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.

Forward planning - can you help?

Jersey, Channel...
Destination Expert
for Jersey, St Helier
Level Contributor
962 posts
637 reviews
Save Topic
Forward planning - can you help?

I have just booked my flights to San Francisco for a 25 night visit next mid November/December.

I intend to hire a car from San Francisco airport and return it there at the end of our tour. We want to spend some time at the major cities and fit in as much as possible visiting the other must sees.

Does the following sound a reasonable plan?

Arrive at San Francisco (Spend four nights there)

Pick up car from airport at SF then drive to Santa Cruz and then on to Monteray (2 nights)

From Monteray via Santa Barbara to Los Angeles (3 nights)

LA to San Diego (2 nights)

San Diego to Joshua Tree (one night)

Joshua Tree to Grand Canyon with overnight stop (2 nights in Grand Canyon area)

Grand Canyon to Zion (overnight stop)

Zion to Las Vegas (2 nights)

Las Vegas to Death Valley (overnight)

Death Valley to Yosemite NP (2 nights)

Yosemite to Napa/Sonoma Valley (2 nights)

Napa Valley/Sonoma to San Francisco to return car for an evening flight to UK

This leaves me a few nights spare to extend stays or fit extra things in.

All suggestions will be well received as I am at the very early planning stages and don;t know this part of the USA at all.

Many thanks,

Bob

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
55,739 posts
104 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

Hi Bob

You can pick up the car in downtown SF at a variety of locations. Usually the price is better than picking it up at the airport, but not always. Check your usual car rental company or forum-favorite www.CarHire3000.com

There is some great info about the Hwy 1 drive along the coast that is linked to the Top Questions about California in the upper right. I'd suggest an additional night on this drive as it's very scenic and daylight hours are limited in Nov/Dec. If you like 'nothing but the best' and 'great food/wine' (from your profile), you might want a few nights in one of the winery regions along the Central Coast (Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley,...)

Death Valley to Yosemite Valley in December is usually the southern route via Bakersfield and is about 8.5 hours. You could spend the first night at the Tenaya Lodge outside the South Entrance in Fish Camp, then visit Mariposa Grove (walking, shuttles done for the season) in the morning as you drive into Yosemite Valley (1 hr from Fish Camp.)

"Napa Valley/Sonoma to San Francisco to return car for an evening flight" You might want to take the longer route over the Golden Gate Bridge and along Hwy 1 all the way to Half Moon Bay and back up to SFO. Or find a place to park the car in SF and enjoy one more day in this lovely city.

Where will you be over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend? You'll need to plan ahead. Some places are touristy/busy, some are closed, and some are about the same.

Daylight hours will be important in some destinations. My favorite planner for this is www.SunriseSunset.com

santa rosa, ca
Level Contributor
668 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

Are you staying on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon? Make sure you leave the park going east on Hwy.64.....when you get to the bottom of the plateau stop at The Cameron Trading Post for a late breakfast or early lunch....the mini Indian tacos are delicious (and actually quite huge!). They also have an awesome gift shop for your souvenir shopping, if you are so inclined.

Jersey, Channel...
Destination Expert
for Jersey, St Helier
Level Contributor
962 posts
637 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

Not sure about where to stay at the Grand Canyon, what is the best advice? Any other tips about the trip would be great.

Thanks,

Bob

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
16,966 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

Definitely stay inside the park at GC. Most of the lodges are right on the rim,two are set back a ways.They book up to a year in advance.

www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
55,739 posts
104 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

Hi again Bob1949

Grand Canyon National Park (in Arizona) has their own travel forum full of folks who love to help people plan their visit. Be sure to let them know you'll be there in winter.

6. Re: Forward planning - can you help?

-:- 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: 05 January 2013, 10:17