There's always the Monterey Bay Aquarium if you're looking for 'cool ocean spots' for a day. That is more of an all day thing though.
So, in late October I'm taking my family on our very first road trip. I'm 33, my wife is 28, and we have two boys, who will have JUST turned 5 and 3. My plan is to rent a car, drive to California and visit a friend/play in the ocean, then do two days in Disneyland/CA Adventures to start. At that point we should have like 7 days left of our vacation.
My thought is to drive up the 101 to Crescent City, and then take the 199 to the 5, continuing up to Seattle, passing through Portland. None of us have been further than north than LA, so it's all new up there. We have several friends who have moved to Seattle over the years, and so we want 2 or 3 days there to visit. The plan is to turn in the rental car when we get to Seattle, and take a plane back to Vegas (which will also be a first for the kids). Total trip time - about 11 days.
While the first 4 days are planned, and so are the last 2 or 3, we end up having a lot of time while driving the 101. With the kids, we would like to pull over every few hours minimum, preferably at places to see, or things to do. Take an hour+ break before we have to load back up in the car, depending on what there is to do.
Other than the Redwood Forest, I have no idea what's out there, and while I'm sure I will spend some time over the next couple months looking into options in detail, I would love input from locals or people who have made the trip.
Even if its just "Make sure you stop and eat at the Exploding Colon in Watanooga Oregon, best deer soup in the world!", I would love to hear it. The kids have never seen the ocean, so any cool ocean spots would be great. We also really like caves, ruins, waterfalls, etc., as we come from the horrible dead desert, so basically anything is amazing to us. Would be great to check out small attractions or whatever along the way too. I guess what I'm saying is, tell me ANYTHING. ^_^
Edit: Ohh, and most of the trip will be middle to late October, so should weather be a factor? I only know the sun. What happens to the rest of the world at that point? Still summer, or is that 10 feet of snow time?
Last edited by Onoes; 08-23-2013 at 06:22 AM.
There are plenty of forested state parks all the way up through the 101. Kinda hard to pick a few... There is a Big Sur. Not sure if the boardwalk in Santa Cruz is open in October but then SC has gotten pretty sketchy in the past few years unfortunately so maybe not a good choice for the kids if they are kinda sheltered. Pismo beach is cool with the sand dunes though being from the desert you probably wouldn't care. I don't know why but people love going to Solvang which is an old Dutch colony that is now a tourist trap. Weather in Socal should be warm but very cool at night. Up north it is going to be cold and nippy anywhere near the ocean. In SF there is the newly remodeled California Academy of Sciences. I haven't gone there recently (went there over 25 years ago) but have heard that it's a great place for families. Mmm that's all I can think of right now.
You shouldn't skip SF. The weather in October is the best. Only time of the year that it's continuously in the 70s/80s. Even if you don't necessarily stop in SF, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty awesome.
Big sur is not to be missed. Pretty widely held to be the most beautiful scenery in California. Redwoods meet a very rugged coastline.
Big Sur is great, and you definitely should go, but the coastline north of about Ft Bragg trumps it. Also, like Alex said, you shouldn't miss SF. I'd also suggest not crossing over to the 5 until you reach Tilamook, as the Oregon coastline is also amazing.
One thing I and everyone forgot to mention about Big Sur and the Monterrey Bay Aquarium is that they're on PCH aka Highway 1, which is a bit of a drive from the 101. Also the drive up north from LA to SF is only about 5-6 hours so if you are stopping every few hours you will only be stopping twice at the most lol.
Yeah, the suggestion is to take the PCH either on the way up or the way down.
I did Seattle-LA last year, although mostly I-5. It was... interesting in some parts, boring as hell in some others (central california.. yawn). If you want to check the ocean and stuff, there's Cannon Beach in Oregon where the last scene of The Goonies was filmed.
I live in Redondo Beach (LA county), I'd say if you want to do beaches in LA, Hermosa/Manhattan would be the best bet, I've done Malibu a couple of times and its... meh.
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