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Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Texas
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Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Hi! We are planning a trip to Catalina Island on a Friday in mid-March. What time should we leave SD to reach the Dana Point Ferry in time for a 9:50am ferry? We are staying in a condo in the Banker's Hill neighborhood. Our ferry docks at 4:30 pm. How long will the drive take us to get home? I know we are traveling a peak times, and it is likely to be horrible. TIA!

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1. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

I don't know what happened to my last post so I'll try again.

What is it that you want to do on Catalina Island in March? It's not beach weather. If you want to dive you need to rent wet suits and approriate dive equipment. I guess I'm wondering what activities you are expecting to participating in in March. It's not really that 'special'.

Catalina Island is rather small so if you are just visiting without diving it takes about 3 or 4 hours to see it. It's mostly tourist shops.

Again, what is it that makes you want you to go there? Especially from San Diego?

San Diego...
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2. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Also. at that time of the morning it's so unpredictible for the traffic at rush hour. You are really trying to do this at the height of rush hour.

If you really and truly want to do this I would leave San Diego at 6:00 am. The drive itself is about an hour. But you need to allow for morning traffic and then parking and finding your way to the boat.

Anaheim, California
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3. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

I am a fan of Avalon, and there is more than just a few hours of things to see and do...

http://www.catalinachamber.com/

As for the drive, I would want to leave around 7 AM or a bit earlier, the drive is pretty much up I-5 to just past San Clemente, where you switch to the Pacific Coast Highway Freeway to Dana Point.

As for the drive back on a Friday evening, that is a popular day for folks to drive south to San Diego for the weekend, my guess, you will get back to San Diego between 7 and 8 PM, barring a major traffic incident.

San Diego
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4. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

I agree with elizzie.

When we drive north from San Diego we usually wait until 8:30 or 9AM to leave but that would be too late for you so 6AM sounds about right!

We have never driven south at that time so am not sure how bad traffic will be in the late afternoon in that direction. I am wondering how many days you are spending in San Diego and what is intriguing you about Catalina? To me it sounds like a giant hassle for a day trip. IF we did the trip we'd stay overnight.

Edited: 26 January 2014, 13:59
Texas
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5. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Hey Guys! Thanks for your advice. My husband and I are traveling with my parents (active 60s) and my 10 mo old daughter. We are limited on what we can do with a baby, so I thought it would be a fun day trip. We are going to the zoo one day, La Jolla one day, and we will still have a day to fill if we don't go to Catalina. Can you recommend something instead? Some of us have been to SD before and some of us haven't so what would you do with a small baby? TIA!

Anaheim, California
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6. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

6 AM means almost 4 hours early for the drive and parking. The parking lot is not that big and easy to park at, not sure what others are saying. Google Maps has the drive at just over an hour (65 minutes) in light traffic. So add a stop for a break and some traffic, and you have 2 to 2 and half hours, so 7 AM should get you there in plenty of time.

When you get to Avalon, start with renting a golf cart to drive around the area, plan for a 2 hour rental, then go back to check out the sights that interested you. You can also take a guided tour and/or boat tour, or just wonder around. FYI, Avalon uses the term Casino in the traditional meaning of meeting hall and dancing, there is no gambling.

Texas
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7. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

I forgot to add that we will have a car, and a stroller so walking is totally acceptable. I thought my daughter would love the water, seals and aquarium in La Jolla plus I figured it would be fun to explore so that's why we chose there. We are having dinner on Coronado Island one night. Should I spend more time there? We will see Balboa Park with the zoo. Is there another day trip that is a must do? Normally, we would do something active like kayak, but with a baby our touring options have changed. Thanks!

San Diego
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8. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Everyone travels differently! If the trip sounds like "fun" for a day then of course you must do it. I don't know what you've already done/seen in San Diego on previous trips but the zoo and La Jolla are certainly not the only places to visit in San Diego.

Texas
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9. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

Riff, how would you spend the day with a 10 mo old? I've searched other posts but it just seems theme parks are suggested. We have Sea World here in San Antonio. What would you (or anyone else) recommend?

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10. Re: Travel time from San Diego to Dana Point

I personally like the idea of a day on Catalina Island, you get the drive, the boat trip, a fun day in Avalon, maybe add the glass bottom boat tour, amazing to see the fishes. One version calls themselves a submarine, but it really isn't, you just sit underwater with glass windows, the boat itself stays on top of the water. I think the entire group would enjoy the day.