#777752 by BuddingPilot
09 May 2011, 13:02
We’re off on our first long haul trip with the kids this summer (ages 8 and 10) and are flying too/from LAX for a 3 week break. Virgin flights are booked, ESTA done, passports checked and everyone very excited - kids especially intrigued with the idea of having a television on the plane having only flown EasyJet to Spain before.

Our very rough plan is to stay a week northish of LA, a week in San Diego then a final week back southish of LA before heading home although no idea as to the exact locations yet. We’re planning to do the usual kids stuff like Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Zoo etc with trips to other minor attractions, the beach etc. on other days.

Does anyone have any recommendations on accommodation? Our only criteria is that we’d like a pool and also the ability to do our own cooking so no “pure” hotels and also some flexibility in change over days which may rule out a private apartment rent – in the past in the states I’ve stayed in a few Mariott residence Inns and other timeshare style apartment complexes so does anyone know of any they would recommend around LA / San Diego area that are reasonable value?

Whilst I don't mind driving reasonable distances and we have a long time out there, I've ruled out going to e.g. Vegas, Grand Canyon etc. Am really looking for places to stay within a couple of hours of LA and within 30-60mins drive of the main attractions.

Also, any other nuggets of advice or places to visit or suggested changes to our itinerary would be very welcome.

#777758 by DragonLady
09 May 2011, 13:14
LA is an enormous place and even driving short distances can be a nightmare in the traffic :0 .
Anaheim/ Buena Park is the obvious choice for Mouseland / Knotts Berry etc with plenty of apart - type hotel chains. Most of the chains offer shuttles to the main attractions which can be useful too.
The beaches in LA are plentiful (and safe) but staying along the coast will cost more than staying inland.
I wouldn't rule out Vegas entirely- if you leave early enough in the day the drive will take approx 4 hrs (depending on where you are staying) and there is plenty to do for all :) .
#777886 by PilotWolf
10 May 2011, 04:27
Make sure you check out the ticket deals as often cheaper to buy multi park ones.

Plenty of motels that have kitchenettes (?sp)and pools but you get what you pay for! Some areas around LA are most definitely to be avoided! Most car rental companies offer discount booklets for hotels and attractions.

I don't think LA traffic is really any worse than London? Maybe I am just used to it now :)I would tend to advise a GPS option on the car if you are unfamiliar with the area.

#777912 by BuddingPilot
10 May 2011, 09:48
Thanks DL, I'm a big fan of Vegas but having been there recently we've decided to leave that until another year :-(

Hadn't thought of GPS, great idea - I know the rental companies charge a small fortune so I'll probably just load up my TomTom with US maps and take it with me!

Does anyone have any specific recommendations for motels around LA, google gives so many its difficult to know where to start!
#777934 by Bazz
10 May 2011, 11:40
Not a motel but I can recommend the Holiday Inn Buena Park, it's on Beach Blvd just north of Knotts. VH use it, it's a full service hotel with outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi.

Took my TomTom the last couple of trips, really handy and much cheaper that paying the car hire company, nice to be able to pre load destinations!
#778041 by MarkedMan
11 May 2011, 13:34
Location is the key (of course), not likely you will find a huge difference in places if you pick the right area. It would be nice to stick close to the coast/beaches, but as has been said this will mean more expense. In San Diego, with kids I'd go for the beach towns in North County, I love Encinitas; Del Mar and Solana Beach are good too (and a bit closer to the city itself), and they have plenty of the sorts of places you mention.

Clearly if you pick a chain hotel like a Residence Inn you will have the flexibility to bolt a day early if you choose to do so, unlike if you book a studio, say, within a rental complex or independently operated accommodation. They of course know it, and a week at the Rez inn in La Jolla costs 10 bucks a night more than at the full service Marriott there ... not that I would recommend either.

There's a terrific Courtyard, location-wise, two blocks from the beach in Solana, I know someone who lives on the cliffs just in front of there. I would ask about the train, though. And to get kitchenette/etc, you will probably need to reserve a studio in that sort of place, and it's pricey for a Courtyard.

If money's no object, I'd pick Huntington Beach south of LA, and Venice or Santa Monica south of I10 in LA. Otherwise, as has been said, there are plenty of options inland around Disneyland in the areas south of LA, north will be more of a challenge, and you might need to look at the valley, places around Universal studios, as the nicer areas south of the sign are expensive, while there are plenty of places that are best avoided. Choices, choices ...
#778048 by slinky09
11 May 2011, 14:33
Try searching on the web sites of Homewood Suites or Marriott Suites and the like, most of the major hotel chains have a brand that is usually of the type you're looking for.
#778079 by clarkeysntfc
11 May 2011, 17:31
Santa Barbara is somewhere I'd thoroughly recommend. It's probably about 90 mins north of LA but is so much quieter, with a nice beach, great food (recommend Brophy Brothers) and plenty of the smaller apartment type places to stay. It's extremely affluent too and plenty of the film stars have villas in the surrounding areas.
#778160 by Tinkerbelle
12 May 2011, 13:09
If you want to do Disney then I would recommend staying in one of the many hotels/motels on Harbor Blvd. Then you can simply cross the road into the Disney resort - no extra driving or car parking fees. As you would be just across the road it is also easy if you want to go back to your room for an hour or so during the day.

Oh and don't miss World of Color at California Adventure - just make sure to get a Fast Pass for it as soon as the park opens. 8D
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