View Full Version : Southern Cal questions

01-21-2007, 01:32 PM
We will be going to DL for the first time in May. We want to see as much of Southern Cal as possible (staying 10 days with rental car) We're thinking about staying on site at DL and just doing day trips. What are the best places for day trips, whats the best beach, are there tours we could take instead of going off on our own and getting lost :laughing: and one more ?, are there more options other then LAX to fly into?:confused3

01-22-2007, 03:30 PM
You could fly into SNA, The John Wayne Airport. It's much smaller, and closer to Anaheim than LAX, although, it's usually more expensive.

As for day trips, you have to do Universal Studios. So much fun. If you are a fan of movies at all, this is a must. The backlot tour is awesome! Also, on the movie side of SoCal, of course there is Hollywood, which is a nice place to spend the day. Tour the Kodak Theater, see a movie at Mann's Chinese Theater, do the stars on the sidewalk, the whole bit. I also recommend Warner Bros. studio tour. If you have kids and they like Harry Potter, there are some really neat HP movie items on display.

As for beaches, my favorite one out there is probably Huntington Beach. Just lay back, relax and watch the surfers, or you can rent bikes and ride up the beach. Santa Monica is a fun place to go for families, the pier is amazing! Venice Beach is...interesting...A great place for people watching. Laguna Beach is the artsy district, and very laidback. Nice place to visit.

Check with your hotel regarding tours. That's what I always do out there. I haven't been brave enough to do the driving on my own yet. Here are a few websites you can try to see what's out there:


Have fun! SoCal is awesome!!!!

01-23-2007, 03:26 PM
Burbank airport is good too, for Hollywood and Universal. Best bet if there is good service from your city....fly INTO SNA and stay a few days at Disneyland, then move up to Hollywood or Burbank and do the L.A. tours, zoo, Universal, WB, NBC, whatever...and fly home out of Burbank. The one-way rental cars are usually pretty well priced.

Avoid LAX this year as it's a mess with one runway shut down. Even if it means a connection somewhere instead of a nonstop, do it just for the ease and breeze of using SNA or Burbank airport.

01-31-2007, 02:16 AM
Well, for whatever its worth, here's another opinion.

SNA is easy. It is usually very expensive. You likely cannot get a direct flight into SNA.

LAX is slightly farther. It will be much cheaper. You can probably get a direct flight.

Best beaches: I grew up in Redondo (LA county), so I'm partial. If you want to stay in Orange County, Newport Beach is great. There is a decent boardwalk, decent parking, good beach/waves, Balboa is nearby. Laguna is fun because there are protected tidal pools. You can walk the area and see ocean life. There is also decent parking, and lots of good shops and restaurants.

Besides DL/CA, is there anything you've always wanted to do? If you want to see LA, consider changing hotels and staying in town. Here's a link re: LA hotels - http://www.thegrovela.com/concierge/tourists/.

Do you want to go to San Diego? Again, consider changing hotels. Besides Sea World, Legoland, San Diego Zoo (awesome), and San Diego Wild Animal Park, there is Seaside Village (haven't been there in years), and the Gaslamp District.

I hope this is helpful. So Cal is really spread out. And its fun. :cloud9:

01-31-2007, 06:19 PM
It's no longer more expensive to fly into SNA. In fact from many cities it's sometimes $20 cheaper. From Birmingham I think that even LAX means you have to make a connection somewhere anyway....so choose SNA. If you are planning to do Universal or Six Flags , then fly into SNA for Disneyland and fly home from Burbank. You might also fly into Burbank or SNA, and fly home from San Diego...if Sea World or Legoland fall into your plans.

Another tip...if you can make Sat Sun your driving days...when you're touring LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc....the traffic will be much lighter. Sat & Sun are also busy days at Disneyland so it works out nicely.

01-31-2007, 08:19 PM
Thanks so much for all the helpful tips :thumbsup2

01-31-2007, 10:41 PM
I'd go to San Diego and stay a few days. We love Paradise Point resort and Spa. Sea World the zoo and all that. As for Universal, you didn't say who was going, I hear it's not great for small kids. What fun.....

02-05-2007, 08:32 PM
Another vote for a few days in SD.
We splurge and stay at the Pacific Terrace in Pacific Beach.
I agree with an earlier post to stay near DL for a few days and then move to another hotel to do Hollywood, Universal, Santa Monica etc.
LA traffic to me is brutal (live in a small city so I am not used to bumper to bumper traffic, especially on a vacation).
We also enjoyed the Getty Centre (near Santa Monica by memory).
Have fun!

02-06-2007, 09:43 PM
Great to see a fellow Alabamian headed out west. I found really cheap airfare from Bham to LAX in March($218 on Delta) To fly into SNA was a bit more expensive. I decided to that it would be alot more convenient to fly into SNA. Plus, I liked the return flight departure times better.

02-07-2007, 06:25 AM
SuzieR I posted a Hollywood trip report in the California Trip Reports forum. It includes a lot of things people have suggested here and more. If you take a look it explains a lot of the different attractions in Hollywood and Long Beach. The link below should take you to it.


Ron from Michigan
02-11-2007, 04:44 PM
SuzieR, we are going to be in SoCalif also in May from May17-26. We are flying into John wayne airport. We are staying our first 4 days at Disney and then going up to Santa Barbara for a couple of days. After that we havent decided yet. We are going to go to Hollywood one day and the beach another day. Hope you have a great time. This will be our third trip to SC.

03-02-2007, 10:11 PM
John Wayne is awesome to fly into. You can also look into Long Beach and Ontario. Just pay attention to your arrival time so you aren't stuck in traffic trying to get to your hotel. They are pretty small and easy to get in and out of.

03-03-2007, 09:33 AM
Personally, for SoCal (and I lived there for 6 years and did business all over it), I would not hub from Anaheim. I would definitely switch hotels. While the onsite DL hotels are nice, none are so awesome that you give up anything by moving hotels. And, while it may seem a hassle to switch hotels, it will be more of a hassle to deal with traffic.

Stay onsite for your DL days. San Diego is great - stay in the Mission Beach or Mission Bay area, or on one of the islands, or downtown. All areas are nice.

For LA, I like to stay in Santa Monica, by the beach. It is a bit of a hike to Hollywood, etc. but there are plenty of backroads to avoid freeways that are scenic and fun to drive.

03-04-2007, 08:31 PM
We love it there. Anaheim and DL are great for a few days, but staying in San Diego is wonderful!!! Great beaches, food, plus all the attractions: Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, and more. We also loved the Maritime Museum, the ship from Master and Commander is there, plus a Soviet Sub!!!

We stayed at Bahia Resort and loved it. We were lucky and got a 1 bedroom suite with a kitchenette. Great for cooking up meals instead of going out!!

Also, you may want to find a place to stay near Universal Studios. Also visit the Aquarium in Long Beach. I have heard it is so cool.

Have a great trip.