I'm currently in Whistler, Canada, but im from the Uk. Myself and a friend want to head down to california for a week or two just to chill and have some fun before we go home at the end of August. We were thinking going to see disneyland etc but there are so many parks? I was wondering, how far away are these from each other? We wanted to go see disneyland, Universal studios, and SeaWorld but i'm not sure whether this will be accessible in the short time we're there? Also where would be the best place to fly into and stay whilst doing this? Getting overwhelmed with the amount of deals and need some clarification.
Many Thanks to all those who help
So Disney world and all that are great for a day but if you are all the way out in California you should get a flight to San Francisco, see Alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, Muir woods then hire a car and do the most amazing drive down the coast stay a night at Big Sur, Santa Barbara and on your 3rd night you can spend the rest of your time in LA (which actually thought was rubbish) but if you want to do the theme parks then this is the place to be.
I thought it would be cool to stay in Hollywood but the area is pretty nasty, stay closer to the beach near Santa Monica beach which is pretty lively.
Agree with Rambler1.
If you are going to the LA area, spend most of your time out of the downtown area. Beaches such as Santa Monica, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Beach are the best spots.
In addition to the standard amusement parks (Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm), consider the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino (near South Pasadena) or else if you go in July/August, go to the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach (best in the afternoon and early evening). In the southern part of California, San Diego (and is Sea World) is also worth a look.
If you decide to cross over into Mexico, get Mexican insurance for your car (American insurance is not valid in Mexico--they sell Mexican insurance at the rental car agencies at the airport in San Diego or near the border). Then don't go to Tijuana (which is a tourist trap), but instead head down the toll road--the ruta cuota--to Rosarito Beach--and ride horses on the beach, then go see the Fox Studios Mexico--then get lobster down at the Puerto Nuevo village.
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It sounds like you just want to hit up amusements parks while you are here. Is that the case or do you have thoughts of see things outside amusment parks?
If so then they are all pretty much down in Southern California. Disneyland can be seen in a day, but I recommend taking two days just so you can do go at a slower pace and avoid some stress. The place can be packed! Lines can be massive and the waiting time long. There are some attractions that are really worth the wait. That's why I say two days. That gives you the chance to do the really fun rides a couple of times and when you give yourself more time you can sit and catch a parade or show.
Calcurzer is right about the beaches. Newport, for example, is not a city you want to visit to see attractions and sights, but the beaches down that way are much cleaner. So if it's just the beach you're looking for that's a good place. Also, for beaches with attractions Santa Monica is not bad. I like the boardwalk there. The town is pretty cool too. It's can be croweded but it has some nice shops and palces to eat.
Talk about not answering the question! The OP wanted to know about the theme parks, and most of these responses are about beaches and San Francisco.
I will answer the question directly: if you intend to visit southern California to visit the theme parks, you should stay in Orange County. That will be closest to Disneyland, where you will probably want to spend most of your time. Sea World, as well as the excellent San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park are all in San Diego, which is a 90 minute drive south of Disneyland. Universal Studios is about an hour northwest of Disneyland (in Hollywood).
One really good option for doing all of these parks is to get the Southern California City Pass. This saves you quite a bit of money on admission if you intend to see a lot of theme parks. Info here: http://www.citypass.com/city/socal.html
Thanks, bazzlevi--you are correct, we didn't directly answer the question asked. In our defense, it's just that there is a lot more to see in California (and the US) than just amusement parks.
Of course, if you want to see a lot of amusement parks, that's great--just realize that there are lots of these all over the US--not just in California.
For example, in Florida, in Orlando you have 4 disney resorts--Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, the Disney Wild Animal Park, and the Disney Hollywood Studios, the Nickelodeon resort (just for kids), and the Universal Studios Florida, Sea World Florida and over in Tampa you have Busch Gardens. Also, at Disney in Florida there are two waterparks--Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Plus they have special resorts at almost every Disney hotel in Florida, as well as in Miami. Additionally, there are gigantic waterparks in both Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and in San Antonio, Texas--and, of course, in Las Vegas. (There are about 10 massive water resorts/casinos/entertainment centers in Las Vegas). You have adventure parks in Oak Hill, West Virginia (actually in Minden) where you can go horseback riding, ride ATVs, do white-water rafting, kayak rafting, play paintball, and go zip-line riding. Near Jackson, NJ at Six Flags Great America is the largest roller-coaster in the country and the world (Kingda Ka) and there are other gigantic roller coasters at Cedar Point and at Kings Island both in Ohio. Near Salt Lake City, Utah is a gigantic place called "The Crater" that is the largest indoor hot tub (natural one) in North America.
P.S. The Kingda Ka goes 128 mph and is 456 feet high. (It is actually the world's second fastest roller coaster, since there is a coaster in Germany, the Ring O Racer, that is faster--and goes 134 mph.) However, the Kingda Ka is still the largest roller coaster as of this moment--but I'm sure that will change in a few more years.
So, if you like amusement parks, yes, Florida and California have the most--but there are good ones all over the place.:
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Here are some of the top amusement parks in the USA
Here's one person's ranking of the top roller coasters in the country--but this ranking was done over 6 years ago--so the Kingda Ka isn't on the list.:
And here's one worth mentioning in Canada
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