California Dreaming

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are planning to take a fun family road trip next summer. 

We want to go to California and our itinerary is starting to take shape.

The Husband and I took a road trip around California the year before we started our family and absolutely loved it, so we’re keen to explore with the children and to take in some new sights.

The plan is to fly into San Francisco, somewhere we’ve not visited, then drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, spend some time in LA and then move onto Anaheim as we want to end our trip in Disneyland. We’ll then fly back to the UK from LA.

We are Disney Parks fans, we went to Disneyland Paris last summer and we holidayed in Disney World February 2020 and May 2018. Our initial intention was to go to Disney World again next summer, but we’ve decided to go for California instead. 

We’ll be spending a little over two weeks in California, and of course we’re spoilt for things to see. In an ideal world we’d have a month or two there to cover everything we’d like to do! We’ve had to think about what we can reasonably do in that time, trying to get the balance right between making the most of our time there exploring and actually relaxing a little. Oh, OK, we know there won’t be much relaxing time, but we can try and leave a few gaps and see what happens!

We are also taking into account the things that we know the kids will enjoy and that won’t interest them as much. And the fact that Little Man hates long car journeys! A road trip isn’t ideal for him (Boo loves road tripping, she’ll be working on a Spotify playlist for it months in advance) so we need to make sure the stops are frequent and worth his while!

The plan will be a few nights in San Francisco to see Alcatraz, Pier 39, a trolleybus trip, Muir Woods, Sausalito, the Golden Gate Bridge and then mooching about, probably a hop on and off bus tour.

On our way down the PCH we’ll have a couple of overnight stays (anything to reduce daily time in the car for my boy!) and we’ll take it as it comes, stopping where we want to on the way. We definitely want to see Cannery Row and visit the Monterey Aquarium and we plan to stay in Solvang to explore that pretty town. 

Los Angeles will see us at Universal Studios, and our kids do love theme parks. They’re particularly excited about the new Super Nintendo World there, which isn’t yet open in Orlando.

We’re then going to get the GoCity pass and do as many touristy things as we can fit in. Warner Bros. Tour, bus tours, Madame Tussauds, shopping, the Chinese Theatre, all of the usual sights along with a trip to Santa Monica. We’re also hoping to get LA Dodgers tickets for one of our evenings there. 

After LA, we’ll be off to stay in Anaheim for a week where we want to visit Knott’s Berry Farm, drive down to San Diego Zoo, visit Orange County beaches and spend lots of time in Disneyland. We know it’s much smaller than Orlando, more like Paris, but we can spend days and days in the parks riding things repeatedly and I’ll watch every single parade! 

Maybe at some point my boy will get to play in the pool, and I can read a book or two?! It’d be nice to have a few lazy hours! 

We’ve talked about Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and I’d like to squeeze Vegas in (we’ve been several times before, I just want to go again!), along with going further north, or even south, though we have stayed in San Diego before, but this feels like the right balance for us.  It has a good mix of things for all of us.

Food will also be a big part of this trip, as we need to watch the DFBGuide for Disneyland snacks, visit The Cheesecake Factory several times and we have to go to an In-N-Out Burger. Then of course there is the Beachwood Cafe, thanks to Harry Styles. 

It’s fun to be planning an amazing holiday like this. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but our kids are excited about so many parts of this trip and I want to give them something fabulous to look forward to and to always remember. 

Have you visited California before?

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8 thoughts on “California Dreaming”

  1. If you’re going in the summer, you should try to get tickets to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA–very close to Los Angeles. It is an evening of living pictures (tableaux vivants) with people dressed to look as works of art. It has an orchestra with an original score. I went many years ago and was blown away by it! It sells out every year, so I would recommend getting tickets early if it’s something that you think the family would enjoy.
    I see on their website that they’re also doing a haunted house this year!

  2. We love visiting California! We are currently road tripping in out RV and are staying on the Central California coast for three months. If you need a cute stop on the way down to LA, you can stop at Avila Beach, a small charming town to walk around. Carpinteria is a great coastal town too, a lovely main street to walk and of course the beach and both towns!
    San Francisco is a beautiful city, just be careful in some parts of downtown, crime has increased a lot. Visit the pier of course and Ghiradelli chocolate!

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