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West Coast Dream trip

N.IRELAND
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West Coast Dream trip

Im taking my wife and three children(15,12,6) on a 21 night Holiday of the west coast and Las Vegas(1st July 2013). I dont want to drive as i drive for a living. Our must see's are LA , San Fran, Vegas + Grand Canyon. Im very open to other suggestion's for what to see and do and how we will get around. Please help, the more i look online the more confused i get. Its my wife's 40th Birthday next year and i really want this to be a special trip for her and all of us. Thanks

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San Francisco...
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1. Re: West Coast Dream trip

Where are you planning to fly into ? Please remember that July is nice along the coast but hot in the Desert and in Vegas

Are you planning to do a round trip or leave from another city ? One way to do it is

One needs to drive to see these places or you will be missing out on a lot. One can fly between places but I'm not sure that would be my dream vacation.

Also it would be good to know what you and your family like to do ? More coast or cities, hikes, beaches etc ?

This is the usual route. If you dont want to drive. You could do a few tours and then fly between cities

SF ,Yosemite, Monterey/Carmel, Cambria or Pismo, Los Angeles (Anaheim if you want to do Disneyland) San Diego (fly or drive to) Vegas and then Grand Canyon back to Vegas to fly out.

Edited: 29 May 2012, 19:57
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Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
California
Anaheim
Anaheim
Orange County, CA
San Diego
San Diego
California
Florida
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2. Re: West Coast Dream trip

If you are going to the Grand Canyon, I would MOSTLY HIGHLY recommend that you consider southern Utah as part of your trip (tho, you will have to drive). Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Moab Utah - these are all the most beautiful places on Earth. Zion National Park is only about 2 1/2 hours from Vegas and you will not be disappointed. If you opt for that, then just continue on thru the Vermillion Cliffs and then down to the Grand Canyon. You might also consider the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, since you will be very near to it.

If you decide this might be something you want to do, I can give you a LOT more information. I live in Florida, but love this area so much so I go a lot. Moab Utah is a beautiful town with so much outdoor activities and history (lots of petroglyphs). It's a place everyone should see.

Again, you would need to drive. But, it is a spectacular drive!

Oh, as for Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is beautiful to drive thru (there are lots of wild burros). And, if you want to see a show in Vegas -- be sure to see the Beatles Love by Cirque. Fantastic. I whine about the cost, but well worth it!

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Washington State
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3. Re: West Coast Dream trip

In general, California is a car centered culture. It's possible to craft an itinerary that uses public transport, but you will not be able to see or experience as much.

A usual loop for folks who don't mind driving is similar to the one belo' suggested.

SFO - SF - Monterey - Cambria/Pismo Beach - L.A. - Anaheim - (maybe San Diego) - long drive ~ overnight stop? - Grand Canyon NP - Las Vegas - drive-thru visit of Death Valley - eastern Sierra - Yosemite NP - SFO

Without a car? I think you're looking at flights between cities or maybe tours that drop you off & pick you up 1-3 days later (this works for Yosemite.) Maybe a combination of flights, Amtrak (train), and tours?

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Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Anaheim
Anaheim
Orange County, CA
Sierra Lodge
Sierra Lodge
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Mammoth Lakes, CA
Florida
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4. Re: West Coast Dream trip

When I replied before, I addressed Utah; but, as far as California goes; you MUST take the Pacific Coast Highway down around Big Sur, Monterey, etc. If you fly in to San Francisco, considering driving the Pacific Coast Highway from San Fran. to LA. You won't be sorry. You will pass a beach where elephant seals sun themselves. If you've never seen this kind of spectacle, you will enjoy it - as will your children (especially the young one). You will love this drive.

LA's a fun town. But, busy with a LOT of traffic.

