This summer my family will be back in the US for a month or so of home leave and we are trying to decide where to go. We are definitely planning to go to LA so that we can go to Disney Land. But, we are also thinking of heading up to San Francisco or even up to Oregon or Washington. Probably looking at 2 weeks max for this part of our trip (the rest will be back home in TN).
We've been to LA and Santa Barbara before, but outside of those really have no ideas.
So, I would appreciate any recommendations for:
a) A property convenient to Disney Land
b) Any other places along the west coast that may be worth visiting (specific properties or sights, as well as more broad city recommendations are fine)
I've posted info regarding Suggestions for West Coast Travel in Pacific NW before, and you can see these, along with photos, on info posted here:
If you're looking for an unusual trip on the West Coast, here's one we've taken several times over past 10-15 years, and I'm posting a few photos of selected locations:
Start out in Seattle, stay at downtown Marriott,or Renaissance, and eat lunch at Cutters Restaurant, near Pike St. Market. For a wonderful, evening dinner, I recommend Stanley & Seaforth's overlooking Tacoma; it's worth the 15 minute drive from Seattle.
Either drive from Tacoma to Bremerton - the bridge experience is memorable - or take car ferry from several Seattle departure spots, such as Edmonds to Kingston. Drive to Port Gamble and then to Port Townsend and have lunch, or venture out to Dungeness and take in a Dungeness crab. Drive to Port Angeles and reserve a hotel room for the night and then drive up to Hurricane Ridge (6.455 ft.) in the Olympic National Park - it's breathtaking !
Put your car in the ferry line up early and have some breakfast at Port Angeles ferry, and then take the ferry to Victoria. Book a room at the Marriott downtown, or if you've got plent of money, try the Princess Hotel. If you've got more money than you know what to do with, book reservations as the afternoon "High Tea".
Drive to the Buschart Gardens and spend the day there, enjoying lunch at the garden cafe, and then return to Victoria for another night, or take the car ferry to Vancouver, B.C. Stay at the Marriott or Renaissance downtown and schedule early dinner at the Fish House, Stanley Park. Visit Granville Island and buy some chocolates from Daniel's Chocolates on Granville Street. Take the gondola up Grouse Mountain, perhaps eat dinner there if you'd like nightime view of Vancouver.
Drive back south on I-5 to exit toward Whidbey Island, taking time to walk across the bridge at Deception Pass and take some photos. Book a week end at the Captain Whidbey Inn Lodge, and enjoy walks in the area, sumptuous breakfast and dinners here. Don't forget the Penn Cove Mussels, grown nearby. Visit historic Coupeville and Ft. Casey one day, and drive back to Mulkiteo and take car ferry back to I-5 and Seattle.
If you still have some money left, either stay at the Salish Lodge, east of Seattle, in Snoqualmie,or schedule Sunday brunch (7-9 course breakfast, if you can believe it), then back to Seattle for departure, or perhaps another night in the city.
A property close to Disneyland that we have used in the past is the Anaheim Resort Hotel | Fairfield Inn Anaheim Hotel. It's great because you can easily walk to Disneyland's main gate from it and back, so if you need a break from the heat and crowds in the middle of the day, you can return to the hotel for a meal or a break and a swim.
Don't know if you enjoy baseball, but another idea that may be fun while you're in the Disneyland area would be to go to an LA Angels game (just up Katella Ave about 1.5 miles from Disney) if they're in town during your visit. I think your daughter would love the food, the excitement and all of the fan activities, the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowds as the ball sails over the outfield and into the parking lot...
Also and somewhat proximal to the area, San Diego has a number of wonderful offerings for families. I'm thinking specifically of the San Diego Zoo (world class) and Sea World. If you didn't want to go quite that far south, Legoland in Carlsbad, CA is an absolutely wonderful place for children, and your daughter is at THE perfect age for it. They've expanded and now have a water park (totally unique and superior from any other waterpark) and also a new SeaLife Aquarium that is educational and offers uniquely dynamic interactives, and is very reasonably priced. Sea Life Aquarium | LEGOLAND California Resort
A couple of good properties in Carlsbad are Courtyard San Diego Carlsbad McClellen Palomar Airport Hotel - Hotels in Carlsbad, CA (advantage, very close to Legoland) and Hotels in Oceanside, California | SpringHill Suites San Diego Oceanside/Downtown (advantage, ocean front with nice views, rooftop swimming pool, this is not your typical SHS). Both have upgraded us to suites and/or full ocean views.
Long Beach is also a fun place to hang out, it has a very nice aquarium as well as the Queen Mary and Shoreline Village, lots of fun stuff to do. A great property there is the Downtown Long Beach Hotels | Courtyard Long Beach Hotel, not your everyday Courtyard, none of this Bistro stuff (owned by a member of the Marriott family). Have you been to Catalina Island? Catalina Express - Long Beach, CA - Visit Long Beach CVB There's some good fun in the sun to be enjoyed there too.
Also (not to beat this - So. CA - to death, but well, ya sort of ), Huntington Beach Pier is a great place to visit (if you time it right - or wrong, depending on your preference, you might be there during the US Open Surfing Championships, - my brother never misses it - I think he just goes for the all the girls in their bikinis Vans US Open of Surfing | July 25 - Aug 2, 2015 , US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach | Huntington Beach Events), as is of course Newport Beach, where there is tons of fun family stuff to do, beach, boat and kayak and bike rentals, fun zone, etc. Balboa Village | Visit Newport Beach.
For heading north, if you would like more info regarding the Monterey Peninsula or SF, I'd be happy to share about that, or else let me know. Both great places too. There's also the Central California coastline, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and San Simeon (for Hearst Castle.)
Lots of options! You might find this thread http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/14412 from a couple of years ago to be somewhat helpful.
Thanks for all the recommendations! I didn't know their was a LegoLand there. My daughter has been wanting to go to one and we were thinking of going to one of the ones in Europe, but this might be better.
When we stayed in Santa Barbara before, my friend that we were visiting took us to Pismo Beach for some awesome clam chowder. I might have to try and go back just for that.
I just completed a great trip to Northern Californian and used points at the following hotels/resorts. Depending on what you like to do, I would highly recommend them. We weren't traveling with children, but all were very nice properties with excellent service
Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek
Very conveniently located next to the Pleasant Hill BART station. This is a great central location for day trips into the city (30 minutes on BART: about $10 roundtrip per person). It is also about 45 minutes from Napa or Sonoma and an hour to Sacramento (very nice train museum) . The hotel has large rooms, full access to a wonderful Athletic Club and large pool, and excellent breakfast buffet complimentary for platinums. They also offer complimentary shuttle within 5 mile radius. This hotel is less expensive and requires fewer MR points than the SF city FS hotels and is very quiet.
Renaissance Sonoma Resort
Beaurtiful property with a nice pool and is conveniently located to wine country and Sonoma restaurants. We like Sonoma better than Napa: more laid back, scenic, and less commercialized. We really enjoyed Ledson Winery and Citti Cafe.
SF Airport Bayfront Hotel
Good service, conveniently located for early morning flights at SFO and onsite Hertz. The M lounge was also very nice and was accessible all day on Saturday for snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. I only stay here when I have early or late flights.
If you are a MVC owner, I highly recommend MVC Newport Coast Villas. These are all 2 BR villas with full kitchen, and it is on the hill overlooking Newport Beach and Laguna. It is also fairly close to OC airport and Disneyland and about an hour from the San Diego zoo.
A tad late to the party here (I was out on vacation). But, if the opportunity to visit Oregon is there, it's a must do!
Oregon is beautiful in so many ways. Southern Oregon in particular.
From the Wild and Scenic Rogue river to the Oregon Coast and highway 101.
Is there any kind of activity in particular that you were looking to get into while possibly visiting Oregon? I would be happy to help out!