My husband and I, and 4 teens ages 13-17 will be in the area December 26 to Jan 2 We will have rented a vehicle and we have made our reservations already at the Homewood Suites in Garden Grove (5 days) and than Days Inn hotel circle in San Diego (2 days) Any comments on these hotels? our Plans include the Disney parks, Universal Studios, starline tour, the zoo and seaworld. We will be in San Diego for New Years Eve and Day. Any suggestions on what to do. How about First Night San Diego any comments? Any beach recommendations for surfing. What is the weather like, what should we pack? we are looking for any advice, safety, travel, attractions, must sees, driving you name it we are ready to hear it.
The beach to go to in the Los Angeles area is Venice Beach
if you have teenagers,
but it may be a bit further than you want to drive.
The zoo to go to is the San Diego Zoo and it is considered
the best in this country. Fun for the entire family and
you can make a day of this. It is located in the park and
near Old Town San Diego which I think is more fun than
The best surfing beach that I know of is DelMar Beach
also near San Diego - and that adjoins Torrey Pines
State Park which has hiking trails, etc.
In Carlsbad, Legoland. Sounds crazy but it is really
LaJolla is a lovely beach community -- again in the
San Diego area.
I am uncertain about New Years Eve in that area. I live
north in San Francisco.
Weather is usually in the high 60's to mid 70's during the day
and high 40's in the evening and night. Light jackets or
sweatshirts would be enough for evenings.
Have a wonderful trip. Any other questions?
I would agree with everything mad1044 said except the comment about Legoland. Legoland is for kids 9 and younger--not teenagers. They'll be bored out of their minds there. Take them to the San Diego Wild Animal Park--it's about 20 miles east of Legoland. The Wild Animal Park is operated by the same people that run the San Diego Zoo.
P.s. Too bad you won't be in Los Angeles over New Years. They have a Rose Parade every year in Pasadena on New Years' morning that people come to see from all over the country. You can find info on it on web sites.
Also, Venice Beach is interesting, but there are other beaches to go to if you don't want to drive that far. Surfing is actually pretty good at Newport Beach if the waves are up. Go there and ask people where you go to find "The Wedge".
Thanks for the great advice, Please keep the information coming. I had read about Legoland being for younger kids but many people both here and on another forum have said it would be fun. We didn't plan to go and because we are there for a limited time we will plan to do the Zoo, and Aquarium in San Diego (which we decided to extend our stay a day longer to give us a bit more time) and than do Universal and maybe Disney, in Aneheim but we are leaving that up to the kids. Again thanks for all the advice and anyone else keep sending your posts we want to know everything about the area including any traveler tips and safety issues we need to be on the look out for. Someone I work with who grew up in the area said there are some rough neighbor hood in and around the LA area to be sure to get GOOD directions and we should be all set, if anyone has thoughts about that let me know.
Yes, there are places to stay out when visiting Los Angeles--Watts and Compton come immediately to mind--as does parts of Long Beach north of downtown (sad since I grew up in Long Beach--and it has many beautiful parts). All of these places are south of downtown LA.
The key is to know your destination and stay on the freeways when going from one area to another. Fill up on gas before you get to the LA area because it is really spread out (A lot of people don't realize that you can drive 45 miles nonstop one way and never leave the city limits of Los Angeles, much less the metropolitan area--which extends over 75 miles across in all directions). When traffic is really bad (primarily from 3 PM to 6 PM Monday through Friday), some roads are like a crawl (5 to 15 miles per hour tops on a road made for 55-65)... this is one of the major reasons I left.
Having said that--LA is worth going to and there are fun things to do there.
One thing I forgot to mention for people going in December is the skiing on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. There are some major resorts (Mammoth Mountain--the largest ski resort in the US--bigger than anything in Colorado or Utah, and Squaw Valley--near Tahoe, site of the Winter Olympics some years back--are the best known. Other sites (these are close to Lake Tahoe--as is Squaw Valley--would be Northstar-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, and Kirkwood. The places near Lake Tahoe are popular because you can ski during the day and gamble and attend Las Vegas-like shows at night on the Nevada side of the lake. Mammoth is farther south, but is popular because it has its own clubs, restaurants--and lots of condos with lots of hot tubs for after the slopes rejuvenation.
You will love LA and surounding area and the posts provided to you provide great ideas and suggestions. A few years back my wife and I spent 2 weeks in LA and there wasn't one day we didn't have a full itinerary. So much to see and do and so little time. Your kids are going to love it too. Happy Travels