We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

jwr
Houston, tx
Level Contributor
362 posts
54 reviews
Save Topic
California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

driving solo...mid July 2012

Day 1...fly in to SF

Day 2...drive to Monterey...explore area 1/2 day...overnight

Day 3...drive down the coast...stops for pics...Hearst Castle (last tour 3pm)...drive to get closer to LA.

Day 4....Reagan Library (opens 10am)....1/2 day in LA...possibly see Getty Museum or attend a TV show?....drive to Anaheim

Day 5...Disneyland.....then drive to Joshua Tree NP....drive the park before sunset...overnight in area.

Day 6....drive to Sequoia/Kings Canyon (200 miles)...1/2 day to see part ...overnight

Day 7....am---Sequoia/King's Canyon 1/2 day....then drive to Yosemite..(4 hrs)...possibly hike Sentinal Dome (2 hrs)...overnight Curry Village

Day 8 ....full day in Valley...hike Panarama Ttrail...overnight Curry Village

Day 9....drive to Tuolumne Meadows...hike Cathedral Lakes Trail...overnight...Stockton?

Day 10....drive Stockton--Redding (200 miles)...Lassen Volcanic NP....try to see Mt. Shasta...

Day 11...Drive to Crater Lake, Oregon....overnight at Crater Lake

Day 12...am--Crater Lake....then drive to Redwoods NP.

Day 13...drive the coast to SF...overnight SF

Day 14....SF

notes: have been to LA and SF and Yosemite previously...but did not hike in High Sierra.

question---Had originally planned on taking a day to visit Channel Islands NP....has anyone done this? Seems to not be "must-do"

....also....is the drive from Carmel to LA doable? Plan is to leave at sunrise...and make plenty of stops along the way, including Hearst Castle.

any feedback appreciated!

jwr
Houston, tx
Level Contributor
362 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

Here's another question.....is it better to drive Big Sur from LA or SF?? which would be a better experience? thanks.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
20,388 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

I honestly think your plan is too adventurous. Too much driving, not enough time for your destinations. Monterey needs a full day for taking in Point Lobos, Carmel Beach, Asilomar Beach, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The drive from Carmel to LA (WITHOUT stops) is at least a 7-8 hour drive. Hearst Castle will likely add 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add in additional stops at Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, elephant seal rookery, etc..... you could be looking at a 14+ hour day on Day 3.

Day 5: You're really going to leave Disneyland early to drive to Joshua Tree NP before sunset only to leave the following morning for Sequoia?

You have the perfect Griswold family vacation planned, but I suggest eliminating a few places from your list so you can have sufficient time for enjoying each area.

Of course, if being a road warrior is your travel style, then by all means go for it. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't work out as well as you hope.

Edited: 22 October 2011, 23:27
Southern California
Level Contributor
13,212 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

I agree with kibblesmom, way too rushed, you need to cut out a few places.

Fullerton...
Level Contributor
1,114 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

Gotta say it seems as though you are driving though places to check them off a list rather than actually visiting places...like a rally race :-)

I'd separate out the "must sees" from the "like to ses" and fill in accordingly. Still it is your vaca, so only you know best.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
32,169 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

Do you realize that you are driving between locations every day except one? I am wondering how you plan to see anything at these locations?

Have you figured out the mileage? And checked the driving times?

I can't get Mapquest to give us time from Redwood National Park to San Francisco via the coast, Hwy 1. It almost 7 hours on the 'fast' route, Hwy 101, which is inland. It is 350 miles plus.

The stretch of coast between these two is worth a drive and should not be rushed.

I guess, being from Texas, you are used to wide open spaces with not much to see in between destinations. If that is true, you should be aware that you won't find that on the California route you have planned. You will be missing a lot.

If it were I, I would slow it down and spend some time. You will miss much by just doing a drive-by.

But it is your vacation, and if that is the way you like it, I hope you have a great trip.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
27,841 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

When do you plan to see anything but the inside of your car (or the car ahead of you)?

Cut out about 1/3 of this itinerary, stay in one place to actually experience the place, rather than drive through it. San Francisco is worthy of 2 days, Monterey/Carmel is worthy of 2 days, and so on.

Cuenca, Ecuador
Destination Expert
for California Desert
Level Contributor
1,438 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

I'll second Kibblesmom here. Too rushed. Too packed with venues and sights to see, things to do. . . Knock off about a third of your list, and you could really have something workable.

Specifically: Day 3: just stay at San Simeon/Cambria. Do Hearst Castle the next morning. Do reserve your tour tickets a few weeks in advance to get the tour times you desire. You'll find lots to do that day in Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel, and down Big Sur and all along CA Route 1/Pacific Coast Highway.

Day 4: I would make that day Santa Barbara and/or Solvang and the Reagan Library. The Getty Museum I would visit in the morning. . . parking easier to have that way.

Day 5: Disneyland/California Adventure deserves at least two full days minimum. Joshua Tree National Park? In Summer? Do it proximate to sunset only, and stay on the paved roads, please!

Days 7 through 9: better have those Yosemite National Park lodging reservations done *now* if not before. Places there book up early. A year in advance is a good way to go.

If it's Joshua trees you're after, you can see plenty of them closer to the coast and on your way north to Sequoia/Kings Canyon NPs in the western Antelope Valley east of Gorman and west of Lancaster, saving you time and miles. Please PM me for specifics.

Slow down a tad, allow for the unexpected, and do a nicer paced road trip. But again, it's your vacation. Up to you.

Lassen National...
Level Contributor
2,631 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

Very little time in SF.

<Day 10....drive Stockton--Redding (200 miles)...Lassen Volcanic NP....try to see Mt. Shasta...>

Suggestion:

From Tolumne Meadows take hwy 395 to Lake Tahoe. 1 Night there. Take hwy 89 to 49 to 70 to 89 to 32 to Lassen OR hwy 89 to 395 to hwy 36 to 44 to Lassen. These are different types of roads with different scenery. The first travels is shorter mileage-wise. It travels through several small mountain town. It winds through mountain meadows. The second in 70 mph most the way & has desert scenery on one side with a mountain range on the other. Sometimes it's stunningly beautiful other times it looks blah. It depends on the light & weather. The first route allows you to travel through Lassen without back tracking. Both are 2.5 hours-3 hours depending on where you stay in Tahoe.

Drive 89 to Mt Shasta stopping at Burney Falls. 1 night in Mt Shasta. This is about 1:30- 1:45 from Lassen.

Day 11...Drive to Crater Lake, Oregon....overnight at Crater Lake

Suggestion: stop in Ashland for lunch.

Day 12...am--Crater Lake....then drive to Redwoods NP.

Suggestion: 1 night in Crescent City, Trinidad, Eureka, or Ferndale (there are 3 or 4 other towns right in here that have basic hotels and are fine.

There is a ton to see from Crescent City to the Avenue of the Giants. Take your time and make lots of stops. Most things are right off the 101. Don't forget to post on the Redwoods National Park forum & review the forum questions there!

It's 4 hours from Crater Lake to Crescent City & about 6+ from Crescent City to SF.

If you like caves, Oregon caves National Monument in Cave Junction on hwy 199 is excellent.

Day 13...drive the coast to SF...overnight SF

Day 14....SF

Suggestion: 2 nights at least in SF(:

Also, what activities are you planning: hikes, wineries (Southern Oregon has some good ones), etc.?

Edited: 23 October 2011, 00:45
Lassen National...
Level Contributor
2,631 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

Sorry, I meant hwy 36, not 32, to Lassen on the first route suggestion out of Tahoe.

10. Re: California Itinerery....first draft...opinions appreciated!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 28 October 2012, 21:18