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  1. Default Alberta to Disneyland

    We're planning on taking our three young kids (ages 5, 2-1/2, and 5 months) on a 16 day road trip from Edmonton, Alberta through BC and along the coast to Disneyland then back through the shortest/quickest route home sometime in September or October, the timing primarily to avoid the summer Disneyland rush. We've never been on a road trip and the kids have never been in the car longer than 4 hours, but they are young enough that they still nap in the car so that helps. We'd like to stay in motels and travel about 10ish hours a day (leaving early in the am so they can swim at the motels in the evenings), unless it is a day we have planned to stop and sightsee, in which case a few hours less that day. With a stop in Seattle and Sandiego, how long and how much should we budget for? It is all so intimidating, I don't even know where to begin. We've been to Disneyland with the kids a couple of times before, but we always flew, but we'd like to drive this time to be able to see a bit more and to save a little bit, as flying was looking like $2200 just for the flights, plus we would have to rent a car once we are down there anyways. Ay tips on what to see in San Diego and San Fransico on a short stop? Where to stay overnights or tips for long days in the car with little ones? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    This should get you started - I'd recommend you go to San Diego on the way home from Disneyland. That way, you can miss most of the LA traffic on the way back. San Diego to Edmonton is about 1800 miles, which can be done in three 12+ hour days - I-15 all the way to the Canadian border. I would recommend you plan it for 4 days.

    Edmonton to LA via Seattle and SF is in the 2000 mile range, and if you want to sightsee I'd allow at least a week, if not more. Driving down the coast highways is a lot slower than taking the Interstates. How many days do you want to be at Disneyland?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Timing and Stuff

    Glad to see that you're planning this trip around what the kids need. That will make the whole trip a lot less stressful on both them and you. With ten hour days (including quick stops for the kids) you'll need a full four days at least for the drive down, but I'd actually schedule five so that you have a day or so to spread out at stops along the way. Besides, if you use significant portions of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, US-101/CA-1) the driving is going to be a fair bit slower. The drive back from San Diego (I concur with glc's recommendation that you do this as a separate destination after Anaheim) can be done in four days at your preferred pace, so that would let you get the kids home relatively early on the last day and let them get unpacked and re-accustomed to their own home before whatever they have to do the next day. So, you're looking at nine days total transit time, at a pace where the driving can be considered a fun part of the trip rather than a death march to be endured just to get somewhere. That leaves you a full week to visit Anaheim and San Diego.

    Next, let's look at roughly planning out each leg, down and back. It would be much to your advantage to determine where you'll stay each night before you leave. That way you can shop around from the comfort of your home for a motel with pool and possibly free wifi and breakfasts. That would leave one less significant decision to make each day and you'd know where 'there' is when the kids inevitably ask "Are we there yet?" At the pace you want to drive, good overnight stopping points would be in the vicinities of: (Southbound) Kamloops BC, Portland OR, Crescent City CA, and San Jose CA; (Northbound) Cedar City UT, Idaho Falls ID, Lethbridge AB. And, of course, your digs in Anaheim and San Diego. Note that the recommended southbound stops do not take into account how long you will spend in Seattle and so will probably have to be adjusted, but the principles of planning ahead and keeping a relatively easy pace still apply. As you can tell by the recommended stopping cities, I'm suggesting that you take as much of the coast road as possible south from Seattle. There are state and national parks, forests, and wildlife preserves all along the coast. The problem won't be finding something to do, but choosing from among the many options.

    Finally, on the way back, you'll be taking I-15 all the way from San Diego to the Canadian border. But even though this is a high-speed route, there are still plenty of spots along the way to take quick breaks. As for other spots to stop and things to see, what I'd do is after the adults get the basic route and stops planned out, mark it off on a good map or atlas, and let the kids have a look for any sites along the way that they'd particularly like to see and then build those into the trip so that the they feel a bit more invested in the entire journey.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-11-2013 at 12:50 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    As for what to see/do in San Diego, we have plenty. Off-hand there's the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Safari Park (AKA "Wild Animal Park"), and Sea World. But here's a whole thread about things here in the county where I live.


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