Tips for California Trip

Updated on December 21, 2015
L.H. asks from Coleman, TX
7 answers

We will be in Santa Clarita the end of January. We will have a week to do some exploring after our work is done. We plan to spend 2-3 days at Disney and want to do a whale watching tour. I know we will want to do Hollywood walk of stars. Logistically I'm trying to decide whether to do a vacation rental and stay in one place or move from place to place. I was told by a fellow traveler that Santa Barbara was the best place to do a whale watching trip. Also should we take public transportation to Hollywood? Our kids are 16 and 12.

Thanks for any tips/suggestions.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from New York on

I would map out what you want to do using Santa Clarita as your base. If the distances are too far, I would stay In the areas you want to visit. What you don't want to do is waste several hours everyday going back n forth to a rental. Enjoy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Since most of what you want to do is in LA/Orange County, I would not bother with Santa Barbara for whale watching. You can easily do that out of Long Beach, Newport Beach, or plenty of other places in OC. Also, I think that once you're finished working and are ready for tourist stuff, you should find a hotel that is more centrally located. You would probably be happy to do one hotel in LA, then switch to one in Anaheim with easy access to Disneyland.

Anyway, your kids would probably like Griffith Observatory. It is relatively close to Hollywood and the Walk of Fame, so you could plan for Hollywood in the morning and the Observatory in the afternoon/evening.

If you are into theater, check to see what is playing at the Pantages, also in Hollywood. Or, in downtown, you could see a show at the Ahmanson Theater for the Disney Music Hall.

The California Science Center is free and currently has one of the space shuttles housed there (you may still need a separate ticket to see the shuttle; not sure if that is still true since it's been there for awhile now). There is also a Museum of Natural History located right next to the Science Center.

Santa Monica and Venice Beach are nice to walk around. You could rent bikes or roller blades and ride on the beach path between them - it's a really pretty ride and not too far at all. You can see the famous Venice Beach boardwalk and/or the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade.

You can get to the mountains within 1.5-2 hours if you want to go do snow activities - ski, snowboard, or sledding/tubing. Mountain High is the closest and easiest to get to, but the Big Bear resorts are nice too, and Big Bear has more other things to do.

If your kids like thrill rides/roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain is right by Santa Clarita. Knott's Berry Farm is in OC, not too far from Disneyland.

Definitely rent a car. Southern California was not designed for public transportation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Santa Clarita is so far from everything. It could take you hours to Disneyland and Hollywood, depending on traffic conditions. I would NOT stay in Santa Clarita. You can do whale watching from San Pedro/Long beach so that you don't have to go to Santa Barbara.

Public transportation in terrible in southern California. That's a bad idea. It would only work if you're already in the heart of LA, like downtown or something (for instance it would be possible to go from downtown to Hollywood). Public transportation would not work if you're in Santa Clarita -- it's just too far out there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'd find whatever wilderness is nearby (probably not much if you're in LA) and pounce on it. the mojave's right behind there, isn't it? any national parks within driving distance?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I'm a little confused at the suggestions to find nature and a National Park. While that is an awesome way to spend a vacation. If you want nature, don't go to LA.

I would find a centrally located rental or hotel in Western LA for a few days and then move to a hotel walking distance to Disney for your time there. Staying a few blocks from the park is the way to go for a multi-day visit. The the Anabella is a great family hotel. It's a ways from the park but you can walk through the Grand Californian to downtown Disney (at least you could a few years ago). We spent mornings and early afternoon in the parks, went to the hotel for swim and rest and then hit the parks again until closing for no lines or crowds.

If you stay in Santa Monica or Venice area you'll be well situated for sightseeing. You can get to Hollywood, the beach, Venice canals, The Getty, Griffith Park, and a million other fun places in less than and hour. If you plan right you could do a whale watch trip out of Long Beach on the way to or from Anaheim. You want to plan this well or you'll spend tons of time in the car under stressful driving conditions. is a great resource. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

We just went to CA this summer with 2 kids 15 and 14. Our fav place was Sequoia National Forest. I'd highly recommend it if you can fit it in somewhere. 1-2 days max. Its beautiful, serene and not touristy. Have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I would go from place to place. Traffic in and around those areas can easily eat up a huge chunk of your time even if they are close together when looking at the map. Just driving from Disney to Downtown LA/Hollywood can take a couple hours if traffic is bad. Public transit in Hollywood is not very good honestly.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions