Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117

    Off Topic - Need San Diego Family Vacation Advice

    So the Mrs. and I are planning on taking our 2 and 4 year old daughters to San Diego for a family vacation in September. Our #1 priority is beach time as my wife grew up going to the beach a lot on the east coast and really misses the ocean. (We live in Colorado now.) We are very much interested in renting a place on the beach or at least walking distance from the beach.

    I've been looking into rentals on the beach at http://vrbo.com and for some reason or another have been drawn to the Carlsbad area and even found one that I'm close to pulling the trigger on.

    The problem is that we are completely ignorant when it comes to San Diego. A friend at work has a sister who used to live there and she thinks that the surf at the Carlsbad beaches might be too high for out little kids but the owner of the unit says it is fine for little kids and all ages of kids are in the water all the time.

    So, help me out. How high is the surf in Carlsbad? Any other recommendations for places I should look to rent a place? I need to hurry as September is coming fast.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

  2. #2
    I <3 Dirt
    Reputation: mealsonwheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    709
    The surf in Carlsbad isn't any bigger than other beaches in San Diego, but all of this depends on how the surf is breaking. Typically the waves in the summer are small so your kids will be fine. Other family friendly beaches include La Jolla, Coronado and I'd say any other beach community between Del Mar and Carlsbad. Avoid Mission Beach and Pacific Beach as those are typically popular with the college party crowd.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,068
    Hi Retsin,

    I used to live in San Diego County and put in a lot of beach time, 1971 through 1990 or so. I've still got family down there I visit regularly, so what I know has stayed fairly current. That said, I can't directly answer your question about Carlsbad's surf, except to say that if it was known for good waves, I would have spent more time driving up there. That doesn't mean the beaches there are optimum for small children, but I don't think they are that different than miles of other San Diego County beaches.

    Hands down, I would say the best place to take small kids is La Jolla Shores. Big long sandy beach, almost always gentle surf, very gradual drop-off, warm water in the summer. But it gets crowded, and La Jolla is expensive.

    North County (Cardiff, Encinitas, Carlsbad) seem a little quieter and less touristy than areas to the south. Cardiff and DelMar get hit pretty hard by the horse race crowd during that season, but are otherwise nice coastal towns. Last time I was there, Oceanside has made some solid efforts towards realizing its potential. But there is still a somewhat sketchy aspect to the community because of some of the undesirable side effects of the nearby Marine base.

    La Jolla is beautiful, but expensive. Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are the more stereo-typical summer transient beach rental places. Ocean Beach has kind of a independent vibe, sort of scruffy by the jetty and business district, more family oriented south towards Sunset Cliffs.

    A lot depends on what you want. I hope some of this helps. Feel free to ask me more, and I'll help if I can.

  4. #4
    CEB
    CEB is offline
    No horse'n round
    Reputation: CEB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,145
    Listen to Callahan.......Harry that is.

    I live in S.D. .......he is spot on!

    And yes, La Jolla is expensive but indeed an ideal beach for the youngsters!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    287
    Carlsbad is a good choice. Family-friendly with a variety of places to eat in various price ranges. And if the kids get bored by the beach, there's always Legoland. Bringing your bike?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117

    Thanks!

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Very much appreciated. I'll look into La Jolla rentals but it sounds like it might be out of my price range. Otherwise I'll probably stick with Carlsbad as it sounds like it will fit pretty well. We probably will hit Legoland and the Zoo and maybe Sea World too. It all kind of depends on how much the kids dig the beach and whether or not additional entertainment is desired.

    I looked at a place in Ocean Beach as the price was awesome compared to other stuff I looked at. Then I did a little research on Ocean Beach. It sounded like exactly the kind of vibe that I would have wanted before we had kids or when I was in college but maybe not perfect for the family vacation. My kids are quite used to "alternative" type folks but it sounded like there was a pretty good party going on pretty late on a frequent basis.

    Alas, I am not bringing a bike and likely won't have any time for riding anyway. Some of the rental places I have looked at include cruiser bikes so I may be able to do a cruise in the evening after the kids go to bed. Otherwise I might have to jog for excercise Now if there happened to be a bike shop that rented good bikes nearby and there happened to be some singletrack nearby....

