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San Diego - how many days?

Wangaratta...
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San Diego - how many days?

Hi there,

We're a family of 5 (3 kids - 15, 12, 11) considering a trip from Australia to the US in May-June 2013, and San Diego is on our itinerary.

I'd like to know how many days we'd need in San Diego? We would like to see Sea World, probably the Zoo and Legoland, and get a feel for the city and its highlights.

Also, is it worth taking a day trip or tour to Mexico? I've heard differing reports, both good and bad.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Peter

Goldfield, Nevada
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1. Re: San Diego - how many days?

If you want to see Sea World, the Zoo and Legoland, you will need 3 days, although each one does not have to take up a full day. You can spend 5 to 6 hours at one place and then finish out the rest of that day at a local beach, such as one of the pretty beaches in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego.

Note that May and June are known for cool, cloudy, overcast weather in San Diego, the infamous "May Gray" or "June Gloom" weather that sometimes disappoints travelers. In my opinion it is ideal weather for visiting the theme parks, since you can be outdoors all day without overheating. As for going to Mexico with kids, I would be one to say no, don't do it, but opinions on that will vary. There is plenty for the kids to see and do in the San Diego area. Take a look at travelforkids.com/Funtodo/…san_diego.htm

Chula Vista...
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2. Re: San Diego - how many days?

Hi Peter,

I agree with bw92116 in that you can spend 5-6 hours at each of the major attractions you've listed, so that could take the better part of three days. (Legoland is actually in Carlsbad, about a 40 minute to an hour drive north of the city depending on traffic.)

I've not been to Legoland, and I have to wonder if it's geared more toward kids younger than yours. I'll let others who have been there help you with that.

Other things that you may want to include in your visit are:

Balboa Park (where the zoo is located):

http://www.balboapark.org/

- Air & Space Museum

http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/

- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

http://www.rhfleet.org/

- Model Railroad Museum

http://www.sdmrm.org/

Downtown:

- USS Midway (retired US Navy Aircraft carrier turned museum)

http://www.midway.org/

- Maritime Museum

http://www.sdmaritime.org/

- PETCO Park / San Diego Padres baseball stadium (catch a game if the Padres are in town?)

http://www.petcoparkevents.com/

Children's Museum

http://www.thinkplaycreate.org/

Outside Downtown:

- Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument - Stunning views of San Diego harbor and the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

http://www.nps.gov/cabr/index.htm

- La Jolla Cove - Beachside cove with seals hanging around

http://www.lajollabythesea.com/la-jolla-cove

- Scripps Birch Aquarium

http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/

- Torrey Pines Gliderport (parasailing and hang gliding)

http://sandiegofreeflight.com/jm170/

- Pacific Beach/Mission Beach (Belmont Amusement Park)

http://www.belmontpark.com/

- Coronado (take the ferry across and rent bikes or drive across the bridge).

www.coronadovisitorcenter.com/CVC/index.html

- Old Town (where San Diego was first settled; lots of shops and restaurants with Spanish and Mexican influence)

http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/

- Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala (the first Spanish Mission in California)

http://www.missionsandiego.com/

Within an hour and a half of downtown:

- San Diego Safari Park (part of the San Diego Zoo)

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/

- Temecula (known for its wineries and western style old town with shops and restaurants).

http://www.temeculacvb.com/

- Julian (1800's gold mining town that now has a lot of apple orchards nearby and plenty of good apple pie).

www.julianca.com/about_julian/index.htm

If you're going to go to all three parks in your original post, I would recommend at least one if not two additional days (for a total of 4 or 5 days) to see the sites.

bw92116 was also correct about the "May grey" and "June gloom." A marine layer will hug the coast in the morning and, on most days, will burn off by midday. If the coast is cloudy, you may not have to drive far inland to find sun.

Finally, I too, would avoid a trip into Mexico with kids.

Enjoy your planning!

Chula Vista...
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3. Re: San Diego - how many days?

Hi Again,

I just reread your post and wanted to remind you that the last weekend in May (25-27 May 2013) is a major US holiday (Memorial Day) that kicks off the summer travel season. Many people will not have to work on that Monday, 27 May, but you'll still find shops and restaurants open for business, most with normal opening hours.

Reservations are strongly recommended for wherever you're going to be that weekend.

Wangaratta...
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4. Re: San Diego - how many days?

Hi,

Thanks for the travel hints for San Diego. They are much appreciated.

If May and June can be gloomy, what are the best months to visit? We don't want to arrive in peak travel season, but realise that is probably the best time.

Grey or overcast days aren't really a problem for us, so long as we can get out and visit things.

Cheers

Peter

Chula Vista...
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5. Re: San Diego - how many days?

Glad to help. Here's a link to the average weather by month for San Diego, including the % sunshine:

sandiego.org/plan-your-trip/…weather.aspx

Historically, July - October will be the warmer, sunnier, and least rainy months, and the ocean temperature will be approaching the high 60 degrees Fahrenheit to almost 70 degrees.

Our summer travel season runs pretty much from Memorial Day weekend in May to Labor Day weekend (the first Monday in September). By Labor Day, most kids are back in school and attractions become less crowded.

Again, the marine layer / fog can be very sporadic in May and June. Some days it will be light and clear off by mid morning or midday; other days it won't clear off until well into the afternoon, if at all. It generally doesn't produce any rain, so getting around won't be an issue. The further inland you go, the less likely you'll be affected by the marine layer (generally speaking).

On a separate topic, we have decent public transportation (busses and electric light rail we call the trolley) here in San Diego, but it really would be best and more efficient if you had a car to get around, as many of the attractions are spread out across the city.

Edited: 3:57 am, January 01, 2013
6. Re: San Diego - how many days?

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Wangaratta...
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8. Re: San Diego - how many days?

I appreciate all this great advice, which will be very helpful when we start booking our trip. Many thanks for your help.

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: San Diego - how many days?

I too think you would be disappointed with Legoland, the entry price just doesn't justify what's available in the park for kids your age.

If it is your first trip to San Diego, I would probably skip Mexico as you will have plenty to do to cover 4-5 days. A lot of the tours to Ensanada have also now ceased (it would appear most companies have pulled out in the last 12 months or so).

melbourne
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10. Re: San Diego - how many days?

Hi

we did this trip with our teenage children almost 5 years ago. We spent 3 days in SD. We did the zoo one afternoon, after old town I think and we did seaworld one day. We also did the USS Midway and the Las Americas outlets and the marina section on another day.

There is a lot to do in SD. Its a cool town. We travel to the states annually, and next April on our annual trip we are going back to SD for 3 nights. Just becasue we like it and its got a good vibe

Dont go over the border, absolutely not. Theres nothing there except cheap levis and coronas and its not really pleasant. My 12 year old daughter at that time was quite frightened by it all

We find April lovely. Like a Melbourne spring or autumn day. Usually sunny (well when we have been) and around low 20's i guess. Again when we go to Cali we always seem to get good weather, but we always go in April?