2003, 08:00 PM
  #1  
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Trip to Southern California - wide open to ideas

Late one night I booked a spur of the moment trip to California - couldn't resist the $230pp roundtrip airfare from Detroit. We'll land in Los Angeles on July 5th for one week. Always wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo, so I think we'll head south from LA. Rest of the trip is totally open. We do love the coast and the ocean. Should we head straight to San Diego or meander our way down? Don't want to spend a fortune on accomodations, so suggestions are welcome.
Maggi is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 09:52 PM
  #2  
 
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Sounds like a great plan.
You could do it without a car, but having one would be more interesting.
Your idea of meandering down to San Diego is a good one.
If you're in a hurry you can travel by car between these two cities in about two hours by freeway.
Pacific Coast Hiway{California 1) is on the water much of the time from the L.A. county line south to La Jolla.
logandog is online now  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:30 AM
  #3  
 
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If you take the 5 fwy down to San Diego I feel there isn't a whole lot to do and see. It would only take about 2 hours to drive to the Zoo. There are some funky towns there that you could stop at but I would go straight to San Diego. More to see. Mission Bay is very nice plus Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park (where the zoo is)and Coronado Island. That was voted best beach.And for a real nice beach experience go to La Jolla which is on your way.Also the BIrch Aquarium is there which is very cool. Stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Old Town, San Diego. It'just been remodeled. If you rent a car, make that your central location. San Diego is easy to get around I feel. I go down to La Jolla one a month to visit my mother-in-law so I see a lot of the freeway and try to get off and drive through the small cities like carlsbad, del mar etc. Funny thing is I grew up in Detroit. Good luck and have fun.
Froggy is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 01:06 PM
  #4  
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Hey Froggy you escaped the Motor City, huh? Lucky you! We have the opportunity to rent a condo for the week on Imperial Beach just down from the Hotel Del Coronado. Do you still think it would be better in the middle of downtown? Somehow, the idea of sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean appeals to me. Also looking at some properties on the beach in La Jolla and in Del Mar. I've come to the conclusion we will stay in one place for the week and do day trips. Want to lock in our accomodations before we leave because of lack of availability. I'm pretty picky, but nevertheless we don't want to spend much more than $200 per night.
Maggi is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Maggi, Imperial Beach isn't exactly "just" down from the Hotel Del and if that's how this condo was advertised, then it's more than a little misleading. You would be much better off in either La Jolla or Del Mar. Imperial Beach is right next to the Mexican border and so is a long way from any of the attractions you will want to visit, unless you consider Tijuana an attraction. That's quite close.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 02:43 PM
  #6  
hsv
 
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maggi,
i would not stay in imperial beach for 200 bucks a night. if you can get the appartment close to hotel del- fine. but that is definitely not imperial beach but rather coronado itself, which is beautiful- in contrast to imperial beach, at least in my opinion.
i do have a craving for del mar and la jolla, but the beach in coronado certainly is really nice. when going to san diego, i would always stay either in del mar, la jolla or (if i wanted to be real close to the city) in coronado. no need to stay downtown, though, as traffic in the area is no big deal and you can therefore get into town within 20- 25 min. max even from del mar.
personally i would also meander my way down there on pch. it is just lovely and you might want to interrupt your drive e.g in laguna beach. but even if you are travelling straight south, it is so much more fun driving along the coast. and you will still travel part of your journey on i 5 anyway, as pch does not continuously run along the coast.
there are a couple of nice hotels to stay in del mar easily within your price range: check out the stratford inn (best western), the courtyard by marriott (which officially is in solana beach, but in fact on the border to del mar) or even the hilton north san diego (although on my last stay there about three years ago, i thought it positively was in need of a renovation). do check auberge del mar, which is beatuiful, if they do have a deal.
in la jolla, which is lovely if you want to walk around town in the evenings, there are a couple of nice options (including the h.i. express as mentioned above, although i have not stayed there). check out other threads here on fodors. do, however, keep in mind that there are parts of la jolla, which are enjoyable, but which are not exactly close to the beaches and where you will need your car, especiall around the malls a university towne center (utc). there are the usual chain hotels there like, the hyatt at aventine, a marriott, residence inn, radisson and embassy suites. all of them are pretty much okay, but will require you to take your car when you want to go to the beach. the area is still fine, imho, as it offers nice shopping and offers very convenient freeway access. if you stay there, you could go to the beach at hotel del coronado within approx. 20 minutes by car, which is fine.
coronado itself is quite limited with regards to accomodation, esp. if you don't feel inclined to spend a small fortune per night. the hotel del is very nice, if a bit touristy, but should be out of your budget. the same goes for the loews (with a much worse location, imho). probably there are deals to be had at the marriott coronado, which consistently gets good reviews. the best western suites at coronado might be an option.
given your preferences i think you should avoid staying anywhere at hotel circle, which is inland, not too far from downtown but still requires you to use a car for almost anywhere you want to be going.
stay with any of the three areas mentioned and you should be fine!
san diego is just lovely as is the trip to and fro!
enjoy
hsv
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Jun 1st, 2003, 11:13 PM
  #7  
hsv
 
