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.