Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

It’s true that applying to colleges can be stressful for kids these days, with increasingly selective colleges and the race to produce high test scores and grades. And touring colleges can add some tension to that mix.  Touring colleges with your teen can also be an  amazing bonding experience you will never forget.

On our college road trip through Southern California, my daughter and I had ended 2 days of college tours with treatments at the Sheraton Carlsbad Ocean Pearl Spa. I opted for the personalized massage, assuming that meant we would choose an oil or two that I liked and that the masseuse would personalize the pressure. That part was true but Mary, my masseuse, addressed my head cold with essential healing oils that would soothe my

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

stuffy head. She used different oils and on different parts of my body and her intuitive method made for one of the best massages I have ever had.

Auriel was very tuned in to my teen daughter’s body and stress level and provided an unforgettable scalp, neck and shoulders massage. Spa treatments can be expensive (the Ocean Pearl Spa’s range from $65 to $155) and I can confidently recommend both of these treatment providers at Ocean Pearl Spa.

Not just for college bound teens

The family friendly Sheraton Carlsbad is also great for Legoland bound families. The hotel has a ‘secret’ back door entrance to the theme park, allowing you to skip the lines and head right to the rides or take a break from the crowds with a swim or a rest during the day.

My daughter and I were lucky to be in Southern California, so we could hike or walk on the beach for free. And we did. I also borrowed a friend’s bike and took a trip down the ocean front bike path.

Foodies take note

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

TWENTY/20, the signature restaurant, puts a spin on local cuisine with farm-to-coast cuisine. Organic and local produce is featured and there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options. Their recent million dollar renovation attracts locals which translates to constant attention to quality and options – great for tourists passing through.

Outdoor couches and heat lamps, along with a large outdoor fireplace, make the restaurant comfy and welcoming year round. We loved the grilled salmon and kale caesar salad and would order that again. And again. We were not wild about the fig flatbread – too sweet for us.  The first night, I had a cold and was looking forward to a bowl of soup from room service.  I did not care for the butternut squash or the chicken soup (included brine, which made it too sour for me). The cold got the best of my tastebuds but the good news is that the staff kept trying to make it right.