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West coast USA- San Diego or Las Vegas or??(18 Posts)
I'm going to visit friends in LA for the second week of the Easter school holidays with my 8 and 10 year olds.
I am so totally undecided about where to go for the first week. I had initially thought of San Francisco as its somewhere I've always wanted to go, but at the moment I feel quite run down and in need of somewhere warm and easy and with a pool to occupy the kids and give me a minute to myself.
I won't be driving so need somewhere I can Uber/use public transport/fly to get to LA for the second week.
San Diego and Las Vegas have been suggested to me - any thoughts? Or any other suggestions? I'm not adverse to going to LA for the first week in a beach hotel with decent pool.
Any suggestions much appreciated- the Easter holidays are fast approaching!
We hated Las Vegas. It’s pretty gross really! We spent one night there and that was too much. Spending a week there would be hell! It’s also grubby and a fast food kingdom. Not to mention the gambling.
San Diego wasn’t that good either. The better bets are Santa Monica or Venice Beach near LA. Uber would be necessary to see anything though.
San Francisco is better if you don’t have a car because it’s smaller. If you must have sun, go south but San Diego left us underwhelmed. I guess others will think it was great. I guess for a pool, it will have suitable hotels but there’s not enough to see without a car.
La Jolla near San Diego is lovely - not far from Legoland either. If you fancy going North, check out Carmel 😍
Goleta outside Santa Barbara is heaven
Santa Barbara/Ventura/Malibu aren't far from Los Angeles (and much nicer imo)
San Diego is great for kids. Two world class zoos, Legoland, water parks - fantastic beaches. The Coaster isn't too bad for going up and down the coast. The trolley is good for the greater San Diego area as well
I second santa barbera/santa Monica/la jolla. Vegas is nice to say that you've done it, but it's very tacky and a week there would be far too long unless you're very into gambling and spending money!
Totally agree regarding Carmel. We loved it. Santa Barbara is more difficult to get to than Santa Monica. La Jolla is where we stayed but smelly beaches due to seals!
San Diego can be great if you do your research, but be warned that La Jolla (on the coast) can be very foggy esp in the morning. Inland is clearer but not as exciting. Anywhere along the CA coast can be beautiful though. Note the farther north you go you might be slightly cooler, and check beach temps for swimming in the ocean as it's not always too warm.
Vegas is fun. But it's adult fun... gambling , drinking, eating good food (its really not all fast food), shopping etc. I wouldn't take children there for a week - 24 hours maybe just to see it on the way somewhere else.
Pasta the marine layer is a function of the Californian coast, no matter where you go you could have to wait for it to lift. I remember when MTV came to Southern California for viruses spring break and it was 'gloomy' the entire time. We all found it highly hilarious, like they should have known better.
If you want wall to wall sun you need to go inland about ten miles, but honestly the beach on a misty day is fine. At least you won't need wind breaks! 😉
*viruses - epic autocorrect fail, no idea what I meant to put there! 😂😂😂
Thank you all. Very helpful and much appreciated.
We'll be staying in Santa Monica the 2nd week so good to know that's lovely.
Noted re Vegas!
Those that suggested Carmel/Santa Barbara - are they tricky to reach without a car?
Will look at La Jolla- certainly seeing some seals and proximity to legoland would appeal to the kids. Is it day trip distance to San Diego so we could still visit the zoo?
Yes it's about 30 mins away by car from the zoo
I think San Diego would be great for those ages. We have been twice and travelled a lot on public transport. I think on the bus from La Jolla to San Diego.
I think you can pick up a train to get in to San Diego from Legoland. We loved San Diego with the kids last summer, the aircraft carrier museum is great and we did do the zoo and Seaworld. Zoo was a bit run down but relaxed and although I don't agree with Sea World, the laser shows and information talks were good. The are some good beaches round there also
You would normally drive to Santa Barbara and Carmel up the coastal highway 1. That has had land slips at Big Sur which is South of Carmel. There is a web site with up to date info.
I am not sure if there is a coach. I think there is a railway but not sure how near the coast it goes. The Americans are wedded to their cars! This coastline is spread out and you would miss lovely parts of it without being able to do it under your own steam. It’s a shame you are not driving.
I think you would have to stick to beach cities so that’s San Diego or Santa Barbara which is a lot smaller. It’s easy to get to SD from La Jolla. There is also a colony of sea lions there as well as seals. All the places we went to around SD, we drove. That included the beach. I suggest you get a book such as Lonely Planet and work out public transport or taxi arrangements.
We have also stayed in bed and breakfasts in California and the hosts are very helpful and knowledgeable. You get great service and this might be helpful for you. They know everything and everyone.
Do you have transport when in Santa Monica? It’s another place where the car is king.
Thank you - looks like La Jolla with trips into San Diego is the place to go. Will look at the train.
Yes, fortunately my friend in Santa Minica can drive.
Many thanks for all your input
Scripps Inn, La Jolla is lovely. Have a good time.
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