Attractions in Southern California: 800 Miles of Fun

My sister comes to visit!

When my sister came out to visit us in Southern California, it was a great time to explore the area myself.
When my sister came out to visit us in Southern California, it was a great time to explore the area myself. | Source

Vacation Time in Southern California!

Living in Southern California, you might take for granted all the tourist attractions around you . This usually means you avoid these tourist traps because you don't want to be bogged down by how many outside visitors these places attract. You may avoid these places like the plague because it is such a tourist area and tourists downright annoy you. It is too busy and it is too expensive. And since you are living in the area, you don't think of it as a vacation, you think of it as something you can do whenever you want to.

Southern California is a tourist area. And if you live here, you might be taking these tourist attractions for granted as you have become more comfortable with the more "local" hangouts. But what are you missing by avoiding these places. This of course can be said about any place that you live. Usually if we live there, we have a tendency to avoid the attractions associated with it.

However, as a native to the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, I have always thought of California, particularly the southern half, as a place with lots of touristy things to do. My husband is from Riverside, California. He is used to this type of area and the variety of things to do. I am not. Therefore, I am still in the exploration mode of my new home, but I will admit, even after awhile, these tourist attractions seem like normal backgrounds and I too avoid them.

When I was growing up, my idea of tourist attraction was usually centered around the Packers or Wisconsin Dells. There is also the Door County area and Bay Beach, which is a very, very small amusement park. I am not used to all this excitement. Therefore, when my sister Crystal and her boyfriend planned a trip (well, I did most of the planning; they flew out for the adventure!), I made it an opportunity to show them around Southern California.

They were able to spend a week in Southern California with my family and I… and after about 800 miles, and more than 15 hours spent in the car, there are still so many attractions they have yet to see! I guess we will have to save those until the next time they come out!

It took me several months of planning, but by the time the arrived, I had a fully packed schedule with a little something for everybody to enjoy. Including those of us who have been living in California and avoiding what we have "coined" tourist traps. After all, we had the mindset that since we lived so close, we could go anytime. But what happens if you never take advantage of these places because you live so close. You end up missing out on great times and great memories!

Whose feet did you spot?

By the Graumans's Theater, you can see the foot and hand imprints of many celebrities. This is an imprint of King Kong's foot. Obviosly it is much bigger than yours or mine!
By the Graumans's Theater, you can see the foot and hand imprints of many celebrities. This is an imprint of King Kong's foot. Obviosly it is much bigger than yours or mine! | Source

Here's your award!

Do you or someone you know deserve an award. Well look no further. This is the place for all of your Hollywood paraphenelia!
Do you or someone you know deserve an award. Well look no further. This is the place for all of your Hollywood paraphenelia! | Source

Whose your favorite character?

Do you have the joker look. At the Hollywood Wax Museum you can compare smiles!
Do you have the joker look. At the Hollywood Wax Museum you can compare smiles! | Source

Out of this world!

The Griffith Observatory, just outside Hollywood, not only gives you the perfect view of the Hollywood sign, but also let's you explore other areas of space!
The Griffith Observatory, just outside Hollywood, not only gives you the perfect view of the Hollywood sign, but also let's you explore other areas of space! | Source

Have you experienced it?

Have you been to Hollywood?

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Day 1: Hollywood and Griffith Observatory

I woke up Wednesday morning. Today was the day that my sister would arrive. It has been 3 months since I had seen her in person and my excitement was ready to bubble over. Yet, as I looked outside, a cloud of disappointment rose over me. I was promising them warm temperatures (preferably in the triple digits so they could experience California at it’s best!), yet Southern California was going through a cold spell. The highs, which the week prior were in the 100’s were now in the ranges of a comfortable mid 70 to 80 degrees. Not normal for mid-July in California. Either way, the plan was set.

We got up and started getting ready to go. There flight was to land at 11:15 a.m. and there was little time to get everything done; picking up the rental van, packing a picnic lunch, getting the kids out the door, getting odds and ends ready for the big day ahead of us. Naturally, things didn’t go as planned, as we rushed out of the door 30 minutes late, keeping our fingers crossed that we would get there in time!

The day’s agenda was full. The first stop was to Newport Beach. After all, it is California so everybody wants to go and see the ocean. The second stop would be Hollywood and then to the Griffith Observatory, right outside of Hollywood. My fear was there wasn’t enough to do. Boy was I wrong!

