Originally Posted by Chuckge
Since you said traveling with kids I would hit the orange county beaches, Laguna or Newport Beach. Visiting an amusement park in LA may be appealing to the kids and seeing a TV show being taped in person. Santa Barbara is nice. But where ever you end up expect crowds, expensive treks and very $7.00 gallon gasoline. Patience rules when visiting cali. Also the farther north you go the colder the water gets. Orange county beaches max. out at 70 degrees in august, Oregon beaches are not for swimming.
It was several months ago, but in CA we saw the greatest fluctuations in gas prices than anywhere on our journey across the country and back. Pass a gas station and go two or three blocks and gas at the next would be .30 - .50 cents per gallon higher.
But you are correct about the beaches. Unless you are into surfing the beaches are pretty to look at (which we did for over a week from our perch high above Hwy 1 in Malibu) but too cold for actual swimming. At least by someone who grew up on southern beaches on the Atlantic.
We stayed two public camp grounds in CA, both were nice and reasonably priced. The above campground in Malibu was the priciest place we stayed, we knew that going in, but we could have stayed other places off the beaten track, but neither of us would have missed our stay in Malibu.
Santa Barbara was a hidden gem. I would like to go back and visit the museums we were not able to visit because of the pandemic.
I was very disappointed that Hearst Castle did not reopen while we were in the Central Coast area. That means we must go back for another visit to the amazing property. We did get to visit San Luis Obispo again and were delighted by the butterflies in the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Pismo Beach, a morning well spent!