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San Diego to Sequoia - Mid-point overnight suggestion

mpizza

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We plan a 10-year birthday special trip with each grandchild. They pick where to go and activities, we make it happen. Advance planning is starting for next year August 2021. GS would like to visit San Diego (Zoo and Safari Park and Legoland) and Sequoia National Park (for hiking/big trees).

I thought we would do 5 days in San Diego, drive 3 hours and stay overnight mid-way (we get antsy/motion sick after 3 hours of driving), then stay 3 days in Sequoia National Park (hopefully Wuksachi Lodge), then fly out of Fresno.

Planning to reserve Marriott Pulse or a Residence Inn type hotel in San Diego, but welcome any area or timeshare suggestions.

Any thoughts on a good mid-way point/hotel to stay? Preferably with a pool

Any other advice?

Maria
 

klpca

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Your biggest issue will be traffic. From San Diego it can take you at three hours to get to the north side of LA, and it won't be fun. But it is what you have to do to get to Sequoia. This is not the answer that you want to hear but the best option would be to drive straight through to Sequoia. Our best and fastest drive ever was to leave at about 5am from San Diego on a Sunday morning. We sailed right through LA and made it to Yosemite north of Sequoia in record time. Leaving early on a Sunday morning will save you at least an hour of driving time. Your lodging choices north of LA are limited. But we have made the trip a million times and have done an overnight in Santa Clarita near Magic Mountain and it was fine for a "halfway" point. Valencia is also near Santa Clarita and would be another option.

For the San Diego part of the trip and the places that you want to visit, you may want to stay in the Carlsbad area (a few nice timeshares there are available as RCI exchanges or GPX if you have access). Grand Pacific Palisades is right next to Legoland, while Seapointe and Carlsbad Inn are next to the beach and a quick drive to Legoland. The drive to the Zoo will be 35-45 min-ish from Carlsbad, and about a half hour to the Safari Park. It really depends on traffic and when you leave when going to the zoo. The train is an option to get to downtown San Diego then you could uber the rest of the way but I would probably just drive. Traffic runs south in the morning and north in the evening, so you might want to leave around 10am then plan on staying through dinner time - they stay open late in the summer - to miss the worst of the traffic. The Safari Park is in San Pasqual valley and can be toasty in the afternoon in August. You could also stay at the Welk property north of Escondido - one of them has a nice pool but I can't remember which one - but you would only be close to the Safari Park and have a longer drive to the other two places. I would only choose this option if the swimming pool was the primary attraction. I would also like to mention that staying in Carlsbad will take at least 30 mins off of the drive to Sequoia and for this reason alone I would eliminate staying in San Diego near the zoo unless it's the only timeshare that you can get.
 

mpizza

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Thank you, I appreciate your expert advice!

Is there a specific route you would recommend?

I will look at Carlsbad timeshare options. Would love to experience FSA, but doubtful a summer exchange is a possibility. I will also look at the Welk resorts. I have streamlined my timeshare portfolio and only participate in II.

Although my GS might enjoy the city experience of San Diego as a contrast to Sequoia. Mmmmm, something for us to think about.

Maria
 

klpca

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Thank you, I appreciate your expert advice!

Is there a specific route you would recommend?

I will look at Carlsbad timeshare options. Would love to experience FSA, but doubtful a summer exchange is a possibility. I will also look at the Welk resorts. I have streamlined my timeshare portfolio and only participate in II.

Although my GS might enjoy the city experience of San Diego as a contrast to Sequoia. Mmmmm, something for us to think about.

Maria
August in Carlsbad will be a tough exchange but you can't get if you don't try. I am pretty sure that Tamarack Beach is in II in addition to the Four Seasons, and you may also want to add Oceanside to your potential list, although it's a bit further from the zoo. Read the TUG reviews for specific resorts - quality is a mixed bag and while the location will probably be great, you need to set a realistic bar when it comes to unit quality and amenities. You may also want to look into a direct exchange. We have quite a few owners on the board that own in Carlsbad, although I am pretty sure that most summer weeks were sold as fixed so that will narrow the options a bit.

As far as route, it's pretty straightforward. Probably the 5 all the way up to the 99. But when going through LA, depend on your gps to take you around accidents and other slowdowns.

And I agree with @Karen G , the Midway is an awesome tour.

One other option is the Coronado Beach Resort. It's a fabulous location and Coronado Island in the summer is special. But I would only do this if you were skipping Sequoia.
 

Luanne

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You and your GS might enjoy taking a tour of the USS Midway in San Diego. https://www.midway.org
+2 on this suggestion. Dh and I have done this twice. Fascinating. Throughout the ship there are docents who have a lot of information.

