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Summer Fun - Southern California's Best With My Family

By Jennifer Dunyon 07/02/2014

It's no secret that our family loves Southern California. We just returned from a week and a half experiencing the best of the best from Anaheim to San Diego. It was a blast! There truly was something exciting for everyone in our group from grandparents to toddlers. It was hard to narrow down, but here are a few of my family's favorite things about each destination that I hope will make your family's next Southern California vacation amazing:

Disneyland Resort:

Frozen - With four girls, Elsa, Anna and Olaf are celebrities in our house. We were so excited to find out that we could see the trio as part of a pre-show for the first showing of Mickey's Soundsational Parade. The new Frozen themed float made its way down Main Street USA about 10 minutes before the official parade began. TIP: The Frozen float only comes before the first parade of the day. If you're there when there are two parade times, don't wait until the second parade or you'll miss it!



New Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - we were so excited to be among the first to ride the newly re-opened Big Thunder Mountain! It is even better than before!



Thunder Ranch Barbecue - Although we've been to Disneyland many times, we'd never eaten at the Thunder Ranch Barbecue. We were missing out! Everyone loved the all-you-care-to-eat chicken, ribs, cornbread and coleslaw. The atmosphere was so festive and the entertainment was a blast.



Disneyland Hotel Pool - Each of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort have themed pools, but the Monorail Water Slides at the Disneyland Hotel were a huge hit with all of the kids. Plus, at night the pool is lit by the tiki torches and serenaded with live music from the nearby Trader Sam's.





Huntington Beach, A.K.A. Surf City, USA:

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach - Every Southern California vacation should include a trip to the beach. We stayed at the gorgeous Hyatt that is the only Huntington Beach hotel with a pedestrian walkway to the beach. We had so much fun playing in the surf and sand. You can rent everything you need for the beach from surfboards, boogie boards, beach chairs, wet suits, etc. all from Toes on the Nose at the Hyatt. You name it, they have it. At night, you can even buy s'mores kits at the Hyatt and roast marshmallows at the fire pits. It's the perfect sweet treat to a sun-filled day!





Carlsbad:

LEGOLAND Hotel - This was our family's first time staying at the new LEGOLAND Hotel. I knew that the boys in our group would love it, but my girls were in enthralled with it as well. Everything was LEGO themed and there seemed to be fun surprises around every corner and each time we took the elevator, a party would break out. Stay there the next time you visit Carlsbad, and you'll see what I mean! As an added perk of staying at the hotel, we got to get into LEGOLAND before it opened to the public. You can't beat that.



Legoland Water Park - We knew we had to visit the only LEGO themed water park in the world. They just opened the new Legends of CHIMA Water Park and everyone loved it.

Safari Park - Our family had an adventure exploring the Safari Park. The kids got to feed the giraffes and we thought the new Tiger Trails exhibit was incredible. We chose to upgrade to the Caravan Safari, which allowed us to get even closer to many of the animals. We highly recommend it.





San Diego:

SeaWorld - We visit SeaWorld every time we visit San Diego, but this time we felt like we were in a completely new park! The new entry and interactive Explorer's Reef were such a surprise. Our dare devils loved riding Manta, our youngest loved the rides at the Sesame Street Bay of Play and we all loved to Dine with Shamu.



Mission Bay - We love to stay right on the bay when we visit San Diego. There's just something about the calm waters and gorgeous sand. This time we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay. Our kids spent a lot of time at the huge pool area complete with water slides. It's our family's tradition to rent beach cruisers and peddle around the water. It is family fun at its best!



The food - Dining out is one of my favorite things to do on vacation and San Diego is the perfect city for it. From authentic Italian in Little Italy, to the freshest seafood on the Embarcadero, to the best Mexican food in Old Town, you can't go wrong. One of our favorite memories was our youngest getting so excited over Grandma's lobster shell. It's just something you don't see at home!





I hope this inspires some fun for your next vacation. We'll always find you the best deal and offer you personalized service. Book online or call our vacation experts at 855-GET-AWAY.

Check out these other great articles and fun ideas:

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Free Summer Night Specials at Disneyland
Tips to Keep Cool at Disneyland this Summer
Top 10 Southern California Theme Parks for Families

Jennifer Dunyon