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Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

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Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

We have a conference in San Diego this spring and are planning on staying there 2-3 days, then driving up to LA. We are not interested in celebrities, but would love to spend some time near the water and see the amusement parks. The trip in total will be about a week, but we have some flexibility. We are traveling with teenagers. Their current list of interest include:

La Jolla tide pools

LegoLand (nostalgia sake)

Universal

Disneyland

Aquarium

Is there anything else along these lines or near the ocean we should check out? We have been to San Diego before, not interested in Sea World or the zoo, any other suggestions? If there are areas of beach we should see for beauty, shell seeking, etc we'd be interested in those.

What is the best route-wise for seeing the attractions listed above in LA? We will be flying out of San Diego again at the end of the trip.

Appreciate your help!

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1. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

The only thing that you mentioned that is really in LA itself is Universal Studios, but there are many great beach areas in or next to LA - Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu to start with. then there are also the beach areas between LA and San Diego, like Newport, Huntington and Laguna Beach.

I'm gathering by "aquarium" you may mean the Aquarium of the Pacific which is in Long Beach, but there is also the Scripps Oceanography Institute in La Jolla, and in San Pedro there is also the Leo Cabrillo centerwhich you may want to look into.

If you do a loop you can take I-5 up from San Diego to Carlsbad first, then Anaheim for Disney, then continue on I-5 to downtown LA and there switch to the 101 freeway to get to Universal, then perhaps head over to the coastal areas of LA, then head to Long Beach and take the 405 down to I-5 and back to San Diego, or take the slower (but more scenic) Highway 1 south until it rejoins I-5. Obviously with overnight stops along the way since

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2. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

How many days at the Disneyland Resort?

Since you mentioned nostalgia, maybe add Knott's Berry Farm, America's First Theme Park.

How many times do you want to check in/out of Hotels?

Maybe stay in the Carlsbad area, check out LEGOLAND, the SEALIFE Aquarium (same property), the Birch Aquarium near Scripps in La Jolla, the tide pools at the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma (aka San Diego). Then move to the Anaheim area, and do Disneyland, Knott's, and day trips to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and Universal Studios.

And then head back using the Coastal Highways.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c174834/Califo…

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3. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

FYI, 'celebrity spotting' is a teeny-tiny aspect of any visit to Los Angeles. L.A. is the second-largest city in the U.S. and has hundreds of attractions. If you're interested, I invite you to learn about our city (which you appear to be skipping over) by clicking on the various links on this page (to the right and above). You'll need a computer rather than a phone or tablet to see these.

Happy planning!

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4. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend with my comment about celebrities, I just didn't want to be pointed in the direction of those types of activities.

We'll do Disneyland just for one day.

Yes, I mean the Long Beach aquarium.

Last time we went we found an affordable hotel near Disneyland, but that is probably not a great option for the rest of the trip? We'll be staying in a hotel in San Diego for at least 2 nights, possibly 3, then heading up to the LA area. The last trip we only went to Anaheim then traveled south again, so this will be our first "real" time spending a few days in the area.

Santa Monica area might be an option, we've never been there. We're also interested in ethnic areas if there is something in particular you would recommend.

Thanks for your help.

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5. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

Im just going to throw out a slightly different option for you. Why not get your larger drive done at the beginning of your trip, and then slowly make your way back to San Diego. That way it may feel likely you are traveling for less time even though you are not.

Start out going straight from San Diego to Santa Monica by the beach, and, do the LA part of your trip from there, Universal Studios, ect.

Then make your way to Anaheim for a day and stay over night at somewhere near the entrance.

Then travel down the coast to Legoland for the day on your way to San Diego.

You can easily visit the Birch Aquarium mentioned near La Jolla which you may want to compare with the one in Long Beach. I have not been to either though, but hear the one in La Jolla is just as nice really. And visit La Jolla Cove which is a fun visit from San Diego.

This allows a little less travel time traveling all around... Just something to consider.

Edited: 21 January 2014, 23:24
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6. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

Thank you, I appreciate your feedback -- it sounds good, but unfortunately we have to start in San Diego because we have a conference there for a couple days, and the time we'll be able to take is after the conference.

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7. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

If we're going from San Diego to see Legoland, Universal, Disneyland, Long Beach Aquarium, and Santa Monica beach area and then coming back to San Diego -- what should our route be? Suggestions for what areas we should spend the night?

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8. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

Santa Monica doesn't make a whole lot of sense,what do you want to see there other than the beach? There are much nicer beaches in north San Diego County/South OC. Torrey Pines State Beach and the adjacent State reserve are my favorites. Have you seen the Midway in San Diego? I thought it was interesting. Ask your teens to look at it online and decide for themselves.

You might look around Newport or Huntington Beach for a few nights, which is fairly central to both Disney and the LB Aquarium.

If you save your visit to Universal for the end of the trip, you could stay somewhere around Hollywood for a night, and it would reduce the drive time. There's also the Griffith Park Observatory not too far away, if you wanted to spend a few nights at the LA end of things.

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9. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

OK, the first day leaving San Diego, leave early, head straight to Carlsbad and LEGOLAND, the park doesn't' stay open late, so then get back in the car, and checking into an Anaheim area Hotel for Disneyland. Lots of great Hotels in the area and usually at a vey good price. Then drive to Universal Studios as a day trip, stop by Hollywood and Highland on the way back to Anaheim. Then a day trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and drive down the coastal highway to check out Huntington Beach and Newport Beach (Balboa Pier and Peninsula area) and back to Anaheim. If you opt for multiple days for Disneyland, then you can break those days up with the day trips.

Then on the day back to San Diego, go back to Newport Beach and continue down the Costal highway to San Diego.

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10. Re: Need trip advice - LA - San Diego

legoland...make sure the kids know it is for nostalgia...definitely not geared for teenagers or adults. sounds like you are trying to fit in an awful lot for one week but if you like being on the go all the time...have fun. watch the traffic / rush hour times or you are going to be spending a significant portion of your holiday in a car...possibly in traffic jams.