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LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

kentucky
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LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

We will be traveling from LAX to SD on Thurs Oct 4. Flight lands at noon. We have 2 girls, 7 and 10, and we thought we might stop somewhere along the way to help break up the trip.

Thinking maybe a 2 hr stop. We will be returning a week later, so more than one idea would be great. I have heard about Long Beach and San Juan Capistrano, but not sure if these would be appropriate and I do not know really what each has to offer.

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1. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

Where in San Diego are you headed?

IF you don't have any traffic the drive from LAX to parts of San Diego will only be about 2 hrs. IF you are headed to the northern part of San Diego County like Carlsbad , then the drive will be even shorter. There's a car pool lane you can use which sometimes helps also.

San Juan Capistrano has an old mission which may may/not be of interest to your children. Long Beach has a nice aquarium.

IF it were my trip I'd start the drive and see how the flow of traffic is going.

IF it is moving well I'd just keep going.

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2. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

I would just head straight there. If there's traffic, stop off at the aquarium in Long Beach.

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3. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

I would stop in Laguna Beach or San Juan Capistrano.

As you are taking the 405 Freeway south, get off on Goldenwest St and head to Pacific Coast Highway and take the coastal route through Orange County. You'll go through Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point. You can stop wherever seems most interesting.

http://goo.gl/maps/QYuyr

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kentucky
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4. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

Thanks for the tips. A couple of clarifications, our flight lands at 10:45 am, not noon. ( I was thinking of return times.) I do not know if that makes any difference.

I was considering LB aquarium, or Queen Mary or the Sub, or just walking around a bit. How long does it really take once you get off the 405 to get parked at long beach Aquarium area? Ideally I was thinking of stopping more like halfway, but LB might be good if we are hungry. There are shops, restaurants...all in the walking vicinity of Aquarium, QM, and sub?

We are going to Golden Hill part of SD.

How far is Mission SJC off the highway?

At what point can we expect to be out of LA traffic?

We might also be happy just to stop for lunch somewhere along a beach boardwalk and get some fresh air for a little while.

We really do not have to get to SD til late afternoon, but I do not want to get in terrible traffic. I just think the kids will not be happy getting off a 4.5 hr flight and then jumping into a 2 hr car ride with no break. On the flipside I do not want to take a break in LB and then get stuck in traffic and then the trip to SD take even longer.

Any ideas would be great!! Thanks

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5. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

>>>How far is Mission SJC off the highway?<<<

500 yards off the 5 Freeway, 1500 yards off Pacific Coast Highway.

>>>At what point can we expect to be out of LA traffic?<<<

It isn't just LA traffic, Orange County and San Diego have their own traffic too.

Look at the route I posted in my previous post. That gets you out of LA County, into Orange County and the coastal route is pretty interesting.

In Long Beach the Aquarium and Queen Mary and sub are in different areas, you could not really walk from one to the other. The aquarium area has some shops and restaurants, but I think I would get further south than Long Beach.

San Diego also has a Russian sub, the ship from the movie Master & Commander and other ships and then the USS Midway. San Diego also has the Scripps Aquarium, not as big as Long Beach's, but it is part of Scripps Oceanographic Institute and in fact was the founding entity of the University of California, San Diego.

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6. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

If you want to stop closer to SD and not doing anything really time consuming, you might want to check out Dana Point, near SJC.

http://www.danapoint.org/index.aspx?page=142

San Clemente:

http://www.scchamber.com/Tourism.asp

or Oceanside:

http://www.oceansidechamber.com/visit/

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kentucky
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7. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

scottca075

I knew about the USS Midway, but not about the other ship and sub in SD. Where are those?

The Midway was on our must see list.

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8. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

The sub and other ships are just down from the USS Midway at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

http://www.sdmaritime.org/

kentucky
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9. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

Thanks. Does anyone know about whale watching or sailing that is good? Are there any whales in early Oct?

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10. Re: LA to San Diego, fun stop over spot with kids

If you'd like a great lunch spot, with a pier, stop in Oceanside. It has a great wooden pier, I think the longest on the West Coast, with a very kid-friendly restaurant at the end. Ruby's restaurant has sandwiches, salads, and a great variety of milkshakes. All along the pier, you can watch fishermen, surfers below, usually pelicans, sometimes sea lions or dolphins. There's also a very picturesque and active harbor area with several restaurants and a few shops.

To get to the pier from the interstate, take the Mission St. exit and drive a very short distance to the beach. There's a parking lot, plus metered parking on both sides of Pacific Street. The harbor is about half a mile north of the pier. From either spot, you'll be about 45 minutes to San Diego.

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