13 Sep Travelling to California
“Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” IBN BATTUTA
Oh how we love the USA
Some of our favourite travel memories include the people that we meet along our travels. We’ve met some pretty interesting characters over the years and they make you see life in a different way. California was no exception!
Travelling with kids just boosts this exponentially, especially when you have a little one that makes friends very easily. Miss I, has a knack of attracting other kids to her, so we are constantly meeting her new “best friend”.
We took Miss I, to California when she was 3 and felt that this was a great age for experiencing some more adventurous sights. We arrived just before Halloween and went to a fantastic pumpkin patch called Irvine Park Railroad in Orange County. Here we went pony riding and Miss I, had her face painted. Then we went through a haunted house (child friendly) and rode the miniature steam train through the park to see the small zoo. Later we went to Huntington Beach Pier where we went to a street party and had the best trick or treating experience. The amount of passion that people put into the costumes is fantastic and everyone got into the spirit and fun of it all, with even the dogs wearing costumes.
Where to stay:
We stayed at the Sofitel in Beverley Hills. It is located opposite a huge Mall where you could get pretty much anything you wanted. We also hired a car with a navman and car seat which made life so much easier and Miss I could have naps in the car. The hotel was in a great location, the room was clean and tidy and we had a great time staying here.
Things to do:
Disneyland and California Adventure Park– located across the road from each other, we did both in one very ambitious day. We hired a pram from the gates and Miss I had a much-needed nap while hubby went on some rides. Miss I, loved the rides and was particularly proud of herself for going on a rollercoaster in toon town with daddy. We booked in advance to have breakfast with Minnie Mouse and that was a highlight. Miss I was so excited to meet Minnie Mouse and followed her around the café too excited to eat breakfast. They had other character experiences while we ate breakfast but Minnie was the favourite.
The parade was also a highlight and with Miss I being so young she was thoroughly swept up in the moment and was excitedly calling out and waving to all her favourite characters as they passed us by. This was such a special experience and one that we all treasure.
At California adventure park our favourite ride was The Little Mermaid ride (we rode it twice) and this is also where the Elsa and Anna character meet and greets are, this was a must for us also.
Santa Monica Pier– We met some friends here with a child of the same age as Miss I. They played at the beach, we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co and had lots of fun at Pacific Park which is a small amusement park at the end of the Pier. We have previously stayed in the Santa Monica are and found it very safe, clean and the people very friendly.
Natural history Museum– Museums are Awesome! We met some lovely people here while our little ones were splashing around in the water park. The Dinosaur exhibition was fantastic and Miss I was going through a stage where she really enjoyed learning about dinosaurs so we spent hours playing with the interactive exhibits and digging for fossils. We also enjoyed the Spider exhibition which gave us a different view of spiders and we walked through an atrium filled with live (harmless) spiders building webs and oblivious to our prying eyes.
Griffith Observatory– One of the most iconic buildings in LA and perched high in the Hollywood hills. Here is where you will get uninterrupted views of the city. It’s a great place to hike around with many different tracks and they have a café on the balcony with views over LA. The planetarium is touted as the “jewel” of Griffith Observatory and it is pretty amazing. A storyteller tells tales of fantasy and wonder and we learnt about things like how constellations were made. Miss I had many questions and it was very educational and eye opening. I find the whole solar system quiet mind blowing!
Malibu– If we lived in California I would want to live in Malibu. I love the landscape of the mountains running down to meet the beach. The beach houses are divine and there are lots of green open parks with a large variety of play equipment. The people we met were never in a hurry. Happy to take time for conversations, interested and just seemed chilled out.
Beverly Hills Farmers Market– great for fresh fruit, we love fruit and Miss I cannot get enough so we bought the essentials here to take back to the hotel. They also had a petting zoo and pony rides which Miss I had to be involved in. We made some “famous” friends here, anyone that’s seen my Instagram from this time will know who I mean.
Where to eat:
Au Fudge– a café not to miss in West Hollywood owned by Jessica Biel and completely catered for little ones. There is a drawing station, books, a karaoke setup and a winding staircase leading to the treehouse—a cosy room at the top of the building filled with large pillows, books and toys. Miss I loved it and did not want to leave, they also have nannies in this area so you can dine in peace if you like. Miss I wanted to eat with us and the menu did not disappoint with a great selection for young and old. I liked that they had healthy options to as far too often in America we find that its more difficult to find healthier options and the meal portions are extra-large.
Villa Blanca– being a huge Real housewives of Beverly hills fan I could not pass up the opportunity to dine at Villa Blanca. I was not overly impressed with the menu but it was in a great location close to Rodeo Drive and the service was exceptional.
Nobu Malibu– Amazing views, exceptional food. This place has such a relaxed vibe and right on the water, it is easy to let the time slip by eating and drinking. We always take colouring books and Usborne sticker activity books when we travel which keeps Miss I very entertained. I do love helping her with these books too!
Often when we travel we enjoy days where we don’t leave the hotel and just relax by the pool or the gardens, read, draw, write, play and just talk. This is our re-charge time and bonds us stronger as a family. We absolutely love it!