It has been a while since I have posted a blog post! I have been taking some time off to just clear my mind and spend time with family this summer! (If you missed it, I am taking a full summer off social which you can read about here if you care to.) Anyway, this post today is about our recent family vacation to San Diego! We have visited San Diego in the past, but this trip was a little different in that I think we explored a few more areas and attractions – and we were there for 5 days. This trip was also a family vacay with Daniel’s parents, his brother and our niece!
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Okay so first up – flying with toddlers and covid. Honestly covid wasn’t the issue, it was more just our timing and toddlers haha. Anyone 2 and over does have to wear a mask, but we only had one person actually attempt to enforce that for Isaiah. Thank goodness, because there would have been no way he would have kept that thing on the entire time lol.
Parking at DIA is so expensive and is also a looooong walk to the terminal with 4 suitcases, 2 carseats, a stroller, 2 backpacks, a lunchbox, and 2 toddlers, so we tried something different this time and did shuttle parking off site. We went with Park DIA, and while it was way easier and cheaper ( like $5/day vs $17!), we did not factor in the extra time ( to be fair – I don’t know that we actually could have walked all of our stuff that much faster), and ended up being the last people on the plane and had to sit like 10 rows away from each other. Returning home is where it was really worth it – we got back at 10 pm, the baggage claim takes FOREVER, and we were all so tired that the walk would have been sloooow.
Enough about parking – flying with toddlers basically just comes down to an open mind and flexibility. Don’t stress it and bring lots of snacks. They aren’t going to stay seated. They are going to be noisy. I pack their little bags with tons of things to do from the Target dollar spot! This is also the only time the boys are allowed to watch a tablet or phone when the activities inevitably get boring.
We flew into Long Beach because the price was drastically less, and we would be riding with Daniel’s parents down to San Diego. We got our stuff exxcept for they lost Isaiah’s suitcase. They searched everywhere except the plane, which had already taken off and headed for San Jose. So off we went to San Diego without clothes for the semi potty trained 2 year old. Again with the open mind and flexibility being the most important things!
We stayed at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island. It is on a marina with lots of boats which the boys loved, and there are a few other hotels and restaurants within walking distance which was nice. It’s not particularly close to anything else in San Diego – probably a 20 min drive to downtown, the zoo, Sea World, beaches, etc. The hotel is a 2 story open air hotel with multiple buildings. It has a lot of beautiful tropical vegetation and a very relaxed feel. There was a koi pond and a couple of macaws that they would bring out daily which the boys loved. The pool area was nice and clean and also had a bar. We loved the smaller and more relaxed feel to this hotel. My favorite hotel in San Diego is La Jolla Shores Inn because it is right on the beach, but that was $$$$ for our dates!
The only negative about this hotel would be that the rooms were definitely a little dated, and there was no housekeeping service at all while we were there. This is a covid thing that has stuck around. So no bed making, cleaning of any kind, or trash removal. Which on vacation staying in a hotel, these are the things that are kind of expected!
Places We Ate in San Diego
Portofino Coffee and Gelato – my favorite place of the trip (I was probably the only one that loved it, but I did). We went here to get coffee multiple times and also got breakfast a couple of times. They have acai bowls that were so so good!
Mr. Moto Pizza – just a short walk from the hotel and they had really good pizza!
Sandbar near Mission Beach – not my favorite by any means. The drinks were just okay (both me and my mother in law got margaritas), and the food was also just eh. I got fish tacos that were covered in cheese, and fish and cheese just don’t mix well for me.
The ice cream shop next door though was good!! And they had shaved ice if that’s more your thing!
Ocean Beach barbeque – fun atmosphere and good food! We ended up here after searching all over for mac and cheese for the boys haha.
Gaslamp Tavern – this one was definitely more of a bar than a restaurant, but we sat outside and the food was actually decent for bar food.
Fred’s Mexican – in old town. Good, not great, but I loved the huge open air patio!
Brocton Villa in La Jolla – love love love this place! It has amazing views of La Jolla Cove which is home to tons of sea lion that are fun to watch, and the ocean and coast are just beautiful from here! The food and drinks (coffee and mimosas!) were so good and fresh tasting as well.
La Jolla Shores Inn restaurant – we went here after spending the morning on the beach and needing to get some food in quick. It’s literally right next to the beach so they also have awesome views (although it was Saturday and the beach was packed SO full of people!). We have stayed at this hotel and eaten at the restaurant a few times and always had good food. It is pretty pricey though, so keep that in mind – there are plenty of good food options just down the street as well if you are looking to save some $$.
Pizza Nova – we got takeout and ate by the fire pits at the hotel on our last night. The pizza here was definitely not as good as Mr. Moto!
Country Waffle – this one was a desperate need to get breakfast into the kids as we were leaving, and taking too long to decide on where to go. It was Sunday and there was a wait everywhere and we landed here. I would not recommend you doing this or going here. And definitely not worth a 20-30 min wait. I also may have just not been in the mood for greasy diner food after our week of eating out – it could be maybe a good hangover spot?
Family Vacation Things to Do
Belmont Park – a fun little beachside amusement park with an old roller coaster and other carnival type rides and games. The boys were too little do do most of them, but it was pay as you go, and they were able to do a few of them and had fun!
Park – this park was just across the street and so fun. It was huge and had things for younger and older kids, plus it had water views. Great activity to get some energy out for FREE!
San Diego Zoo – I had such high hopes for this and was honestly a little underwhelmed. It’s extremely pricey, and just not what I would have expected from the hype around it. It seemed very touristy and showy, less animal and conservation focused. And holy hills – wear your comfy shoes!
La Jolla Shores beach – the only beach we went to this trip, but it’s always a good one! It was SUPER crowded the day we went, which is a bummer, but we still were able to find a spot to park and have fun. There is a little playground right next to the beach which is fun for kids. The waves are not super strong here, and it has a family friendly vibe. The boys learned how to find sand crabs in the water and spent a lot of time doing that (and making me do it!). There are also leopard sharks that live in this are and while we didn’t see any, they are visible pretty close to the shore!
San Diego offers a plethora of things to do, and pretty much has perfect weather. It’s a great west coast vacation spot if you are looking for a mix of city and beach activities! We made some great memories on this trip and can’t wait for our next adventure!
Oh and on Isaiah’s suitcase – it ended up that they just didn’t take it off the plane, so it went to San Jose, then to Phoenix, and then to San Diego where we were able to pick it up the next morning with a travel voucher from Southwest. So all in all it worked out fine!
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