Our Favorite Southern California Itinerary
Our first trip to California as a family was back in 2014. Our daughter was 3 years old at the time and we wanted to mix relaxation with a visit to Disneyland. In all the vacations we’ve taken over the years, this vacation was my favorite! Maybe because it was after the hardest year of my life or maybe all of the stars were aligned just perfectly.
This Southern California itinerary is perfect for families who want to visit Disneyland, but also want to completely unwind with some luxury!
Day 1 – Disneyland Hotel
We arrived in California after driving from Colorado. Yup, one HUGE roadtrip. A roadtrip that we’ve actually done a total of three times! We planned for a full day at the Disneyland Hotel prior to heading into the park the next morning. This gave us time to indulge at the pool, relax, and dine with Goofy at Goofy’s Kitchen.
Day 2 & 3 – Disneyland
On this trip, we were Disneyland newbies! We didn’t have a clue about all the planning efforts many people put into a Disneyland vacation. Thankfully – as we found out – Disneyland can be accomplished effectively with or without detailed planning.
For this first trip, we decided to get a 2-day park pass and only visit Disneyland. For us, this worked perfectly and it was a stress-free visit. We had plenty of time to explore the park and meet characters, while having enough time to head back to our hotel for a dip in the pool and a nap. In fact, we had almost accomplished all of our ‘must do’ items by noon on the first day. The remainder of the trip allowed for us to ride our favorites again or just soak up the Disney magic.
Here are some tips for a Disneyland trip:
*Note: Book your in park dining options 60 days prior to your park visit. You can do this at Disneyland’s website.
Day 4 & 5 – Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort
After two wonderful at Disneyland, we drove 40 minutes south to Dana Point/Laguna Beach. This area was very scenic with vast ocean views and high sea cliffs. It’s also a tourist area, so you have plenty of activities, shops, and restaurants.
The resort itself was fantastic! The pool had plenty of space and a splash pad for younger children. It was also within walking distance to the beach. We had fun exploring both areas.
Adding this hotel onto our trip allowed for us to unwind and just enjoy each other’s company.
By combining a very active Disneyland visit with a relaxing beach hotel, we were able to achieve a great family vacation itinerary! This Southern California vacation will always be remembered fondly by our family; not just because it was perfect for us – but also because it spawned a love and appreciation for family travel.
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