Exploring With Visitors – Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Six Flags – July 2017

July has been a good month! We enjoyed a weekend at Newport and Laguna Beach, then spent a weekend a little closer to home with a trip to Downtown LA. Then from the middle of the month we’ve had my brother and my niece to stay. They left yesterday and the house feels very quiet today.

I’m definitely getting used to the drive to LAX, it used to make me really anxious just thinking about it but now I’m totally fine with it. If you haven’t experienced it, LA traffic is chaos! Every freeway has about 8 lanes in each direction and it is a bit of a free for all (think people driving far too close to each other, very fast, weaving around the traffic and you get the picture).

When you have visitors you end up going back to places you’ve already been, as they usually want to see the main attractions. I don’t mind as I love showing people around, but I am also looking forward to ticking off some new places soon.

Here’s what we got up to while they were here:

Beach Day at Santa Monica

I love the beach at Santa Monica. It’s just over an hour away from us and the beach is huge! We packed the cooler full of drinks, stocked up on snacks and headed down to the beach for the day. The weather was gorgeous and we had a full day of sunbathing, playing beach games and swimming in the huge waves.

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Las Vegas

We had already planned to go to Vegas for a couple of days as my brother really wanted to see it. It’s only about a 4 hour drive from us, so if you are coming all this way it would be rude not to! After stopping off an outlet to do a bit of shopping, we arrived in Vegas. We booked the Mandalay Bay hotel as the pool there is the best I’ve been too. They have a fake beach, wave machine and a lazy river. We spent the afternoon by the pool before exploring the strip at night.

We spent most of our time in Vegas wandering around the hotels. Vegas is one of those places you can spend hours just walking as there is so much to see in all of the hotels, and lots of shopping!

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

California is known for it’s theme parks, and my niece wanted to go to one while they were here. We have already done Disney and Universal, and as she is 15 she is into big rollercoasters rather than Mickey Mouse, so we decided on Magic Mountain, which is a Six Flags theme park known for it’s record breaking rollercoasters. I don’t mind some rides, but I’m a bit of a wimp and the ‘max thrill’ were not for me, I was quite happy to hold the bags most of the day!

If you are into rollercoasters this is the park for you. It is packed full of them. The park isn’t huge either so it didn’t take ages to walk from one ride to another, they are literally on top of each other. I went on a few, but my favourites are the water rides. It was a boiling hot day so we didn’t mind getting wet, but we made the mistake of getting absolutely soaked on the rapids just as the sun was disappearing, oops!

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Exploring Venice Beach

In need of another beach day, we headed down to Venice, which is just a couple of miles along the coast from Santa Monica. We went a little bit later in the day with plans to watch the sunset, but the cloud came in later which was disappointing. We parked up and explored the Venice canals which is somewhere we haven’t really been, then headed down to the beach for a few hours. Again, the waves were huge and we spent ages playing in the ocean. I’m really going to miss that when we leave.

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Hollywood and Mamma Mia at the Hollywood Bowl

We spent their last day visiting Hollywood, seeing the sign, the walk of fame, and the handprints outside the Chinese theater. I’d booked tickets to see Mamma Mia at the Hollywood Bowl as a surprise for my niece (it’s her favourite film) so we headed there while the guys went to the baseball. The show was amazing! It was such a great way to end their trip.

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We’ve got quite a lot planned for August, next weekend it’s my birthday and we heading up to Carmel to go camping, and a week later we’ve got more visitors, although we have booked an airbnb in Huntington Beach for a week which I am really looking forward to.

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