California, here we come!

I’d like to brag and call myself a seasoned traveler.  I’m not.  Finances and that thing called life have always tripped up the opportunity to travel more.  I do have a handful of great trips behind me; Italy, Switzerland and, of course, my beloved California.

Why California?

Umm, hello?  Breathtaking landscapes of mountain, ocean, and vineyard, deliciously fresh food.  WINE.

So there we were, snuggled up on the couch the other night as we watched reruns of Modern Family, when a lightbulb bleeped in my brain.

“Why don’t we take the kids to California this summer?”

Michael raised his eyebrows ever so slightly,   “Yeah, we could do that.”

We’d been daydreaming about a quick trip to Paris – I’ve never been – but let’s face it.  Who in their right mind is going to volunteer to babysit our little animals gems for several nights in a row?

The big question was whether to head north or south.  We’ve been to NoCal (Do they call it that?  It’s easier than writing out n-o-r-t-h-e-r-n c-a-l-i-f-o-r-n-i-a) several times and have loved it.  Each time we arrive in Napa Valley we both throw our heads back to meet the sun as we cruise down Silverado Trail in a convertible, feeling as though life couldn’t possibly get any better.

But bring the kids?  Isn’t it frowned upon to fill the day with wine tastings with kids  in tow?

We’ve never been to SoCal, unless you count that time my best friend from elementary school moved out there and my parents actually put me on a plane to LA by myself when I was 10 years old so I could spend two weeks with my friend and her family.  And they’re Chinese.  And they spoke in Chinese the whole time.

I don’t speak Chinese.

I guess I’m not the cool mom because I’d never let one of my babies do that.  Maybe my mom needed a break from me.  That would’ve been plausible.

I’ve been poking around on and for ideas.   Any other travel sites you can recommend?

Here’s the working itinerary:

Days 1,2,3 – Los Angeles area

– Disneyland

– Universal Studios

Days 4,5,6 -San Diego

– Legoland

– San Diego Zoo

– hanging out at the beach or pool

I’d really love to see Santa Barbara even if it’s a day trip.  What do you think?  Anyone have travel ideas?  I’m all ears.

This entry was published on March 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm. It’s filed under activities for kids, Kids, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “California, here we come!

  1. I lived for a year in Santa Barbara, and love the area. Personally, I feel that N. CA wipes its butt with S. CA, but then when you’re talking Disneyland and whatnot, well, you must head south. Central CA has a lot to offer, but if time is limited then I’d say don’t kill yourselves to get there. If you want some tips about the Santa Barbara area, let me know.

    • Yes, please! Tips welcome. I don’t recall much about S. CA (a much less hipster way to refer to SoCal, if I do say so). My one true love is somewhere between Napa and Sonoma and I expect that down south won’t wow me but i’d like to keep an open mind. We’re planning on relocating somewhere in CA within 2 to 3 years so this is part family fun, part recon mission. So yes, tips on Santa Babs and the area in general. Know anything about Petaluma or Marin County? Also possibilities for relocation.

      • Not much of a hipster, I’m afraid, but I do love that stretch between Napa and Sonoma. Central California is fantastic. It’s kind of the ignored middle child,but it has amazing little communities like San Louis Obispo, Ojai, etc. The PCH between SF and Santa Barbara is one of the most stunning bits of road in the US, I think, with Monterrey, Carmel, Big Sur, etc. along the way. If you’ve never done it, then do it.
        I’ve been through Petaluma but don’t remember much about it. Cow country, I suppose, but no doubt charming. Marin is wicked, in a good way. Charming little towns, great hiking, little redwoods, a great vibe. None of this comes cheaply, of course. You might have to sell a kidney or two to raise the scratch for a home, but the farther you go inland the cheaper (relatively) it gets. My sister-in-law and family live in Dublin, which is in the S. part of the East Bay. If you haven’t come across her yet, try Linda at She’s got great information about the East Bay.
        Central CA is definitely worth exploring, and if you’re thinking of settling, it has possibilities.

      • I’m intrigued! Marin and surrounding areas will have to wait until our next escape when we can hypnotize a grandma into keeping our kids for a few days in a row. We stayed in carmel once and loved the scenery of big sur. Who wouldn’t? It’s amazing how one state has so much to offer. Right now I feel like a kid anticipating Christmas.

  2. I love both NorCal (where I live now) and SoCal (where I grew up) You can’t go wrong with Disneyland! If you want to head up to Santa Barbara area check out a place called Solvang. It is a cute Danish village with shops and restaurants. Have fun!!

  3. PS. Solvang is interesting, but it lacks a certain authenticity what with its windmills and post-and-beam architectural tidbits. If you do make it there, go to the Cold Springs Tavern between Santa Barbara and Solvang and order the ribs. Divine. Also his Sunstone winery in Santa Ynez. You might not have heard of a lot of the wines from Central CA, but they rival anything from Napa or Sonoma or anywhere else.

  4. Yay for a California road trip! I’ve written a couple things for Trekaroo about Santa Barbara and points south. I’ll include the links if you haven’t seen them… but I’d definitely recommend SB. Whale watching was the best there that we have ever experienced. Beaches, food, and hiking are also top notch. Definitely worth a day-trip and fun to do with kids. Down south, I must recommend going down to Laguna Beach or Dana Point on your trip between Disneyland and LEGOLAND. Both beaches are beautiful and offer fun things to do. Main Beach at Laguna is free (park on the streets or pay a meter) and there are tide pools, a playground, sand, and great shops. Dana Point is mostly harbor unless you pay $15 to go to Doheny SB. Or drive a bit north and go to Strands Beach (totally free). Beautiful area with lots to enjoy.

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