In just a few weeks we will be enjoying a week of Southern California family fun and I must admit we couldn’t be more excited. This will be our son’s first visit to California, first time to see the Pacific Ocean and first visit to an amusement park of any kind. It will also be our first true family getaway in months, and comes at a great time for our family. As I sit and finalize hotel details my head is spinning at all the possibilities. But it’s so much more than the typical tourist traps because, let’s be honest, I hate tourist traps.
We will fly into Los Angeles on a Saturday where we will spend one full day experiencing some of the highlights before driving down to Carlsbad the next day for a few days of beach fun. Our trip will see us crisscrossing the region with stops in San Diego and Anaheim thrown in before a longer stay in Los Angeles to close out the 11-day experience.
There are so many opportunities that I know we will miss out on some great experiences. Should we spend a few hours in Laguna Beach, visiting its more than 100 art galleries and checking out parts of its nearly eight miles of beach? Or maybe we should consider driving just past Carlsbad and check out the tide pools of La Jolla? I’ve never seen a tide pool and am realizing the opportunity to see lots of sea life in its element might be too good to pass up.
We will be at a couple of Carlsbad properties that give us great access to the beach, including the Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort. I visited Carlsbad for the TMS Family Travel Writers Conference last year and had the opportunity to check out the Cape Rey. I’m really looking forward to those sunsets over the Pacific Ocean just past Highway 101.
I’m not sure we will be able to handle the Pacific waters for too long; I believe the water temperature will be in the low 70s, much cooler than the upper 80s we have grown used to when we travel to the Florida Gulf Coast.
So maybe we’ll spend time in beautiful San Diego. I do hope to get out to Petco Park for a San Diego Padres game, maybe even visit the famous San Diego Zoo.
And while we’re in Carlsbad we will of course visit Legoland. I’m looking forward to staying at the Carlsbad Sheraton where we will have access to our own private entrance to Legoland.
Speaking of amusement parks, we will visit Disneyland and I think that will be pretty cool. I visited Walt Disney World when I was 7 way back in 1984 and haven’t stepped foot in a Disney park since. The 60th anniversary celebration of Disneyland kicks off just before we visit.
We are big believers in providing our son with great cultural experiences when we travel, so he hasn’t been able to experience as much of the typical kid theme park fun. I believe visiting the original Disney park during a monumental celebration will be a blast and a lifelong memory for him.
I don’t even know where to begin with the idea of Los Angeles. It’s never been high on my list, for some reason, but because of really affordable airfare from Memphis we decided to tack on a few extra days to spend in L.A. I’d love to hear recommendations. I do know we’ll check out all the typical tourist sites, from the Santa Monica Pier to Hollywood and Rodeo Drive. But we’ll also look for those hidden neighborhoods, the ones with great shopping, art scenes and food. I have my eyes on the Downtown Arts District, and I hear we need to check out the Getty museum.
I’m really happy I discovered Downtown Modernism, even if my pocketbook won’t like it if Stacey finds some cool items that we’ll have to buy and ship home. We search out unique events, festivals and spots that cater more to locals when we visit a city. This vintage modern furniture event is right in Stacey’s wheelhouse.
I’m sure we could devote more of our time to San Diego, Carlsbad or LA instead of spreading the fun across the region. But sometimes getting a sample of the highlights is the way to go.