WooHoo!!! We're off to LA! advice/tips please.

(22 Posts)
LillianGish Fri 15-Feb-13 17:57:46

We are doing similar in July. Staying with friends in LA then heading off to Yosemite, San Francisco then home along the Pacific highway taking in Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara (ten days in all). Might try a night in San Diego in our third week. Trying to balance site seeing with relaxing as I know the kids (and me!) will hate spending hours in the car.

Bunbaker Fri 15-Feb-13 17:47:17

"Tijuana maybe not suitable with younger kids IMHO- it is a lot of cheap booze, hustling shop owners etc and not a lt more plus potentially hours at the border"

I agree. Don't bother. We visited Mexico from San Diego. It took minutes to get in and hours to get out. Also, we discovered after we came home that we weren't insured to take the car into Mexico.

San Diego is lovely - Sea World, the zoo, Bazaar del Mundo amongst other things, and a lovely climate.

If you fancy a drive inland from LA Calico Ghost Town is worth a visit.

Fluffy1234 Thu 14-Feb-13 16:22:30

If you get a chance Rodeo Drive is worth a visit. We went and had coffee in the hotel Pretty Woman was filmed, that was pretty cool and then drove down to Santa Monica for lunch and the afternoon. My DC were 8 and 10 when I visited so a similar age to yours.

homebythesea Thu 14-Feb-13 12:44:58

Yes we did- they were a wee bit older than yours but not massively. We discovered that scenery was not their thing but anywhere with a pool made it tolerable! It's a fantastic part of the world which we have visited frequently with and without kids

consordino Thu 14-Feb-13 11:42:37

daytime flight going there and overnight coming back. Economy class all the way. Am expecting the worse (dc2 a real fidget-bum and a default volume setting of loud.) regarding flights/jet-lag.

I think a camper-van will be in order. I am hoping we can borrow a car from family for some of the time for more local trips.

I really want to see the Grand Canyon.

homebythesea - did you have dc with you?

homebythesea Thu 14-Feb-13 09:38:56

Jet lag over hyped in my VHO- you will be knackered when you get there mid afternoon but if you can keep going till about 8pm at least you will have a great nights sleep, prob wake up early the first morning but then will be on track. I always think its worse coming back East! And we did Yisemite, Grand Canyon etc in summer and yes it's hot but not ridiculous- it's very dry heat. We even did Arizona and Death Valley where it never gets below 100 degrees at night and it was fine!

clam Thu 14-Feb-13 09:36:41

The Grand Canyon will be absolutely BOILING hot in August - and even more so down in the canyon. Ditto Yosemite (which is simply awesome) but not quite as bad. We drove from there to Monterey in one afternoon and the temperature dropped from 109F to 58F. The coast north of LA (and SF particularly) can be pretty nippy, even in August. Lots of fog. It usually clears as the day goes on, but not always. We did the whale-watching in Monterey and were cold, despite having sweaters and jackets.

There is so much to do in California, but don't underestimate the sheer size of the place. You will spend a significant amount of time in the car, so bear that in mind when you're deciding what to pick. Even in LA, (which is really a number of large cities rolled into one) what looks like a short hop on the map is, in practice, quite a drive, not counting freeway traffic. And somewhere like Yosemite is about the size of Derbyshire, so it's not just a case of arriving there and getting out of the car. You need to factor in yet more time driving around the various beauty spots.

consordino Wed 13-Feb-13 20:11:27

I might add that this trip is a big deal for us. DC have never flown long haul and never experienced jet-lag!!

consordino Wed 13-Feb-13 20:08:28

ok. I hadn't taken into account the heat over there.
It seems a shame to go all that way and not see it. This visit will probably be the only visit we do over there.

specialsubject Wed 13-Feb-13 19:59:34

the Grand Canyon is 8-10 hours from LA. It is just as staggering as you would hope, but like Yosemite will be very hot and HEAVING in August. That said, because it is America you only have to go a few hundred yards from the car for things to quieten down.

