Vacation house in San Diego for a BIG family
March 17, 2015 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I've need to find a house in San Diego for my family vacation. This means 4 adult couples, 3 kids and 2 toddlers. I know about VRBO but the last time I was in San Diego was 10 years ago and stayed at a tiny hotel downtown, so I don't really know what areas to look at that would be nice for a summer vacation. Please help.

We would like to stay in an area that makes it practical to:
-have a pool
-go to the beach
-go sightseeing or shopping
-go grocery shopping
-anything else I might be missing but makes a family vacation enjoyable.

We would probably rent a couple of cars so transportation is not an issue, but we still would like to be close to things. I've heard that La Jolla is nice but know close to zero about it. I don't know about any other good areas, but would like to.

Any suggestions or recomentations from Mefites? We have a budget of around 2 to 5k dollars for two weeks.
posted by CrazyLemonade to Travel & Transportation around San Diego, CA (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are lot of big rentals in Carlsbad, which is about 30 miles from San Diego (and home to a place the kids might be interested in). My family stayed there once, and there were a lot of places with pools, it's near the beach and it's not too far from San Diego or other attractions.
posted by mogget at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2015

I recommend families stay in North County - Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, maybe Oceanside, maybe maybe Vista or San Marcos (the other cities are directly along the coast, Vista is a couple more miles inland and San Marcos is a good 10-15 miles, but is more upscale than Vista). Up there you're near Legoland, the outlet malls, the safari park, and then lots of beach-area commercial areas from Carlsbad down the coast highway to Del Mar. There's also a lagoon in Carlsbad that is calm water and has paddleboards/kayaks/waterbikes.

I used to work in Carlsbad and find the area more generally usable than the younger-oriented touristy areas down South.

North County is also a good hopping-off point if you're planning to go to Disney/California Adventure. It'll cut an hour (more, if you hit a rush hour) off your round trip.

La Jolla is nice, it's going to be more expensive and most accommodations are going to be smaller condo-y places, and getting in and out of that little peninsula is a bitch anywhere around rush hour.

If you'd rather put yourself in the middle, see if you can find houses in Tierrasanta or Serra Mesa. Nowhere near the ocean, but close to the I-15/8/163/52 nexus of roads that take you everywhere, and you'll be a lot closer to Mission Bay/Mission Valley. It's not at all vacation-rental territory like in North County, but there are some upscale neighborhoods in there that might just turn out to have some really good deals for a size that will be harder to find closer to the water.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:53 AM on March 17, 2015

I will basically 3rd Carlsbad.

-have a pool
-go to the beach
-go sightseeing or shopping
-go grocery shopping

Downtown San Diego does not have a beach. You can find houses for rent in Carlsbad. I will recommend you look between Carlsbad Village Drive (north boundary), Tamarack (south boundary), I-5 (east boundary) and the coast. If you find something to your liking in that area, you are in walking distance from one of the best beaches in the county and you are also potentially in walking distance from a Von's grocery store on Tamarack and an Albertson's grocery store on Carlsbad Village Drive (both not far from I-5, though one to the east of it and one to the west of it).

That would also put you in walking distance of Carlsbad Village Station, where you can catch a train to get to downtown San Diego in under an hour or go north to Oceanside and several other places.

La Jolla is lovely, but it is also one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation (#2, iirc). And much of it is what my son calls "suburban hell" -- endless housing surrounding a little oasis of shopping. If you have a car, you might not care. I walk everywhere and I was not real happy with it. It also, yes, has some geographic constraints where long stretches of north-south roads do not connect to each other because of relatively mountainous terrain. So I don't doubt that during rush hour, it gets pretty ugly. However, if you are Jewish, the Ralph's in La Jolla has the only kosher deli in the Ralph's chain and the largest kosher section I have ever seen in a grocery store.

Whether you stay in La Jolla or not, Torrey Pines State Park is something you should consider checking out. Also, a nifty destination potentially of interest to kids is the Geisel Library at UCLA (in La Jolla), where parts of the Dr. Seuss Collection are on display for parts of the year and which has a statue of Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat out front.
posted by Michele in California at 11:40 AM on March 17, 2015

I would actually go as far south as La Costa Ave, which is just south of the Batiquitos Lagoon and hits the 1 at the bottom of South Ponto beach. There are vacation houses all the way down along the Coast Highway - a lot of them are small (though possibly one property owner may have several condos/prefabs that are adjacent), but there's some bigger houses sprinkled in there.

There's another shopping center (Ralphs, fast food, bank, gas) at Poinsettia and Avenida Encinas, and then Poinsettia Station has a decent parking lot if you're taking the train.

And yes, do visit La Jolla if you don't stay there. My favorite morning is in La Jolla Cove: breakfast at Brockton Villa, and then walk along Scripps Park overlooking the underwater park and the sea lions, all the way up to Children's Pool (Point Mencinger) where there's a seawall overlooking the sea lion colony. There are stairs down to a beach on the underwater park (which means you'll see divers, ocean swimmers, kayakers, paddleboarders, AND sea lions everywhere).
posted by Lyn Never at 12:39 PM on March 17, 2015

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