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California road trip

Edinburgh, United...
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California road trip

Hi

We are considering doing a road trip in California but are currently undecided whether to fly in and out of San Francisco or go one way - in to San Fran and out of Vegas.

We are currently thinking of flying into San Fran, down the coast highway 1, a few nights in Vegas and then back up through Yosemite and Napa Valley - just concerned this may be a little over ambitious? We have 17 days - 17 June to 4 July. Difficult to know having never done anything this before.

Alternative is to fly into San Fran down the coast and in to Vegas, fly home from there. Although not sure if it would be feasible to pack Yosemite into this too?

Any advice or comments would be hugely appreciated!!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: California road trip

Hi

Altho' your itinerary includes a peek into Nevada, it's mostly in California. So the Top Questions on the California state forum will really help you. You'll find suggested itineraries, descriptions of the coastal drive, a description of the drive between Yosemite and Las Vegas, and more.

You don't mention Los Angeles. I'm not sure if it's on your "wish list", but here's how to do those basic itineraries.

SFO - SF - {pick up rental car when you're ready to leave} - Yosemite Valley - Monterey - Cambria / Pismo Beach - L.A. - Las Vegas - LAS

SFO - SF - Yosemite Valley - {eastern Sierra! to} Lone Pine - {drive through Death Valley NP to} Las Vegas - L.A. - Pismo Beach - Monterey - SFO Note that Monterey is about 2 hrs from SFO but Yosemite Valley is 4 hrs. That's why I suggest the clockwise direction, but either way works. This loop includes DVNP and the eastern Sierra.

Some folks would also include the Grand Canyon (5 hrs from Las Vegas and 8 hrs from L.A.) and some would include Anaheim (an hour south of L.A. and the home of Disneyland.)

Some folks visit the famous winery regions of the Napa Valley or the Sonoma Valley, while some visit the less know regions near Santa Barbara (Santa Ynez) or near Cambria (Paso Robles.)

Without knowing anything about your travel style, travel group, or wish list, any suggestions we give will be fairly generic and may totally miss the mark for what you're seeking. Can you give us some clues?

Whatever you end up deciding, if Yosemite is part of the itinerary you MUST get lodging reservations soon. Some options for Yosemite booked up last June for June 2014. Tips on the Yosemite NP forum page.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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2. Re: California road trip

Here is a framework of a very doable itinerary.

http://goo.gl/maps/7EjX3

SFO - SF, pick up a car your last day in SF and drive to St Helena (Napa Valley) - Yosemite Valley - Monterey - Santa Barbara - Las Vegas.

You can add other areas like LA or the Grand Canyon National Park. It just depends on what kind of experiences you are looking for.

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: California road trip

Thanks for your help and suggestions - the route we looked at taken was this:

https://www.google.com/maps?saddr=san+fransico&daddr=Monterey,+CA,+United+States+to:35.8495195,-121.407721+to:santa+barbara+to:las+vegas+to:yosemite+national+park+to:napa+valley+to:san+francisco&hl=en&ll=36.421282,-118.795166&spn=7.661587,14.27124&sll=36.27085,-118.795166&sspn=7.67636,14.27124&geocode=FVJmQAIdKAe0-CkhAGkAbZqFgDH_rXbwZxNQSg%3BFa55LgId7Ai8-CmR-7VwUuSNgDFePUrYCUlI7g%3BFS8FIwIdF3fD-Cm9-2cp8rySgDG_B1seW5iAtg%3BFV44DQId8ozd-CnVgy1vxxTpgDFIdrrXZDrRyA%3BFRMRJwIdDpoi-Snt0GhUXsTIgDFiS0G46mOE-Q%3BFY3GQQIdZ_3f-CH-A4DtLJwkLSnF7Ir1nfCWgDH-A4DtLJwkLQ%3BFShbSgIdJmm0-Cmtsa479VSEgDHjpp2ghDc6hg%3BFVJmQAIdKAe0-CkhAGkAbZqFgDH_rXbwZxNQSg&mra=ls&via=2&t=m&z=7

Want to cram in as much as possible. Not too fussed about seeing LA and also willing to miss Las Vegas if we don't have the time. Do you think this would be too much to fit into a 17 day trip? (return flight from San Francisco) or best to go one way? Ideally we want to have some flexibility to stay in some places a little longer if we really like them and also don't want to be driving all day everyday.

