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Old 12-05-2011, 04:59 PM
 
727 posts, read 1,139,277 times
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Sonic - Though most recently transplanted from NoVA, I grew up in San Diego and both my relatives and in-laws are still in SoCal. There are many truly great places for a beach vacation throughout that area, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. San Diego is a great tourist town. Lots of things to do and great beaches. The zoo (and the wild animal park a few miles northeast of town) is world class and an absolutely "do not miss" stop. Also don't miss Sea World. As for beaches, it depends on what you're looking for. La Jolla (just north of town) has good surfing beaches, not to mention the picturesque town of La Jolla (bring cash). For family beaches, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach are all fine (typical SoCal beach vibe). I don't recommend the beaches south of San Diego (dicey area). You might also check out Mission Bay Park; no surf as it's the bay side but lots of grassy picnic areas. Also check out the beaches north of town: Del Mar, Torrey Pines (which has RV camping, btw), Carlsbad, San Clemente.

Personally, I don't prefer the LA experience; too much congestion, just too much of everything, but you must experience Venice Beach (near Santa Monica, also a great beach), just for the weird factor. Great people watching potential.

North of LA is Ventura (good surfing) and Santa Barbara, a beautiful area. Further north, there's the incredible Route 1 drive from San Luis Obispo north to Monterey through Big Sur. The Beach Boys wrote a song about that stretch of road. If you're driving south from Washington, you must take this drive, even if means adding a day or two to your trip (stop for lunch at Ventana or Nepenthe; great food, fantastic views).

OK, now to the budget (these are specifically for San Diego, as it's the area I know best, but probably applies to the other areas as well). Tip #1. Don't go to the beach in San Diego in the early summer. There is a layer of marine air that hangs right along the coast and doesn't burn off until mid-afternoon. The weather may be fantastic a half mile in, but at the beach, it'll be overcast and cold. Best time is in August, September and October.

Tip #2. Hotel prices are much higher "in season," i.e., during the summer. So, go "off season" in September or October, when the prices are lower and the weather is better.

Tip #3. The crowds in the summer can be pretty bad. Wait'll September or October, when the college kids are supposedly all back in school, and you'll have the beach largely to yourself.

Tip #4. There are many reasonably priced hotels very near the beach, but not on the beach. The ones that are beachfront are very expensive. So, check out the Holiday inn Express, the Fairfield Inn, etc., for more reasonable (note I didn't say cheap) accommodations. Last time I stayed in a hotel in SD, we were at a Holiday Inn Express in the Ocean Beach area (Rosecrans Blvd, if I remember correctly). I don't remember the exact, but I was surprised that I was able to get a room in a nice place for what I felt was a very reasonable amount. Located a couple of miles from the nearest beach. If you're willing to stay inland in the 'burbs' such as the town of La Mesa or East San Diego, near San Diego State University, about a 20 minute drive to Ocean Beach (I know, I did it many times while supposedly in class), and stay at a motel, you'll not have to pay beach prices. Bottom line, staying in San Diego, anyway, can be quite affordable.

Tip #5. Drive or Rent a car. SoCal is spread out and, while there is a good light rail line in San Diego, you'll still find you'll need a car, if for no other reason, convenience and time saving. Also, except for rush hour, San Diego isn't too bad for traffic. Nothing like LA.

Tip #5, Spend some time in downtown San Diego's Gas Light area. What used to be an area no one would want to be in after dark, has become the center of San Diego's night life. Good restaurants, bars, theaters. Also worth it to cross the bridge to Coronado and wander around the Hotel Del Coronado. It's an amazing structure (purported to be the largest wooden structure still in existence, and it was wired for electricity by Thomas Edison, himself). They shot the old movie, Some Like it Hot, at the Hotel Del. Very expensive to stay there, but Sunday Brunch is worth a splurge.

You mentioned the Outer Banks. San Diego beaches are much wider than the East Coast beaches, particularly those around Virginia Beach. Even at peak, it's not hard to find a relatively uncrowded beach in the San Diego area.

The other area I know something about is Santa Barbara. It's beautiful, with nice beaches, great restaurants and world class resort hotels. Brings loads of cash. Harder to find bargains here, but again, look just outside of town (Goleta, Carpinteria, Summerland, and you may find more affordable accommodations. You can always drive to SB for dinner.

To the best of my knowledge, all beaches in CA are open to the public. Even those chi-chi beach communities like Malibu must provide access to the beach.

BTW, if you're interested in a little spice to your beach trip, check out Black's Beach near Torrey Pines. Google Black's Beach for details.

OK, that's about all I can think of for the moment. If you have some specific questions, just ask.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Colorado
9,960 posts, read 6,362,456 times
Reputation: 17893
WOW, what a wealth of awesome info! You have any idea how long it would have taken me to Google research all of these insider details? LOL I really should hit Santa Barbara, I have a friend who lives there, whom I have talked to many times online but never met in person. It would be good to say hi at least. I did Google Black's Beach...holy veenerschnitzels Batman! haha...maybe if I could go WITHOUT the kids in tow... Not that I object to them seeing that necessarily, just that they'd be so busy laughing (like 2 little boys) at the scene, I'd be pretty embarrassed.

