Cali-forni-YAY!

Two years ago, Big Daddy and I ran off to the left coast for two weeks sans kids.  We told them we were on a fact finding mission and, we kind of were.  This year, the girls got out of school, we packed our bags and flew to…

…well, not Beverly.  LAX.

We spent fourteen day in five different hotels ranging from San Diego..

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…to San Francisco…
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…and back to LA (and Disneyland, which I’ll write more about later).

Our kids are great travelers, mostly because they haven’t had any other choice.  Littlebit went on her first long vacation at six months old
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And because the children had addled our brains, Baby Bee went on HER first long vacation when she was six weeks old.  And we camped.  Because I’m clearly insane.

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Big Daddy and I really like California and all the girls are serious beach babies.  We hit lots of beaches (seven) saw lots of nature and had an awesome time.

For those of you planning a west coast trip, here’s a quick run down of some of our favorites:

  1. Great Maple in San Diego for a killer breakfast.  You can make reservations via Open Table and you probably should.  Weekend parking is dicey, but it’s worth the walk.
    greatmaple
  2. Silver Strand Beach in San Diego was absolutely beautiful.  Super soft sand, some shells, gentle surf and tons of easy parking. Also, not as much kelp which is good because kelp is stinky.silverstrand>
  3. La Jolla Cove.  It was sheltered from the wind, so it wasn’t so cold and the sand was soft.  There are also sea lions in the area.  Littlebit was super excited to be in the water with one.  Parking is a little tighter  at this beach.  By the way, that’s the sea lion in the upper left.lajolla
  4. We really loved the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey in general.  We did go to the San Diego Zoo, but my honest opinion is that it’s very expensive and while the Panda’s are cool, since we are regular zoo goers, we weren’t super impressed.  It was fine, but at 50/per adult I was expecting more.  The aquarium (also the setting for Finding Dory) is lightly less expensive ($190 for our family of five as opposed to $240) but it had the je nes se qua we were hoping to find at the San Diego Zoo.
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  5. If you’re looking for a secluded beach,  Fort Ord Dunes State Park would be my suggestion in the Monterey area.  It was literally the five of us and some sea birds. Once a United States Army Base, it’s a half mile sandy walk to the beach where you’ll see no one.  The sand is super coarse, which Baby Bee hated, so Big Daddy had to carry her up that half mile sandy walk on the way back.  It would be a great spot for family pictures.  It’s kind of hidden, but there’s lots of easy parking.  Apple maps didn’t want to take u all the way there, so we abandoned that and just used the street maps to find our way.
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  6. We spent some time at Musee Mecanique in San Francisco.  Look, shit in Caliornia tourist spots is expensive, but you can have a great time at the Musee Macanique for $20 in quarters.  They have hundreds of arcade machines ranging from ones that are a hundred years old, to your childhood favorites (I got a little excited over Pole Position). Most machines are .25-.50 cents and it’s easy to waste time there.  Your kid will like it AND the Sorting Hat can tell you your fortune.  Which is awesome!sortinghat>
  7. The giant Sequoia trees are magnificent to behold.  Don’t have a lot of time?  That’s okay.  It’s an easy paved walk up to the General Grant tree and then drive the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway which links the King’s Canyon National Park and the  Sequoia National Park.  Give your self lots of time to take the turn offs.
    trees(Big Daddy for Scale)
  8. Last, but not When you’re done driving through the park, stop in Three River at the Ol Buckaroo restaurant.  Their menu is small, but they do everything right.  I had the second best chicken of my life on their patio with the river running behind us.  What’s the best chicken?  Big Daddy’s.

We had a great summer vacation.  I can’t wait to plan the next one!