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Elizabeth H

Venice, California

MY KIDS

My Travel Style

I love traveling, always have, and have lived lots of places, including Sydney, London, Honolulu and NYC. Now that I have a child, I want him to learn to love exploring new destinations too. My default is always a tropical beach, but I also want to expose my son to different cultures. My husband spent a couple of years in Africa growing up, and we'd like to take our son too. Of course, there are lots of places closer to home I'd like to explore with my family too, from Lake Arrowhead to Ojai.

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Hotel Del Coronado

1500 Orange Ave Coronado, Coronado, California

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Rollaway beds available
  • Kids stay free
  • Smoke-free property
  • Babysitting
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Microwave in room
  • Kitchenette or kitchen in room
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


Average user rating (4 Reviews)

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  • Little kids (3-5)

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$211

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Visited: July 2012 | Submitted: Oct 26, 2012 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Paradise for families

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Gorgeous historic hotel with tons to do for kids (and their parents!). Once you cross the Coronado Bridge, it's like entering another world. The hotel is on a fantastic beach (rated best in the country last year), so we enjoyed relaxing in the sun while our three-year-old played in the sand. Plus, our room's ocean views--and sound of the waves crashing at night--were magical. That said, aside from the views, the rooms aren't anything to write home about--it's the resort itself that's the reason to stay here. There's so much to do--boat rentals, smore nights, bike rentals, ice cream parlor...they even offer surfing lessons! And it's a beautiful old building with tons of character. Staying here isn't cheap, but it's worth the price.

Tips for Families

Great hotel, but the Coronado Bridge makes it inconvenient for Sea World and the Zoo

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Catamaran Resort Hotel San Diego

3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, California

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Sleeper sofa
  • Kids stay free
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Kids' menu in restaurant
  • Kitchenette or kitchen in room
  • Cribs (infant beds) available
  • Outdoor pool
  • Bikes available
  • Volleyball court


Average user rating (2 Reviews)

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$95

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Visited: July 2012 | Submitted: Aug 8, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

Great location, but better for older kids

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This hotel is pretty affordable for the quality--the grounds are particularly impressive--and it looked like there were lots of perks for older kids (there's a mad scientist kids' camp!, video game system in the room, beach volleyball, etc.), but there's not as much for little kids here beyond the standard amenities. That said, my two-year-old did love hanging out on both Mission Bay, which the hotel is on, and Pacific Beach, which is a block away, and watching the koi swim around in the pond on site. The hotel has also got a great location just minutes away from Sea World and the San Diego Zoo.

Tips for Families

Get a tower room overlooking the bay. The tower is newer and if you get a room on an upper floor, the view is worth the extra cost.

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Congress Ave Bridge Bats

1 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas

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  • Tots (0-2)
  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: August 2008 | Submitted: Aug 3, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2) and little kids (3-5)

Do not miss this!

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Austin loves its bats...and so did I! It's such a spectacle to see the bats flying out from under the bridge en masse--and there are tons of people gathered on summer nights, so it feels festive waiting for the sun to go down. Only thing is, it happens at nightfall, which is generally past most little kids' bedtimes in the summer...still, keep 'em up this once for this if you can. My nephew (five at the time) liked it...but I loved it!

Tips for Families

Check the weather--Austin nights can be HOT, and you don't want to get stuck with an up-past-their-bedtime little one who's uncomfortable to boot. You can also bring a picnic and sit on the grass under the side of the bridge, but you might get a better view from on top of the bridge itself.

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We went to Free Birds burrito place beforehand. A step up from fast food but inexpensive and good to take on the go.

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Barton Springs

2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, Texas

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  • Tots (0-2)
  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: June 2012 | Submitted: Jun 28, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2), little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Barton Springs: A must-see!

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In the midst of an Austin summer, Barton Springs is heaven on earth. Imagine the biggest swimming pool you've ever seen crossed with an old-timey swimming hole. Spring-fed, the water is cold, but when the sun gets relentless, it feels just perfect. The pool is in a gorge with a natural rock bottom (quite slippery with algae, so watch your step), and it's a few football fields long, so even when it's crowded, there's room to move. As you enter, you cross a steep lawn where you can park your towels before jumping in (just don't be surprised to see some sunbathers topless, as it's legal in Austin). There's concrete around most of the pool with stairs to get in and a shallow part (three feet) with a rock beach at one end, so even the smallest small fry can splash around. There are even lifeguards on duty. At $3 per adult and $1 for little kids, it's a bargain. There's even a small indoor museum with info about native marine life like the Barton Springs salamander and a miniature train next door for the young'uns!

Tips for Families

You can't take a cooler or food into the pool area, but there are lots of picnic tables and a snack bar just outside the fenced-in area with views of the pool.

