Visiting San Diego: Part Two

We went on vacation to San Diego a couple of weeks ago.  It was my first time there and we had a great time.  Before we went, I googled things to do in San Diego and talked to my friends that had been there to figure out the best places to go see.  This is part two of my post.  See part one about Legoland, the zoo and beaches here.

Here a few of the other things that we did.

Sea World
Going to Sea World was kind of a last minute decision.  We went in the afternoon at 2:30 and stayed until 8:30 or 9:00.  In the end we had fun, but I would have rather spent the money elsewhere.  My daughter liked the roller coasters at SeaWorld.  We enjoyed seeing some of the sea life, especially the penguins, sharks and beluga whales.  The kids liked the dolphin and killer whale show.  We didn't go on all the rides, since the wait for some was a crazy long time.

San Diego Mormon Battalion Historical Site
 Visiting the Mormon Battalion HIstorical Site was one of my favorite things we did in San Diego.

It's located in Old Town and tours are given by sister missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Even if you're not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I recommend visiting this.  The site was remodeled five years ago, so if you haven't been there since then, you should go again.  It's free, fun, really well done and teaches a lot about the settling of San Diego.

You go on a 30 minute guided tour and travel with the pioneers from Iowa to San Diego.  The kids get to dress up like soldiers, sit on rocks that shake and rumble during the Battle of the Bulls, and learn about a few people that made the trek.  At the end of the tour the kids can pan for gold, learn how to wash clothes with a washtub, and see how they made bricks.  My kids loved it.

You also get your picture taken with your family.  They print out a copy of the picture for you to keep and you can email it to yourself.  And it's free (unlike most things in San Diego)!

Old Town

My kids didn't even want to walk through Old Town because it couldn't compare with what they just saw at the Mormon Battalion Site.  We stayed in Old Town for five minutes.  I've heard that it's fun to eat at one of the restaurants.

San Diego LDS Temple

The San Diego temple is right off the freeway.  It's beautiful, especially at night.  My kids love to visit temples wherever we vacation.  It's a beautiful, peaceful place.

Downtown San Diego

We ate downtown one evening, so afterwards we walked around.  The kids loved walking by the huge USS Midway.  They have some fun statues to take picture with that pay tribute to soldiers.

Where we stayed:

We spent most of the time in the Courtyard by Marriot by the Marina and the Navy Base.  It was a beautiful setting and a great location.
It was 10 minutes to almost everywhere, expect Legoland is a bit more north.  There was a great path that went right along the water, a huge park to the north of the hotel with a really fun playground.  Within a five minute walk you could get to Panera Bread, Five Guys and Trader Joes.  It was ten minutes to lots of other restaurants and a Target.  It was also about ten minutes to the beach and Sea World.

My kids loved the pool and wanted to swim all the time.  There isn't a breakfast, but they have a little fridge, so we just bought milk and cereal and ate in our room.  I would definitely stay there again.

We spent a few nights at a Hampton Inn in Del Mar.  Not the nicest Hampton Inn that I've stayed in, but it wasn't bad.  It's a short drive to the beach and lots of restaurants.

Side note...I don't recommend staying at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix.  We booked a night at one because we've had great experiences at Embassy Suites wherever we've traveled.  But this one in North Phoenix was a dump.  It is a motel, not a hotel and is not up to par with other Embassy Suites.  The breakfast was good, but I wouldn't stay there again.  We were going to move to another Embassy Suites in Tempe, but read reviews that it wasn't much better.

So, that's it!  My first trip to San Diego.  What about you?  Have you been there?  What are your favorite spots in San Diego?