I Will Drive 500 Miles...A Family of 5--and a Dog--Do California by Car (Part 2)
Next Stop: Huntington Beach (2 nights)Northbound travel through this stretch of Southern California is at the mercy of traffic. Interstate 405 and Interstate 5 are notorious for backups, fender benders and construction projects, so check traffic before you go to find your best route. We waited for the morning rush to subside before hitting the road and making a pit stop for playground games at Balboa Park and lunch in La Jolla.
- Tip: Make a day of Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban oasis just outside downtown with 17 museums, gardens, restaurants and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
The Huntington Beach Pier offers sweeping coastal viewsThe internationally renowned Vans U.S. Open of Surfing was in full swing when we visited, which amped up the surf vibe, with pro surfers, skateboarders and BMX bikers – and their beautiful fans – fanned throughout town. Many of them were staying at our hotel, Kimpton’s Shorebreak Hotel, just up from the pier, and that made it a destination all its own all week long.
- Tip: When you’re planning travel, book around high-profile events, which send hotel rates soaring.
The Shorebreak’s eatery, Pacific Hideaway, is the ultimate deluxe beach shack, a blend of comfort and sophistication, with an open design that includes a beach-view patio. Our seafood-inspired dinner here included phenomenal raw amberjack crudo and fish tacos with cotija cheese and a zesty chipotle aioli; our family breakfast gave high marks to the farm-inspired egg-white frittata and the house-made sausages. The original cocktails give the bar here a following.
- Tip: On your next Disneyland vacation, stay along the Orange County coast to combine theme park fun with time on the beach; the Disney parks are about 20-30 minutes away.
...Coming up: Part 3 of our California road trip, including stops along the state's gorgeous Central Coast!
For more images from our California road trip, check out #saglieadventures. For more travel tips, follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And for deals to make your next road trip easier to budget and plan, become a Travelzoo member today!