“‘What shall you do all your vacation?’ asked Amy. ‘I shall lie abed and do nothing.’ replied Meg.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women.

Last summer we took our first family vacation with all four kids (ages 3, 9, 11, & 11). We’d taken the older three to New York (will post that trip another day), and it was AMAZING! So, we figured it was time to take the leap into full on, nobody’s staying at Grammy’s house, vacation! It couldn’t have gone better! Well, except for the weather, but more on that in Day 2: Zoo Day. The itinerary worked out perfect for the ages of our girls. We like to stay busy and make the most of our travels. The girls also asked if I could make sure we weren’t at the beach ALL DAY–a mix of seeing San Diego and still having time for fun in the sun. So here is what I came up with:

Day 1: Travel Day

12:00 pm – Arrive at San Diego International Airport
1:00 pm – Car Rental / Toddler’s Travels
2:00 pm – The Baked Bear @ Pacific Beach
2:30 pm – Crystal Pier @ Pacific Beach
4:00 pm – Check In @ Windansea Condo
5:00 pm – Windansea Beach Time
7:30 pm – Dinner @ Duke’s La Jolla

Sisters getting ready to fly!

After renting an SUV at the airport, we drove straight to Toddler’s Travels. This is a company I found where you can rent various baby/toddler items. The pick-up and drop-off instructions were very easy. Plus, it’s only a couple minutes from the airport. We chose to do the pick-up option over airport delivery (but that is available too). There are various baby gear items you can rent, but all we needed for this trip was a stroller and car seat. We picked those up and headed to our first destination…The Baked Bear in Pacific Beach.

The Baked Bear is a nice stop after a long plane ride. It takes you right up to the ocean, but also lets you get a sweet snack to start your vacation off right! I recommend the Ice Cream Sandwich: Chocolate Chip Cookie & Bear Batter Ice Cream. Delicious! Next walk over to Crystal Pier. You can walk out over the ocean and catch a nice breeze. There are good photo ops here. You can also rent fishing gear and fish off the pier!

After taking in the views and a quick walk on Pacific Beach, we were ready to check in to our HomeAway from home. We chose to stay at an oceanfront condo in La Jolla on the legendary Windansea Beach. The views from our condo were AMAZING! We had a perfect place to watch the sunset every night. The condo itself was a little retro, but the bathrooms were very nice and updated. I liked the overall feel of the condo. It was almost like we were a family from the 70’s living in our San Diego beach home. Very fun! There were plenty of beds for our family of 6, which can be hard to come by for a large family on vacation. I could go on and on about why this was the perfect spot of us, but you can check it out for yourself here. Also, the picture below is what you will see from your balcony. It is worth noting, parking can be a real pain in La Jolla, but this condo comes with your very own private parking in the driveway!! Parking spot for the win!

Hazy morning on Windansea Beach in La Jolla, California with iconic surfer shack. Photo Credit: iStock: Sherry Smith

We threw on our swimsuits and hit the beach after getting settled into the condo. The kids were anxious to get in the water…which to us Texans was a little chilly. 🙂 Windansea Beach had some pretty big waves, so it wasn’t the most kid friendly place to let them explore, but it is a great spot to watch the surfers! After a quick shower, we loaded up the car and headed to Duke’s La Jolla for dinner. Be sure to make reservations, and ask to sit on the patio. Duke’s has a nice kid’s menu and a great view of the sunset. The Mango BBQ Ribs were a hit from the kid’s menu (called Keiki Menu), and I enjoyed the Fish Tacos. It was a wonderful way to end the long travel day. We went home with full tummies and big plans for tomorrow!

Sunset view from the balcony.

Stay Tuned for San Diego Family Vacation: Day 2 – Zoo Day!