At this stage in our trip, we had built up a very healthy travel endurance and could endure a whirlwind day, every day. As I think back to our days in San Diego and greater Los Angeles, I am amazed by everything we did. But, by this time, we had our travel legs well under us. For our next trips, we need to look at how to build up this endurance ahead of time.
We awoke early to get a good start toward our next destination down the California coast, San Diego. I was personally excited because we had changed the hotel for the night twice now for a better stay each time. We had first booked an Embassy Suites in Orange County, but had decided to attempt to be closer to San Diego and found a Hyatt Place in Carlsbad. But, upon further research we realized that we wouldn’t be close enough to San Diego to be worth it either. Then, we finally landed on a deal found through Hotel Tonight (use promo code CGRAHAM23 for $25 off when you sign up) for the La Valencia hotel. We took a somewhat scenic route down the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway through Orange County and cities like Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. Both were super crowded and we were glad that we had not decided to spend a night in one of these places.
We made it to the San Diego area and headed directly toward La Jolla Cove. I dropped Brooke off to explore as I searched for a parking spot in this popular area. Finally, I found one up front, unloaded the kids and found Brooke. She was in heaven, closely surrounded by hundreds of Sea Lions on the rocks in their natural habitat.
Though you could have gotten close enough to touch them, most people respected their space and the sea lions primarily ignored all the close up humans. We got some great, up close pictures and then headed back to the car and grabbed a quick lunch at Wendy’s (had to use a quarter to use the restrooms here…) to tide us over until later. Brooke had found a great deal on Groupon for an hour long sailboat ride on Mission Bay on the Ship N A Bottle. We found our way to the Marina and to our sailboat where our captain / guide was awaiting our arrival. He boarded the boat and the kids happily eyed the snacks that were laid out before us. Grapes, crackers, cheese and meat kept the kids quite happy throughout the trip and the glasses of wine kept us happy.
We set off and got to see some sea lions hanging out in the Bay on our trip and witnessed a sailing race in the bay as well.
The weather was amazing (mid-70’s and no humidity) and the breeze was heavenly. We enjoyed the trip out and back to the marina, sad that it was over so quickly.
We exited the boat and began our trip to La Jolla to check into our hotel.
We pulled up to the La Valencia Hotel and found the parking for valet. I headed in while Brooke unloaded the kids and what was needed for the night. I always feel self-conscious with the amount of stuff we have in the car and never more so than when we have to valet it. By that time (from San Francisco to Yosemite to Monterey to Los Angeles and now San Diego), the car was not the cleanest though we tried to keep it that way. The check in agent was friendly and helpful, so I was hopeful that there would be an upgrade available for us. While I knew that we could fit into a regular hotel room, something with more size was definitely desirable. We had squeezed into regular hotel rooms while in Monterey and San Simeon already, but because we had gotten such a great deal on the hotel through the Hotel Tonight App, I was willing to spend a little extra for something nice. Willing on my part and able on their part, we were offered an expansive suite with a separate living area and small kitchen, the Garden Suite.
This hotel had been witness to much history, housing famous guests including President Woodrow Wilson at one time. The pull out couch and king bed would more than comfortably fit our family. The room was sort of by itself and must also be used for events because it was next to a big meeting room and the dining room. Not that I was complaining- it was a great room for us. Our luggage was brought to the room and we changed into bathing suits to head to the pool and beaches. The pool at the La Valencia was amazing, but nothing was more amazing than the lounge chairs. I have never sat on anything so comfortable and made a resolute promise to myself to one day own of of these chairs (until I found out the cost…).
We all enjoyed time in the pool, headed back to the room to clean up and walked from the hotel to the Smokehouse BBQ which had gotten great reviews for their Mac & Cheese (Brooke and I’s favorite food). Unfortunately, they were sold out, but the other food they did have was very good and we got to watch the sun set over the Children’s Pool while we had dinner.
We walked back to the hotel carrying Weston and Caitlyn as both were falling asleep. Before we had all fallen asleep, Brooke made sure to set her alarm for early morning with the hopes of spending some less crowded time with the sea lions at La Jolla Cove (a 5 minute walk from our hotel).
This is day 20 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016. Make sure to check out the entire trip!