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Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

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Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

Hi,we are hoping to plan a trip to California next summer,we want to visit San Francisco,followed by a couple of days in Vegas(mainly to take in the Grand Canyon from there),and then finish off with 10 weeks or so at a beach resort.I've heard that the San Diego area is fine for beaches,and also there is a lot to see in that area,got a friend who has stayed in the Gaslamp area.

Basically I'd like to have some opinions on the fesibility of doing this trip,and if it is worth driving from San Francisco to Vegas and then onto San Diego,or would it be better to fly?

We are flying from the UK,so plan to go to SF first and then fly home from San Diego.

Sorry if this appears complicated but I want to make sure I get it right,we are a family of 4 and it will be the last chance to have this break with our 18 year old son before he flies the nest and off to uni!


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1. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.


Good news is that with 3 weeksand the open jaws flights you have the time for a great holiday!!

My route would be

San Francisco (3 or 4 nights)

Down the coast to Carmel\Big Sur (2 or 3 nights)

Yosemite (3 nights)

leave by the Tiega Pass then south to Death Valley

for an overnight stop

LAS Vegas - 3 nights

South Rim of the Grand Canyon 2 nights

Sedoana - 2 nights

San Diego - balance

Couple of tips and something to consider....

I think stayin the parks is much better than being in a village on the ouskirts - but accom books up ages in advance so finalise your itinery asap to get a choice of lodging at Yosemite ans the Grand Canyon - we particularly enjoy staying in the cabins

Best time to see Grand Canyon is sunrise and sunset - another reason to be in the park

DO visit La Jolla in SAn Diego - arrive early, see the seals, have some time on the beach, than lunch at Georges - go to the teraace level on the top floor - great food good prices outstanding viewes

to consider.......

Yosemite is absolutely great - do NOT miss it!!

BUT the Grand Canyon is genuinely awesome - depending how fit you all are you may want to spend more time there and hike down to Phantom Ranch - where you can stay over for a night or 2 - they do 2 fixed menus - steak or stew

the first time we wnt to the us as a family the boys loved disney but by the last visit they were 16 and 18 and old (and fit) enough to hike to the bottom of the grand canyon and also to go white water rafting further up the Colorado

let me know if you need more detail - we have been 2 las vegas 6 times, the grand canyon 4 and san diego twice

flying into san fran in September and will be taking in yosemite again

Washington State
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2. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

I like beeble's itinerary ~ good length of time at each destination. If you don't have time to make these wonderful stops (Monterey, Yosemite, Death Valley) then the flights from SF to LV are fairly inexpensive.

Do you really have 10 weeks for a beach resort, or just 10 days? You could fly down to Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) and have some hot beach resort days. But San Diego is a terrific choice. Ask on that forum for the best time of year to get sunny beach weather.

Yosemite opens reservations for lodging 366 days in advance, so you are wise to start planning now.

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3. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

10 weeks?I wish,it should of course have said 10 days,what an idiot I am at times!Thanks for the advice,that itinerary looks just the sort of thing we fancy doing.Doubt we'll go to Mexico though,the San Diego area sounds great.

Fremont, California
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4. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

I'd suggest flying.....but with 10 weeks you have so much time to see it all and more. So renting a car for the entire time is also a fine option. and since California is "a car focus" state - meaning lots of distance between fun things to see, its a great way to see California.

The only reason I would suggest flying next summer is that there is a strong possibility that many of the attractions along the ocean will be closed for two years....and thus is may be disappointing to you.

If you fly, you will find all the attractions you want to see in the areas you mention (except for one or two - things are always subject to change.).

Big Sur is a wonderful place to go.....

but see a note:


Ideally for your time along the ocean, and with 10 weeks, I would dedicate two weeks to driving the California coastline in almost every year. You still have 8 weeks to relax and San Diego is absolutely perfect for that. There is great diversity along the entire coastline...and the area is absolutely beautiful.

Price range? As many of the ocean areas are higher priced (compared to inland). I would also recommend highly to book in an advance for best prices since there may be a strain on beach front motels/hotels if people can't camp. Hopefully they can...but things are in a state of flux right now on this side of the pond.

Have a great day...and do ask more.

Kind regards,

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5. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

Sounds like a great trip! I would definitely fly, if you can, from Vegas to San Diego. The drive from San Francisco to Vegas is uneventful, if you can fly that leg it would be better too. While you are in SF make sure not to miss the lovely wine country just an hour north; a nice loop might be to head up HWY 101 toward Sebastopol (about an hour) where you can taste some white wines or pinot noir - the weather is too cool for the reds - then head out to Bodega Bay along HWY 12, a cute little town on the coast(stopping in Freestone for great pastries at the Freestone Bakery), then drive up the Sonoma Coast along HWY 1, see the open, mostly empty beaches until you get to HWY 116 turn inland to Guerneville along the Russian River. If you prefer red wines, don't head west when you hit Hwy 12, instead continue north to Healdsburg where they have fabulous Alexander Valley zins and cabs. This is a great scenic drive even if you don't prefer wines, with rolling green hills (although maybe not by September) and little towns along the way that are so nice to stop for refreshment. Have a great time!

San Diego
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6. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

You've bee given some great advice already!

Yosemite starts taking booking for lodging one YEAR in advance! Summer is a VERY popular time there.

You can book it even before you have plane tix as it is held with a credit card and you can change your plans if you needs be.

Little Sutton...
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7. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

I don't know how much you knew about California when you started this post but as you have probably already found out there is so much to see & do & you can soon end up with more suggestions than you have time for.

Personally speaking I would drive from San Francisco to Vegas,preferably via Yosemite & Death Valley,the two places are very different but both totally stunning.

As has been said lodging at Yosemite in particular books up very early so as soon as you have settled on dates it would be advisable to book.

If you have trouble find lodgings in the Grand Canyon NP try Tusuyan,it's about 5 miles from the parks entrance,we stayed there & found it great to get into the park early & handy to escape to when the place gets busy.

As for car hire we use Yes Car Hire who I've found really good,don't hire one while staying in San Francisco as you don't need one there & your hotel will charge you loads to park,Alcatraz IMO is amust see & should be booked in advance.

8. Re: Advice for a 3 week trip next summer.

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