Travel Journal: San Diego & Los Angeles

Seen through the eyes of Carolyn Golightly

Who went: George and Carolyn Golightly and daughters Riley and Mallory

We went because: The girls and I had never been to the West Coast, and San Diego is very kid-friendly. And Hollywood was not so far away, so I could indulge in a glitz and glam.

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Hotel recommendation: The centrally located Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa in Mission Bay, which was close to the zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland, and only an hour from Disneyland.

Where to eat: Ariel’s Grotto at Disneyland to earn FastPasses to view the “World of Color” nighttime water show.

Favorite dish on the menu: Anything shaped liked Mickey’s ears!

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Local attraction worth a drive-by: Goldfish Point at La Jolla Beach, where we found pelicans nesting, seals resting, a rocky coastline and beautiful blue water.

Something surprising we discovered on the trip: The average rainfall per year for San Diego is 12 inches, so the landscape was very brown.

Insiders’ tips: Southwest Airlines Vacations offers a direct flight from New Orleans to San Diego and was the least expensive roundtrip.

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Favorite historic landmark: Cabrillo National Monument, where the region’s first explorers landed in the area, offers a spectacular view of San Diego Bay.

Worth the splurge: Backstage pass at San Diego Zoo. We were able to feed a kangaroo, pet a rhinoceros, and learn about exotic animals.

We would suggest this trip to others because: Fabulous destination for families, beautiful coast and wonderful weather.