Trip to California with 14 and 10 Yo Girl and Boy

Updated on May 24, 2011
J.W. asks from Harrisburg, PA
7 answers

Hi all! Going on a week long vacation in July, will start off in San Fran and drive down the coast to LA area. What would be some things that kids my age would really enjoy? I've been to CA but as an adult. We are going to go an amusement park (Disney or Universal) but only want to spend a day on that, not visit multiple parks. And my daughter wants to shop on Melrose. Thanks for any suggestions!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The trip has to be large scale as we have a wedding in SF and then are going to see friends in LA.
Do you think it will warm enough in Long Beach to swim?

Just wanted to let everyone know what we did...San Fran: Chinatown, walked around AT&T park area, cable car, trolley car, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli
Drove down rt 1 stopped overnight in Carmel and had dinner in Monterey.
Continued our drive down making many stops at look out points, just amazing. Drove around Pepperdine's campus in Malibu. Stayed in Marina Del Rey and did a day driving around Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Rodeo Dr, Melrose, UCLA, Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Hollywood. Continued south and went to Disneyland for the day and then had a beach day in a cove at Laguna. Amazing trip, can't wait to go back!

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answers from San Francisco on

In San Francisco, see the Wax Museum and the Carnival Museum (not sure of its real name), both at Fisherman's wharf. Wax Museum is corny, but kids love it.

I haven't been to Universal for years, but I would choose the original Disneyland over Universal or California Adventure any day.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Ride the trolley cars in San Francisco. Walk along Fisherman's Warf. Go to the website for the TV show "Diners Drive-ins and Dives". There are several places they have shown on their program. When my wife and I go on vacation I always look for restaurants they highlight and we have never been disappointed.

Don't bother going swimming north of southern California unless you have wet suits. The water is just too cold. The water is in a current coming down from Alaska.

Be sure to fill up with gas before heading down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Gas can be twice as much along the more remote areas. The views along PCH are right out of National Geographic. Hearst Castle is a good place to visit if you have any interest in history and how the "other half" lived (the very very rich).

In southern California, the place to visit is Disneyland, of course. Its the man-trap built by a mouse. If you really love rollercoasters, Magic Mountain is THE place to go. If you don't LOVE rollercoasters, don't bother. There is the Getty Museum. Palm Springs is about 100 miles (east on I-10) from Disneyland, but July is a bad time to visit because the temperature can reach 110+ during the day. I parked my suburban on the street with a thermometer on the seat. The upper limit of the thermometer was 150 degrees and it exceeded that in a closed up truck parked in the sun.

I hope you have a wonderful time. Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Dallas on


A week is not a long time for all there is to see and do. Here are some suggestions in the LA area. Research this before you go and make a plan. There is A LOT of traffic in LA, so add time for sitting on the 405 or the 101!

I lived just inland from Malibu. If you drive down the PCH you will be driving along the coast. You could stop in Malibu at Zuma Beach, but will pay for parking or you could go to Point Dume and search for a parking spot (get there early because it is not easy to find!). If you are feeling adventurous, take a ride on Moholland Drive - something your kids might have heard of before. You should also stop in Santa Barbara. LOVE LOVE LOVE it there! If you daughter wants to shop and do the tourist thing, take her to Beverly Hills and shop on Rodeo Drive. You can also take them to The Griffith Observatory. There is also the Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where the stars are on the ground). If you go there, be prepared. It is VERY touristy and there are a lot of, let's just say, strange wanna be actors - Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. There is also the Santa Monica Pier. Go to the Grove. It is a shopping mall all outside. I just saw the TV show Extra reporting from there. It is another place for the fun touristy thing to do. I could go on and on. I miss CA so much! There is so much to do. :)

Have a great time!!! PM me if you want more info.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter and I did LA when she was about 10. We were there for a modeling job so we didn't have a huge amount of time.

We enjoyed the farmers market around Rodeo Dr area, Hollywood, Melrose, Santa Monica Pier.


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answers from Dallas on

What about stopping at Hearst Castle. I have not been there, but have wanted to since I was a kid. The water is cold, but should be fine. We always made sure we had sweat pants and sweat shirts when going to the beaches it often times gets a bit chilly, never eally kept us out of the water. We are doing the other side of the state in july, we are traveling down the Sierra side, can't wait.

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answers from San Francisco on

I saw Fisherman's wharf on this list which is a San Francisco thing. I think your kids would like it. You could take the boat ride out to Alcatraz. That is an interesting one. If you aren't in a hurry to get to LA you can always stop by Santa Cruz on your way down south. It has the Boardwalk with lots of rides and the Pier. You can even walk along the train tressle(sp) that was in the movie Lost Boys. It is all the way at the other end of the Boardwalk. Another place close to that is Monterey. You can shop on Cannery Row or go to the Wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is a nice day trip. Enjoy the trip to LA and be prepared for the traffic.

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answers from San Antonio on

I would suggest just starting/staying in the lower area. We did this trip about 4 yrs ago. Flew into Ontario to visit relatives and flew out of Burbank! I love the smaller airports and would not touch LAX!!
We went from sun-up to sundown but saw everything we wanted to see!! We toured NBC, Paramount, Graumann's, (name escapes me but where they have the Oscars/red carpet theater which is inside the mall), toured the Jimmy Kimmel theater, took a trolley tour of Hollywood, tar pits, the Grove.
The only kink in our plans was the trip to Venice Beach. Traffic was so backed up, we had to sit in traffic for 3 hours!! But loved walking that area to see everything and then that night went to Malibu and rode the ferris wheel. Beautiful!!
Oh yeah, drove up Mulholland drive-beautiful drive.
We went to Universal Studios-plan an entire day for this. If you watch Jay Leno, right outside the studio is where he does is interviews of people. This could take up to an hour just walking thru this area. We enjoyed Universal but it is definitely not a typical amusement park. More show and not so many rides but that was what we wanted. And it was bigger than we thought cause it was all tucked in the hills. We rode escalotors to different parts of the park. My girls liked the shows cause they saw behind the scenes "how-to's".
Sorry went so long but just think you need to narrow down the trip. Your girls will enjoy doing more than riding in the car seeing scenery!! But keep in mind, you will see all kinds of things on the streets in Hollywood!!

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