We picked up Crystal and her boyfriend Darrel and gathered in the vehicle to discuss the day’s plans. The beach got thrown out. With a chilly temperature around the ocean, we thought it would be best to reserve the beach for different day when it was much warmer. So we headed straight to Hollywood.

Hollywood is a great place to visit if your looking for something cheap to do. The only necessary money needs to be spent is on parking, which will range from about $5 to $20. Obviously the further you get to the outskirts of Hollywood Boulevard, the cheaper the parking but the longer the walk.

Hollywood is littered with unusual shops for the souvenir collector. Otherwise, grab a camera and keep your eyes to the ground. You never know whose star you might be stepping on. Don’t forget to look up occasionally. You don’t want to miss the occasional character dressed up like Superman, Michael Jackson or even Darth Vader. Closer to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, you can see imprints of the hands and feet of celebrities. This is a prime place to stop, but it can be very busy, even on a slow day. So seek out some of your favorites and snap a picture. Warning though, you might catch a shadow or a random foot!

As for the rest of Hollywood, there are random museums to check out, and there are people soliciting along the streets to take you on Tours of the Stars. If you are mindful of your budget, check the prices and make a decision if it is something you want to do. None of these are necessary, but can be interesting if you have the time and cash on hand.

For our trip, we scored a deal for three different Museums. For less than $100, my whole family (5 people), got to go to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Hollywood’s Wax Museum. There is also Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, but for around $25 a ticket, I did not think it was worth the extra money. I will save it for another time as I have heard it is a must see if you are in Hollywood.

After we finished exploring, we barely got back to the van in time before the lot closed. Just as the clock struck 8, we were heading out of the lot. (But don’t worry, if you want to spend more time in Hollywood there are other lots that stay open longer!) From there we headed to the Griffith Observatory.

Now I have been to Griffith Park, but since they finished the Observatory a few years ago and reopened it, I have yet to come back. I was amazed at how busy it was! There were people crawling around everywhere, and this was a Wednesday night. There was a large museum inside which is free to the public. There you can learn about the stars, the universe, black holes, the planets and anything else out of this world. You can also see how much you weigh on the other planets, which is great if you are sick of just reading the massive amount of information in this museaum.

If the shows don’t interest you (which you can see for a small fee) it makes this another stop that is completely free. There are also telescopes placed outside where instructors will explain what you are looking at. The only downfall, the parking fills up fast and you might have an uphill walk to the Observatory if you get there late!

One day down and we already put on 164 miles!!

The Hollywood Sign from The Griffith Observatory

As the sun set, we got to experience the Hollywood sign from up above at Griffith Observatory.
As the sun set, we got to experience the Hollywood sign from up above at Griffith Observatory. | Source

The Jaguar

Wanna go for a spin?

Unfortunately my camera died upon getting to the park. However, this is just one of the many rides that you can go on in the park!
Unfortunately my camera died upon getting to the park. However, this is just one of the many rides that you can go on in the park! | Source

Day 2: Knott's Berry Farm

After day 1, it was not easy getting up for Day 2. However, in means of driving time, this day was going to be a little calmer than the one before. We only had one destination and it was Knott’s Berry Farm.

My husband and I both love theme parks, and my sister of course fits right on board with that one. Following in our tracks is my two daughters, who are also adrenaline junkies. So when I said we were spending the day at Knott’s Berry Farm, no complaints were heard! (Well, hardly no complaints. Darrel doesn’t really like rollercoasters. When we forced him on an “easy” one… I am pretty sure he was cursing us under his breath!)

Knott’s Berry Farm is located in Buena Park, California. While it is a tourist attraction, it isn’t as well known as Disneyland or Universal Studios. Therefore, it is not only more budget friendly, it also isn’t as packed as the other tourist attractions. That, of course, means more ride time than line time! But don't be fooled, this park is still a popular attraction and will still be plenty busy.

There are several coasters to choose from: including the wooden rollercoaster Ghostrider to the “smack-you-in-the-face-so-hard-you-will-enjoy-it” Accelerator. There is also the Pony Express, Boomerang, Jaguar, La Revolucion, Wipeout, Sidewinder, Big Foot Rapids, and so many others. There is water rides for when you are hot; loop de loops that will spin you upside down; and a whole place for the little tikes called Camp Snoopy. It is definitely not a disappointment. There are also plenty of shows going on and plenty of shops to look for souvenirs.

For lunch, we enjoyed some burgers and fries and Johnny Rockets. When it comes to theme park food, Johnny Rockets surpasses other food stands not only with price, but with the amount of food you get for your money. It is still pricey compared to restaurants outside a theme park, but they are by far the most reasonable place to eat without leaving the park.

