My husband and I have a pretty large family as you have read in previous posts, we have five children! We allow our kids to choose two destinations a year, one in the summer, and one over Christmas. When they were younger and we would ask them “Where is a place in the world you want to go,” their response would be Chuckie Cheese. So my husband and I as their wonderful hardworking parents decided to broaden their horizon. For this trip I am about to disclose to you, it was the summer of 2016. Our family decided to take the whole Highway 1 trip in California, starting from San Diego and ending in San Francisco.
Our family flew in to Los Angeles and we rented a SUV, while on the flight our then 2 year old was screaming non stop! Yes we were for the first time one of those parents that couldn’t console our child on a flight for 3 hours. So our first stop was none other then seeing a doctor in Hollywood, CA, where we found out she had a double ear infection! After we got her medications, we headed down to San Diego, CA. I should remind you that my husband and I wanted to make this an adventure they would never forget. So we decided to camp going up Highway 1, to be one with nature!
We arrived at South Carlsbad, Ca campground,where we spent the night and enjoyed a bonfire on the beach telling stories. They really enjoyed breakfast outside on the ocean, they said much more then being in a fancy hotel! Plus side for my husband and I camping per night was $25, making it very easy to afford a 7 person trip!
After breakfast we packed up and headed to San Diego for the day! So I will just share with you some pictures, of how fun San Diego was at La Jolla Cove! I would highly recommend going here if you have not been here! Just a reminder, as we didn’t know, they do announce that it is a federal offense to be within 4ft of the seals. We did not know that as you can see from the pictures, and it is hard to move five kids out of the way while swimming as the seals do swim up to you!
You can see how much our kids loved this beach, and this was a memory they said they would never forget! As seen in our slide show below!
After a long adventurous day at La Jolla Cove, we headed back to the campground to get our fire started to tell some ghost stories!
As everyone woke up excited for our next adventure, we packed up and headed down Highway 1 to our next camping spot. On our drive we went through the Cuyamaca Mountains. Our destination on day two was San Onfre State Beach to set up our camp. After setting up camp we headed to San Clemente, Ca for the day of fun! The kids absolutely loved this place!
As you can see it was a fun day at the ocean!
Now for family time at night! Yes we were set, we cooked dinner over the fire, remind you as I said this was our first time camping! We also roasted smores! It was a bit chilly out at night since it was right on the ocean, so I would highly recommend bringing winter clothing.
While I did love visiting San Clemente, Ca I would advise against camping with kids at San Onfre State Beach. There were too many adults up late with louder party music, it was dangerous to get to the beach, it is also next to a nuclear plant, and fire wood was very expensive here. The camping spots also do not have an ocean view, they are of the Highway. I would next time consider a few hours in San Clemente and then to continue on your journey.
Day 3 & 4
As we wake up we happily pack up to leave to our next journey, Redondo Beach, CA. For this night we chose to say in Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach & Marina Hotel. This hotel had very nice suites, and the location was within walking distance to everything!
As you can see we had a great walk:
As we got down to the peir on Redondo Beach, the water was so blue, and the waves were so big! Our kids kept a good distance but as you can see in the video below you have to make sure they dont get too close to get pulled under if they do not know how to swim.
The beach is probably the best I have seen in California as far as being really blue, and for swimming. They also had a really nice clean area to shower off your feet and the sand. My husband and I definitely want to bring our kids back to this area, as there was so much to do. We were on a tight schedule, so we were unable to do everything in this area we wanted to do.
Day 5 & 6
As we woke up and the beautiful Redondo Beach, CA on day five we packed up to head towards Malibu, CA. While my husband and I travel alone here twice a year, and I also fly out in the area during the year for work, this was our kids first time. We were so excited to get back to camping, as who wouldn’t want to camp in Malibu, CA?
On our drive to Malibu, CA we passed through some cool tunnels! I have an eye for structural beauty while this might not really be anything for others.
