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Calling All Californians!!!!


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After recieving some already great advice from this board, what would you suggest. We are coming down to California for a week pre-cruise out of Long beach. We are a family with two young children and two seniors. I've narrowed it down too Manhattan beach or Huntington beach. We will have a rental car. Which would you chose and why????



Any info much appreciated

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What time of year? What do you want to do? Winter is cold at the beach (at least the water is cold) and I would much more recommend Laguna or the so other place on the South Orange County coast or San Diego over Manhattan Beach or Huntington Beach (unless all you plan to do is surf).


In Monterey, I would recommend asking locals, as it is a common place for restaurants to come and go, and sometimes yesterday's good restaurant has gone out of business, or gone downhill. Some places to check out would include Tarpy's Roadhouse (casual, on the road to Salinas) http://www.tarpys.com/ , Fresh Cream (fancy, near but not on Fisherman's Wharf), or near Carmel, the Rio Grill http://www.riogrill.com/ is a dependable (not fancy) place to eat. Check out Passion Fish http://www.passionfish.net/ and Fandango http://www.fandangorestaurant.com/ in Pacific Grove too.


South of Carmel in the Big Sur area, check out Rocky Point http://www.rocky-point.com/ (great view, good but not great food), or the Ventana Inn http://www.ventanainn.com/dining.asp . If you have time to drive to Nepenthe http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/ , I would recommend that too, esp. for lunch.

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Thanks Splinter!!


We will be leaving in November, we have small children so probably will do a day at Disney, maybe a day at Legoland. Just looking at place's that we can walk from the hotel to the beach with some restaurants along the way. The Hyatt in Huntingtonbeach looked interesting , and Manhattan seemed popular for the shopping mall. What beaches would you recommend for swimming??

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Are you bringing wet suits? The water in November is in the mid-50's at best....it is pretty cold for swimming. Huntington Beach is known for its surf, which can be high in November. I would not swim there with small children. You might want to consider Newport Dunes for a day (not far from Laguna) as it is on an inland bay, and there are paddle boats, etc. where you could take the kids. http://www.rockcitynews.com/pages/california/ocbeaches/newportdunes.html


For views and ease of walking on the beach, Manhattan Beach is OK, but I would go to Laguna instead. Nice views, good hotels or B&Bs on or near the beach, easy to walk around town, great restaurants, galleries and shops. It would be about half way between Lego Land and Disneyland.

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I just returned from a one night mini vacation at the Hyatt Huntington Beach, a bit expensive but a BEAUTIFUL!! Hotel! You can also walk from there to one of my favorite restaurants on the beach Dukes. It is also really close (within walking distance to the pier and some great shopping and nightlife).

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January and February are our "rainy" season. I would wear slacks and a light sweater or polo shirt, and bring a fleece jacket and umbrella or rain poncho. You might luck out and run into a Santa Ana (warm dry wind from the interior) and it could be in the 70s on the coast, but it is more likely to be in the 50s to 60s during the day.

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It's populated with million-dollar shacks(oops, I mean homes). So the town itself caters to its local residences (since they pay so much taxes) than out-of-towners. Its restaurants are pricey (they cater mostly to local residences) and there aren't any Manhattan Beach hotels located within a block of the ocean. It's downtown is full of boutique-type shops for beachgoers. There is a Manhattan Village Mall nearby with the requisite Gap, Gymboree, and Babystyle (rarity in most malls). It's anchored by Macy's. There are lots of chained restaurants within that mall complex. This mall is not within walking distance from the beach. It's a good 10 minute drive from the beach front due to traffic. Manhattan Beach is not really for serious shoppers who live in that area of town. Downtown Manhattan Beach is 10 minutes from the airport, but a good 25 minutes to the Long Beach port. The reason Manhattan Beach real estate is so expensive is 1) it's by the beach, 2) close to the major highways (hwy 405 and 105).


Since you will have a car, I would suggest that you try Marriott at Torrance for your first night's stay. You can visit Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach. Torrance is closest to Redondo Beach where parking is easy to find and it's still considered a residential area more than a touristy beach area. Redondo Beach is also known as the Hollywood Riviera (or poor-man's Malibu.) There are lots of chained restaurants near the Torrance Marriott. Or you can go across the way to the Del Amo Mall and try the food court there. My kids (age 4 and 6) like this mall better than the one in Manhattan Beach.


So Huntington Beach or any Orange County beach resorts would be better since you will be closer to Disneyland/California Adventure. With 2 kids, that's a must go. You'll get to see plenty of beaches when you visit Mexican ports of call on your cruise.


For serious shopping in Los Angeles, one goes to South Coast Plaza and its surrounding satellite malls. Personally, I prefer the Nordstrom Rack across the way from South Coast Plaza proper. FYI, South Coast Plaza is in Orange County near Laguna Niguel.


If you have a car and you have a week, I would buy the 4-day Disney pass at Costco ($119) and spend 2 days each at Disneyland and California Adventure. Then drive down to San Diego to see Legoland, Seaworld San Diego, San Diego zoo and San Diego zoo Wild Park. Once you have done these 6 venues, you have pretty much done all there is to do in Southern California.

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Correction: not ALL of Redondo Beach is the Hollywood Riviera. That area (where my parents live) is a small area of both Redondo Beach and Torrence bounded by PCH on the north, the beach on the west, Palos Verdes Estates on the south, and ending where Vista Montana joins Via del las Tortugas on the east. It was an actual named development prior to WWII designed as a place for Hollywood actors weekend homes instead of Malibu. The developer lost his money due to the Depression, but developed the area after the war into a middle-class neighborhood.


Torrance is certainly not a resort town. The Marriot is near a big mall (Del Amo). That is all it has going for it. It is not scenic in that part of Torrance, nor is there anyplace nice to eat there. Staying at a hotel near the Redondo Beach Pier would be better, but only because you are near the pier and the marinas.


The things you listed are those typically done by tourists in So. Cal., but are not near "all there is to do" in Southern California. You left out all of the following (just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak):


The Huntington Library & Gardens (and all of Pasadena's Old Town)

The Getty Center

The recently reopened Getty Villa in Malibu

Farmer's Market

La Brea Tar Pits and museum

The Museum of Tolerance

The Southwest Museum

Walking through Venice Beach

Visiting a TV show being filmed in Burbank or LA

The Aquarium in Long Beach

The Birch Aquarium in San Diego

Balboa Park and its museums (in San Diego)

The Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego

Torrey Pines Reserve in San Diego

A tour of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Checking out the galleries and shops in Laguna

Driving the 49 mile scenic drive in San Diego

A visit to the Midway aircraft carrier museum in San Diego

Whale watching (in the winter) from either shore or a boat

Catalina Island


Those are just for a start.

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Thanks for all the great information. I'm trying to find a hotel through priceline, and they have The hyatt newport or hyatt Huntington. I would love to fly into San fran and drive down the Pacific coast Hwy but with two children we try to do one beach day, one sightseeing day,hour,minute!! Any info on getting discounted park tickets would be great. Have looked into citypass.com which seems to be a pretty good deal. Or if you know of any hotel package's.


Thanks again!!!!!

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