My husband and I are in the process of planning a 3 week tour around California starting next July. So far, all we have booked are our flights from the UK to San Francisco. I have a basic itinerary drawn up, but would really appreciate any comments from all you experts out there!
Day 1 - arrive San Francisco mid afternoon. Transfer to hotel and stay for 4 nights, giving 3 full days for city sightseeing, Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, etc. (or would 3 nights be enough? Hotel not yet chosen - may stay downtown, or near airport if more practical to do so).
Day 5 - pick up hire car from airport and drive south to Monterey. Do whale-watching trip this afternoon or next morning. Overnight Monterey.
Day 6 - drive south via coast road, maybe stay overnight Santa Barbara or somewhere in that area.
Day 7 - arrive LA. Stay 5 nights (probably slightly out of town, maybe Santa Monica). Visit Hollywood, Beverly Hills, downtown, Six Flags Magic Mountain and/or Universal Studios, etc. Is 5 nights enough/too much?
Day 12 - Drive North to Sequoia/Kings Canyon area (Fresno?). Stay in area for 2 nights and visit Sequoia/Kings Canyon National parks.
Day 14 - Drive to Yosemite. Stay in Foresta (private cabin rental) for 4 nights, leaving plenty of time to explore the park and do some not-too-strenuous hikes.
Day 20 - Drive to wine region. Stay for 3 nights in either Napa or Sonoma. Rent bikes and tour wineries.
Day 23 - Drive to San Francisco airport, return car and fly home
Further info: We're both keen photographers (especially of wildlife); we both like theme parks especially thrill rides; not too bothered about museums; and we like comfortable accommodation (nicer hotels rather than basic motels). Our budget is flexible - we're happy to splash out as it's a 40th birthday celebration for both of us!
Does the above sound reasonable and are we missing anything out or doing anything we shouldn't bother with? (e.g. should we skip Tahoe and visit San Diego instead, or spend less time in SF or LA?). I know it's all a matter of opinion but I'd be grateful to hear any recommendations for places to stay and/or visit.