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Westin Hotel LAX Los Angeles

5400 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles, California

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Pet friendly
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Cribs (infant beds) available
  • Outdoor pool
  • Video game system in room


Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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$92

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Visited: December 2009 | Submitted: May 29, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

spacious and luxurious

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We ended up staying here after getting bumped off our first flight with our two-month-old. Being new parents, we were pretty unprepared, but the hotel sent up a crib and even some much-needed diapers. Meanwhile, my husband and I ordered room service (quite good) and watched a movie. Of course, the baby didn't sleep well, since our attempts to swaddle him in a towel were hopeless (like I said, we were new parents and thus did not think to pack his blankets in the diaper bag, though we never made that mistake again) and we had to lay him down unswaddled, so it wasn't the most restful of nights, but the bed was comfortable and overall it was a pretty hotel I'd recommend to others.

Tips for Families

Bring your own crib sheets and blankets

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Sheraton Resort & Spa Carlsbad (California)

5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, California

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Connecting rooms
  • Rollaway beds available
  • Pet friendly
  • Babysitting
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Cribs (infant beds) available
  • Outdoor pool


Average user rating (2 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Tots (0-2)
  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)

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$139

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Visited: December 2011 | Submitted: May 25, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2), little kids (3-5) and big kids (6-8)

Top-notch and convenient

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If you're going to Legoland, do yourself a favor and stay here. There's a private entrance to the park right across the street from the hotel, so you skip the line and can get there as soon as it opens with no hassle. Since it was only open till 5 PM in December, and our toddler is still napping, the convenience was key for us. We also ate at the restaurant, which was surprisingly good for a hotel restaurant, and the hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Recommend!

Tips for Families

Stay for two nights if you're bringing a little one. You'll appreciate the convenience of being able to come back to put him down for a nap....

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Jackson Square

Decatur St, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Average user rating (4 Reviews)

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  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: February 2010 | Submitted: May 14, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2) and tweens (9-12)

Music, music everywhere

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If you want to see some great music for free, come here. It's crowded with tourists but as a result (or maybe the other way around) there are lots of buskers here, some of whom are fantastic. Plenty of musicians, but also palm readers, artists, etc. Don't forget to get a beignet at Cafe Du Monde across the street!

Tips for Families

It can be loud and a little sketchy, so probably best for older kids and/or before dark.

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The Strand Bicycle Path

From Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, south along the beachfront to Torrance County Beach, Los Angeles, California

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Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: May 11, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

Paradise by the sea

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Hum the theme to "Three's Company" (yup, this is where the opening sequence was filmed) and rent a bike from one of the several vendors up and down the boardwalk. You can get bike trailers and helmets from them too. Then hop on and enjoy the view--it's amazing! The sea on one side of you, the shops and characters of the LA beach scene on the other. However, if your kid's anything like mine, he may ask to get down a lot so he can play in the sand or watch the bulldozers (there always seems to be construction somewhere).

Tips for Families

You can ride from Malibu to Torrance, which would take you a good couple of hours at least. On a sunny day, nothing can top it. Don't forget the sunscreen!

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Dole Pineapple Plantation

64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, Hawaii

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Visited: July 2007 | Submitted: May 9, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

Life-size maze!

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Remember that scene from "The Shining"? I know that's a weird way to start a review of a kids' attraction, but the shrubbery maze in that movie the first thing that comes to mind when you see this life-size maze of pineapple, hibiscus and other tropical plants that comes up so high you feel like a rat trying to get to the cheese in the center (only in this case, you're trying to get to a big pineapple design in the middle). You can also get pineapple shakes and learn a little about how pineapples are grown--but the main attraction here is definitely the maze. Fun!

Tips for Families

Don't let your kids go on their own--it's easy to get lost, and claustrophobes need not apply.

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Venice Boardwalk

Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, California

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Average user rating (4 Reviews)

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  • Tots (0-2)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: May 2012 | Submitted: May 9, 2012 | I traveled with tots (0-2), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Take a walk on the wild side

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The hippie era lives on! Plenty of tie-dye, silver rings, fortune-telling and art of varying quality for sale, plus buskers doing everything from acrobatic break-dancing to playing a full-size piano on wheels. And don't miss the skate park in the middle of the boardwalk for more than your share of vicarious thrills and spills. You can rent bikes or Rollerblades to glide along the bike path overlooking the Pacific or just stroll the boardwalk itself and people-watch; as the biggest tourist destination in LA, it draws visitors from everywhere plus a host of eccentric local characters. A guaranteed hit for tweens and teens.

Tips for Families

Expect to see lots of folks with sandwich boards promoting the (legal) medical marijuana clinics dotting the boardwalk (so be advised if you don't want to try to explain that one to your kids).

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