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    38
    Carlsbad isn't a bad place to be. Legoland is right there, the beaches are great, and you are close to the other great beach communities(Lucadia, Encinitas, Solona Beach)Also, don't forget about the Oceanside Pier. It is the longest wooden pier out this way.

    You are also a short hop from the Wild Animal Park in Escondido, and if you come on Friday nights, Escondido has Cruisin' Grand from 3-8pm. The nostalgia of the classic/muscle cars, rockabilly bands, and yes...even a hula-hoop contest for the kids. It's a great Friday night out on the town with the family.

    If your main goal is to be more downtown though, I would look at Mission Beach, Ocean Beach. Belmont Park is fun with the kids, and they can get a ride on the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster (http://www.giantdipper.com/ )
    Since you brought up Sea world and the Zoo, being down closer to downtown would be your best bet, as with gas prices and traffic, driving from Carlsbad(30 mile trip one way) could be a little costly.

    Also...look up the 'Spruce Street Bridge." you might have to google map it, but it is well worth the find in San Diego. The kids will love it!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bajamtnbkr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    607
    +1 on Carlsbad and what everybody else already said, you will be also about an hour drive to Disneyland!! Enjoy, if you get a chance drive south to Coronado beach for a nice day trip.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,068
    Quote Originally Posted by retsin2000
    Thanks for the advice everyone. Very much appreciated. I'll look into La Jolla rentals but it sounds like it might be out of my price range. Otherwise I'll probably stick with Carlsbad as it sounds like it will fit pretty well. We probably will hit Legoland and the Zoo and maybe Sea World too. It all kind of depends on how much the kids dig the beach and whether or not additional entertainment is desired.

    I looked at a place in Ocean Beach as the price was awesome compared to other stuff I looked at. Then I did a little research on Ocean Beach. It sounded like exactly the kind of vibe that I would have wanted before we had kids or when I was in college but maybe not perfect for the family vacation. My kids are quite used to "alternative" type folks but it sounded like there was a pretty good party going on pretty late on a frequent basis.

    Alas, I am not bringing a bike and likely won't have any time for riding anyway. Some of the rental places I have looked at include cruiser bikes so I may be able to do a cruise in the evening after the kids go to bed. Otherwise I might have to jog for excercise Now if there happened to be a bike shop that rented good bikes nearby and there happened to be some singletrack nearby....

    Thanks again!
    Sounds like a good call on your part. I lived in OB for a few years. South of Newport Avenue, towards Sunset Cliffs, is much less the party scene / counterculture area, but I suspect vacation rentals drop off as well.

    Think about swimming and boogie boarding for exercise. Get a nice pair of swim fins, such as Churchhill's. There are miles of awesome beaches, and the water should be pretty nice.

    You can rent cruiser bikes and ride the "boardwalk" (it's actually concrete) along Mission Beach, but that's more for sightseeing, as it is pretty crowded most of the time.

    There's lots to see in Balboa Park besides the zoo. But the kids won't care much about museums. Here's some tips since you've got small kids. The zoo is big and hilly. Rent a stroller if you don't have one. Use the map to minimize backtracking. Look for the moving sidewalks to save your legs on the uphills. The bus tour can be great, either to get an overview, or in the afternoon to get off your feet. The seal shows and kids zoo are fun.

  10. #10
    Lord of the Chainrings
    Reputation: Mudd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    2,926
    "Hesitation is the Mother of Failure!"

    ~~ 951 for Dirt & Roadster for Asphalt ~~

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117

    Carlsbad it is!

    Well after looking at La Jolla shores it came down to being right on the beach in Carlsbad or a few blocks off the beach in La Jolla. Since our kids go to bed at 7:30 or so the idea of being able to sit on a balcony and watch the sun set into the ocean while enjoying a malt beverage or two was just too appealing to pass up.

    Thanks again for all the help. I'll try to remember to post again when we get back to rave about how much of a great time we had.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,068
    Hi Retsin,

    That sounds great. Being able to see the ocean and easily walk to the beach will be fabulous. It's nice if you don't have to load up the car or haul all the kids' stuff great distances. You and your family should have a great time.