We spent the whole day at Knott’s Berry Farm and everyone had a blast. In fact, we closed out the park.

After all was said and done, we put on another 91 miles.

La Brea Tar Pits

This was natures own trap. If an animal got caught, other animals will either prey on them or come to their aid. Because of this, La Brea Tar Pits has recovered several fossils from the Ice Age.
This was natures own trap. If an animal got caught, other animals will either prey on them or come to their aid. Because of this, La Brea Tar Pits has recovered several fossils from the Ice Age. | Source

Ewwww.... tar

I thought this is what ever tar pit would look like. Around Hancock Park, several smaller tar pits would be visible. So, best advice, watch were you walk!
I thought this is what ever tar pit would look like. Around Hancock Park, several smaller tar pits would be visible. So, best advice, watch were you walk! | Source

The Wall of Wolves

The Dire Wolf is the animal most often found in the tar pits. A whole wall is dedicated to them!
The Dire Wolf is the animal most often found in the tar pits. A whole wall is dedicated to them! | Source

The Real Reason my sister was here!

Finally, it was the day "It all ends!" While this was actually taken at Graumen Theater, it was a teaser until we actually got to see the movie!
Finally, it was the day "It all ends!" While this was actually taken at Graumen Theater, it was a teaser until we actually got to see the movie! | Source

Day 3: La Brea Tar Pits

This day was a day for excitement. Not only was it my husband’s birthday, but it was also opening night for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I can’t lie, so I must tell you the truth. One of the main reasons my sister came out to California for a week was to watch this movie. It has been a tradition for us that every opening night of Harry Potter the four of us, Crystal, Darrel, my husband and I would go see the movie together. Even though we recently moved to California and my sister still lives in Wisconsin, the distance did not stop us from continuing the tradition!

However, we couldn’t just sit around and wait for Harry Potter all day, so to take up some time we headed to Los Angeles to see the La Brea Tar Pits.

Crystal is a museum freak. So is my husband. Between the two of them, they could spend hours digesting the information. I look at the stuff and go, “Oh… that’s pretty!” Ok, so I learn some stuff too! But when it comes to museums, I am on the side of once you have seen one you have seen them all. The La Brea Tar Pits seemed a bit different to me, and even though I was headed to another museum, I couldn’t wait to see these tar filled pits!

Upon arriving at the La Brea Tar Pits, I will say I was a little disappointed. It was nothing like I imagined. These tar pits resembled dirty water. Yet, this was how they worked. Animals would get caught in them trying to get a drink. If they were the tarry mess I thought they would be, no animal would even come close. The nature-made trap is unique and once you get past the smell of burnt rubber, there is a lot of information to take in.

The La Brea Tar Pits is one of the world-famous fossil sites, and have lead to the discovery of over 3,000 fossils from the Ice Age. (This means there are no dinosaurs. So if you are looking for dinosaurs, you have come to the wrong spot!) While the museum itself does cost something to go through, the tar pits are actually located outside in Hancock Park. That in itself is a bonus because you can see the tar pits for absolutely free (but you will have to pay for parking). However, I would recommend entering the museum if it is your first time. The displays really help you understand prehistoric Los Angeles.

After we finally saw all the tar pits and indulged into as much tar filled history as we could, it was time to head into rush hour traffic and get home. Harry Potter was only a few hours off and we wanted to get there with plenty of time to get the best seat in the house. (Although we were seeing it in 3D IMAX, which makes me think all seats are pretty good!)

We got to the theaters an hour prior to the starting time. I can honestly say, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows will not disappoint. However, I will not cover the movie here at this time. I think it was wonderful and you should see it while in theaters. When it comes out, buy the DVD. Yes, it was that great. In fact, get the whole collection. The whole series is top-notch.

Friday night was the latest night we had. We didn’t get home until almost 1 a.m., yet we were so hyped up about the movie it was difficult to sleep. Yet, sleep we must. Saturday would be equally as tiring.

All and all, we put on another 157 miles!

Group Picture

All of us standing in front of the La Brea Tar Pits. A fun and educational day!
All of us standing in front of the La Brea Tar Pits. A fun and educational day! | Source

Playing in the sand

Best part of the beach... building sand castles!
Best part of the beach... building sand castles! | Source

Fun in the backyard!