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Utah
Utah
United States
Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway
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Big Sur
Big Sur
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Washington State
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5. Re: West Coast Dream trip

tczig ~ the Original Poster is not interested in driving. Even tho' the Cabrillo Highway and the Pacific Coast Highway (both are named pieces of Hwy 1) are fabulous, he might not drive at all.

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Cabrillo Inn at the Beach
Cabrillo Inn at the Beach
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Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway
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California
N.IRELAND
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6. Re: West Coast Dream trip

I had planned to fly to Vegas do a few tours from there GC etc., then fly to San Fran and it now it looks like im gonna have to drive down the coast so i dont miss out on that beautiful coast

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N.IRELAND
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7. Re: West Coast Dream trip

Thanks for all your suggestions folks, you'v been very informitive and helpful and we cant wait to see all those wonderful sights. It looks like the car will have to be used ,stay off the roads July 2013 people as im coming over ;-).

Connecticut
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8. Re: West Coast Dream trip

I would suggest you get yourself to a good travel agency. First, it will help you plan the absolute must dos for your family while considering your reluctance to drive as well as your budget constraints. Many airlines do city vacation packages and there are many tour companies like Collette, etc that also do multi city trips that would include excursions to the Grand canyon or Napa Valley or the Big Sur or the National Parks like Yosemite, Bryce and Zion. You might want to explore the American train system Amtrax and regional trains as well. I DO LOVE TRIP ADVISORS and they are so helpful, but sometimes I feel those not familiar with areas they want to visit would be helped by a good travel agency. Do you have something like our American Auto Association? You might incur a fee for services, but having someone arrange all tickets, hotels, transfers, etc might be worth the peace of mind to you. AND NO, I AM NOT AN AGENT! Trip advisors will be glad to comment on places to stay, eat, theme parks and attractions once you have an idea of your musts.

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Napa Valley
Napa Valley
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Sur Restaurant & Grill
Sur Restaurant & Grill
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The National Hotel
The National Hotel
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San Francisco...
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9. Re: West Coast Dream trip

JeanneFromCt.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and what we have seen based on posts from other parts of the world is that many of the travel agents have no clue about where to stay and which hotels to stay in and come up with unrealistic itineraries, hotels that we would not send our worst enemies to LOL,. The idea behind TA is to help put together a schedule that has input from locals and to ask a Travel Agent say in Belfast to suggest what is a must in Cambria (not the one in the Uk) is not realistic.

I think one should use TA to plan one's trip and then if one is getting a better deal through a Travel Agent than what they can online, perhaps that would be the way to go. Why pay more when with a bit of research, comparative search engines, you can get most of the info you need and book everything online ?

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Cambria
Cambria
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Washington State
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10. Re: West Coast Dream trip

Yay! tyronetom, I'm so glad you reconsidered the prospect of driving.

Spending the 4th of July in Las Vegas could be quite fun.

It's pretty easy to drive around there, so renting a car is not out of the question. Day trips (by tour or in your rental car) could include the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, and Death Valley. But it will be hot, hot, hot.

Fly to San Francisco (SFO or OAK) and spend time in the City. Then pick up the rental car and begin the coastal tourism. There is some great info in the Top Questions about California in the upper right.

If you are hoping to stay overnight in any of the National Parks, get reservations a year in advance. Then you'll have the opportunity to book the lodging of your choice, rather than what is still available. You don't need a travel agent to do this ~ just ask on the regular TA forum for each destination.

JeanneFromCt ~ unfortunately, we've seen some disastrous itineraries created by foreign travel agents who are not familiar with the mileage, geography, climate, or anything else. One day to drive from Zion NP to Yosemite Valley with kids? Travel Tioga Pass in the winter? SF to L.A. via I-5? Ugh. It's possible that Travel Agents can get a better price, but for the most part, TripAdvisor members who do their research on the forums and review pages can create a far better trip than one created by someone 3,000 or 5,000 miles away. There is a Top Question in the upper right pointing out some of the challenges of working with a well-meaning but uninformed Travel Agent.

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