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The Unofficial Guide to California with Kids (Unofficial Guides) [Paperback]

Colleen Dunn Bates , Susan LaTempa , Menasha Ridge
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Nov 2010 Unofficial Guides (Book 265)
  • California is the most visited state in the United States, Disneyland is the United States′ second most visited theme park, and California′s national parks attract almost 30 million visitors a year.
  • Los Angeles—as the fourth largest destination for domestic travel in the U.S. and the second–ranked destination for overseas visitors, behind only New York—welcomed 25 million visitors in 2008. San Francisco is ranked in the top 10 most visited US cities, with over 15 million visitors per year. Neighboring Napa County greeted 4 million visitors in 2008, and Sonoma Valley hosted 7 million visitors.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 7th Edition edition (26 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470621079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470621073
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 921,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Author

An honest, personal, hands-on family guide to California
Susan LaTempa and I have been traveling California since our own childhoods, and we've spent the last 16 years seeing the state through our children's eyes. We worked hard to make this guidebook honest, personal, and practical. We steer clear of the chains and tourist traps, and steer readers to the places that really have local color and kid appeal. We're especially proud of the extensive outdoor recommendations, for all the cool things to do, from kayaking to camping to cycling along the beach. You'll find our favorite campsites, the best luxury resorts, restaurants that make parents and kids happy, loads of outdoor family adventures, and every sort of amusement, from Disneyland to real ghost towns. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

From the publishers of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

"A Tourist′s Best Friend!"
Chicago Sun–Times

The New York Times

Five Great Features and Benefits offered ONLY by The Unofficial Guide:

  • Straight shooting on planning a great trip for the whole family, from toddlers to teens to parents

  • Where to bike, surf, camp, hike, kayak, snorkel, whale–watch, and play on the beach

  • Insider advice on how to have big–time fun on a small–time budget

  • The best family–friendly restaurants, lodging, and attractions throughout California

  • A complete sourcebook for first–time visitors to long–time residents, day–trippers to vacation planners

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly light on information 5 Dec 2008
By jsm999
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've bought 3 editions of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyworld Florida, which is an incredibly informative, comprehensive and useful guide. However, I was disappointed in the Unofficial Guide to California with Kids, which lacks the (sometimes excessive) detail, the humour, and the mix of enthusiasm and criticism that makes the DW Florida guide such a gem.

For a start, California with Kids doesn't cover Disneyland California properly - you have to pay out for a separate book about that. There's a map of the main park and a list of attractions but not important information like height restrictions. There's very little about the second park (CA Adventure). Much of the little it does include is given over to general chat - if they were restricted for space, I would have preferred some practical information. It did feel like they'd done this on purpose to make you buy the separate park guide. But then, there was similarly scant information about other parks like Knott's Berry Farm - not even enough to decide whether it would be worth a visit for my family.

Secondly, California is so big and varies so much within the state, it's very hard to cover in a single book - I'd hoped that by focussing on things to do with children, we might be able to single out some good places to visit and some useful tips. However, the coverage of each location and attraction is very superficial, and felt very uncritical. There is a lot of useful information, but I found it needed to be supplemented with more detail from other guides to the area.

My other criticism is with the page headings. The book is divided into geographical Parts, each subdivided into areas, but the page headings only show you which Part you're in, not which area.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
We loved our trip, and carried this book everywhere. Even though our kids were only 4 weeks and nearly 3, we still got a lot of value and a lot of ideas of where to visit and where to eat. The things the book overlooks is first the astonishing amount of play grounds, even within the Cities that are well worth a detour and for sleep deprived and jet lagged parents are a real treat - sitting in the California sunshine with a Grade Latte while you little honey climbs and slides is better than Disney world when they are only babies. The other lacking is SHOPPING. We passed OshKosh outlets that we would have planned to visit had we known about them. For folks with older kids there is masses to do and explore, the guide to how to get the best from the theme parks is spot on, together with sound advice on not over doing it, and how a 6 foot mouse may be a little frightening for a 2 year old!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has Good and Bad Points 28 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good Points: Give good descriptions of attractions, including an estimate of how long you'll want to spend, and practical issues like availablity of food/strollers/etc.
Good descriptions of natural sights (beaches, parks) as well as man-made attractions.
Bad Points: Seems to take a very narrow view of what kids are going to enjoy. Why assume that no child is capable of enjoying an art museum? Or, as the authors states flatly, that kids hate scenery, and that your teen would much rather stay home with his friends than actually travel with his family? (Author suggests spending time at the local malls if you are travelling with teens!) Or that kids won't eat anything but hamburger-based kid's menus?
Given that the book is covering a large geographic area, and given the author's abovementioned narrow view of 'kid-friendliness', many important attractions aren't mentioned at all.
Only a few accomodations recommendations are given, and most are very expensive.
(This review, incidently, applies to all the books in this series; California, Florida, and Washington DC).
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful 3 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I found the Unofficial Guide to California with Kids to be very helpful in planning our family vacation. It gave detailed information about everything from beaches to theme parks as well as suggestions on where to bike, camp, hike, snorkle, and whale watch. It has information on family friendly restaurants and lodging, including prices, maps, meals served, types of payments accepted, children's menu availability, as well as which restaurants accept reservations. The Unofficial Guide helped us to pick and choose which attractions to visit by giving a specific rating for each age group, as well as admission prices, average touring time, and what services and facilities are available. All in all the Unofficial Guide to California with Kids helped us to have a GREAT family vacation!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could Be Better. Disappointing! 5 Mar 2003
By A Customer - Published on
I have the first edition of this book, and when I first moved to the LA area, it was great to have...but, I find it lacking a lot now that I know more about the area. It doesn't mention the Huntington Gardens, or the Rose Bowl, or Descanso Gardens (cool tiny train that runs on weekends)or other kid friendly venues. I found the restaurant listings's are everywhere, and I tend not to make one a special destination when I'm on a daytrip!
I recommend getting an up-to-date California guidebook (Lonely Planet or some such) and decide where to go based on your child's and your inclinations, and ignore the ubiquitous malls that you can find anywhere in country.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be a tourist in your own backyard 21 Jan 2003
By Shuzam - Published on
I live in southern California, and this book has inspired countless Saturday family outings. I had no idea what was in my own backyard! It is fabulous to have someone's advice on what is worth spending the time, with kids, in traffic for. We have loved this book-and hope to find a similar one when we move to Philadelphia!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planning a trip with twin, toddler boys just got easier! 15 May 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
With toddler twin boys that we love to take on many trips, this book has become a wonderful guide for us. We always wonder if a place we might like to go would be appropriate for our young sons, and with this book in our hands, we can find out. In addition, it has given us some ideas on places to take them, that we did not know about or had not considered. A must have for families that plan to spend a lot of time checking out all California has to offer.
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