Family holiday California??(17 Posts)
Looking for suggestions for 2 week trip....flying into Los Angeles and hiring car. Have been to Florida and New York/New Jersey a few times so would love to try something different. There are 6 of us ..2 adults and 4 children(10-17 yrs). Flights to LA are v reasonable but wondering if there are any resorts/family suited locations 2 hr radius of airport.
Would love to hear suggestions for accommodation etc , from people who are familiar with area .
We had an amazing 2 week holiday in California a couple of years ago. Our sons were 11 and 13 then.
Our route was London - NY, 24 hr stopover, then on to San Francisco. Couple of days there, then 2 nights in Yosemite and then back via SF and along the coastal highway down to LA. On the way down we stayed in an amazing beach house in Cayucos (airbnb) for 3 nights, then one night in the Malibu Hills in an airstream caravzn, one night in Venice Beach and the rest of the time in West Hollywood (also all airbnbs). In LA our sons loved Umiversal Studio park ( I thought it was fine, ridiculously expensive, but saying that, if you are going during holiday times, I would recommend spending even more and getting front of line passes), Griffith Observatory, cycling from Venice to Santa Monica and an outlet mall just north of Malibu (!!!).
We all loved that holiday, California is stunning and so easy to travel around.
Thanks for your suggestions Viktoria. We fly into San Francisco, not Los Angeles. Accommodation seems to be v expensive and lots are booked up. Was looking at Santa Cruz as a second base after San Francisco. It's really mind boggling with all the options!
Rather than get front of the line passes at universal. Get there early we got in at 7am and by 11 we'd done every ride with out front of the line passes. The day before we arrived at 12 and did 2 rides in 6 hours then complained and got a number of front of the line passes free. Also buy your tickets in the states if you can. We paid £100 for two day passes.
We flew west jet via Canada. Which had the added advantage of clearing us immigration in Canada very easy. And much cheaper than any other flight option when we travelled.
we considered California but it looked way too hot for us in the summer so we are going to Oregon instead. and judging by the nil response when I posted for help on Oregon, I am assuming that not many people go there on holiday so have found accommodation etc very easily.
hope you enjoy your trip.
Try staying at Oakland instead of in San Fran - easy to get the train across to the city - it's cheaper and easy to park up if you have a hire car.
Santa Cruz is good for a stopover - there's a fabulous old wooden roller coaster on the boardwalk.
Or head north from San Fran - the coast is fabulous (we went as far as Eureka) and I can't recommend Lassen Volcanic National Park enough:
Hi there, we are considering this trip next year...fly London Los Angeles then work our way up coastline to San Francisco and fly back to New York and then home. In anyone's experience...are we missing out if we don't do Yosemite...will be regret it? We will be travelling with kids, youngest will be 9. We like to try and see and do and vary our holidays as much as possible. Flights will cost a lot for 5 of us and it's a trip of a lifetime for us...thanks
Yosemite in the summer will be very, very busy, and you would need to book early to get accommodation in or very close to the park. It is stunning, and so is the adjacent Kings Canyon NP, which is much quieter.
We only spent a day going through Yosemite (stayed in Reno and drove through east to west) but it was enough to walk up one of the domes and get a flavour of it.
Big Sur is impressive, but it's a long drive and not all that exciting for youngsters in the back of the car. If it's a choice of one or the other I'd go for Yosemite.
We did San Fran, Yosemite, Monterey, Pismo, La, San Diego. San Fran is eye wateringly expensive. Loved Yosemite, hated La, wish we had spent longer in San Diego.
We flew in and out of San Fran. The accommodation there was the most expensive of the trip. We did -
4 nights SF
Day in Monterey but didn't stay overnight
2 nights in cabins in Big Sur - the kids loved this
2 nights Santa Barbara - stayed in an airbnb and was lovely and relaxing
3 nights Anaheim - right outside Disney where we spent two days. Didn't do anything else in LA as we had you get kids and it was August so just felt like it would be too hot.
2 nights Sequoia
3 nights Yosemite - again the kids loved it here so difficult to decide which better. Was busy but was stunningly beautiful.
Mummymeister - we're doing Oregon and Washington State this year! Southern California was warm but SF and Big Sur weren't prticularly warm.
Outside of LA, California was cold in the summer - don't plan on spending much time at the beach!
I'd look at staying in the Venice/Santa Monica area. If you loathe being stuck in traffic it would probably be better to do everything on that side of LA that you can, then move hotels to the Old Town Pasadena or Glendale area so you are close to the things on that side of town. Places can be 30 miles away in distance but 2 hours in time due to rush hour traffic.
In Long Beach there is the Queen Mary (the ghost tour is good), the Aquarium and whale watching trips.
Visit Venice Beach on the weekend to see the epitome of Southern California weirdness. It is dead during the week.
The Getty Center about 10 miles out from Santa Monica/Venice. It often has special events on.
Go to Redondo Beach/Manhattan Beach and walk along the beach path. Sometimes you can see whales out at sea or dolphins close to shore.
Most Los Angelenos go to Zuma beach on the weekend. I prefer Carpenteria beach, it is further North, but quieter, cleaner, and it has restrooms and parking nearby.
Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Hollywood is pretty tacky though. Driving around Beverly Hills to see where film stars lived is interesting but they are trying to discourage it.
Drive over Mulholland Drive at night to see spectacular views of the city.
Melrose shopping district
Griffith Park Observatory
La Brea Tar Pits Museum
LACMA - the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Hike from Chantry Flats to Sturtevant Falls.
Drive out to Raging Waters in San Dimas if you like water parks. Don't bother with Hurricane Harbor, it's ridiculously overcrowded and not very nice.
There is the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino it has several small art galleries and an exhibition of old books that you can dip in and out of while walking around the gardens.
Beaches are in the 70's during the Summer, inland it goes up to 110F by 10.00 a.m.
Santa Barbara is a good place to stay a couple of nights, it is about 1.5 - 2 hours from LAX. There is a craft market along the ocean front on Sunday mornings that is good for hand made jewelry and souvenirs. The center of the town has many good shops, bars, and restaurants, there is the Santa Barbara mission further up in the hills, and the Santa Barbara Zoo. There are hiking trails in the mountains.
Solvang is an hour or so out of Santa Barbara. It is a mix of outlet mall and Danish village.
I think Ojai is fairly close to Santa Barbara. It think that would appeal more to adults than children though.
We hated Solvang! Just a theme park really! All other suggestions good!
Santa Monica is more pleasant than LA but we did stay in central LA for one night - just for the view. We found the amazing Max Factor building with the Hollywood costume museum inside. Some areas of LA are grotty.
Pasadena is good, especially the Huntington Art Gallery, Library and Gardens. We always take a Lonely Planet guide with us. We tend to find it is fairly accurate regarding good recommendations. We loved Mulholland Drive and the Laurel Canyon area (,Crosby, Stills, and Young, Joni Mitchell, Carol King lived there). We also found some of the expensive housing areas around the Paramount studio worth a drive.
Also the Getty Villa at Malibu is very worthwhile, plus a walk on the beach, and the Getty Centre is one of the finest buildings I have ever been to. Don't worry about the exhibitions inside if they do not float your boat - just look at the building and the view! Stunning!
We did a fantastic road trip from Portland down to San Francisco last October staying in different coastal towns each night.
The scenery was breathtaking and accommodation much better value than by time we reached California.
You will love it!
We flew into San Francisco for 3 nts, then drove to Yosemite for 3 nts, thrn Carmel for 2 nts, Santa Barbara for 3 nts, Santa Monica 3 nts.
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