About 1.5 years ago, we started working on a “bucket list” family-friendly California Coast road trip. It took HOURS of research and months of planning, but it was so worth it. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts about our trip with information on everything from where we stayed to where we ate to the unforgettable experiences we had as a family. But here’s the best news: WE CAN DO THIS FOR YOU TOO!! We’ll tweak our trip to fit the needs of your individual family or we’ll keep the itinerary exactly the same…it’s all up to you! If you’re interested in a no-obligation quote or if you just have some questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to chat! Now let’s get started…
DAY ONE: ARRIVAL and OXNARD
On Day One, we flew into LAX and picked up our rental car from the airport. Then we were off! We drove up Highway 1 for about two hours to Oxnard, a suburb with plenty of stores to stock up on supplies at (including a Target and a Whole Foods…in the same shopping complex!). Dinner was at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, an easy family-friendly chain conveniently located in the same complex as the Target and Whole Foods.
Once our bellies and our coolers were full, we headed to our first hotel: the Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor. This is a no-frills place, but it’s got a lot going for it. It’s clean and safe, it’s in a beautiful location right on the harbor, it offers an extensive free breakfast with the largest selection I’ve ever seen at a Hampton Inn, and it’s in the perfect location to start a road trip up the coast.
PRO TIPS FOR THIS LEG
Tip #1: Alamo and National are my favorite car rental companies in the Los Angeles area. The
shuttles are frequent and dependable, and they offer a super seamless rental process with tons of self-serve kiosks.
Tip #2: We brought along several soft-sided coolers that we already owned, and we stopped periodically throughout the trip to stock them with lunch food: fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, crackers, etc. This saved us a TON of money and LOADS of time (as we didn’t have to stop for every single meal).
Tip #3: In the hopes of offsetting the time change, we took an early afternoon flight from Detroit that got us into Los Angeles mid-afternoon. In retrospect, this was not the best idea: traffic was heavy and we didn’t sit down to eat until about 7:00pm PT (which felt like 10:00pm for our Midwest family, so our kids were literally falling asleep at the table). If I had the chance to do it again, I’d take an earlier flight.
And that’s pretty much it for Day One. Really, this day was all about getting acclimated and prepped for the adventure ahead. And what an adventure it was! Check back early next week for Day Two: Oxnard to Pismo Beach (sneak preview: even the best laid plans don’t always work out!)
Meredith McCutcheon: Owner and Disney Vacation Specialist