This is my first post and it's very long, so please be kind. I am planning a trip to CA in mid-April. My mother lives in Orange County and my husband lived in SF over a decade ago, so I have some familiarity with those areas, but I am looking for recommendations for things I might otherwise miss. Here are the facts.
Our itinerary: We are flying in & out of SF, renting a car and driving down to spend a week in Newport Beach (at a time-share with a kitchen), stopping for a night in Solvang. During that week we will go to San Diego to go to Sea World. When we drive back up north, we will spend a few days in the city, with an excursion to Healdsburg to visit friends for a day or so. In total, we will be in CA for 13 days.
About us: We are from Boston and have 3 young kids (8,5,1) who are pretty good travelers, but are still kids with the usual interests and limitations. I love almost all food, but especially Mexican joints and farmers' markets and anything I can't get in Boston. My husband will consider the trip a success if he has an In-N-Out Burger and a Jamba Juice. We probably won't get a chance to go anywhere fancy, but may get a kid-free night in Newport Beach (right, mom?)
So where should I eat that will be exciting for me but won't offend my picky family? Considering we will be a traveling circus (adding my brother's family and my mom when we are in SoCal) what are some low key, inexpensive restaurants to try (or maybe take out from?) Where are some great farmers markets along our route? Is there anywhere we absolutely must stop along our drive for the kids? What are your best tips, Californians?
Also, should I post this on the other (LA,SF) boards? I don't want to be a board hog.