I'm planning on driving 101 through parts of Oregon and northern CA and then crossing back over to 5 to (hopefully) save some time. I could see myself visiting southern Cali from Colorado, but NOT the Pacific Northwest again...and since I don't know if I'm going to be back up here I feel we need to do the Oregon coast drive & see some redwoods too before we leave. Most adventuring will wait though, because it's a long trip to be doing in December on limited funds. We'll see more of 1 along the CA coast another (warmer) time.

Thanks again Carrera32...hopefully the OP can be happy too, that if they come this way they're not necessarily giving up the beaches to get the mountains. It's not exactly easy to hit a decent beach from northern VA either after all. I didn't like Virginia Beach, was always so crowded with idiots, we enjoyed the mellowness of a beach house on the Outer Banks more.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:57 PM
 
727 posts, read 1,139,277 times
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Sonic - I agree that 5 is faster, but oh, so boring. Be sure and check the weather forecast before cutting over. That whole valley that 5 runs through from Stockton down to SoCal is often blanketed in really bad fog. I've forgotten which time of the year it's most prevalent. That stretch has been the site of some epic accidents (a hundred or more cars at a time) more than once. I was caught in it on one trip (trying to save time), and it cost me 8 hours of white knuckle driving and after all that, I didn't save any time. 101 is a more scenic drive, though a bit slower, and not as prone to the heavy fog.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:53 PM
 
23 posts, read 44,177 times
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Your very right "Mike for back east" money sure seems to go further in Colorado Springs.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Colorado
9,960 posts, read 6,362,456 times
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Wow I didn't know that...I mean I knew about the fog but thought it would be as bad or worse along the coast on 1/101 because of the whole "marine layer" thing...I don't honestly know which would be worse, a windy cliffside road shrouded in thick fog or a lunatic freeway of super highspeediness similarly fogged up...either way sounds dangerous as all heck!

I'm keeping my options wide open and not committing to any particular route for sure until I am close enough to have good weather & road reports. Thank goodness for the internet! You never know what Mother Nature is gonna do until she's about to do it!
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:24 PM
 
727 posts, read 1,139,277 times
Reputation: 766
Didn't mean to spook you. Just check the weather forecast and you should be fine. Have a great trip.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,706 posts, read 2,936,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utter9989 View Post
Thank you all so very much for your shared knowledge. Terytee, you're right on it My wife and I are living right behind the gov't center next to coastal flats as well, and we're pay $1925.00 for a 985 sqft apartment with no garage, but nice conveniences).
I pay about that for my mortgage, taxes, and insurance. 1/2 acre lot, 3000 sq foot home, 3 car garage that backs up to a greenway and has drop dead gorgeous mountain and city views. Oh and I'm in an excellent school district, 1 mile from Costco, Target, excellent restaurants, etc...
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:42 PM
 
556 posts, read 813,047 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utter9989 View Post
Hello everyone,

My wife and I are seriously contemplating moving to Colorado Springs from Northern Virginia. As for jobs we will be making about the same financially (Maybe a little less) with much lower expenses on average. We are most interested in hearing from those who have made a similar move and your perspective.

Things we like about Virginia: Strong history, many beach destinations, rolling hills close by, wineries, green, beautiful fall/spring, close proximity to D.C, day trips to other major cities, schools, the many small towns nearby, the whole Northern Virginia area just seems so clean, Incomes are very good-strong economy, lots of healthy eating selections (whole foods is everywhere)

Things that we tend to dislike (but we

manage):
People
(NOT ALL) seem very eccentric and very career focused (Career is important
but balance between work, family, and outdoors adventure are my objectives),
people seem stressed fairly often, traffic is very challenging (I mean very), summers compete with southern Florida, average home price (4bdrm. 3 bath,
1/4 acre) seems to be around 500,000 and still may require some additionalworkmanship, customer service seems to lack here.



What we are looking to achieve: Better quality of life to raise our children, "live and let live attitude"- everyone is
interested in what I do for income , as always a friendly welcoming
environment, hiking (wife hates hiking/camping in Virginia due to bugs and
humidity), camping, mtn.biking, great snow skiing, wineries, shows/events,
sense of fitness/health, boating with scenery, interesting small day trips,
gorgeous mountain views, clean air/water (we like to be
outside).



Thanks in advance for your help, this has been a very challenging decision, so I look to those who have made a similar move and again your thoughts.
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
I've been there once, it's a beautiful city, a lot to do there, Pikes Peak,
but the weather is unpredictable, lol!
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:58 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,730,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_hug99 View Post
I pay about that for my mortgage, taxes, and insurance. 1/2 acre lot, 3000 sq foot home, 3 car garage that backs up to a greenway and has drop dead gorgeous mountain and city views. Oh and I'm in an excellent school district, 1 mile from Costco, Target, excellent restaurants, etc...
That sounds like what I would expect for 1925 in CS. More than I expect to be able to buy, but it shows the vast difference between costs in NOVA and CS. Of course with rates being what they are, PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) is significantly cheaper than rent for the vast majority of places.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:57 AM
 
8 posts, read 7,730 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you for all the helpful information. We are thinking of relocating to CS from FL. We have ONLY ever lived here and have watched our town go downhill tremendously. We are not coming there with a lot of money and will not be able to afford too much in rent, but we have 2 children (10 & 12) and desperately want to avoid any "bad" areas. We have read a lot of your forums, but I was wondering if there are any areas, maybe in school district 20 where rent is not too high. Also, I see where you had said Pueblo may have gang activity, is there any other areas that we stay away from?
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