Again, how impressed the kids will be by scenery is your call. And the obvious - there aren't safety rails everywhere.

look on nps.gov/grca - which seems to be down at the moment.

consordino Wed 13-Feb-13 18:47:38

DH wants to go to Yosemitie rather than Grand Canyon shock.
Is the Canyon really do-able?

homebythesea Wed 13-Feb-13 18:33:30

I think mimble meant San Diego as she will know that San Fran is North of LA grin

homebythesea Wed 13-Feb-13 18:31:42

Yes yes yes to baseball game- they are beyond fab- totally family friendly atmosphere, beers and hotdogs etc. but if you do go get a tutorial so you know what's going on!

Would not bother visiting Tijuana - its a real dump of a place.

San Diego though is well worth a visit for a couple of days; also being by the coast it will be cooler than inland.

Re Yosemite, I would also say that your children may not be interested in the stunning scenary; it depends what they like really. Also accommodation in this National Park gets booked out completely around a year in advance.

Las Vegas is extremely hot in August with daytime temps in the 100s upwards; I would not go there in August and particularly with children due to the heat.

Your children may well like to visit Knotts Berry Farm theme park at Buena Park (this is not far from Disneyland at Anaheim). There is also a Knotts waterpark as well in Buena Park.

Baseball is played in August but do check the Major League schedules. American football season does not begin until September.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 13-Feb-13 16:26:50

The other thing you can do is drive down to San Francisco via Big Sur and Monterey. If you do that, go to the Monterey aquarium - http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/ which is great. You can go whale watching from the harbour there which is lined with pelicans and sea lions - much more exotic than our seagulls!

consordino Wed 13-Feb-13 15:49:34

Ah. This is exactly the advice I need.
So far then -

Disneyland
Universal Studios
Las Vagas
Grand Canyon
Maybe beaches with family - yes yes to surf lessons.
Tar pits museum with family too
San diego????
Yosemitie????
Baseball/Football game

homebythesea Wed 13-Feb-13 15:42:05

Tijuana maybe not suitable with younger kids IMHO- it is a lot of cheap booze, hustling shop owners etc and not a lt more plus potentially hours at the border

homebythesea Wed 13-Feb-13 15:40:47

Yosemite very doable but my kids were underwhelmed by the breathtaking scenery etc so it really depends on what floats their boats!

consordino Wed 13-Feb-13 14:52:58

Wow. Great sounding suggestions. I shall look up La Brea Tarpits - no idea what they are. We are considering a camper van to go further afield. Is Las Vegas within reach then? Aunty takes a plane there from LA. (but they are mega rich). I fancy that if poss.
DH wants to go to Yosemitie (sp??). Is it worth a visit? I fancy a trip to Tijuana too if poss but realise it's in the opposite direction!!

Yes. obviously Disney etc..... We have never taken them to Disney Paris as we always knew a trip to LA would happen at some point.

I'll check the distance to the Grand Canyon too. Hadn't thought these were feasible. Am even more excited now!!!!!!!!!!

homebythesea Wed 13-Feb-13 13:56:46

Obviously Disney and Universal Studios will be on your list! Santa Monica Pier is great fun especially at dusk. We found doing "American" things like ten pin bowling, movies etc went down well especially if you can see a movie not yet out in the UK! Will you traveling further afield? San Diego, Las Vegas (surprisingly child friendly and OTT) even Grand Canyon within reasonable reach. Beaches at Huntington etc are gorgeous for a day trip- would they do surfing lessons? We were underwhelmed by Venice Beach and Hollywood- the latter really didn't mean much to our DC's and the tours take you to places relevant to people they had never heard of!

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 13-Feb-13 13:48:31

Definitely take them to the La Brea Tarpits - http://www.tarpits.org. Went with similar aged nephews/neices when I was last there and it was well worth it.

consordino Tue 12-Feb-13 21:54:57

Have just booked flights to LA for August this year. We have 2 1/2 weeks, 2dc (age 11 and 8). Some time will be spent visiting family over there, but otherwise............

All tips / advice / recommendations very gratefully received. smile

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