I am barely rested up from our 6-day visit to San Diego, CA, but I always try to blog as I can close to our return before the details of our travels fade into distant memories.
I have always wanted to visit San Diego, CA. Probably because I consider myself to be somewhat of a hippy at heart and the city just reminds me of the 60s; peace, love, VW vans, and tan lines. Can you really beat that? And with their amazing weather, beaches, and attractions…it was a top pick for our family. Then to make it even better, our oldest son actually picked out this year’s family vacation destination (I am sure LegoLand couldn’t be the only reason).
Even though we weren’t even there for a full week, we packed in so much stuff! As parents of small children know, a vacation with kids doesn’t really feel like a true “vacation;” however, by definition it is an extended period of recreation…and we definitely recreated (wait that isn’t the right way to use that word, but you get my point).
We wanted to stay on Coronado Island, but had heard that the famous Hotel Del Coronado was more for the adult visitors so we opted for Loews Coronado. It was an awesome choice. Our room was big, with a huge bathroom (and jetted tub) and balcony overlooking their three pools, Spa, and marina.
It felt like an inclusive resort but without the fee. We highly recommend it!
Here is a breakdown of our activities each day…we really just went with the flow and let our oldest Sawyer tell us what he wanted to do. This is not only a great way to bride your children (“hey, if you don’t listen, you can’t go to that awesome theme park you wanted to go to”), but also helps prevent whining later (disclaimer: I can’t guarantee no whining).
Since we traveled our of Springfield’s airport, we got in pretty early. We spent the late afternoon at the pool and finished off with Dinner at Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill. It was right on the marina and had a beautiful view.
We love breakfast so the first thing we did was Google, “Best Breakfast Coronado.” We came across a little place called Wow Wow Waffle and it was Sawyer’s first pic. This place is cool! No need for syrup because the chef told us he puts straight cane sugar in the batter. It is all outside with funky décor.
After breakfast we headed to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It is an extension of the San Diego Zoo with more interaction with the animals.
We thought this would be a better option having a 23 month old. The highlight for us was the jeep tour through an African dessert area.
The boys both loved the petting zoo where you get to brush the goats and sheep.
We left late afternoon and decided to make a stop at one of the wineries in Escondido. John and I love wine tours so this was a must. We spotted a sign for Hungry Hawk Vineyards and I called them first to ensure they were okay with us bringing children. We lucked out because it was only us there and they gave us a full tour of the beautiful property. Plus their wine was delicious. During the tasting, we both picked their 2015 Estate Malbec to be our favorite!
We headed back into town for dinner in downtown Coronado for some Mexican food at Costa Azul and after we took the boys to this small candy factory across the street for treats.
We headed to breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop, a cute old time dinner with old jukeboxes at the table. My yogurt and fruit was amazing and the cold brew coffee topped my list!
After we drove into San Diego to check out the USS Midway Museum. This was super exciting for Sawyer as he is really into anything military related. It is one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. You can explore all over the ships, including the living quarters and aircrafts on the Flight deck.
We stayed for a couple hours and then decided to make the drive to La Jolla beach (about 30 minutes) so the boys could nap. La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya) is known for its beaches and view of the San Diego coastline. We went straight to what is known as Children’s Pool. It is famous for the sea lions that have inhabited the area. Warning: They are super adorable…but they STINK!
After the beach, we visited the Cave Store which from the outside looks just like a gift shop, but when you enter you can pay $5 and hike down the manmade tunnel of 180+ stairs into a cave that opens up to the ocean. It reminded me a lot of the end of Goonies. Truly breathtaking! We were so tired from the day, we didn’t even eat dinner that night. Just snacked in our room and crashed early.
We decided to find a breakfast place in downtown San Diego, and came across Brian’s 24. It was cute inside and their pancakes are MASSIVE. I don’t think we even put a dent in them!
This was the day Sawyer waited for all week…LEGOLAND! I will admit I figured this would be the longest, worst day just for the fact it is huge and toting around two kids in the heat. It proved me wrong!
Sawyer could ride every ride and the way the park was designed was perfect for small siblings. Every large ride had a play place or activity for smaller children right by it. This was great so we could alternate who stayed with Scout while Sawyer rode. There were even rides that Scout got to enjoy.
We stayed for 7.5 hours and the boys crashed hard on the way home. Which was very fortunate because we got stuck in rush hour traffic from Carlsbad to Coronado.
We decided for dinner we would stop at the local brewery, Coronado Brewing Company. John and I did flights of their beers and were very pleased. You can tell it is a local hot spot! Since the boys were so great all day, we took them to another popular destination… MooTime Creamery for dessert.
We decided this would be our pool/beach only day! Since we are earlier risers, we once again went to breakfast, but found a closer spot right by our resort called the Calypso Café. The owner was so friendly; she seriously makes the best ice coffee I have ever had. Another nice surprise, she puts lemon zest in her pancakes. We sat outside on the patio with a view of the marina. It was relaxing and lovely. We loved seeing the locals, who you could tell come in multiple times a week.
After breakfast, we still had about an hour before the pool opened so we found a playground and park with a lovely view of the ocean and the boys ran and played.
We drove back to Loews and spent the good part of the morning at the pool. The staff put out yard games for the kids and Sawyer even won a game of Hot Potato.
The boys made a new best friend in our pool waitress, Shannon.
Since we had her every day, she spoiled them with strawberry smoothies and even treated John and I to a round of Pacificos. She’s the best!
Around 2:30 p.m., we took the hotel golf cart to the neighboring beach, Silver Strand State Beach and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the sand. The water was cold, but Sawyer didn’t mind. Scout was content with just sitting and playing with sand toys and Sawyer went hunting for seashells. The boys were once again exhausted from all day in the sun, so they napped until about 5:45 p.m. and we had to wake them for dinner.
For dinner, we decided to check out McP’s Irish Pub because we had noticed they had a nice patio. It was basically bar food, but had a nice atmosphere. And once again (since it was our last night), we treated the boys to MooTime for ice cream.
Since our flight was in the afternoon we knew we only had a few hours to kill, so we headed straight into downtown San Diego for breakfast. We wanted to try out a cute place called Harbor Breakfast we found online, but forgetting it was a work day at 8:30 am…the line was too long. Instead, we picked up some breakfast sandwiches at a “no frills” food counter called Breakfast at Stephanie’s. It was the first cheap breakfast we had all week and wasn’t bad! We headed to the airport for our ten home.
The flight home was smooth with a brief layover in Chicago.
This was our first trip that Sawyer wasn’t ready to leave. He actually teared up on the way to the airport. Every other trip he has missed home. We could definitely tell his majority level had developed; however he did still have breakdowns from being over tired or when he had too much sugar! Scout did great too…he did show his almost “Two” side a few time, but we expected that. We were worried about all sleeping in a small hotel room for that long (last vacation we had a condo), but it was a piece of cake! Keeping them entertained in the morning was a whole other story!
On the way home, Sawyer informed us that our next trip is going to be to San Francisco. Guess California stole his heart.
To see all our photos from our trip, visit:
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