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Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

NC
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Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

We are thinking of a taking a trip to San Diego in late Feb. or early March 2013. My husband, our 9-year old daughter, and myself will be on the trip. We'll fly in from the east coast and rent a car at the airport, and we'll most likely stay for about 8-10 days.

We love nature, wildlife, and exploring. We'd love to do these things:

day trip to Anza Borrego Desert to see the wildflowers in bloom

whale watching

San Diego Zoo (our daughter would love to see the pandas specifically)

Balboa Park

Cabrillo tide pools

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Sunset Cliffs

Point Loma

La Jolla

just walking along the beautiful southern California beaches

taking a drive over the Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island

Are there any other must-sees?

We're looking for suggestions on lodging. We've enjoyed Staybridge Suites in other parts of the country and see that there are two in San Diego - one in the Sorrento Mesa area and one in the Rancho Bernardo area. Are either of these a good hub for our trip?

We've also looked at the Holiday Inn Express in La Jolla. Any thoughts on this?

We're looking at properties on VRBO as well.

We'd like to spend less than $200/night. Laundry, kitchen, breakfast, and a pool would be great.

We feel sure it will be too cold in Feb. or March for swimming in the ocean, but what about outdoor pools at hotels? Are the pools generally heated, or is the weather warm enough for outdoor pool swimming that time of year?

Thank you very much for any advice and suggestions!

Anaheim, California
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1. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Sounds like you are Priority Club Members, so you want to stay with the Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express/Staybridge Suites/Crowne Plaza/Candlewood Suites brands.

There is a Candlewood Suites in Mission Valley, a nice central location.

ichotelsgroup.com/candlewood/…hoteldetail

Candlewood is a bit more basic than Staybridge, no free breakfast and limited hours that the front desk operates.

But there is a Laundry Room and a kitchen in each room. No pool though.

Edited: 02 September 2012, 16:26
San Diego
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2. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Hi,

Many pools are comfy for swimming year round but you'll have to e-mail specific hotels to see if they are heated.

Sorrento Mesa would be more central than Rancho Bernardo.

There are other suite hotel possibilities.

Homewood Suites/Liberty Station is VERY popular with families.

They include free pkg.,free bkfst , and some free dinners.

There are also many Residence Inns throughout the area.

You might check prices at the La Jolla Residence Inn to see how it measures up. It has the feel of a condo community with full apts.,several pools, etc. You can park for free on the surrounding residential streets.

The Holiday Inn Express is OK but not as convenient to freeway and doesn't offer the suites/apts. you seem to like.

One other local possibility might be the Old Town Inn. It is central and perhaps less expensive than some of the others.

La Jolla, California
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3. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

I agree with the PPs on the location of the hotels.

Personally I would not stay in either the Sorrento Mesa or Rancho Bernardo locations. The Sorrento Mesa area may be "more central" than RB, but that is not saying much.

You definitely need a car for both locations since they are both a bit of a distance from the central San Diego attractions, and IMHO there is nothing of interest in the SM location since it is mostly business/industrial west of Mira Mesa, which is mostly a working class neighborhood. The RB location is closer to the SD Zoo Safari park, but again, it is not convenient for your other trip destinations.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Late February or early March is in our rainy season here, so there could be a rainy day in the middle of your trip. You will want to have an "indoor" day planned in that case, such as visiting some of the museums in Balboa Park, or the USS Midway and Maritime Museums next to downtown.

If it's not raining, it should be clear, sunny and cool. Not likely to be warm or hot. The ocean temperature will still be only about 57 or 58, too cold for swimming in my opinion. But you can certainly still go to the beaches for the scenery, such as Windansea Beach, Marine Street Beach, Wipeout Beach or La Jolla Cove, all of which are in the La Jolla neighborhood.

Late February or early March is a bit early for the wildflowers at Anza-Borrego. Typically late March to early April is the peak for the flowers. However, if we have a long rainy winter starting this fall, there may be some flowers in bloom as early as the time of your trip. In any case, it would be worth the drive if you want to see some desert.