We have stayed at the Coronado Beach Resort. Wonderful! However, their units are small. I'm guessing there are going to be 3 of you, and you'd prefer a 2-bedroom?
 

sue1947

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I've stayed at the Comfort Inn at Bakersfield frequently as a stopover between various timeshares. It's easy to get to, right off the freeway, but quiet, with a hot breakfast in the morning. There are several other motels in that same area including a couple of Marriott and a Hilton brand so whatever point system should work.

My strategy anytime I have to get through LA is to do it Sunday morning and try to be out of it by 10am. It's worked pretty well. Once you get north of town, find someplace to stop and let the kids run around and take your time the rest of the day. You would certainly have time to do it in one day, but I understand wanting to keep the days shorter. As somebody who gets carsick: make the shorter day the one going into Sequoia where the roads are windier and you will want to make more stops to get out and walk around. The lodging there will also be the most difficult. The Wuksachi lodge is the best bet and is great, but fills up quickly, especially for summer. So get your reservations for that set and then work on the rest.

Sue
 

GetawaysRus

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Tell us how old the grandchild is. There's lots to do in the San Diego/Escondido area with kids, and the choices you'll want to consider may depend somewhat on the child's age.

Does the initial post mean that it's a 10 year old? I think Queen Califa's Magic Circle in Escondido might be fun for a 1-1 1/2 hour visit.

Kids usually love pizza. Look up Filippi's Pizza. They have multiple locations. We ate at the Escondido location, which was very good.

We've stayed at Welk. It is a nice resort, but its Achilles heel is the noise from the 15 freeway. If you were to stay there, I think it's best to be high up on the hill, as far from the 15 as possible. If you're looking for a timeshare in the area, my guess is that there may be more availability at Welk than anything on the coast.
 
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mpizza

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Tell us how old the grandchild is. There's lots to do in the San Diego/Escondido area with kids, and the choices you'll want to consider may depend somewhat on the child's age.

Does the initial post mean that it's a 10 year old? I think Queen Califa's Magic Circle in Escondido might be fun for a 1-1 1/2 hour visit.
Yes, GS will be 10 years old next summer (2021).
 

mpizza

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+2 on this suggestion. Dh and I have done this twice. Fascinating. Throughout the ship there are docents who have a lot of information.

We have stayed at the Coronado Beach Resort. Wonderful! However, their units are small. I'm guessing there are going to be 3 of you, and you'd prefer a 2-bedroom?
Thank you @Karen G and Luanne, looks great and will add to our list!

P.S. GS said Midway looks super cool!
 
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klpca

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I've stayed at the Comfort Inn at Bakersfield frequently as a stopover between various timeshares. It's easy to get to, right off the freeway, but quiet, with a hot breakfast in the morning. There are several other motels in that same area including a couple of Marriott and a Hilton brand so whatever point system should work.

My strategy anytime I have to get through LA is to do it Sunday morning and try to be out of it by 10am. It's worked pretty well. Once you get north of town, find someplace to stop and let the kids run around and take your time the rest of the day. You would certainly have time to do it in one day, but I understand wanting to keep the days shorter. As somebody who gets carsick: make the shorter day the one going into Sequoia where the roads are windier and you will want to make more stops to get out and walk around. The lodging there will also be the most difficult. The Wuksachi lodge is the best bet and is great, but fills up quickly, especially for summer. So get your reservations for that set and then work on the rest.

Sue
I missed the carsick part. The road into Sequoia is pretty curvy. It did make one of my always-kind-of-carsick kids actually get sick and there are not a lot of turnouts for pulling over. (Man, this brings back a funny memory, but not one that anyone wants to hear about, lol, although suffice to say that mistakes were made).

Agree about Sunday morning. We have also stayed in Bakersfield. Fine for what you need, that's for sure.
 

mpizza

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I've stayed at the Comfort Inn at Bakersfield frequently as a stopover between various timeshares. It's easy to get to, right off the freeway, but quiet, with a hot breakfast in the morning. There are several other motels in that same area including a couple of Marriott and a Hilton brand so whatever point system should work.

My strategy anytime I have to get through LA is to do it Sunday morning and try to be out of it by 10am. It's worked pretty well. Once you get north of town, find someplace to stop and let the kids run around and take your time the rest of the day. You would certainly have time to do it in one day, but I understand wanting to keep the days shorter. As somebody who gets carsick: make the shorter day the one going into Sequoia where the roads are windier and you will want to make more stops to get out and walk around. The lodging there will also be the most difficult. The Wuksachi lodge is the best bet and is great, but fills up quickly, especially for summer. So get your reservations for that set and then work on the rest.

Sue
Thank you, I will try to book the itinerary so we leave San Diego early Sunday and book Wuksachi Lodge for a Monday. Reservations open up for Wuksachi 366 days in advance, so I will calendar that!
 

GetawaysRus

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When we drive in the LA area, we just keep Google maps running the entire trip. Be prepared to change routes as you go.
 
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