Also is better to book hotels in advance or wait until arrival?

Thanks

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: California road trip

Or alternatively - taking the route back up through Death Valley...

https://www.google.com/maps?saddr=san+fransico&daddr=Monterey,+CA,+United+States+to:35.8495195,-121.407721+to:santa+barbara+to:las+vegas+to:36.4902027,-117.8718807+to:36.5740223,-117.9972003+to:36.7969252,-118.1961738+to:37.0924118,-118.2484863+to:37.4117518,-118.5510189+to:yosemite+national+park+to:napa+valley+to:san+francisco&hl=en&ll=36.544949,-119.278564&spn=3.825774,7.13562&sll=36.297418,-118.66333&sspn=3.83798,7.13562&geocode=FVJmQAIdKAe0-CkhAGkAbZqFgDH_rXbwZxNQSg%3BFa55LgId7Ai8-CmR-7VwUuSNgDFePUrYCUlI7g%3BFS8FIwIdF3fD-Cm9-2cp8rySgDG_B1seW5iAtg%3BFV44DQId8ozd-CnVgy1vxxTpgDFIdrrXZDrRyA%3BFRMRJwIdDpoi-Snt0GhUXsTIgDFiS0G46mOE-Q%3BFdrLLAId-Gr5-Ck9qtm5GIHAgDFDQo8x9gTr6A%3BFUYTLgIdcIH3-CnR3GXfUIC_gDE8GzjIn3mlnQ%3BFf15MQIdM3j0-CnHOnYK5b2_gDHFPc96XNuWvQ%3BFTv8NQId2qvz-CnhpuV707S_gDF6umAVGGPVEg%3BFafbOgIdFg7v-ClvDIeI2Ru-gDF2jO6cFLcPaw%3BFY3GQQIdZ_3f-CH-A4DtLJwkLSnF7Ir1nfCWgDH-A4DtLJwkLQ%3BFShbSgIdJmm0-Cmtsa479VSEgDHjpp2ghDc6hg%3BFVJmQAIdKAe0-CkhAGkAbZqFgDH_rXbwZxNQSg&mra=dpe&mrsp=7&sz=8&via=2,5,6,7,8,9&t=m&z=8

Uden, The...
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5. Re: California road trip

Can't open that link.

Scott gave you a great route and if you are not that interested in Las Vegas or Los Angeles you can drive from Las Vegas to GCNP, to Sedona and leave from Phoenix.

You definitely need reservations for Yosemite, Grand Canyon and along the coast that time of year.

Cleveland
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6. Re: California road trip

Here's a thread that may have some useful information.

tripadvisor.com/…54333470

Also read relevant threads on this forum for many months and relevant trip reports in the trip report "sticky" thread at the top of this forum.

Good planning!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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7. Re: California road trip

MickeyMoosie ~ when you're on Google Maps, click the chain link symbol on the upper left side near the map. Then tick the box for Short URL. I modified your map a bit to create this one: http://goo.gl/maps/Fv0ph Mine has I-280 south from San Francisco (note the spelling), through Death Valley and all the way into Yosemite Valley, to the airport at the end.

>> Ideally we want to have some flexibility to stay in some places a little longer if we really like them and also don't want to be driving all day everyday. Also is better to book hotels in advance or wait until arrival?<<

No reservations might work for a few destinations if you're visiting in January. It won't work at all for May - October, and it never works for really popular places like Yosemite. You have to decide now which places best match your travel style and make reservations.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: California road trip

Think the OP is coming june/july.

Washington State
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9. Re: California road trip

I guess I wasn't clear.

If the OP doesn't want to make reservations, then he needs to visit in January. If he is visiting in the summer (big time for tourism) like Jun 17 - Jul 4, then he needs to make reservations. Those folks who share trip reports with friends about not needing reservations any time are probably not visiting California in the summer. Or maybe they're the people who end up in highway motels two hours away from Yosemite Valley & have to drive into the Park every day or the ones who end up staying in a sketchy motel in Santa Maria near gang activity.

Uden, The...
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10. Re: California road trip

Yes, I agree!