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10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

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Bayonne, New Jersey
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10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

We are flying in late July, renting a car and have ten days to do whatever we want. The only thing we have planned is Universal but that is one day. We want to see as much as possible but not go crazy. We are staying in Long Beach (got a good deal on a hotel and don't mind driving). Can anyone give suggestions how to plan our days so it makes sense? I want to make it a fun vacation for my girls.

Manhattan Beach...
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1. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

LA is very spread out, so I might sort out sights geographically and then see if it makes sense to see several sights together in the same day. One grouping might be the Getty Center in the morning for two hours followed by Universal Studios in the afternoon and evening. Another day might be the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, followed by dinner in Belmont Shores. Disneyland/California Adventure is probably a day (or two) by itself. Another day might be La Brea Tar Pits, a Museum, shopping at the Grove or Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, ending with the view from the Getty Observatory.

What kinds of things did you want to see? What attractions are on your list? I'd make sure you tour a movie studio, maybe Universal.

I'd also suggest time in places like Laguna Beach and maybe a day at Sea World in San Diego.

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2. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

"Staying in Long Beach and don't mind driving".

Famous last words. If you can switch hotels, it's well-advised to do so!

Los Angeles
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3. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

Agree with the above - Long Beach to the central parts of LA where you'll find most tourist attractions can be 45-60 minute each way, sometimes worse, and bear in mind that morning and evening commute hours in LA are from around 7-9AM and 4-7PM, so you want to avoid driving at those times if at all possible. That's a lot of back and forth driving each way for at least several days from the sounds of it. Right now, that may not sound like something you'll mind, but will you still feel that way after doing it for 10 days? You may want to rethink, or plan to spend more time in the other directions (Disneyland, the Orange County Beach areas like Newport, Huntington, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente). Maybe the visit the mission in San Juan Capistrano. In any case, group sights geographically as suggested - Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu one day, for instance, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Hollywood another day. Downtown and Pasadena a third day, etc. (you may want to spread those out over more days).

Edited: 02 May 2014, 14:46
Santa Monica, CA
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4. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

We usually recommend our visitors have a rough itinerary, so we can help with distances. I think 10 days in Long Beach would be about 8 days too long.

You might consider splitting your stay between San Diego, Orange County, then LA (3-3-4 split). All three areas will show you a great time. Finish your trip with 4 days in LA because it's so big; you'll want one of those days in Malibu or Santa Barbara, I think.

Anaheim, California
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5. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

Actually, for a beach area, Long Beach s a good central location for Los Angeles and Orange County sightseeing (aka the Southland) if you prefer to not change hotels. (I know some folks prefer to stay in one location than dealing with the checking in/out issues). Plus Long Beach has plenty of things to do in the area, and is also a god place if you want to take the ferry to Avalon (Catalina Island) for a day.

www.visitlongbeach.com

Bayonne, New Jersey
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6. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

Thank you for answering. I want to do all of it except Disney. We went to Sea world in Florida so I think we will pass . We want to go to Runyon Canyon and maybe take a ride to Malibu as well. I just want to set everything so it makes sense. Oh and maybe go to Catalina but that would be in the area.

Bayonne, New Jersey
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7. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

I am not changing my hotel. Moving luggage sounds worse than driving. This will be an active vacation but that is the idea. I am just curious but from what some people are saying about driving makes me feel like I am going to some strange country with unpaved roads. Never mind me being a tourist but how do people commute? I still plan on having a great time in beautiful Cali:)

Los Angeles
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8. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

Its just that for a lot of people, we'd rather maximize the time we spend during our limited vacation time at the actual sights that we want to see, doing activities, etc., rather than endless time spent driving back and forth in our cars, stuck in heavy, stressful traffic. Most of us do enough of that in our daily lives :)

That said, its YOUR vacation. Don't let us tell you what you want to do. Do what appeals to you.

Anaheim, California
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9. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

I live near the Orange County/Los Angeles County line, and commute all over Southern California, including Long Beach, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Downtown LA, Ontario, Riverside, San Diego and many other places.

My tools include a GPS that offers live traffic updates and re-routing, a FasTrak transponder so I can take Express Lanes and Toll Roads, and listen to AM Radio, such as KNX 1070 AM, KFI 640 AM, KEIB 1150 AM and KOGO (San Diego) 600 AM. Also usually have 2 people in car, so also use Carpool lanes.

Plenty of different freeway options from Long Beach, plus you can also opt for the coastal roads such as Pacific Coast Highway, and driving along the coast in Palos Verdes (Palos Verdes Drive).

As for why? I don't get it, some folks recommend the city of Santa Monica on the west end of Los Angeles County, but it is about the same distance and traffic hassles to Downtown LA as from the city of Long Beach (South end of Los Angeles County).

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10. Re: 10 days in LA Area (mom and two teenage daughters)

Joanna,

Sorry for any confusion that may have introduced into this thread.

If you have a look at a map, you'll see that Santa Monica is not "on the west end" of Los Angeles County. LA County extends 25 miles or so further west than Santa Monica. I also don't get why some folks recommend the City of Huntington Beach which is, by the same reasoning, "on the west end" of Orange County, but they do. Mysteries likely to remain perpetually unsolved.

Because the swath of Los Angeles where most tourist attractions are found *starts* in downtown LA and extends west from there to Santa Monica, without really extending southward, Santa Monica is far closer to most of the tourist attractions than the idea that Santa Monica is about the same distance from downtown LA would suggest - considering that one would generally have to drive from Long Beach *through* downtown LA to this area, and then drive west from downtown LA to the attraction of their choice, adding time. On the other hand, if driving from Santa Monica, one often does not need to drive east as far as downtown to get there - hence Santa Monica tends to be a more convenient base. Not to mention that Long Beach is, in fact, about a 40% further drive from downtown LA than Santa Monica is.