I am excited to be heading to South CA for 8 days.
We will be staying in Costa Mesa and I'll have meetings in Laguna Beach on three days, but I'd love to use my time after meetings (afternoon- evening) to do something that's in the area, and obviously plan some great stuff for the other days!
I'll be traveling with two other adults and my 4 year old son. He is very polite and not complicated. He'll love time at the beach or in the pool. He is very good at sitting still at nice restaurants and is generally a pleasure to take places.
I am looking for lots of suggestions from locals or frequent travelers on what to do in the area.
We MAY consider 1 theme park for the little one, but we've already done a Florida trip with Disney and Sea World, and I am more interested in those things that are unique to SoCal, and although I definitely want to hear about interesting inside attractions and things, I am hoping to find lots of fun stuff to do outside as well.
I generally know that I want to travel between the LA area ( as far as Malibu), and down to San Diego. I want to see all the good beaches and 'not to be missed' nature, and I do not mind driving down a remote street somewhere if that means catching an awesome piece of nature, architecture, animals, or SoCal romance.
We are obsessed with dolphins and whales and would love any tips on that.
I am generally interested in seeing interesting neighborhoods, organic farmer's markets, nature nature nature, unique toy stores, healthy restaurants, and whatever else the area has to offer. I am sort of seeing how it'd be to live there.
So far all I know is that we are hoping to check out Cafe Gratitude in Venice Beach.
We'd love to pack in enough child friendly nature trips, action, and play for my little boy, but see enough beauty, romance and zen for the adults.
Also: IF you happen to be able to recommend some nice restaurants that cater to special needs like GF, dairy free, or raw foods, or anything like that... I'd love to hear about it.
And: Is there a downtown Disney kind of thing there? In Florida you can go there and eat and shop, without paying an entrance fee.
I'd love any tips and local tricks ;)
Thank you all!