California Forum

Suggestions to our Californian trip

Posted by llawjm on February 23, 2010

Hi all!

My German g/f and I (Aussie) are heading to California in June for about 10 days to attend a friends wedding. Having never been to the West Coast before we're trying to work out what we should be seeing and where we should spend our time. We'd like a relaxing break, whilst making sure we see some of the highlights.

Having done my own research, I am leaning towards staying in Santa Monica rather than Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Downtown LA. Does this sound sensible? Any suggestions for accomodation in Santa Monica that won't break the budget (don't wanna really pay more than $150pn). We'll have a hire car, so location shouldn't be a problem.

Looking forward to Vegas. Recommend any "must stay at" hotels? Should we do the chopper flight to the Grand Canyon? Boat trip too?

You can see our rough itinerary below. Any suggestions what to do on the final Sun-Tue would be grateful.

Thanks to you all for any suggestions!

Safe travels!


Pick up hire car. Chill out in Santa Monica.
Accom in Santa Monica.

Arrive in LA, chillin Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach.
Accom in Santa Monica.

Day @ Disneyland!
Accom near Disneyland.

Drive to Vegas / Chill
Accom in Vegas.

Chopper flight to Grand Canyon. Brians stag party Wed night.
Accom in Vegas.

Recovery / Chill in Vegas
Accom in Vegas.

Drive to Ojai, Californa for wedding rehersal dinner etc.
Accom in Ojai *Booked*

Sat 26 : Day in Ojai and the Wedding of course!
Accom in Ojai *Booked*

Sun 27
Brunch/Recovery in Ojai! Where should we go/visit?!

Mon 28
Day @ Universal Studios?

Tue 29
Shopping in L.A.?
Flight at 8pm from LAX.

Reply by llawjm on March 05, 2010

We're still narrowing down where we will stay (think we're certain it shall be in Santa Monica).

I have one more question, that being the subject of Transport!

A friend of mine has suggested we tackle LA using the public bus & train system. I'm leaning towards the same idea as I don't think we'll really need a car if we are commuting from Santa MOnica into town for the day and back, and then getting to Universal Studios for a day. I'll hire a car and drive out to Disney though, continuing to Las Vegas.


Thanks a million! Matt


Reply by Moira126 on March 06, 2010

I don't really know LA as well as I could, only been there about 3 or 4 times. But I wanted to suggest that you make allowances for LA traffic when you go/drive around. I once spent almost 2 hours in traffic just going to a place less than 10 miles away. So be actively aware of peak times and rush hour and all that.


Reply by Lakelady2451 on March 29, 2010

There's so much to do.. We did a half marathon at Disneyland so that was pretty much our focus for the trip. However we had one touring day. Starting in Anaheim where we were staying, we toured Hollywood, Bev Hills, Venice and headed south to Manhatten Beach where we had a very late dinner before driving back to Anaheim. We left around 9 or 10 am and got in at 10 PM. My husband drove who had been before but not really familar with the area. I would have liked 2 days at least for what we did.. I'd probably recommend a small tour company using a small van not one of those huge busses. My goal was to see the things I saw on TV and for some reason , I really wanted in the Hollywood Bowl. We went there, but something was going on so we didn't actually get in the seats. I'd do some research to see what you want to do then look at the tour companies. I hope you enjoy as it's a fun area! BTW, I've been to Santa Monica and should be a nice place to stay.

Reply by bons13 on March 30, 2010

I grew up in LA, near Universal Studios. Your trip sounds fun. The only thing that initially made me laugh was your thoughts about taking "public transportation" from Santa Monica "into town" and to Universal Studios. I'm sure it can be done, but you might really appreciate your own car. I'd check very, very, very (!) carefully into how the train and bus schedules run these days. When I lived there many years ago, the buses were maybe 2/hr, on a good day, and stops were not convenient. Perhaps going to places like Universal, you may be able to do this.
Otherwise, you sound like you'll have fun! As for what to do around Ojai, you might want to drive over to the coast from there, to Carpenteria if you want more beach time, or even into Santa Barbara, which is a really nice college town, for the day. If you are into the theater, check what's playing at the Pantages, in the Hollywood area. They have quality touring companies coming there. If you like theme parks, you could also go to Six Flags Magic Mountain for a day, which is at the north end of LA.


Reply by expert4travel on April 01, 2010

I seriously recommend you consider getting the "Southern California Citypass" at and the Aria Hotel or Vadara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas, city center and brand new. In Santa Monica there are accomodations that would fit your budget, Georgian, Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn. Like others have said I would strongly recommend considering Anaheim as a place to stay for part of your vacation. If I knew your travel dates I could recommend any number of options. Also check out Anotherside Tours at <a href=""></a> they have some great tours in California and Las Vegas.

Allan Hoffman CTC

Reply by edreamtrips on April 08, 2010

California has more places to go than you can imagine. You've heard of the most popular ones, but don't forget to click More California Places to find something that might strike your fancy.

Know Before You Go
A sure way to have a miserable vacation is to plan too many things to do. If you don't live in it, you may not realize how big California is, how far apart the major sights are or how to get around. Use these resources to decide what's most important to you and how much you can see.

Plan a Weekend Getaway
If you ask any tourist bureau in California where most of their visitors come from, it's almost always another place in the state. Strapped for time, Californians take a lot of weekend trips. These resources will help you find places to go and plan your getaway quickly.

Trip Ideas, Saving Money and Weather and When to Go

Reply by llawjm on July 01, 2010

Hi all,

Just a big thank you to you all on suggestions for our trip! We just got back from California and had such a wonderful time!

We stayed 3 nights in Santa Monica and visited Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, and did a fantastic food tour with Melting Pot Tours in downtown LA - check em out! Then spent a day at Disneyland, followed by a road trip to Vegas. Spent 3 nights in Vegas @ the Palazzo (amazing) and then a long drive via LA, up to Ojai for a wedding. Ojai is such a cute quaint town. The Ojai Country Club Inn was just bliss! Our final night was spent in Santa Barbara - can't recommend it more highly!

Anyways, I am about to post again about BC, Canada and get some ideas for our 3 week trip!

Take care, keep travelling and thanks again for your feedback!

Matt & Mel.


Reply by CarolinaPanthers1983 on July 08, 2010

If you are driving from LA to Las Vegas, then you should make a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. The park is very beautiful and worth a look in the desert. You will love Las Vegas as well- Make sure you catch a Cirque du Soleil show. I would recommend seeing Zumanity for that kind of show.

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