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3-4 days off - Where to go?

San Jose, CA
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3-4 days off - Where to go?

I have 3 to 4 days off in the beginning of May. I would like to visit a national park in CA, but need recommendation. Originally, I plan to visit Death Valley, but is afraid of the high temperature during May. Please help.

San Diego...
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1. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

Ever been to Yosemite? I would go there if you haven't been there before. In early May, Death Valley averages about 95 F for the high temperature in the afternoon, low of about 68 at night. So not nearly as hot as later on, like in July and August Death Valley will be much hotter. But given a choice between Death Valley and Yosemiite I would choose Yosemite.

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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2. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

Here's a web site with the various California national parks and monuments - since we do not know a lot about what you like to do - take a look and see what looks interesting to you.....

…about.com/od/travelitineraries/l/blCaliforn…

Laguna Hills...
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3. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

Sequoia is also a good option:

http://www.visitsequoia.com/

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4. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

If you've never been to Yosemite, you must go! We had a visitor from Germany experience Yosemite for the first time and she was amazed at the beauty there. Enjoy your time in CA! :)

San Jose, CA
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5. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

I've been to Yosemite and Sequoia. Both parks are beautiful although I prefer Sequoia more. Yosemite is so commercialize and crowded. I looked at the national park website. What about Lake Tahoe?

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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6. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

You're starting point is San Jose?

Visit Redwood National Park:

shannontech.com/ParkVision/…Redwood.html

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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7. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

In early May, Death Valley will still be quite bearable for people who live year-round in San Jose. A little on the balmy side, but remember, it's a dry heat. It's a healthy baking heat, not the sticky, grubby feeling of the Bay Area when the temperature is in the 80s and it's humid.

Otherwise, if you're willing to consider places besides national parks, how about the Mother Lode? There are historic places including state historic parks. I just got back from Columbia again, and Railtown at nearby Jamestown is a fun place for families or history enthusiasts. Gold Rush towns like Sonora, Angels Camp, Murphys, etc. let you immerse yourself in California's past and you can stay in historic hotels or B&Bs or modern motels.

Since this is in the Sierra foothills, lots of snow is uncommon, and by May there should be no major road problems this far down. You can go part of the way up Hwy 120 and 108. Up Hwy 4 from Murphys is Calaveras Big Trees State Park. You'll probably see snow on the ground, but not a lot of actual snowfall, and you can enjoy the tranquility of the park in a quieter season.

How about Pinnacles National Monument? It's just a short ride from San Jose. It is more of a walking and hiking park than a drive-by shooting venue. Believe it or not, this park has volcanic origins. You can enter either on the east from Hollister or the west from Soledad, but you are committed to one side or the other as no vehicle road connects the two. A network of trails does. The east side has a campground (nice, with showers and a seasonal pool), bigger visitor center and store, and access to more hiking trails. The west side has no camping but there is parking and you can enter on foot 24/7 for night hikes, and there is a small visitor center. The nearest lodging on the west is a B&B just outside the park or motels in Soledad.

You can combine Pinnacles with San Juan Bautista, the mission town; or if you're ambitious, the New Idria quicksilver mine. If you're familiar with New Almaden in SJ, Idria is bigger. It produced a huge amount of mercury ore (a.k.a. quicksilver or cinnabar) until the 1970s, and now it's one of the state's worst toxic waste sites. It is privately owned, and to my mind, a ghost town in the sense that it could be haunted. It's remote, abandoned, and desolate, with dark red hillsides (from the cinnabar deposits), buildings that either loom big and foreboding or look flimsy and about to cave in. Mercury mining was even unhealthier than gold, silver, etc. For most precious ores, mercury and cyanide were formerly used in smelting and refining; for mercury, the stuff they were taking from the earth was a huge health hazard in itself. The place feels dismal, maybe from the spirits of miners and their families who toiled and lived in these conditions and died too young. You can go there today, but the buildings are posted against trespassing and there is some concern about one of the connecting roads where asbestos fibers could be a hazard. I doubt that a short visit will make anyone fatally ill. If you're into local history, this is an interesting place.

8. Re: 3-4 days off - Where to go?

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