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3-week itinerary

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3-week itinerary

Hi all, after a lot of reading, browsing and questions on TA, I finally have an itinerary for our 3-week trip to California starting this September 4th that I am happy with. It will be my husband and I, both early 30’s and both enjoy the outdoors and are moderately active. Thought I will share it with you for any final comments you might have. So here it goes:

Day 1 – Land in San Francisco late afternoon, check in hotel (staying in Union Square) and have dinner, maybe at North Beach.

Day 2 – Booked The Real SF Tour, stay at Ferry Building for a while after tour (tour finishes very close), evening at Fisherman’s Wharf – have crab for dinner (any suggestions where?)

Day 3 – Take cable car to Hyde Street (a cable car ride is a must, was in SF last year when all 3 lines were closed for refurbishment!), rent bike and bike the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, return by ferry, afternoon in Golden Gate Park, stay for Nightlife at California Academy of Science.

Day 4 – Booked Muir Woods and Wine Country tour, evening tour at Alcatraz (have tickets).

Day 5 – Pick up rental car and leave San Francisco for Coloma, rafting at South Fork of American River (booked), after rafting drive to South Lake Tahoe (stay overnight).

Day 6 – Short drive to Sand Habor and have a relaxed morning, MS Dixie cruise to Emerald Bay in the afternoon. After cruise drive to Lee Vining (stay overnight).

Day 7 – Start driving into Yosemite through Tioga Pass, stops at Toulomne Meadows, Tenaya Lake and Olmstead Point. Arrive in Yosemite Valley at round 1-2pm, lunch, rent a bike and go for a short bike ride in the Valley. Drive to Glacier Point for sunset, stopping at Tunnel View on the way (overnight at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls).

Day 8 – Early morning start to hike the Mist Trail (hope it is still worth it with smaller falls!). After lunch drive to Bridal Veil Falls, then continue to Mariposa Grove – probably take the tram tour to the top and hike back down. Drive to Los Banos for overnight.

Day 9 – Drive Los Banos to Monterey, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, have lunch on Cannery Row. After lunch, drive to Point Lobos State Reserve and spend the afternoon. Drive back to Monterey for overnight stay (stopping at Carmel beach for sunset).

Day 10 – Leave Monterey towards Big Sur, stopping for a photo at the Lone Cypress. In Big Sur, stops at Bixby Bridge, Hurricane Point, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pfeiffer Beach and McWay Falls. Late lunch at Nepenthe Restaurant. After lunch, another stop at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, finally stopping at San Luis Obispo for the Farmers market. Overnight in Morro Bay.

Day 11 – Booked half day kayaking trip at Morro bay. After kayaking drive to Santa Barbara. Spend some time at leisure between State Street, the waterfront and Stearns Wharf. Overnight in Santa Barbara.

Day 12 – Booked one day paragliding lesson till about 3pm. After lesson drive to Los Angeles, dinner at the Grove.

Day 13 – Warner Bros Studio tour in the morning, Santa Monice Pier and Venice beach at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 14 – Universal Studios for the day.

Day 15 – Disney’s California Adventure park for the day (we’ve both already been to Euro Disney in Paris, but might consider getting a one-day park hopper ticket to just repeat favorite rides). Staying for World of Color in the evening. After park, drive to San Diego.

Day 16 – Booked morning whale watching tour with Adventure Rib Rides (seems really fun!) Tour the USS Midway, spend late afternoon/evening at La Jolla.

Day 17 – San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park for the day. Evening at Coronado Island.

Day 18 – Sea World for the day. Evening at Gaslamp Quarter.

Day 19 – Fly to Las Vegas at noon, check in and relax at hotel. Have Cirque du Soleil O tickets for 7.30pm show.

Day 20 – Day trip to Grand Canyon.

Day 21 – Day at leisure checking out hotels, evening at Freemont Street.

Day 22 – Relax for our final day, visit some more hotels and the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. Flying back at 8.45pm.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: 3-week itinerary

>> In Big Sur, stops at Bixby Bridge, Hurricane Point, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pfeiffer Beach and McWay Falls. <<

fcascun: Good job on a well thought out plan! Just one comment from me: "Point Sur Lighthouse". You said stopping by. Not sure if you know... you can view the lighthouse from the distance on highway 1. But the access road to the lighthouse is not opened. There are ranger-led tours to the lighthouse itself but only during that time the access road gate will be opened to drive to a parking area.

Point Sur Lighthouse is just not one of those that you can leisurely "drive up to and see"... :)


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2. Re: 3-week itinerary

I think I'll have you plan our next vacation! LOL!

Napa, CA
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3. Re: 3-week itinerary

On Day 6, you don't need to drive all the way to Sand Harbor to relax on a nice beach. Since you have to be at Zephyr Cove later, just head for Nevada Beach in Round Hill. If you park on the street and walk in, you can save the parking charges. You need to get there early though if it's a weekend as you would for Sand Harbor.


Washington State
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4. Re: 3-week itinerary

Day 8 ~ it's likely that the Mariposa Grove parking lot will be full and you'll be parking in Wawona & then riding the shuttle up. Look for the info (parking) sign near the bridge over the river in Wawona. But with this excellent planning, you might be lucky and get one of the few spots.

You have really done your research and have planned a trip that suits you well. My only tip is that you keep a few alternate ideas in your back pocket in case something goes awry.

I'm looking forward to your trip report!

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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5. Re: 3-week itinerary

It will be difficult to do the Warner Tour and Santa Monica and Venice in one day.

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6. Re: 3-week itinerary

Thanks all for your great feedback!

Good to know about Point Sur lighthouse and the parking at Mariposa...always better to be warned ahead. I tend to enjoy planning the holiday nearly as much as actually being there :)) Now I really need to get into holiday mode and not be bothered too much if everything does not go as planned.

Superlicious, thanks for the Nevada beach tip, but have to admit I fell in love with the Sand Harbor pics. According to google maps is only about 35mins drive away from our hotel and then another 30mins back to Zephyr Cove, is that about right?

Yogachik, our plan for the day is the Warner Bros tour at 9.30, then drive to Santa Monica Pier, stay for a while and walk along the boardwalk to Venice Beach for some people watching...may I ask you why you think it is not doable in one day?

Oregon Coast
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7. Re: 3-week itinerary

>> Day 20 – Day trip to Grand Canyon. <<

Is this a tour or are you driving? Round trip is about 9-10 hours driving time, so you won't have much time at all at the canyon itself and it will be a very long day.

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8. Re: 3-week itinerary

We are doing a bus tour with Grand Adventure Tours - they have amazing reviews on TA. We are aware that its going to be a long day, but so far I think it's worth it, will see when we're there :)

9. Re: 3-week itinerary

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