Malibu so far was our favorite camp ground, it was not as cold as the others from the ocean breeze at night. The camp ground was more in the mountains making it warmer, yet it had direct beach access within a very short walk.
The kids loved the Malibu Beach, although as you got closer to the ocean the breeze was a bit chilly. Luckily since my husband and I travel here a lot for work and pleasure we were prepared with warm clothes for our half a month trip. The kids loved watching the surfers. They also enjoyed watching a commercial be filmed at the time on the beach. dThis was the best campsite, there was an affordable onsite store, firewood was affordable, and bathrooms were very clean. You did have to watch out for rattlesnakes and tarantulas, however we did not see any.
Day 7 & 8
On day seven we traveled a bit further down Highway 1, and stopped at various places. We stopped at the Laguna Peak outside of Malibu, CA. We stopped to take in the breathtaking views!
Our next stop along Highway 1, was Pismo Beach! Pismo Beach was very beautiful! However it was also very windy here too. We had to purchase five sweatshirts for our five kids at the local souvenir shop.
As we traveled further North along Highway 1, we stopped at Morro Rock! Morro Rock is another place our family had limited time to stop at, and this would be a place we would want to come back to again in the future.
Heading north on highway one our next stop was San Simeon, CA
There were chipmunks everywhere that just run up to you. It does say not to feed the chipmunks, but with five kids and a bag of chips it gets hard. The kids loved stopping here! There were Elephant Seals everywhere as well. Its not too often your kids get to see wildlife in their natural habitat.
Day 9 & 10
The Big Sur! The destination I personally have waited my whole life to travel to. As this is not so close to the Los Angeles area that I would be able to get a chance to find the time to visit! I was so excited to see the Bixby Bridge and the structural architecture in the area! We stayed at Limekiln State Park. This was also one of my favorite places to stay! I would suggest this place to camp if you can get in. Since it is such a hot spot, you really need to plan ahead and book this spot well in advance.
Heading down the Big Sur our family captured so many unforgettable moments as we sat back and took in the beauty of the landscape. See the slide show below for all the memories we captured!
Day 11 & 12
On day 11 we headed up Highway 1 to our final destination before turning around to spend more time in the Los Angles area. It ended up being way too cold to camp due to the ocean breeze so we last minute grabbed a large suite in San Diego. The hotel was very nice and luxurious, however their were street bums everywhere in San Francisco, which makes it harder to walk around with smaller children. If we ever came back to San Francisco we would not stay downtown, we would only stay by fisherman’s warf.
However he was our view from our suite:
We took the kids on the cable cars for their first times, went to fisherman’s warf, and went sightseeing as seen in the slide show!
After all of this we decided to go and sight see outside of this area on another drive. There is actually so much to see in San Francisco!
Our next stop was about a half hour north of San Francisco, Muir woods! Muir Woods is a place that I loved! The tree’s were so tall, strong, and beautiful. The drive to get there was a bit scary but breathtaking! Oh and the kids have never seen a telephone booth before! See for yourself in the slideshow:
After San Fransico, we headed back to Los Angeles area, since that is where our flight was leaving from. Hotel Erwin is mine and my husbands normal spot we stay twice a year. It is right off the basketball courts, and the Tattoo shop is there too, as well as all of the activities going on on the boardwalk. I would highly recommend Hotel Erwin to anyone, as it is the best location, it has the rooftop bar, and its very affordable at $400-$500 a night! You can walk the beach to Santa Monica as we do, or you can rent a bike and bike there. Hollywood is about a half hour drive through traffic through Santa Monica. There happen to be a bad girls casting when we went, they said they would accept me but I declined…haha.
We were very fortunate to take a half a month vacation experiencing wonderful memories as a family. I would highly recommend camping or traveling along Highway 1, as there are so many other breathtaking views I was unable to capture with picture, due to having to pay attention to the road. You will understand what I mean by that when you too drive. Oh, and I would not recommend traveling this vacation on Highway 1 with a pop up camper nor a RV, highway 1 is a very narrow cliff and I don’t feel it would be safe to do so.
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