If there’s something I’ve been learning with even just day trips with my little one, it’s that you shouldn’t have more than one goal for the trip. Plan to do more than that, and baby’s tantrums, mealtimes, and other demands are bound to get in the way. Knowing myself to be a big-time activity crammer when I travel, I’m going to try to slow down the pace and minimize my travel goals. This way I’m able to feel that I accomplished what I most wanted to see or do, and still allow for de-stressing and downtime.
Day 1: Flight to Medford, OR departing at 9am.
A three hour flight, plus two hour layover, plus another two hour flight means that even at 2:30pm California time, it will be 5:30pm home time and Miss Cranky-pants will definitely be appearing. Best to get the rental car and high-tail it to our first overnight stop: Victorian Inn in Ferndale, CA!
The goal for this first night is just to get through it, and hopefully sleep a decent amount!
Day 2: Redwoods on the way to San Fran
Thirty minutes down highway 101 is the “Avenue of the Giants”, which we will hit up after coffee and breakfast. Then we head south, splitting off the onto Highway 1 from I-101, a 5 hour drive to San Francisco International Airport where we drop off our rental car.
The goal here is to make it to our hostel or hotel from the airport before an ungodly hour, hopefully before dark.
Day 3: San Francisco
My goal is to go slow and take it easy in the morning, visit Golden Gate Park.
Day 4: San Francisco
My goal is to go to Alcatraz and Sausalito. one of these may get scrapped depending on baby fussiness.
Day 5: Monterey
Today we pick up our rental car from the airport and drive to Monterey, a 2 1/2 hour drive down highway 1. I plan to have a nice morning, not feel rushed, and enjoy the first stretch of highway one. We check into our Monterey Hostel and then do whatever the rest of the day. Possibilities: the aquarium, the beach, Fisherman’s Warf…
Day 6: Carmel and Big Sur
I scrapped whale watching in order to keep it simple and non-rushed on our drive from Monterey to our next overnight stop just west of San Luis Obispo. This drive will take us through Carmel and Big Sur. Some of my preferred stops are at Pfeiffer Beach for the purple sand, Nitt Witt Ridge, and The Carmel Mission.
Overnight in Baywood Inn, which is situated on Morro Bay and should be lovely.
Day 7: Reaching LA
It’s five hours to get to Oxnard from San Luis Obispo, and another hour and a half from there to reach LAX, where we drop off our rental car and head to Orange Drive Hostel for the next three nights. On the way I hope to stop at Surfrider Beach in Malibu.
Day 8: LA
From our hostel we can walk to the famous Walk of Fame, Hollywood sign viewing spot, and Chinese Theater. So we’ll get to those during our stay. A goal for this day will be getting to the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Day 9: LA
A day in Disneyland! Here is an article about things to do with babies in the park. Babies can go on the flying dumbo ride- who knew? Another site with great tips: Disneyland with Baby. I found it very useful to know that there is an air-conditioned Baby Care Center, with quiet rooms and rocking chairs.
Day 10: LA
On this day I may try to make it to The Queen Mary and The Pike at Long Beach, or maybe we will visit the original Farmer’s Market, instead. Or we could go to Santa Monica Pier. Or Griffith Park. Or maybe nothing at all.
Day 11: Catalina Island
My goal is to leave our hostel in Hollywood early, and get a ferry from Long Beach to Catalina Island. We will stay at Hotel St. Lauren, with no other plans other than to explore the island at our leisure.
Day 12: Getting home
Our outbound flight leaves LAX at 5:42 pm, giving us ample time (I hope) to enjoy early morning on the island and get our butts on the ferry and to the airport by 3pm.