a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 21, 2012
Hello [VT member abf7b] Bonny Scotland
My wife and I and our two sons are touring the West Coast of the USA from next Wednesday for three weeks.
5 nights in Vegas
9 nights in LA...five in Santa Monica and 4 in Hollywood
6 nights in Hawaii(Oahu)
3 nights in San Francisco
Back home to Glasgow....sob sob
Staying in the Loews in Santa Monica.Looking for any tips,advice,things to do in Santa Monica.We have two teenage boys...16 and 13.The youngest is a skateboarder.
If you do go to Malibu, do stop and dine at Dukes. Watching the sun set over the ocean there can be very scenic.
As mentioned the 3rd Street promenade is not to be missed in Santa Monica and the Pier will be an attraction for the boys at least once.
Venice Beach might be of interest to the boys as well.
Hollywood can be a bit "touristy" but there is plenty to do and see. While working on a variety of shows in Universal's back lot, my daughter used to like the City Walk for relaxation but The Universal "Amusement" park is always fun for the occasioal visitor.
Las Vegas is a sensory attack with the lights and sounds of the many venues. While the boys can walk with you through the casinos, they must be careful not to approch any of the gaming machines. This is one rule the casinos are very careful about.
For dining in Las Vegas, one of my favorites is Pamplemousse at 400 E. Sahara Ave. It's been a favorite of mine for over 25 years. The "mono rail" transport in Las Vegas can be used to travel up/down the strip but I find it over priced, slow and rather inconvenient to get to unless you're using it to get to Pamplemousse (end of the rail line) and then it's better than a cab or driving.
Outside of Las Vegas I enjoy Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire for scenic views of the area and hiking. Both can be seen in one day but it would be a lot of driving.
The City Guide for Oahu can give you plenty of tips on what to do and see on the island: cityguide.sheknows.com/guide...
Enjoy you tour of the US.
I also like to eat at Dukes, however this is located outside of Malibu, which is north of Santa Monica. The two towns are fairly close together, however, the traffic can be pretty bad. If you happen to be in the area on a Sunday, Duke's has a really delicious Sunday brunch, although it is quite expensive, around30.00 each, and I don't think that included some drinks such as ice-tea for example, or taxes. Here is a link to their web page: http://www.dukesmalibu.com/
Leo Carrillo State Beach is one of my favorite California state beaches. It is about 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica along highway 1, on the north side of the Malibu area. There are one and a half miles of beach, which includes, a large open stretch of beach, private coves, tide pools, and rock formations.
Long Beach is south of Santa Monica, maybe around 24 miles, and they have a nice Aquarium if you enjoy that sort of thing. Again, the traffic can be heavy. Here is a link to that:
Are you renting a car in LA? I kind of view LA and Santa Monica as being the same place if you have a car, the attractions in the LA area are really spread out. Are you planning on doing any of the big attractions-Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios, Six Flags?
The boys might enjoy seeing a baseball game, maybe a local can give you some insight on how to get tickets etc. if you are interested. I really enjoyed seeing a rugby game in England, although I'm sure I was annoying the people around me with all my stupid questions.
The LaBrea tar pits are cool to see, the Farmer's Market is fun to stop by (and is the only place I've ever seen celebrities), Graumann's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame are just things you have to see.
Here's a few more ideas from Frommer's
Make sure you try In N' Out Burger, it's a local institution.
Ah...just a small correction to locations. It can take an hour to go from downtown LA to Santa Monica depending on traffic. LA is not exactly people friendly on the highways. During the day morning traffic is heavy at least from 7-10 and in the afternoon 3-6. I've had better during those times and worse at other times.
Just last week it took me over 7 hours to go from San Diego to LAX and back, so driving is an experience.
This one is for your younger son the "boarder." My youngest son also was an avid and competitive skateboarder before turning skier and snowboarder and we went to many parks throughout California. All of the terrain you see at the US parks was also in my backyard at one time over the years ):
Santa Monica has what he would call a pretty good skatepark. Definitely one of the best in Southern California. It is located on Olympic Boulevard at 14th Street. It has street, vert and tranny terrain and is open most days from either 12-7 or 12-10. There is a fee to register for the park and a user fee as well. The skateboard parks in Los Angeles County are very fussy about requiring helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
I think your younger son will enjoy the park and it is not too far from your hotel.
Here is the skateboard link for the area your son can browse through;
As for Vegas, I would definitely second Al's recommendation of going to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The terrain, the hikes and the petroglyphs on the canyon walls are definitely worth seeing by all.