Tag Archives: san diego

Southern California Trip (part 2)

The chronicles of our Southern California trip continue with Day 5 (Monday, 2/23), our second day in San Diego.  In the morning we boarded a tour boat for a 3.5 hr whale watching tour, hoping to see the Grey Whale on their annual migration from Baja California to the Bearing Sea.  It was a beautiful sunny day to spend on the water, but unfortunately this trip probably contributed the most to our sun burn on this trip.  We rode out to the “prime” whale watching area near the Coronado Islands, along the way seeing a couple groups of dolphins, which were actually more entertaining than the actual whale we would see.


After about 2 hours of searching for whales, the crew of the boat finally spotted a spout (exhaust from the whale coming up for air) and they maneuvered the boat towards the whale in order to get a closer look.  We waited in suspense for the whale to re-surface, trying to capture a good shot each time he/she emerged.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t really much to see, but at least we can say we saw one.  Success!

Whale Watching

After our whale watching tour we explored more of San Diego’s attractions, which included Point Loma (a scenic peninsula of land in San Diego Bay) and Old Town San Diego, which featured some Spanish architecture and lots of touristy type shops with a Mexican feel.

Day 6 began with an early (6 am) wake up call and a 2 hour drive up to Long Beach to catch a 10 am ferry to Catalina Island where we would spend the next couple days.  Once on the island our first adventure was to take an partially submersible boat to view some underwater wildlife, which featured some exotic (to us) fish living in/around massive kelp forests.

Underwater Adventures

The rest of the afternoon featured lunch at a seafood restaurant on the bay, visiting the shops of Avalon and an evening hike up the hills above Avalon for a good view of the city and the ocean.  On this hike we were warned by signs to watch out for wild boars on the trail but luckily we didn’t see any!

Avalon View

At the end of the day we checked in to the Hotel St. Lauren to crash for the night.  As you can see, it is a very interesting (and pink!) hotel.

Hotel St. Lauren

Our 7th day we awoke for day two on Catalina Island and had a delicious breakfast at a 50’s type diner in Avalon.  While enjoying our breakfast we heard “Rag Mop”, which was one of Maggie’s favorite songs to play on her grandfathers old fashioned juke box as a kid.  After our late morning breakfast we had a few hours left in Avalon so we tried to do some more hiking and geocaching before boarding the boat back to the main land.  We tried one route, but were denied by a road closed because of falling rocks.  This turned out to be okay though, as our alternate hiking route took us to an quiet overlook with an amazing view of the ocean and Avalon.

Catalina Island

We literally just sat there and relaxed for at least an hour, then it was back on the boat to Long Beach and the rest of our trip.

For day 8 we decided to end the trip with a bang and visit DisneyLand for the day.  I was a little skeptical of how much fun we could have at a theme park for kids, but we proceeded to thoroughly enjoy ourselves by taking in all the rides and attractions, including Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and my favorite Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Another highlight was re-creating a special moment from Maggie’s childhood, by posing with the Sword in the Stone, which she had done on her first trip to DisneyLand with her family when she was a kindergartner.

Sword in the Stone

After experiencing all of DisneyLand we met my friend from college Dru and his girlfriend at ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney for some dinner.  Dru lives in Southern California and was very helpful in planning our trip and it was fun to catch up on what we’ve both been up to since college.

Sadly this brings us to Day 9 and our final day in sunny Southern California.  I can say that almost every day we had at least partly sunny skies and no rain what so ever, so I think we were pretty lucky.  The temps ranged from about 65-75 so that wasn’t too bad either, compared to sub-freezing Minnesota!  On day 9 (Friday) we enjoyed a final few hours of California before heading to LAX and back to the “reality” that is winter in Minnesota, where we were greated with a fresh 6 inches of snow and 8 whole degrees on the thermometer.

The Casino on Catalina Island

We had a blast in California and look forward to going again some day!

Check out the updated photo album for additional pictures from the 2nd half of our trip.


Southern California Update

Just a quick update for you from San Diego, CA.  Maggie and I left  Minnesota early last Thursday bound for sunny Los Angeles and our first stop was the Getty Museum on the hills over looking LA.  The museum had lots of good art, some cool gardens and some great views of LA.

Getty Center Museum

Also Thursday afternoon we took in a taping of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  We barely got seats, but we did, and fairly good ones.  The guests were Dennis Miller, Freida Pinto (actress in Slumdog Millionaire) and the composer of some of the songs from Slumdog Millionaire.

Tonight Show

Friday we visited Hollywood, hiking around Hollywood Blvd and the Sunset Strip in the beautiful sunny 70 degree weather.  They were preparing the Kodak Theatre for the Oscars so we got to see them preparing the red carpet, which was cool.  In the afternoon we headed to Venice Beach to get in some beach time while it was still warm and sunny.  The ocean water was chilly, so we just sat on the beach and soaked up some sun, strolled the beach walk and watched some street performers.

Venice Beach

Saturday we drove to Temecula, CA and wine country!  Our first stop was Old Town Temecula, which is basically a strip of street with old time shops, mostly antiques and places to eat.  Afterward we headed to the Falkner Winery (one of many wineries in Temecula) to sample some southern California wines. It was fun to taste all of their wines and watch the chatty drunk 20-somethings who had clearly been to a few wineries already taste the wine.  We followed the winery up with some late afternoon hiking in a park on a nearby plateau where we discovered some crazy looking trees.

Southern California Wine Country

Sunday (today) we drove to San Diego to visit the world famous San Diego Zoo.  No we didn’t see any tigers roaming around attacking zoo-goers, but we did see lots of cool animals and some cute animal babies.  We spent 5 and 1/2 hours at the zoo, but the day went by fast!  It was definitely the best Zoo I’ve ever been too, highly recommended!  After the zoo we headed to the historic Hotel Del Coronado, just outside of San Diego, on the Pacific Ocean.  We hiked around the beach and enjoyed some pizza in a nearby pizzeria.

San Diego Zoo

So far it has been a great trip, and we’re only 1/2 done!  Up next, 1 more day in San Diego, 2 days on Catalina Island and a day back in LA at DisneyLand.  We are DEFINITELY not missing weather back home in Minnesota!

Check out some photo highlights!

Southern California Vacation

A couple weeks ago Maggie and I decided to plan a spring break trip location of Southern California.  We’re planning to fly in to Los Angeles and visit some sites there and also spend a few days in San Diego.  We’ll be there from February 19 – 27th 2009.  We’ve gotten some ideas for things to do from a couple people, but I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for us.  Have you been to either LA or San Diego? If so what were your favorite attractions in the area and why?  Post your response in the comments, and the sooner the better.  Thanks!