A party after the beach. Sure we were worn out from the water, but we still had a good time!
A party after the beach. Sure we were worn out from the water, but we still had a good time! | Source

Day 4: Corona Del Mar and Newport Beach

A person can’t visit Southern California and not go to the beach. So that is just what we did. Today was mostly a beach day. There is nothing more breath taking then watching the waves crash onto the sand. Yet, while we brought my sister and her boyfriend to our favorite beach, we detoured to the tide pools first in order to give them a different look at the ocean.

We headed to Corona Del Mar to check out all the animals that would be holding stake in the rocks. There you can see fish, crabs and star fish among other sea life. I had been there for Memorial Day and thought this would be an interesting thing to do on vacation. Unfortunately, not being a California native, the idea of high tide and low tide never crossed my mind. We ended up getting there at high tide and for the exception of 2 small crabs, you couldn’t see anything. So we headed to Newport Beach for some good old fashioned swimming and cheese-on-a-stick.

Cheese on a Stick is just what it sounds like. Basically it is a corn dog without the hot dog. I am not a big corn dog fan, but I do like the cheese on a stick. With a choice of Jalepeno or Cheddar, it is definitely something to try when at Newport Beach. My only question… if Wisconsin is the Dairy State, why doesn’t Wisconsin have cheese on a stick?

After fun in the sand and jumping in the waves (and don’t forget the cheese on the stick!), we headed back to Riverside for a barbeque with family and friends. All and all, a total of 113 miles for the day.

Speedo Women's Beach Runner Water Shoe,Black/Hot Pink Noir/Roseeclstant,8
Speedo Women's Beach Runner Water Shoe,Black/Hot Pink Noir/Roseeclstant,8

Going to be on hot concrete... time to invest in water shoes. These are ideal for those who want a more femine looking product.

 
Speedo Men's Coast Cruiser Amphibious All Purpose Water Shoe,Black/Royal,11 M US
Speedo Men's Coast Cruiser Amphibious All Purpose Water Shoe,Black/Royal,11 M US

Need water shoes. Try these on for size. They will protect your feet and keep you moving all day long!

 
Banana Boat Baby Sunscreen Ultra Mist Tear-Free Sting-Free Broad Spectrum Sun Care Sunscreen Spray - SPF 50, 6 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Banana Boat Baby Sunscreen Ultra Mist Tear-Free Sting-Free Broad Spectrum Sun Care Sunscreen Spray - SPF 50, 6 Ounce (Pack of 3)

Be aware. When you are around water your more likely to burn. Stock up on sunscreen and you will enjoy your vacation much more!

 

Which one would you choose

Which Knott's Soak City would you go to...

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Day 5: Knott's Soak City in Palm Springs

After a cool week in Southern California, we headed to the desert to have fun at a water park. We have season passes to Knott’s Soak City, so this was an ideal place to cool off. Since we had already taken a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, we took advantage of Soak City having 3 different locations. So we headed off to Palm Springs!

By the time we got to Palm Springs the temperatures had already rose to 100 degrees, and it wasn’t even noon yet. Perfect since we were close to the water… so it was easy to cool off. The water park is decent, offering a kids water playhouse, a few slides, a tide pool, and a lazy river. In the 8 hours it was open, we were able to hit every slide and attraction offered. My favorite ride was the Pacific Spin!

Since we had already been to Soak City in Buena Park, this was the perfect opportunity to check out a different park. Overall, they both go hand and hand. There is little variations in the slides. The main difference is the layout and the temperatures. Not only is the air hot, but the ground is as well. So be warned if you if you head to Knott’s Soak City in Palm Springs. The next one we need to check out is the Soak City in San Diego. We will save that for another time.

After spending all day in the sun, it was finally time to go home. As we left, it was already after 6 p.m., and the temperatures had risen to 114 degrees. Thankfully, we were headed back to Riverside which would be much cooler.

With a quick stop at Walmart for some supplies, we put on another 111 miles!

Mermaid Man...

If you are on a beach full of sand... why not bury people and give them mermaid tails? It is all part of the experience!
If you are on a beach full of sand... why not bury people and give them mermaid tails? It is all part of the experience! | Source

Day 6: Newport Beach

We are all thoroughly exhausted. It has been a long week. But, as with any vacation packed full of activities, a person must push on. That is exactly what we did.

Today, since we didn’t get much time on the beach a few days earlier, we decided to head back to Newport Beach. After all, what is a California vacation without maximum beach and ocean exposure. We packed a picnic lunch and headed out.

We spent the whole day at the beach, since we had no other obligations. We buried each other in sand; we body surfed the waves; we even worked on our tan. Okay, so we really all just came home burnt and full of sand.