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forgot to mention the following:
to make it clear: imperial beach is on coronado island. however, it has nothing to do with the community called coronado- it is an approx. 15 min. drive by car south in the direction of the border, as outlined by barbara. i really would not stay there.
in coronado you might also check out the glorietta bay inn (historic)- and probably still ask for the rates at the hotel del- which definitely is charming. you never know- at least when you're going to stay there not on a weekend, they might have a room for under $200.
for things to see or do:
he zoo is a good idea- you could pay a visit to balboa park at the same time.
if you are into golf, the la jolla/ del mar area might be preferable as there is torrey pines. in order to get a tee- time there, you should either book ahead- or get up early and arrive there no later than 5 a.m.. you could then place your bag in line with those of other golfnuts who are sometimes even spending the night in the carpark- and go and have some coffee. it is worth the hassle, though.
in coronado, there is quite a nice course for a comparatively humble green fee, too- it still does not compare to torrey, though.
regards again
hsv
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 04:52 AM
  #8  
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Dear HSV, thanks so much for your detailed advice. We will pass on the Imperial beach condo. Coronado Island is looking very good to me. We can get Northwest FF miles by staying at the Marriott resort there. Looks like a good place to take those long morning walks.
Maggi is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 07:31 AM
  #9  
ltt
 
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when you leave the l.a. airport, head south and cut west for laguna beach. providing you are arriving at a time where lunch or dinner might be needed, laguna beach is a great stop. when leaving, you'll have to get off pch (it ends) and onto freeway 5 briefly but then you can cut back to pch (pacific coast highway) at oceanside. will take you about 30-40 minutes longer then the freeway but worth it.
the only good think about the imperial beach condos is sitting on the balconies and enjoying the ocean views, sunsets, etc. the beach is alright for walking on too. but, swimming in the water from imperial beach south can sometimes be discouraged due to pollution from mexico. also, not as great as san diego area for walking around at night.
ltt is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 08:03 AM
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Just to really clarify, Imperial Beach is not part of Coronado (which is not actually an island) in any way, shape or form.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 08:49 AM
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If you want to save some money on accommodation try The Village Inn in Coronado. I believe its address is on Orange Ave. (within walking distance of restaurants, stores, etc.). We stayed there probably 5 years ago now but it was perfect. Not fancy but just right. We really liked Coronado itself. My husband was entranced by all the aircraft action overhead so could be kept happy for hours on the beach.
Boxer is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 02:39 PM
  #12  
hsv
 
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hi maggi,

glad if i can be of any assistance.
the marriott coronado should be nice. just remember that it is on the bay, but not on the beach. imagine coronado island (which is not an island, though, as barbara clarified, but a peninsula, but nevertheless...;-)) to have to coastlines. the one on the bay facing the skyline of downtown s.d. is where the marriott is. there is no beach there (at least non that i can recall). the (fabulous, to keep the number of brackets increasing in this postbeach is on the opposite coastline towards the open pacific ocean. you should be fine, though, as the "island" is only about a mile wide, so the beach should be even walkable from the marriott if you are into long walks, as you state!
have a great trip
hsv
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Hi Maggi,
When we go down to La Jolla we usually stay at the Stradford Inn. Also we have stayed in Solana Beach which is just before Del Mar at the Courtyard. Both are clean and convient to La Jolla and San Diego. We have heard good things about the L'Auberge from friends who have stayed there. Staying in one place is a good idea because once you get down there you can easily get around on the freeway. Last time we were in Detroit was in 1985. I wanted to show my daughter where I grew up and she was surprised at the size of Detroit. By the way I use to live around 8 mile road near Greenfield. But that was in the 60's so a lot has changed. I love Southern California but I still miss the seasons. Have fun on your trip.
Froggy is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for all your replies and suggestions so far. I have made tentative reservations at the Marriott. I was shocked to hear they charge $15 per day parking. On further research the El Cordova Hotel looks interesting and much cheaper (by about 100+ bucks per night). Anyone ever stayed there?
Maggi is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 09:10 PM
  #15  
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Oops, El Cordova booked up for the entire month of July, so that's out.
Maggi is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 07:31 AM
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Just a thought - have you thought about Priceline? According to www.biddingfortravel.com, some folks have had bids accepted for late June at the Coronado Marriott for $99. Maybe worth a flutter as they say - if you don't hit, there's no loss. Familiarize yourself with Priceline bidding procedures and how to be savvy when bidding at biddingfortravel.com

The same goes, in spades, for LA if you decide to spend any nights there. Beverly Hills Hyatt or Beverly Hilton for $65? Even with the parking, that's a pretty good deal.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jun 19th, 2003, 05:00 AM
  #17  
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Gardyloo, do you use Priceline a lot? I have never had the nerve to do it. I guess it seems too "final" to me and I like having a 24 or 48 hour cancellation policy. Also, I'm VERY picky about where we stay and I don't like not knowing at which property they will put me. Do people get FF miles when using Expedia or Priceline? (i.e. I will get 3 miles per dollar spent at the Coronado Marriott on Northwest.)
Maggi is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 09:06 PM
  #18  
 
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I know nothing of lodging in so. Cal. (just posted my own on the same topic). However, I use priceline.com all the time! Yes, you do have to be very definite about your travel dates, but other than that, you can choose up to a 5 star or even resort level accomodations and name your price. Last year I went to Victoria B.C. and bid on a room at 4 star level at $75 per night and got it! (normal price $250) I bid on a car rental and saved 50%. So it does work! You just have to be willing to accept what they find. Sometimes when you bid really low they will warn you that you probably won't get the room at that rate, ignore it. I have bid at least half a dozen 3 star rooms in Phoenix at $50. Each time they warned me it wouldn't be accepted and each time it was accepted(normal rate about $160). hope this helps!
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