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Los Angeles, San Diego, Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs

A week from LAX to San Diego- Must sees along the way to San Diego?

We are a family of three with a two year old flying into LAX end of May. We love California, but haven't been south of LA for going on two decades.  We'd love suggestions on any scenic or tasty cities/places (we've done Big Sur several times, and love the fresh food across CA) to visit while taking a week from LAX to San Diego.  We will be in San Diego for a full week after our wandering (my husband has a conference there) and can explore San Diego then. What are your suggestions for must sees?

6 Answers

top answer by
Kay from Vermont

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad are a great stop as you drive down the coast. Such a memorable experience. It feels like you're in the Netherlands. I remember it costing about $12 a person to get in. Pannikin Coffee & Tea is a cute place to stop for pie, and coffee. They have an amazing menu of teas too! Have fun :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Flower Fields (attraction)
  2. Pannikin Coffee & Tea (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Niko from Gainesville

Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido is amazing. Has a great outdoor area that is wonderful for kids to poke about and play. It is large enough that a few minutes of crying babies is not a big deal either. The Brewery is only a small part of the actual site. They have a full restaurant, bar etc.... that has available not only Stone Brews, but also a full suite of alcoholic beverages and beers from others breweries.

It is very close to Oceanside and I believe, around 45 mins from San Diego.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Stone Brewing Co. (restaurant)
  2. Oceanside (city)
  3. San Diego (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Jacob from Lake Forest, California

Stop buy Newport beach and check out Balboa Islandat sunset. And don't forget to check out Bear Flag Fish Company for the best seafood burritos and fish tacos you have ever put in your mouth. Also get a hike in in Crystal Cove or Laguna beach, lots of hills with great hikes to beautiful views. The Ruby's Shake Shack on the cliffs at Crystal Cove is awesome at sunset too, and the shakes are unreal. In San Diego grab a California Burrito Nico's Mexican Food and take it to the beach. Hope this helps a bit! Cheers!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Balboa Island (attraction)
  2. Bear Flag Fish Company (restaurant)
  3. Ruby's Shake Shack (attraction)
  4. Nico's Mexican Food (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

I think you would enjoy visiting the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro. It's hands on with tide-pools and lots of exhibits. San Pedro, CA is the port of LA and has another marine museum and a beautiful ocean view park with the Korean Friendship Bell. The beaches have the old style lifeguard stations. It's off the beaten track and totally unlike the hip touristy beach scene. 

I also think you would enjoy a visit to Catalina Island. There are several locations to get the ferry, Newport Beach and Dana Point are two. Sometimes you see whales on the crossing. Once you get there, take the island tour for the awesome views or the glass bottom boat to view the world's fastest growing kelp. Descanso Beach is beautiful. There are many choices if you want to spend the night. Catalina Island is managed by a nature conservancy which prohibits development. It's a timeless CA locale.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (attraction)
  2. San Pedro, CA (city)
  3. Korean Friendship Bell (attraction)
  4. Catalina Island (attraction)
  5. Newport Beach (city)
  6. Dana Point (city)
  7. Descanso Beach (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Brett from Eindhoven

If you're taking a full week between Los Angeles International Airport and San Diego, try including some fun stops like Palm Springs (Scenery), Temecula (wine country / avocados), and Julian (apple pie / apple cider). 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Los Angeles International Airport (attraction)
  2. San Diego (city)
  3. Palm Springs (city)
  4. Temecula (attraction)
  5. Julian (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Breanna from Los Angeles

With a two year old you should definitely check out Disneyland.Santa Barbara is a two hour train ride north of LA (not sure if you're only looking for south of LA options), but by train it's so easy to do, especially with a little one in tow. The beach, the pier and the fresh and organic food are all amazing here - you can't go wrong doing anything here. The Lark - Santa Barbara is a great dinner spot (maybe find a sitter) and the Santa Barbara Public Market is the cutest little "marketplace" with amazing food stalls and groceries.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Disneyland (attraction)
  2. Santa Barbara (city)
  3. The Lark - Santa Barbara (restaurant)
  4. Santa Barbara Public Market (attraction)
1 thanks

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