One of the main things was making the kids into mermaids. While both my daughters were buried, my son decided he wanted to join as well. So, to make him part of the group, we made him a mermaid man. He loved every bit of it!

Another 106 miles for the day.

Time to say Goodbye

Crystal and Darrel with my kids, saying their final good byes.
Crystal and Darrel with my kids, saying their final good byes. | Source

Day 7: John Wayne Airport

It was the final day of my sister’s vacation. This was the hardest day. It was the day we had to say good bye again.

With there bags packed, we headed back to the airport.

As they walked to security, my day was not over. I still had to return the rental car. With a heavy head, I navigated traffic by myself. The final day equaled another 105 miles and the end of the vacation.

Pick one!

Out of all these destinations, which would you prefer to go to?

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After all was said and done

After a full week of jam-packed days, we managed to put on 847 miles on our rental vehicle. Every minute was well worth it. Not only did my sister and her boyfriend get to take one of their first vacations out of state, but it gave my family a chance to explore more of Southern California as well.

As a person who currently lives in a touristy area, you seem to overlook all the fun stuff that you can do. Yet, whether you live in Southern California or somewhere else, think of all the attractions that you might be avoiding because of their "touristy" stereo type. You might be missing out on a great adventure!

While this vacation was full of adventures every day, there was still so much left to do. I can't wait for the next time they come out to visit.

Adventures are everywhere...

Adventures are always fun. Just don't forget to pull out your camera so you can come back to the pictures and remember all the fun times!
Adventures are always fun. Just don't forget to pull out your camera so you can come back to the pictures and remember all the fun times! | Source

Adventures Everywhere

So... what is a "tourist attraction" near you?

Feel free to recommend any local hidden gems or attractions that you would recommend. Hopefully, we can not only enjoy the memories together, but get ideas for possibly our next vacation spot!

Source

About the Author

Stacy Harris, also known as Barbergirl28, is a wife of 12 years and a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful girls and one handsome little boy. After high school, she joined the Army to become a photojournalist. To this day, she continues to have a passion for writing and photography. After leaving the military, she obtained a license in Cosmetology and also studied Massage Therapy. Her passions include writing, photography, cooking, crafts, health, and fitness. Currently, she is working on a book and freelancing at Hubpages.

If you would like to earn money by writing for Hubpages, click here to sign up.

If you would like to check out her blog Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Mad Woman, click here.

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Comments 50 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I love California. It's just so beautiful everywhere, mostly. Of course there is some desert areas that I'd not want to be, and when I passed through Needles, California I thought to myself "it's so damn hot here that it makes my part of Texas seem like Canada."

I love San Diego, but I think I'd prefer San Francisco. I'd definitely not want to be in L.A.. . . .


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

When we first drove to California from Colorado back in 2003 we stopped in Needles. I can honestly say, I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the change in temperature. Nice cool air in the car... deathly hot outside. But what can I say, I needed to use the rest stop.

I have yet to go to San Francisico... but I will one of these days... and I can't wait!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

There really are a lot of touristy things to do in SoCal. I wish I could afford to live there. Enjoy! (Cool photos!)


marellen 5 years ago

What a great trip you had planned. I'm a Northern California gal, born and raised. I haven't been to Southern Cali....except Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Santa Monica. I love San Diego though. Thanks for taking us along. You have a darling family....


Bretsuki profile image

Bretsuki 5 years ago from California USA

Hello barbergirl28, really enjoyed your hub. It brought back some memories, my first trip to California began at La Brea, a fascinating look into California's natural history, with a hint of "Eau de Oil Refinery" perfuming the air. Great Museum to wander around too.

Being a tour guide is a great way to learn about a new place or old home. I never really saw much of my homeland until I married my wife and her friends visited us (I am English, she and they American). Then I really found lots of fascinating things on my doorstep, that I had ignored because they were so familiar and just there. Great Hub.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Austinstar - there is a crazy amount of stuff. I think that is why it is such a popular place to vacation to! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Marellen - I am glad you enjoyed the glimpse into our little vacation. One day I will get a chance to travel up to Northern California. I heard it is absolutely beautiful. I really want to go to San Francisco!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Bretsuki - It definately is an eye opener when you realize all the fun things to do right outside your very doorstep. The best part of living somewhere different is when people come and visit you get to do a vacation at your hometown area.

I am glad you got a chance to see La Brea. I would say out of all the museums that I have visited so far, that is one of my favorites. We still plan on going to the LA Museum of Art sometime this summer. My daughter is an inspiring artist and is absolutely fascinated by that stuff.


Soldieringon profile image

Soldieringon 5 years ago from Hemet, CA

Wonderful hub as usual. Too bad I only got to show up for the party, but college classes and all. Glad your sister and Darrell had a wonderful time.


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

ave never been to California so cannot relate to the geography but do relate fully to the concept of that one often neglects the sites to see and the fun to be had in our immediate surroundings.

must look around the sites near my house too and you bet in Delhi there are plenty


marellen 5 years ago

BBG.....you need to read my hub regarding sightseeing in SF. Here is the link to Part 1

http://marellen.hubpages.com/hub/Sight-Seeing-In-S...

read part 2 also.......SF is a must see......


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Liked the way you wrote a hub on your sister's visit...it will be a never forgetful event now since besides the pix clicked....words/text written about your experiences are so worth it!

Voted up!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Solderingon - Glad you guys could have at least made it to the concert. However, we still need to plan a day trip to Calico Ghost Town or something. I know I wanted to check that out to and have yet to get the chance.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Neel - I bet there are lots of stuff to do on your side of the world. Maybe one day I will be able to save enough money to travel more than the United States. That is my goal. I really want to see everything. Guess I need a better paying job :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Marellen - Thanks so much... I will definately check it out. Would rather have a local give me the lowdown than try my luck searching for what there is! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ruchira - It was definately a fun time. I wish we could have squeezed in a few more things but at least the next time they come around we already know were we have been so we can try something new!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

BBG - I was just there last June and it was like a short trip back! Thanks:) So fun - I loved Hollywood Blvd - a person can get an eyeful there! I didn't get to go to the tar pits so I am so glad you gave a little review of that. Sounds like you had a great time - the photos sure look like it was fun! I can't wait to go back.

St. Louis is fabulous. There are endless things to do here - and many of our attractions are free. However our crime rate is high and I would think there are better places to take your kids. The city is tricky - driving down the wrong street could be a death sentence. I am sad to say that but it's so true. The 'burbs are much safer but there aren't many attractions unless you go back to the city. I'd go to Chicago. Just look at pictures of St. Louis! lol


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I have many fond memories of when I lived in So. Cal. and your hub was like going back for a visit. If you have not yet visited Hearst Castle in San Simeon, this makes for a great day trip.

I was disappointed too when I saw La Brea Tar Pits.

Enjoyed your hub.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

What a great Hub. I love to "armchair travel" but wish I was there in person. There is a world of interesting things to do out there. Well, about anywhere I suppose. Thanks for a very interesting read. Hyph


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 5 years ago

This was the best vacation I have ever been on :-) I must say I found your article on it interesting since you had such a different take on it than I did. I hope that the next time we come out to visit you that we can find something to do... after all we did all the best stuff ;-) Amazing fun vacation!!! Oh and great picture of Max but I had hoped you would have the one of all three kids cuz that was just funny!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hey BBG,

Well, I read every word here and ENJOYED every word here :) And loved all the pics as well. You have a beautiful family!

I've been to CA once almost 20 years ago and it is still my favorite vacation I've ever been on. I flew from Ohio to San Francisco with my best friend, her Mom and Grandma. We attended a family wedding and stayed there about 5 days. Then we flew to L.A. and stayed with my friend's sister and family for another 5 days. My favorite experiences were China Town & Fisherman's Wharf and then Knottsberry Farm, Disneyland, Universal Studios and the beach. Overall favorite = Knottsberry Farm and I'm not sure why? Maybe because it was unique. Weather wise, I enjoyed SF MUCH more than the heat in L.A.

We weren't able to get much of a tan which is what 20-something year olds should do, right? So the day before we were headed home, we laid on the beach all day so that we had great tans when we got home. To "hurry up" my tan, I put Avon Skin-So-Soft all over my body. Duh! I might as well have used Crisco. I burnt so bad I couldn't even walk.

So, if you'd ever like to visit Cleveland, Ohio, we do have some fun things to offer. The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is one. We have a great science center. We are on Lake Erie, so there is boating and swimming (not the same as the ocean), etc. There is a great night life downtown. Lots of museums and historical places. A great zoo and metro parks system. You could visit the NASA Glenn Research Center and the Pro Football Hall of fame.

But then again, it all sounds boring to me! Wish I could get back to California some day . . . Thanks for sharing your sister's visit with us!

Sharyn


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Real - we were actually in St. Louis last December. We just drove through as we were moving out to California. Unfortunately we were being followed by nasty weather, and I really wanted to stop and explore the Arches... which I have heard horrible things about that part of town... but hey, I like to live dangerously, so I would have been careful, but I still wanted to see it! Ha ha -

Glad I was able to take you into memory lane of your very own trip. The next time you come out you are definately going to have to think about visiting the La Brea Tar Pits. I am not a museum person and even I thought they were pretty cool!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Just Ask Susan - My husband has been talking about Hearst Castle. That is definately on my list of things to see sometime in the near future. I just better be patient... I don't want to explore too much and then have nothing left to do! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Hyphenbird - I love the term "armchair travel" I to like to armchair travel. The only bad thing is it gets it in my head that I want to visit here here here and oh yeah... everywhere. That means I have to choose favorites and hoop that I eventually see the ones lower on the list. Outside of California, one of the next places I want to go visit is actually Branson, MO. I was there when I was younger and just want to check it out from an adult perspective.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Myth - It was definately a great vacation... but don't worry, there is still some of the best stuff left out there to do... like the amtrack in Palm Springs, Universal Studios, Hearst Castle and don't forget we didn't even come near San Diego! Ha ha - I would be interested to see what your take was on everything. It is probably way different because I live here. Hint hint hint.... you should write a hub about your vacation!!!!

BTW - I would have put the beach picture of all the kids, but the photo wasn't the best for details since they formed a bit of an awkward triangle. So, they just looked buried. Max you can actually tell is a mermaid. But oh yeah, I haven't uploaded the other pictures yet to Facebook... I will get on that in the next few days!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Sharyn - I am so glad you enjoyed reading this whole hub. I was honestly worried that it was getty a little long a boring and would eventually lose people's attention. It sounds like it was able to jog your memory of your very own incredible vacation down here as well. Now, if only I could get up to the San Francisco area. Oh yeah - and thanks for the tip - I will refrain from using skin so soft for tanning oil. :)

As for Ohio - I once attempted to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. My husband and I were stationed in Fort Drum, NY and when we were driving home to Wisconsin one weekend we decided to detour. We drove around in a lot of circles and got a chance to see Lake Eerie but that was about it. I would love to go back and check it out one day... but it might be awhile. We had a lot of bad luck in Ohio and we haven't been back since. With speeding tickets (not mine), airbags blowing up and a bunch of other car problems, for awhile there we just avoided it all together and drove through Canada instead. Yet, I do believe I am over it, so maybe now is the time to head back! Thanks for the tips.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I can't wait to come back. I had a blast in the Flower/Jewelry/Garmet district! That was so interesting and fun. People were really nice and they kept asking me if I was from Orange County? I have no idea why but after several shop keepers asked I started to feel like I had a scarlet letter or something! What's up with that?

I also loved Venice Beach and Santa Monica pier. Oh and Melrose street! That was amazing fun. The busses there.........LMAO! I can't tell you - people yell at each other - the driver was out and out fighting with a rider! Omg! So fun! Lol


Husky1970 5 years ago

Wow, it is incredible what you packed into those seven days. You have a very lucky sister and I sure hope she appreciates all of your planning. Your hub makes me want to visit southern California. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Voted up and awesome.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Real - you must look like a California girl... or maybe it is your attitude. I could go with both. If you like the Santa Monica pier... you should see the beach in Malibu. We had so much fun collecting sea glass there. I tried finding it at Newport but there wasn't any so I guess I need to go back to Malibu for that! It is so pretty... maybe I will make some jewlery out of it.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Husky1970 - Believe it or not... I was actually trying to pack in more. There was just so many destinations to choose from, picking just a few really was a difficult decision. It was a great time and if you ever decide to come visit Southern California, I would be interested to know what your favorite parts are!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Malibu! We did want to go there but just didn't have enough time:( my friend Mandy went with me and everyone says she looks like a Malibu Barbie - she does:) I was staying at Macy's Plaza On Hope Street. Malibu seemed like it would be more time consuming and we had so many plans! We had dinner at The Palm and The Ivy. It was soooooo good! My friend practically needed a hover round to drive at work when we got back because our feet were blistered and sore!

Why does everything seem to close at 7 pm? I thought everything would be open all hours. Even the malls closed early!


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

hey BG the hub was worth it to look at so many pictures of you.lolllll


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Real - You know, I wondered the same thing. Everything just seems to close unusually early for the area. We went out for coffee one night and they kicked us out at 9. I guess you have to be a drinker and go to a bar if you want to stay out late! LOL

As for Malibu... the next time you come to California it is a must to put on your list. I know you would be absolutely infatuated with the sea glass. Just make sure you put it in your luggage and not your carry on! LOL Don't want to take any chances there! LOL


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Neel - Thanks for the wonderful comment... my favorite picture is by far the one of King Kongs foot! Glad you enjoyed it! :)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

If I didn't already live in Florida, bg, then I would probably choose to settle in southern California. Especially after reading about all the fun things to do in your state. What an enjoyable read this was.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@drbj - Thank you so much for reading. Glad you enjoyed it. Although I have to admit, Florida has alot of great stuff to do as well. I have visited there a couple of times and it wasnt' short of wonderful tourist attractions. I will admit, Disneyworld and Universal Studios are much better over there!


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

As you can see, living in southern California, your adopted home, there are myriads of recreational opportunities in your own backyard. Glad you enjoyed your vacation, nice photos, Cred2


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Credence2 - there is definately a lot to explore here. Too bad the cost of living is so high. Might be able to explore a little faster! :)


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

I want to go to LA, but instead, I'm going to Wisconsin next week... :( Don't know if I'll be anywhere near Green Bay. I'm kidnapping a couple of people and taking them with me. And I have to remember to buy the biggest wheel of cheese I can find and bring it home. If you can think of anything worth seeing in Wisconsin, let me know... Like if there's any good movies playing. lol. Not Harry Potter, though. I saw the last one while in Alabama, without even seeing the first 6 or 7 or however many there are now. I think I got the gist of it, though. Just a bunch of british kids waving twigs and one bald guy, or maybe he had AIDS, I'm not sure, and a big snake that never actually swallowed anyone whole. I'm glad I saw it, though, because they showed a teaser trailer for the new Batman movie before it started, and I've been wanting to see a trailer for that. Maybe I can have as much fun in Wisconsin as you had on your vacation thing. We'll see. :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Ahhhh... so you are heading to the cheese state. I would have to say there are a few things that you could do there, but I only have to say that because I am from the area. So, really, the only thing to do there is drink beer. Oh yeah, and camp. As for movies playing, I can't think of any good ones right now. I already saw the last Harry Potter as well. It was good, but I was horribly disappointed that none of the movies involved a snake swallowing a person whole. But it did however encourage me to find random twigs and wave them in the air as I shouted weird words. Nothing happened. I am a little disappointed. I had some high hopes for that! But, you could always go see Captain America. I didn't see it, but I heard it was good. Then you can let me know whether or not I should actually see it or wait for the DVD.

If you ever decide to come to La... let me know. I will take you to the La Brea Tar pits. Nothing says a good time better than the smell of burning tar and trapped animals. :) Although I have a feeling Hollywood is more up your alley. YOu could dress up like a monkey and no one would think anything of it. You can pretend to be Curious George or something! LOL


doodlebugs profile image

doodlebugs 5 years ago from Southwest

What a fun trip that must have been. Thanks for sharing it with Hubbers.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@doodlebugs - It was a great trip. Glad you were able to enjoy reading about it :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a wonderful time you had when your sister and boyfriend came for a visit to southern California. Sounds like you had it jam packed with fun ideas. If you had put an "all of the above" that is what I would have chosen since I have experienced none of these things. Our California adventures have been more about seeing San Francisco, the wine country and the national parks. You are right! There is a LOT to see and do in that state. Up votes and sharing.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Peggy W - The sad thing about this trip is we really needed a vacation to end the vacation! But we did have a blast even if we were exhausted by the end of it all! This state has a million things to do. One time I want to get up to the San Francisco area since I have yet to visit there. One day... one day! :)


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Aww...this must have been such a memorable trip.

Loved all those smiles.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 3 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ruchira - Oh we definitely had a great time! Loved every minute of it and can't wait to do another vacation again! :)


MelChi profile image

MelChi 3 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

If we ever do get a chance to live the dream of visiting the States, California is one place we would both love to go. And if we do, I'm going to use your hub right here to plan what we're doing. Looks and sounds like you guys had a ton of fun, and memories forever. :)


web923 profile image

web923 3 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

You really put a lot of effort in this hub and it shows. Great job... I really enjoyed the tour.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 3 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@MelChi - We certainly had a blast on this trip. Although ironically, this is just a tip of all the things to do in the area. I myself really need to get out and do more exploring as well! :) Hope you guys get a chance to make it out to SoCal someday!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 3 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@web923 - Thank you so much for the compliment. It took about a week worth of research as well! :)

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