This summer, we made a gorgeous, unforgettable trip with our family of four. We took two airplanes, several cars (including Ubers) and an RV to get from Seattle to San Diego. We've seen and done amazing things.
I'll describe our trip day by day, while highlighting important cities, lovely campgrounds, cool landmarks, great restaurants and of course fun things to do with kids. My boys are 8 and 12 and they are used to traveling long distances. Flying from Chicago to Seattle was very short, compared to the annual trip we make from Chicago to the Netherlands.
Of course I'll show you what it all looked like, because I am a relentless (hobby) photographer. I sometimes make my family crazy with my pics. Ha!
This part is about Los Angeles. How did we get there? What did we see on our way? Where did we stay? What did we rent? And how did we like all of it?
We decided not to drive Highway 1 from here, since there were a lot of places where Highway 1 was closed.
We drove to Los Banos West / I-5 KOA, in Santa Nella. This was about a 2,5 hour drive. It was smoking hot in Santa Nella. We really needed the swimming pool to cool off. The KOA was like an oasis in the desert. We stayed at this KOA for one night.
The next day we drove to Los Angeles / Pomona / Fairplex KOA, which was about a 5 hour drive. They were very flexible, we changed the amount of days we wanted to stay here a day before we arrived. That was no problem at all. The kids loved their swimming pool and the hot tub, there was free breakfast very day (don't expect a lot of it, but hey, it was free!) and they organized movie nights at the pool.
We rented a car very close to the KOA, at AVIS.
The next day we drove to the Walk of Fame, in Hollywood. This took us about an hour, but be sure to think about traffic jams, especially on Monday morning and Friday afternoon. We parked at 1747 Argyle Ave - Eastown Garage. When you walk outside the Garage, you are at the beginning of the Walk of Fame. Of course the more famous people are more in the middle of the Walk of Fame, but we tried to see everything.
We walked the Walk of Fame, and after that we had lunch at Rise-N-Grind Coffee and Juice Bar. This was a great spot for both breakfast and lunch.
We started our drive to the Griffith Observatory, a great spot to take pictures of the Hollywood sign. It was kind of busy there, but we managed to park our car very close.
We started following Mulholland Drive, just a little bit before we came to our next stop: the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook (above the Hollywood Bowl) and got out of the car for some beautiful views. We continued our trip to make another stop at Fryman Canyon Park. At the Skirball Cultural Center, our drive on Mulholland Drive stopped and we went back to the I-405 South.
Our next destination was Beverly Hills, Sunset Boulevard, towards to where the house of the Fresh Price of Bel-Air was located (251 North Bristol Ave, Los Angeles). That was pretty boring, the people that live there, (I don't blame them) have put up a cloth, woven through the fence. You can't really see the house properly. I wouldn't recommend driving there. And surprisingly, it is NOT located in Bel-Air. And back through Rodeo Drive.
We also planned on driving to the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, but that was too much for one day. We postponed those plans.
We drove back to the KOA, traffic was pretty bad.
The next day, we booked tickets via Starline Tours, to get a Warner Bros. Studio Tour and a Hollywood Stars' Homes Tour. Before we went there, we had breakfast at the Rise-N-Grind Coffee and Juice Bar.
I would recommend just buying the Warner Bros. Tour Tickets directly at Warner Bros. Studios. That's way cheaper (especially online), and you are not time bound.
The Warner Bros. Studios tour was amazing. We saw so many buildings that we recognized from series and movies. It was cool (especially for the kids) to see how fake the whole movie industry is. That totally amazed them. We saw the set of Friends, the set of Ellen Degeneres, the set of The Big Bang Theory (unfortunately no pictures allowed), the cool Batmobile collection at the Batman Museum, the props museum, and the boys got to play their own movie part in Harry Potter and Batman. We also took pictures in the Friends Set with the four of us and we got to experience how they can make people appear to look larger then they actually are.
The pictures and videos that they took were for sale (of course!) and we really wanted them to take home. Unfortunately the registers (computers) weren't doing their job, and so we waited and waited. When we decided to leave without the photos and videos, the bus had just left. We took an Uber back to Starline Tours. I later on managed to get the videos and pictures via e-mail, thanks again Warner Bros.! That was awesome!
The Hollywood Stars' Home Tour that we had scheduled after the Warner Bros. Tour was not what we expected. While I bought the tickets for at Starline Tours, I must have made a mistake, because I thought I had bought tickets for the Deluxe Tour inside the Warner Bros. studios. I would NEVER spend the money on the Hollywood Stars' Home Tour. It took a long time, the kids were so bored and me and my husband too. Just drive it yourself. You can google a lot of addresses from celebrities yourself and tour or no tour, you see exactly the same.
After the Hollywood Stars' Home Tour we saw that the World Premiere of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was happening at the Chinese Theatre. Unfortunately, we weren't invited. We waited there for a few minutes, but then decided to move on. There wasn't a lot we could see anyways.
We decided to walk back to the Parking Garage (same one as the day before) and eat something on the way up there. The boys spotted Sushi Of Gary and we had a delicious dinner there. Wow, I'd never had such fresh sushi. My husband has been to Japan multiple times and even he said this was the best sushi he had ever had in the U.S. Unfortunately for us, they are only located in New York (4 locations) and Los Angeles (1 location). I wish they would come to Chicago.
During our last day at Los Angeles, we wanted to relax at the beach. We drove to the Santa Monica Pier, parked our car closely and walked over there. It was fun to see where Route 66 ended, since in starts in Chicago (we've seen that sign very often).
We had lunch at the Mariasol restaurant , a Mexican restaurant, right on the pier. It was okay, nothing special. The waiters were very nice.
After that we walked back to our car, and drove to Venice Beach. We first walked over the boulevard there.
Watched the shops, artists and Muscle Beach. We then enjoyed the beach: sunning, swimming in the ocean, kiting, digging holes, reading, etc. It seemed as if we ended up right in a scene of Baywatch. I was almost expecting Pamela Anderson to run into the water to save someone.
These were some very well spend 6 days of our vacation. We enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.
Next up is our drive to Las Vegas.
Want to read more about this entire Road Trip?
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