    Since you mentioned malt beverages, let me put in a plug for Green Flash IPA, which is a local product in San Diego. I'm also a big fan of the various Mexican beers, other than Corona. Pacifico and Carta Blanca are both nice on a hot day, and tasty with fish tacos.

    HC

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117
    Excellent. I like IPAs and what could be more appropriate while watching the sunset into the ocean than a beer called Green Flash? I'll definitely check it out.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    38
    Since the topic came up...look up Stone brewery here in Escondido. http://www.stonebrew.com

    Their brewery is here in Escondido, and is one of my favorite ales. Their IPA is the best IMO.


  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117
    I didn't realize that Stone was local to San Diego. I have enjoyed their IPA on several occasions. That is some super hoppy goodness. I like the bottle art too.

    Are you guys familiar with Dale's Pale Ale? : http://oskarblues.com/brew/

    Very good stuff brewed in the little town where I live. It appears to be available in CA. It isn't an IPA but still fairly hoppy. You have to get past the can thing though. I'm totally used to it by now and have bought into it being a fine way to store beer but it threw me at first.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    287

    Bike rental

    [QUOTE=retsin2000]Now if there happened to be a bike shop that rented good bikes nearby and there happened to be some singletrack nearby....QUOTE]

    I happened to see this shop listed by Giant as a demo dealer but don't know for sure they rent...call 'em.

    http://ebr101.net/

    They're near Carlsbad, in Encinitas. Demo a Trance or Reign, take it to La Costa Preserve in Carlsbad.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,068
    Quote Originally Posted by retsin2000
    I
    Are you guys familiar with Dale's Pale Ale? : http://oskarblues.com/brew/

    Very good stuff brewed in the little town where I live. It appears to be available in CA. It isn't an IPA but still fairly hoppy. You have to get past the can thing though. I'm totally used to it by now and have bought into it being a fine way to store beer but it threw me at first.
    Thanks! I hadn't seen that, but might not have paid attention because of the cans. But I'll check it out.


    Doc,

    I'll be down in SD next month, and might have to make a pilgrimage out to Stone to check out the movie in the beer garden thing. Sounds fun.

    HC

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    38
    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan


    Doc,

    I'll be down in SD next month, and might have to make a pilgrimage out to Stone to check out the movie in the beer garden thing. Sounds fun.

    HC
    Oh yea...Fast Times at Ridgemont High is coming up soon! I'll be there for sure!

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117
    Howdy all. We got back from our vacation yesterday and we had a great time! The kids loved the beach and we made two trips to Legoland which they really loved too. My four year old went on her first real roller coaster ride and thought it was great. The two year old was mad she couldn't go which also made me proud.

    The biggest mistake I made was I accidentally bought Stone Pale Ale instead of IPA. It was good but I like their IPA better. I did see one lonely warm six pack of Dales Pale Ale on the bottom shelf at Texas liquors on Carlsbad Village Drive next to the Albertsons if anyone is interested in trying it out. The owner told me it gets delivered by the Stone guys.

    Thanks for all the advice. I guess I'll find out how much damage a week at sea level with minimal exercise has done with a ride this afternoon.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    4,068
    Cool! Glad you had a good time. Hope the beaches and accomodations were what you hoped for.

    I was down in San Diego for a week last month. Water was warm, there was a little surf to play in, weather was nice. Good times.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: retsin2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    117
    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Cool! Glad you had a good time. Hope the beaches and accomodations were what you hoped for.

    I was down in San Diego for a week last month. Water was warm, there was a little surf to play in, weather was nice. Good times.

    Everything was great. The first few days the surf seemed high, at least to a guy from the rockies. But my little girls were still easily able to play close to shore and it made the boogie board a blast for me. I managed to get pounded by a wave a couple of times rather nicely.Fun stuff for sure. Then the last couple of days the surf was a lot mellower. Really perfect to have the variety.

    The accommodations were sweet too. We were literally right on the beach. I won't be able to afford another vacation like that for a few years but I'm really glad we splurged this time.
    Last edited by retsin2000; 09-14-2008 at 07:55 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •