Last Updated on September 11, 2016
We just returned from our trip of roaming and relaxation in California and we already wish we were back at one of those gorgeous beaches. We had such a fun-filled time in the LA and San Diego areas that it was hard to come home, but it always is when we’re traveling and making so many memories, even if some weren’t fun at the time, we can look back and laugh now.
Travel with kids — not fun, you say?
Madison- almost three years old- has been a great airplane passenger. Now that she is piecing things together about how life works, our airplane ride to LAX wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped. The ride itself went smoothly, until the plane announced its descent into LAX. Madison had a complete freakout, wouldn’t keep her seatbelt on, wouldn’t sit with either of us. And the reason – because the airplane was supposed to stay high in the sky. Madison wasn’t ready for the airplane ride to end. It was embarrassing and for those few minutes- that felt like hours as I tightly held her against her will for safety- I was one of those parents that every parent dreads having to be.
On the way back, however, both girls were absolutely flawless. I spent the whole ride dreading the landing, but Madison happily cuddled up to me as if the last airplane ride episode didn’t actually happen.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing our California Adventure in more detail, but for now, here are some of the highlights:
The day we arrived in California, we picked up our rental SUV for our road trip, checked into our hotel and took off as fast as we could for Disneyland. Two and a half days in Disneyland was busy and chaotic, but Disney always is. I feel like a little kid again as soon as I’m approaching those gates. Characters can’t escape my camera and I can’t go on Pirates and Indiana Jones enough to satisfy me. With two young girls this time, it was so much fun watching Sadie’s first Disney reactions, from honking Mickey’s nose, to her first ride on Dumbo and Madison’s realization of what is going on around her, wanting to go on rides that are “fast and high in the sky”, and watching Cinderella teach Madison how to curtsy between each spin in her yellow Belle dress. Watching Disneyland through the eyes of two children having more fun than they were able to imagine before walking though those gates, was truly magical.
We love the beach. There’s something about having sand between your toes and sunshine that is just so relaxing and leaves you care-free. We had the chance to visit several beaches on our trip, all of which were stunningly beautiful. We were able to have some fun at Santa Monica, Laguna, San Clemente, Redondo , Zuma, and El Matador. Sadie could’t eat enough sand and Madison couldn’t run around and dig in the sand enough for her liking. We had so much fun watching them enjoy the beach.
Darcy is all hockey, all the time. I’m all about baseball. I would love to visit every baseball stadium and I’m slowly checking the boxes. This trip we went and did a tour of Dodger Stadium and caught a ball game, as well as a ball game at Petco Park. Both stadiums were gorgeous, but we were completely in awe of how huge Dodger Stadium was. Great games, great seats. Both games were such a treat.
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
We didn’t intend on stopping at the USS Midway Museum, but as we were driving by, it looked so interesting that we just had to make time. We only had a couple hours to spare, but it was so cool to learn the history. The USS Midway was America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, from 1945 to 1992. It was the only carrier to serve the entire length of the Cold War and beyond. The museum is one of the most popular naval warship museums in the United States.
Historic San Diego
Wandering the downtown area of San Diego, it was interesting to see how small the downtown felt when we are used to huge Vancouver. It was also interesting to see that the majority of the historic downtown has four-way stops. In Vancouver, that would never work. There were a ton of delicious looking restaurants and a lot of great shops to explore.
Hollywood – Rodeo Drive – Beverly Hills – Sunset Blvd
It had been around nine years since our last trip to California and a lot has changed since then. We got married and started having kids, for one. We felt like we didn’t remember a lot of our trip and the quality of point-and-shoot cameras back then didn’t give the best photos, so there were a couple things we wanted to re-see, and probably won’t ever have to see again. One was downtown Hollywood. It was fun seeing the Walk-Of-Fame and the other tourist spots, but it really just felt so dirty and an hour was really enough to walk the main strip and see what we wanted to see. The rest of the time we spent exploring around the Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd areas.
One of the iconic landmarks of LA is the Hollywood sign. It is situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. We were able to see it from a couple different viewpoints and were also treated to a great view of the city.
We don’t have a Cheesecake Factory in Vancouver. The closest is in downtown Seattle, so we don’t have easily accessible, delicious Cheesecake. Please don’t judge us for sharing five pieces the few days that we were close to a Cheesecake Factory. It was heavenly. Their menu is filled with some pretty delicious food, too.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is said to be one of the best Zoos in the world. The Zoo does extraordinary amounts for animal protection and conservation. The Zoo was absolutely huge and we couldn’t see all that we wanted to in just the one day, with kids in tow. The enclosures had great views and the Zoo had a few great features to help you explore: a guided bus tour and an aerial tram.
La Jolla Cove Seals
La Jolla Cove is a beautiful, picturesque spot in San Diego. It was fun to watch the seals as they were all over the beach and rocks. It was interesting to see them as they were barking, fighting, cuddling together for warmth and fighting the waves. We loved that San Diego embraces having the seals around and even close the Cove beach area from December – May while the seal pups need the space to thrive.
We will be sharing more stories in greater detail over the coming weeks, so check back to read more about our California Adventure.
Have you visited any of the above locations? What did you think?