Nothing like last minute.
I researched online and finally decided on driving up to the cute, laid-back beach city of San Clemente - granted Encinitas is definitely both of those things and my beloved hometown...I just really wanted to get out of San Diego since the weather was going to be amazing (so I thought)...which meant extrememly overcrowded beaches. I felt like San Clemente is somewhat of a lesser frequented place to visit and we LOVED that it's only a short 45-minute drive away.
So I found an inexpensive place to stay, which was walking distance from North Beach - however I had researched a lot online, and found that I really wanted to check out "Calafia Beach". I read that it was more of a 'family-oriented' beach (yay), and from Google Maps, it seemed relatively quiet - meaning you couldn't see it from the main road, it wasn't really close to a lot of major hotels, and unlike North Beach, wasn't directly next to a train station (which I assumed would just make North Beach really busy with all the travelers coming by train). All in all - Calafia was the perfect beach! (read my Yelp review here).
We then went out to a restaurant called Nicks (review here) and coincidentally met up with a friend & his GF who were up there that weekend as well! We had yummy food, great company, good laughs, then headed back to the hotel (or "so-tell" as K kept calling it) and got ready for bed. I had told her about it a day before, that she'd get her own BIG bed to sleep in all by herself, but mamma & daddy would be right there in the same room sleeping with her too.
We wedged a few pillows around her, got her bundled up with 2 of her blankets from home, her Ariel doll and her soft Lambie...and we were all out by 9:45pm...late for her, early for us. She did great by morning, hadn't fallen off the bed or even woke up once, even when loud, rowdy people came back to their room late in the evening/early morning, and after my alarm went off at 5am...whoops! So I'd say for her first time, it was a huge success! OH, and she did amazingly with the 'potty' thing...it was a great, accident-free trip :-)
We had hoped to get a little more sun at the hotel's pool before checking out...but after breakfast we discovered that RAIN was coming through...some freak late summer, HOT, tropical-feeling storm - equipped with thunder & lightening. Random. Ahh well, we cozied up in the hotel and lounged all morning. K & I also strolled through the hotel courtyard while dadda slept a bit more ;-) YAY for fam trips, can't wait to do it again!!