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Southern California Vaction

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E M
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Southern California Vaction

Greetings, I am trying to plan a good trip for my family me my wife and two kids, daughter 9 and son 11. We are planning are trip the weekend before easter. March 22nd - 28th. We are going to fly into San Diego. My wife wants to visit the beach, my daughter wants to see a princess, my son wants legoland, and I would like to visit LA.

Would Carlsbad be a good place to stay that would be central to these attractions?

This will be our first time to Southern California.

What would be a good itinerary for visiting?

Is there any public Transportation from Carlsbad to Disneyland?

and What would be the best way to visit the LA area with two kids.

Thanks for any help or suggestions with our trip.

San Diego...
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1. Re: Southern California Vaction

Carlsbad is where Legoland is, so that is a good place to stay for visiting Legoland. But Carlsbad is about 30 miles (48 km) north of San Diego so it is not a good base for seeing the sights of San Diego. But you have not listed any of the sights in San Diego as things you want to see, except a beach, and there are beaches all up and down the California coast including at Carlsbad. So I don't know if you will be spending any time in San Diego.

It's not clear from your post if you will rent a car or not, but since you asked about public transportation then you might not have a car. It would be inconvenient and probably expensive to use the trains and buses to get from Carlsbad to San Diego and Carlsbad to Anaheim, though technically it would be possible, I think you would find it much easier to have a car. There are Amtrak trains that run from Carlsbad to San Diego and from San Diego to Oceanside to Anaheim. So yes, you could do it all on trains and buses if necessary, though I think the cost would be higher, buying 4 tickets for every train or bus ride, and you would have to check schedules carefully.

There are beaches in Carlsbad as well as in San Diego. With only 6 days you will have to choose your sights and activities carefully and it sounds like you all want something different. Maybe one of you can take your son to Legoland and on that same day the others can go to a beach in Carlsbad. Possibly if not everyone wants to go to Disneyland, one can take your daughter there while the others go to visit Los Angeles.

I think the best thing for you to do would make a list of the must-see destinations on your trip, and who wants to go to what. Print out a basic map of southern California, mark San Diego, Carlsbad, Anaheim and Los Angeles on it. Plan your schedule using the list and the map, so that you have the most efficient use of your 6 days and each person gets to see what they want to see sometime during the 6 days.

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Southern California Vaction

I agree, you'll find it much easier to have a car. LA and San Diego are about 2 1/4 hours apart by car. Carlsbad (Legoland) and Anaheim (Disneyland) are in between.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner train is the way to go for public transit if that's what you want to do. The train stops at Union Station in downtown LA, in Anaheim a short taxi ride from Disneyland, in Oceanside about 5-6 miles from Legoland in Carlesbad, and in San Diego. The train takes about 3 hours between LA and San Diego.

Chula Vista...
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3. Re: Southern California Vaction

Hi,

Just curious where you're coming from and where you plan on flying into--LA or SD? Do you plan on renting a car?

You can catch the AMTRAK Pacific Surfliner from Oceanside to Anaheim:

http://www.amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train

Unfortunately, the Surfliner doesn't stop in Carlsbad, so you'd have to take the Coaster from Carlsbad to Oceanside:

http://www.gonctd.com/coaster

You could also take the Coaster into downtown San Diego.

The weather in March will be in the high 60's / low 70's during the day, and the water temperature will only be in the high 50's, so if you think you're going to go swimming in the ocean, it will be cold.

I would recommend staying nearer to downtown San Diego for 3 or 4 days, and taking the train up to Legoland on one of those days rather than staying in Carlsbad and running back and forth every day. It will be easier to get to some of San Diego's other attractions from downtown, especially if you're relying on public transport. (Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park and its 14 museums, USS Midway, Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, Old Town)

Then you could take the train up to Anaheim for Disneyland and then into LA for the remainder of your time.

If you want to stay on the beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and La Jolla all offer opportunities. If you tell us your budget we can make some recommendations. Coronado has a very nice beach, but the only lodging actually on the beach there is the Hotel del Coronado (there are others within a 5-10 minute walk of the beach).

San Diego...
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4. Re: Southern California Vaction

My suggestion is that you not try to do this trip using public transportation. The things you want to do you will need a car. The things you want to do are so spread out.

And yes, please tell us if you are flying into San Diego.

Maybe coming to San Diego isn't the best option since you haven't mentioned doing anything here. Your daughter wants to see a princess so Disneyland is the best place for that and it isn't in San Diego. You want to see LA and that isn't near San Diego. As said, Legoland also isn't in SD but close enough.

Anaheim, California
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5. Re: Southern California Vaction

Yes, LEGOLAND isn't the best place for public transit. Maybe spend some time in the city of San Diego main area (something near the San Diego Trolley, such as Old Town San Diego), then move to the Anaheim/Garden Grove area, where you can check out the Disneyland Resort and take a day bus tour to LEGOLAND using Gray Line Anaheim, and day trips to Los Angeles, either using public transit, or another Los Angeles tour.

You might want to check out the Southern California CityPASS, which is a package with a 3 day Disneyland ParkHopper, a day at Universal Studios and a day at SeaWorld San Diego.

San Diego...
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6. Re: Southern California Vaction

Another thought: Maybe do an open-jar flght. Fly into San Diego and out of Los Angeles or the other way around.

E M
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7. Re: Southern California Vaction

We will be flying into San Diego and renting a car. Airfare is cheaper coming into San Diego.

We were considering going to the San Diego zoo. I heard it is the best in the country. And maybe seeing some more sights around the city. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I knew legoland was in Carlsbad so I thought it would be better to stay somewhere close to there and drive to San Diego or Anaheim, for a day. And also drive to the closest LA metro link to get around in LA.

We are trying to keep the trip under 2,000 not including airfare.

Thanks so far for all of your help.

Pasadena, California
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8. Re: Southern California Vaction

If you are driving, just drive everywhere. It is not very difficult to drive in Southern California. The drivers are careful, the signs are good, the streets are wide and well marked. It is not easy to see this region by public transit.

You should have at least 2 places to stay for your week. Figure out where you want to spend your time first. One base should be in San Diego. Visit Legoland on the day you drive north. Perhaps stay in Anaheim to see Disneyland, a day at the beach in Orange County, and a day in Los Angeles.

E M
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9. Re: Southern California Vaction

Since my last post and thinking things over we decided to skip LA, to much to see in one day. We will still drive up to Disneyland for one day for my daughter.

We found a nice vacation apartment in Mission Beach for about $50 dollars a night. It is on Kingston Court. Is this a pretty good area to stay in?

We are also looking into buying a Go Card. Sea World, The Midway, Legoland,

are three of the places we would like to see. What would be the better of the two San Diego Zoo or Zoo Safari or could you do both in one day.

What would be some other suggestions for our stay in San Diego with two kids age 9 and 11?

Thank you

San Diego
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10. Re: Southern California Vaction

Kingston Court is fine. I don't know that specific property. I hope it comes with 1 parking space. $50 a night is VERY inexpensive so I wonder what actualy you have rented there? You will certainly need a car to get around to the sites you plan to visit. You will be 1 block from the ocean and 1 block from the bay in Mission Bay Park. You could rent bikes/skates and ride through the park or along the sea front. You could certainly spend some time on the beaches even if the water might be too cold for a real swim.