califor – ni – A …

September 14, 2011

we will be headed off to the golden state soon on vacation, and i was hoping to get some tips from my readers.

we are taking the kiddos to disneyland, and sea world and we’ll be staying in l.a. and san diego.  with a few beach days in there.

so, what is your favorite beach to go to with kids in southern california?  i’m hearing good things about laguna beach, and i’ve never been there so we might give it a try.  any other suggestions?

also, any restaurant tips?  disneyland/sea world tips?  please tell me there is an h&m, zara, and west elm in one mall?  (this trip really is for the kids, but i’m hoping to squeeze in a little shopping time, but i’ll be on a time crunch because really the hubs and kids can only take so much)

what other stores should i not want to miss?

any travel tips on driving with three kids under four?  (we’ll be driving from utah, and stay in las vegas on the way)

thanks in advance!  you guys always have the best advice!!

{pic via the wheat field}

9 thoughts on “califor – ni – A …

  1. Cupcake Carrie

    Where do I even begin?!?!?! I LOVE Laguna Beach! Cute shops there too. Johnny Rockets is a fun diner restaurant (good for the kids). A GREAT adult restaurant is Sun Dried Tomato in Laguna. South Coast Plaza is a huge mall in Costa Mesa (West Elm and MORE). I personally love the Irvine Spectrum (H&M and Anthro, no Zara or West Elm) because it's outside (it also has a ferris wheel and merry-go-round and some fun water fountains the kids can play in). In-N-Out and CHick-fil-A are great inexpensive restaurants and if you're grocery shopping go to Trader Joe's! I lived in Orange county my whole life (until 3 years ago when I moved to Montana). Feel free to email me!!! cstandsforcarrie at gmail dot com HAVE FUN!!!

  2. cathie

    hi caroline! i live in orange county with my husband & baby, but we used to live in san diego for about 5 years before moving up here. the beaches in sd are the best — la jolla shores & coronado island! shopping-wise, 3rd street promenade in LA has all 3 of the stores you're looking for 🙂 the zara on 3rd street has adults, children & baby! or if you're staying in more of the oc area, you can find zara + h&m at south coast plaza in costa mesa (they don't have west elm though). hope you have a great time! the weather is perfect right now 🙂

  3. sunnydays photography

    i used to live in del mar and it was stupendous. specifically 15th street beach. la jolla beach is amazing as well. the views and drive alone are well worth it. if you want a classic san diego feel with shopping (way cute and unique stores sprinkled throughout)then i would definetely stop at pacific beach. you may get the hankerin to ditch the youngins and get a cruiser though. 🙂 have fun!

  4. Heather

    I was born and raised in San Diego. Oceanside Beach, south of the pier is great! Usually not crowded, and there are lots of sand dollars to find! The pier is fun too!

    Disneyland, there's an awesome baby center right off main street. It's air conditioned, it has changing table stations, nursing stations, microwaves, water, and nice old ladies that wait on you. Amazing!!!

  5. {Erica}

    Here are my top three for kids and bathrooms:

    1. Corona del mar. It's a state beach so parking is $15 but worth it. Cash only

    2.Treasure Island beach – in laguna beach. The bathrooms are super clean and the beach is beautiful. I don't like having to trek all our stuff down the stairs but we love it there.

    3.Crescent bay – in laguna. Draw back is that parking is basically on a residential street…but lots of mom's with little kids are there because of the bay.

    and I'll give you one more…Aliso beach in laguna. We go here a lot…but the waves are pretty big.

    laguna beach has ruby's diner or johnny rockets for dinner. it's a cute surf town but any beach on the CA-1 will have cute little shops and stuff.

    Email me if you have any other questions…cause I can totally help you! I wrote a blog post about Disneyland a while back that might help with your trip as well.

  6. {Erica}

    Also take the toll roads if you're going to laguna…it's worth paying the $6! Just be sure you have cash.

    Take the 241 toll to the 261 toll or 231 depending on which beach. It will help eliminate a bunch of traffic you'll hit…depending on where you're coming from.

  7. emmalily

    We live in Santa Monica and it's tons of fun with kids! You can drop your husband and kids off at the pier for rides and ice cream while you hit up all your stores at the 3rd Street Promenade (West Elm is actually on 4th Street). The beaches around the pier are fun too — go south to Ocean Park (fun little playground on the beach there) or north to Will Rogers or even Zuma (in Malibu). Depends on how much driving you want to do — Santa Monica is about an hour northwest of Anaheim.
    My new fave place to eat is True Food Kitchen – there's one at Santa Monica Place and one in Newport Beach too.
    Don't forget to bring quarters for parking meters!

  8. Alicia

    Salt Creek Beach next to the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel (just down the PCH from Laguna Beach)is AMAZING! Be prepared for a giant hill on the way back up but the water and beach are perfect for little ones. A few eats in Laguna Beach: Sundried Tomato is a fabulous restaurant for grown-ups. The Rue Du Chocolate is SO good…too good. It's located in the cutest little hidden walk-way. Try the giant peanut butter cups and the coconut toasties. Las Brisas serves up a great breakfast with gorgeous views.


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