Anza-Borrego is about a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego, and you can take a scenic drive to get there that includes Sunrise Highway through the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area and the mountain town of Julian, formerly a gold mining town but now an apple growing area. http://julianca.com

San Diego...
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5. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

I wouldn't stay in either Sorrento Mesa or Rancho Bernardo for a vacation to San Diego either. Do look into the suggestions that you've been given.

The Homewood Suites in Liberty Station is a good location for sightseeing in San Diego but some of the other suggestions would be good as well.

NC
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6. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Thanks to darkbeer, Riff M, ElleLaJolla, and bw92116 for your helpful responses. We're reading through your lodging suggestions and trying to narrow down our options. We're looking for some place safe, clean, and with a heated pool. We'd love to have breakfast, laundry and a small kitchen (at a minimum a mini-fridge and microwave). Those would be great bonus features. Of course, a pretty and unique location would be awesome, but I know you can't have it all for under $200/night so our options may be limited.

Do you have any thoughts about La Avenida Inn in Coronado and Best Western Hacienda Hotel in Old Town?

Our trip dates are flexible - if the wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert don't normally peak until late March or April, we can adjust our dates. Maybe we should plan our trip for mid to late March so we have a good chance of seeing the wildflowers blooming and whales.

Thanks for the tips about checking on the pools being heated or not. Is March normally a bit warmer and less rainy than February?

Thank you again for your advice!

NC
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7. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Thanks elizzie for your thoughts on the Staybridge locations as well. I think we'll mark those off our list.

I appreciate you writing!

San Diego
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8. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

BW Hacienda is in Old Town and certainly a central location. It is built on a hill and the best rooms are near the top which I think is closest to the office. I am not aware that any of them have kitchen facilities so let me know if you find that they do!

La Avenida in Coronado is at a very nice beach. It is about a 15min. drive from there across a no toll bridge into downtown San Diego.Again not aware of kitchen facilities there.

Weather THIS year has been totally ABnormal so I'd NOT want to guess what it will be like next year!

Edited: 02 September 2012, 22:02
San Diego...
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9. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

I've always heard good things about La Avenida Inn. It's definitely a very good location. You've got both the beach and the Village right there. I'm sure the Hacienda is fine but I'd take staying at the beach. I think it would be more fun!

I'm sure you can find reviews on TA.

www.yelp.com/biz/la-avenida-inn-coronado

yelp.com/biz/best-western-hacienda-hotel-old…

La Jolla, California
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10. Re: Feb. or March 2013 trip - questions

Hi Travelingwith...

When you wrote that you are looking for "a unique location" I couldn't help but think of Redwood Hollow Cottages in La Jolla. As you probably know, La Jolla is a coastal community within the city of San Diego. All of the cottages have cooking facilities; free of charge laundry facilities are on site, and the beach is about a block away. With a few blocks of Redwood Hollow Cottages, you'll find the seal colony at the Children's Pool, sea lions at the La Jolla Cove, and flocks of pelicans nesting and flying all around Goldfish Point.

Redwood Hollow Cottages are the exact opposite of some of the chain motels that have been mentioned on this thead. Maybe you'd like to take a look at their website http://www.redwoodhollow-lajolla.com/ The only drawback is that they do not have a pool, but frankly the weather in February and March is not conducive for swimming. You may happen to be here during one of our "Santa Ana conditions" when temperatures reach high into the 70s, but the average for that time is year is 66-68.

I think your list of things you want to do and see is very reasonable and well thought out and I'm glad you're renting a car. It's so much easier than trying to see San Diego using public transport.

If you want to look into a vacation rental, in addition to VRBO, you might contact SeaBreeze Vacation Rentals. They have a lot of properties along the coast and there may be one with a pool in you price range because February-March is off-season in this area.

I hope you enjoy your time in San Diego.

Elizabeth Hansen

www.La JollaTravelInformation.com