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Best places to visit in California

England
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Best places to visit in California

Dear all,

my husband and i are looking to travel to california next week. we would like to visit San Francisco, Napa Valley, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Gran Canyon. I would like to know what is the best way to travel between destinations, recommendations for hotels, and best places to visit. Please note that we will be there for 8 days. Many thanks.

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1. Re: Best places to visit in California

We like the Villagio Inn & Spa in Yountville, it is in Napa Valley. Have fun! :)

Washington State
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2. Re: Best places to visit in California

The Grand Canyon is not in California, and will require a very long drive from your other chosen destinations.

The best way to get around is in a car. Look at yescarhire.com or allstatescarhire.com, often recommended by UK travelers.

Getting lodging reservations may be challenging for you. Our Labor Day holiday is September 7th, and the weekend will be full of travelers where ever you are. Summers are always busy with visitors.

Eight days could go something like this:

SF 2 nights

Napa 1 or 2 nights

Sacramento 1 night (why here? State Capital, but not a huge tourist destination)

Yosemite 1 or 2 nights (closer National Park than the Grand Canyon, but you probably can't get lodging IN the Park)

Santa Barbara 1 night (why this town?)

Monterey/Carmel 1 or 2 nights

SFO flight home

St. Louis
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3. Re: Best places to visit in California

Just curious why you're including Sacramento - do you have friends there? If it's just to see the tourist attractions, I highly recommend you skip it and spend more time in San Francisco.

The best way to see visit these spots is by car.

It is a very long way from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon. Seeing all this in 8 days is really pushing it. Here is how I would do this trip with 8 nights:

2 nights - San Francisco

1 night - Napa Valley

1 night - Sacramento

1 night - Monterey

1 night - Santa Barbara

2 nights - Las Vegas (take a day trip to the Grand Canyon - 4.5 hours drive each way)

Your longest drive will be between Santa Barbara and Vegas - just over 5 hours. There are bus tours from LV to the Grand Canyon if you want to enjoy the trip more. I guess you will need to fly from Vegas to SF to catch your flight home. Use Southwest Airlines for cheap fares.

The first 90 miles from Monterey to Santa Barbara is the most beautiful stretch of road on the trip, so allow plenty of time to enjoy it. Stop at Point Lobos an Pfeiffer beach on the way.

St. Louis
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4. Re: Best places to visit in California

I just saw the previous post recommending Yosemite instead of the Grand Canyon. This will make it a much more enjoyable trip. Yosemite is absolutely spectacular!

Washington State
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5. Re: Best places to visit in California

Also, folks in the know say that the one day tour to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas doesn't really go to the Grand Canyon, just nearby. You need to spend a night there to do it justice.

England
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6. Re: Best places to visit in California

Many thanks for all your suggestions. I guess that we should forget visiting sacramento and santa barbara. I have another question, how close is Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon, and should i make reservations to staying in the park, what is your recommendation to visit these places?

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7. Re: Best places to visit in California

You can easily see Yosemite from SF or Napa. The Grand Canyon, not so much.

for lodging try to get inside the park.

www.yosemitepark.com

Washington State
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8. Re: Best places to visit in California

elianav ~ a good map, even a quick look at Google maps can help you with your vacation decisions.

If you want to visit Sacramento, folks would be happy to make suggestions about including that city or any other. But if you don't really know why you want to visit a particular destination, it's easy to drop it in favor of another.

Specific lodging suggestions are always best from the local forumites. So ask on the San Francisco forum for hotel ideas in a particular price range when you are staying there, and on the Yosemite forum for Yosemite suggestions. This California state forum is perfect for planning the general itinerary for your trip.

Driving times:

->San Francisco to Yosemite ~ about 4 hours

->Yosemite to Grand Canyon ~ about 12 or 13 hours

Another itinerary idea:

San Francisco & Napa ~ 3 or 4 nights (one day tours to Napa available from SF)

fly to Las Vegas, rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon for a night or two; fly back to SFO for your flight home

And you have a few more nights to play with ~ Las Vegas? Monterey? Sacramento?

England
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9. Re: Best places to visit in California

many thanks Duvall, you have been very kind with all your advices.

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10. Re: Best places to visit in California

It's 710 miles/1142km from Yosemite to Grand Canyon. Google maps says it is an 11 hour trip if you go through Bakersfield - it would be longer if you went through Las Vegas. That's an optmistic 11 hours - especially in early September, and doesn't include putting gas in your car or eating or stretching your legs.

It is closer to 12 hours by car, plus stops - if you were to eat in the car and stop only for gas, it would be about 14 hours. I do not think this is a reasonable way to spend a vacation day!

Grand Canyon is in Arizona. If you skipped Yosemite, it would still be 792 miles/1274 km.