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Trip Report California Road Trip

Queensland
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Trip Report California Road Trip

I've finally got round to sending this trip report for our family holiday from 16th June to 9 July ( 2adults and 2 boys aged 8 and 12). We planned and booked our holiday over the internet before we left using tripadvisor lots for info and reviews. We arrived at LAX in the morning, hired a car and drove to San Diego. This was really quite an easy drive down the highway and much cheaper than any transfers. Our reason for visiting San Diego was my husbands keen interest in seeing an aircraft carrier. We visited the USS Midway Museum which was very good. All the boys enjoyed this. Not only is the museum great and the docents very interesting and informative but also nice views of the city from the flight deck and tower. After spending a few hours here we drove on up to Carlsbad to our accommodation there and returned the car. We stayed at the West Inn in Carlsbad since they had a free shuttle so we wouldn't need to keep the car. We spent 3 nights here and the kids had 2 full days at Legoland. Both loved it. Sufficient time to really enjoy everything. The West Inn then supplied the shuttle to drop us at Oceanside Amtrak Station where we caught the train to Anaheim. A really nice easy way to get to Anaheim. We spent 5 nights in Anaheim going to Disneyland and California Adventure Park.

We then hired a car again for our road trip north. We drove to Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP and stayed at Wuksachi Lodge for 3 nights. Walked around Crescent Meadow and saw bears, Visited General Sherman, Tokopah Falls and drove down Kings Canyon.

Drove onto Yosemite NP, via Mariposa as the boys wanted to see the Mining and Mineral Museum which was excellent, and stayed at Yosemite View vacation rental with Scenic Wonders for 3 nights. This allowed us a day to walk Vernal Falls and part way up to Nevada Falls, and a second day to visit Yosemite Falls, the village Museum, Glacier Point and Sentinel Rock. We then drove up across the Tioga Pass Road to see the Tuolumne Meadows and some short walks around that area before going down to Mono Lake and staying at June Lake for 2 nights. We had hoped to do a day walk at Saddlebag Lake the next day but unfortunately the road was still closed so we drove to Lundy and Virginia lakes and then down to Mammoth Lakes.

After leaving June Lake (beautiful place) we drove back up across the Tioga Pass Road, stopping to walk to Gaylor Lakes then overnight at Groveland. All of Yosemite is awesome and really worth making the time to see Olmstead Point and the Tuolumne Meadows.

After overnighting at Groveland we drove to San Francisco for a very brief visit and continued onto Pt Reyes to stay. We had visited SF before so we only did a quick stop with a cable car ride and a stop to view the GG Bridge, thanks to good advice from the SF forum.

We stayed for 2 nights in PT Reyes at the Inverness Motel ( one of the few places that would book less than 3 nights on the 4th July weekend!). A beautiful place to stay. Loved the lighthouse and Chimney Rock, and the beaches.

Then drove onto Mendocino for one night on the coast highway. Loved this drive Bodega Head and the beaches around Jenner were absolutely beautiful with lots of wildflowers. Also stopped at Point Arena and did the walk to the top, awesome view and great tour.

After our one night at Mendocino we drove north through the Ave of the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods stopping for walks toFounders Grove, Big trees trail, and Grieg French Bell Grove, then drove onto our accommodation at Redwood Vacation Village Orick for 3 nights. From here we spent a day driving north on the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway and the Coastal drive to Klamath and onto Enderts Beach and Crescent City. The second day we spent visiting Fern Canyon, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Patrick POint SP and looking for agates on Agate beach.

In our 3 1/2 weeks we saw some fantastic places and the driving was pretty easy. Most of the distances for driving were really reasonable with only a coule of longish drivesof 5-6hrs and did lots of reasonably easy walks. All our accommodation was chosen with reference to reviews on tripadvisor and we were really happy. Am now going to have to put in my reviews. I hope this holiday outline is some help to anyone planning a big trip to California.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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1. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Thankyou for writing. You arranged your trip in a way that might be helpful to other visitors. You also went further north than many so nice to read about that too. Did you drive all the way back to LAX to fly home??

San Francisco
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2. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

So glad you were able to fit in the cable car ride. I hope the directions through SF were helpful.

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thank you for taking the time to write your report.

Bay City, Michigan
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for Michigan
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3. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Thanks for the very nice trip report, esp of the trip past SF. Glad you had a good time and everything meshed for you. :)

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Wow, you really hit some the heights! Thank you for a wonderful report. I wish I were walking through Fern Canyon right now.

Queensland
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5. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Sorry I have left out how we got home. Blocking out the not so good I suppose. We had booked to fly out of Eureka to LAX on our last day to catch a midnight flight to Australia, but unfortunately the airport got fogged in and the flight cancelled. The only disappointing/bad thing that happened on the whole holiday. The flights for the following day were being cancelled as well. We ended up staying at the HOliday Inn at the airport and rehiring a car to drive to Sacramento the next day to catch a flight down to LAX for the next flight home. Fortunately our travel insurance has covered all our extra costs!

Thanks RamblinSal the directions in SF were really good. We drove into the Mason /O'Farrel garage with no trouble and walked down to the cable car turn around. Bought some lunch at Westfield and queued up for the ride. Unfortunately it was a bit of a long wait, but worth it. The kids especially loved going down the big hills! At the bottom at Fishermans Wharf the queue was again very long and it was starting to get a bit late so we took your other suggestion and caught a cab back to the garage. We then drove down to Crissy Field for the views of the GG. Again we were getting short on time but really enjoyed the view. We had a bit of trouble finding the turn onto the GG bridge with all the road works that seemed to be going on and lots of traffic but got there eventually. Still managed to get to Pt Reyes no trouble and in time to buy groceries for dinner! Very happy with our day!

San Francisco
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6. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

So glad that worked out.

There is a lot of road work around the freeway approach to the Golden Gate Bridge and I should have mentioned that. It seems to change detours in the Presidio daily. The entire elevated freeway area going to the GGB is being replaced by a parkway which will be submerged in a couple of places. But no more ugly viaduct! Come back around 2013 and enjoy it.

Mission Viejo...
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7. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Thank you for the TR. Glad you had a great time except for the cancelled flight. At least you weren't out any money thanks to insurance. You definitely saw a good slice of California!

Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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8. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Nice reading about your trip. Glad you enjoyed your time in CA.

Thanks for reporting back to us.

Carlsbad, California
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9. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Thank you for sharing your favorable comments about your hotel experience at West Inn & Suites. Know that long after your staff we remain at your service and are thrilled that you had a memorable stay. Kimberly Akers, General Manager-West Inn & Suites

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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10. Re: Trip Report California Road Trip

Thanks for sharing your report.

My favorite part is that you did enough research to create an itinerary that worked perfectly for your family. Well done!