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Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

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Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

I wanted to post a trip report before real life begins . . .

This is our trip report for 2 adults and 3 kids (ages 12, 9, and 6)

3/22 -- We arrive around 11:30 a.m. It was pretty cool and windy. We decided to walk down the Balboa Pier and eat at Ruby's. My double rich chocolate shake was good. I don't eat red meat, so I ordered a veggie burger. Everyone else ordered burgers and fries. The people here were so nice and friendly. Fun to eat right on the pier. If I were to go again, we would probably just order the shakes since that was the best part.

We went and got checked in at the Casa De Balboa. This was a wonderful place. Decorated very nice and immaculately clean. Full kitchen, eating area, family room area, 2 bedrm/2 bath. Full size washer and dryer. We had a view of the harbour right outside of our window. Nice little bay area.

We walked to the Newport pier from our beach house. Saw lots of sea lions. We did some trinket shopping at the sourrounding shops.

Right outside of 21 Ocanfront we saw 4 or 5 Porches lined up in a row. This is not common where we live, and the girls thought it was pretty cool :)

We shopped at Pavillions market and ate dinner at the house.

3/23

Went to Huntington Pier in the A.M. It was very windy and cool in the morning. The kids loved watching the surfers and volleyball players. We walked around the shops across from the pier. I wanted to check out the Sugar Shack, but kids wanted pizza. We are at La Roccos pizza (thin crust). It was good, but definitely needed lots of napkins. About $18 for a large pizza and side order of garlic knots. Our girls are not big eaters, so this fed the entire family. Very reasonably priced.

We hung out at the beach for the afternoon. It warmed up as the sun came out, but was still breezy and cool. My girls loved this beach -- very cool vibe.

3/24

The girls wanted donuts for breakfast. I didn't know of any fabulous donut places (heard Mags was good, but didn't really look into this). My husband ran to Citi donuts since it was close.

We headed out to Corona del Mar. I cannot describe how gorgeous this place is. The town, the neighborhood with the "flower streets", the beach . . . .loved it all.

We went to Inspiration Point to get some gorgeous photos. We walked down the hill to the cove and it was just so beautiful. Loved the feel of the sand here. We strolled along the beach and then headed back up for lunch. We ate at the Panini Cafe and loved it. Service was fabulous. Everything we ordered was good. I ordered the half sandwich and salad and it was plenty. Generous portions. Reasonably priced. Would definitely go back.

3/25 Rained all day

3/26

We went to Crystal Cove. I didn't really know much about this place except for that it was a fun place to go. We ate at Beachcombers for breakfast. They were great and accommodated a very large family (we were traveling with 2 other families at this pint). We really liked it.

Headed right down to the beach. My husband described it as looking like a beach town/summer camp. It does have a "campy" feel to it. Very unique. I can tell you that it is meticulously maintained. We saw people cleaning the public restrooms, etc constantly. We all had a fun time here.

3/27

We set aside this day to go to Sea World. I must admit, I was not excited about giving up an entire beach day. But we knew our girls really wanted to go in. It was about $350 for our family to get in (not including parking). I still loved the Shamu show. I grew up in FL and went to Sea World and Disney World quite a bit, so it brought back some fun memories.

They have added quite a bit since I had last been. Kids had a great time and I'm glad we went. I don't think we will go back for a while, though.

3/28

We headed out to Fashion Island right at 10:00 a.m. We knew we wanted to go to Laguna beach, too, so our time was limited.

This is the most gorgeous mall I have ever been to. We were there for just 3 hours, but we could have easily spend an entire day there if time had permitted. The teens and tweens loved the 2 story Forever 21. Adults loved the high end department stores and boutique stores. We will leave more time to shop on our next visit.

We headed to Laguna beach next. It was extremely crowded and was tough to find parking. We ended up getting a pretty good spot. We ate at BJ's which was a mistake. I don't like eating at chains, especially on vacation. But kids were hungry and it was close.

It was a pretty beach and we had a nice time hanging out. Kids went boogie boarding even though the water was frigid. When the sun starting going down, it got really cool, so we decided to pack it up and get dinner.

We were all sporting swimsuits and cover ups and weren't dressed for dinner. Someone suggested La Sirena for guac/tacos. The people here were super friendly. Fresh ingredients and reasonably priced.

Headed out the next morning. We absolutely loved our stay and wished we had more time to explore and hang out at the beaches. Thanks to all for your help and suggestions iwth planning this trip!!

Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
1. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Oh, and I forgot to mention La Rue De Chocolat in Laguna. Adorable little shop and fabulously delicious.

posts: 26,611
reviews: 714
2. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Sounds like a great time! We will have to try that chocolate shop next time we're in Laguna. :)

Edited: 10:57 am, March 30, 2012
Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 33,708
reviews: 338
3. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Glad you had fun. Next time you should get a house in the flower streets on the beach side of Coast Highway. There are so many cool places to eat and shop and walk around in the village of CdM.

Curious on BJ's, did you not like the food or just the fact that it was a chain vs a non chain? BJ's, like Panini Cafe is a chain that started locally and just grew. I've always liked BJ's when I wanted deep dish pizza and especially a pizzookie :)

Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
4. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

^^

My husband and I both said we would love to rent a house on the flower streets (let me know if you know of specific houses. They seem hard to track down on VRBO). My sister and brother and their families that were with us both absolutely loved CDM beach also (my SIL just sent me a pic of the photo of the gorgeous cape cod style home right on the beach by the cove of CDM, she wants to live there. haha). Really, it was my absolute fave. I am borderline obsessed right now LOL

I think we just ordered the wrong food at BJ's. I ordered a half sandwich and salad and they were both just "meh". We should have ordered pizza and should have ordered a pazookie. Now we know :)

I saw that Panini cafe expanded to another location. Do they have more than the two? I really thought the service and food was excellent there.

In fact, my sister and SIL are there right now eating dinner (they got to CA a few days after us and are staying a few days longer). I'm so jealous :)

Syrahgirl -- it really was the most charming little chocolate shop. You would love it. It was on Peppermint lane. How cute is that?!? They are expensive, but are gorgeous artisan chocolates. Next time I need to try the gelato place :)

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 33,708
reviews: 338
5. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Panini Cafe is up to seven locations, maybe you could open a Boise location. :)

http://www.mypaninicafe.com/

Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
6. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Oh wow, I had no idea they had 7!! They do a great job with making it not have a chain type feel. Yes, we should totally bring them to Boise. They would actually do very well here! Not that I know a thing about the restaurant business :)

New York
posts: 925
reviews: 7
7. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Glad you had a good time but you did not mention Balboa Island or the ferry...did you not like? I also love CDM and if you remember we had discussed that rental on Marguerite that we both had looked at...we went to see it and it was a lovely location but was happy that we had settled on the BI rental as that was more scenic and unique rather than just being on a residential area.

Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
8. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Hi Gina!

Yes I loved Balboa Island. I think I rushed my trip report -- too many details that I missed! I think we did BI on the day we did CDM. Did not give us enough time at either.

The girls and my husband and I loved the little ferry ride over. Very fun. There were such cute shops to visit. We loved the Balboa candy co and took back lots of saltwater taffy as gifts for friends.

We loved the Balboa Bars, too. We got ours from Dad's. We should have done a taste test between Dads and Sugar and Spice. Next time for sure. I also want to try a chocolate frozen banana. My husband wants to open a Balboa bar stand here LOL Don't think it will have as much meaning in Boise. He was only kidding, but I think he secretly wants to!

That was the day I was wearing my 4 inch wedge heels. Painful. I thought I had thrown my other shoes in my purse to change into, but I forgot. I was really in pain walking around Balboa. I wanted to die. So we didn't get to stay as long as I wanted! We will plan more time for our next visit. I want to try out some of the restaurants on Balboa next time.

We jammed as much as possible on our trip. Now we know the areas that we would want to spend more time on. Really, it was all so fabulous. Can't wait to go back. My family that was with us pretty much followed our itinerary :)

We loved our stay on the Casa de Balboa -- it was lovely. Not sure where we will pick next time. I might lean towards CDM just because I fell in love with it so much. The beach was my absolute fave and I love that they have so many excellent restaurants there -- and the shopping. I love to shop LOL

New York
posts: 925
reviews: 7
9. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

Love your enthusiasm...you seem to like the same things I do...next time you have to walk the boardwalk on BI and gawk at the houses. I hope to go back soon also...Michelle, you have my email I'd love to see some pics!

Boise, ID
posts: 344
reviews: 27
10. Re: Trip Report 3/22/12 - 3/29/12 (Family of 5)

I will email you some pics later today! Thanks for all of your help with my planning!