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Family road trip around california

Carnoustie, United...
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Family road trip around california

Hi

Wonder if anyone can give me some advice etc.

My family and I (Wife, Daughter, son in law and granddaughter – aged 14) are coming over from Scotland and are planning a road trip next summer around California. My wife and I did a similar trip about 25 years ago so sure a lot has changed.

This time we want to restrict the driving between places to about 3-4 hours per day which hopefully will allow us time along the route to look around.

Our rough route etc. is:-

Land in LA and drive to Barstow where we will stay for a couple of nights.

Then on to Las Vegas for 3 nights .

Drive to Death Valley where we will stay for another night (not necessarily in DV but in the area)

After that we are heading for Yosemite but will break the journey for one night in Bishop area

Next day will drive through Yosemite to Colfax Spring area for the night

Next it is up to South Lake Tahoe for 2 nights

Thereafter it is 2 nights in Sacramento

We will head to Willits for a couple of nights for the rodeo etc

Finally down to San Francisco for 4 nights before we fly home.

What do you think of the route etc.?

We are really keen to find out about attractions ( unusual or otherwise), side trips etc along the route and suggestions as to where to stay, what to see, where to eat would be gratefully received. Our budget is moderate so please no too fancy places to stay or eat.

Thanks

Encinitas...
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1. Re: Family road trip around california

Just wondering what you will be doing in Barstow for two days?

Carnoustie, United...
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2. Re: Family road trip around california

The plan for Bartsow is shopping in the outlet place there and visiting the Ghost town and any side trips that may be suggested etc.

Edited: 01 November 2012, 07:45
Uden, The...
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3. Re: Family road trip around california

You can see Galico in 1-2 hours. It's too commercialized for us. A far better place for Outlet shopping is at Cabazon 20 miles west of Palm Springs. Also Palm Springs is a lot more attractive than Barstow imo. Take the aerial tram into the mountains with great views on the valley. You can drive between Palm Springs and Las Vegas via Joshua Tree NP and Mojave National Preserve. On that stretch are some ghosttown like places.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Family road trip around california

If you want to see a genuine ghosttown I'd recommend Bodie. Bodie is a 45 minutes trip from Lee Vining north on 395 on the way to Lake Tahoe. I also think your time for Yosemite NP is very limited.

San Diego...
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5. Re: Family road trip around california

I would agree that Barstow would be a disappointing place to spend the first 2 nights of your vacation. You’d be sitting there looking out the window asking, “We flew across the world for this?” Palm Springs would be more interesting and there are outlet malls there, though Palm Springs will be hot in the summer.

Hopefully this trip will be in early June, not July, August or September which are very hot in the deserts. Death Valley is scorching hot in July and August with temperatures of 120 F (48 C) possible in the afternoons. Even in early June, afternoon temperatures of 106 F (41 C) are the average. So be well-prepared for heat when you go there.

Palm Springs, Barstow and Las Vegas are also hot in the summer, not as hot as Death Valley but still pretty hot, and you may want to reconsider spending 3 nights there. Your 14-year-old granddaughter might not be allowed into all the places you want to go to in Las Vegas as some casinos and shows may have age requirements.

Since you will spend some time on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range, take a look at this travelogue to see what is available to see in that region: travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

I agree that Bodie would be a better ghost town experience than Calico.

It sounds like you are driving from Bishop to Colfax Spring in one day, for only a quick drive-through of Yosemite. That’s really not enough time and I would consider adding one night in Yosemite Valley if you can.

You have a total of 4 nights in Willits and Sacramento; I’m wondering what you are planning to do in those places for 4 days. You list the rodeo, but I assume that’s only going to take part of one day. What else are you planning to do there?

The main thing you’re missing is the coast of California; you could possibly work in a drive down to Big Sur at the end of your trip. The coast will be considerably cooler in the summer than the desert locations you will have been to. See this travelogue which was posted by another member of this forum: https://picasaweb.google.com/Mjneenan/Califo…

Edited: 01 November 2012, 14:48
San Francisco Bay
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6. Re: Family road trip around california

I second the idea that you should steal nights away from Barstow, Las Vegas and Sacramento, and even Willits if necessary, and add 2 nights in or near Yosemite.

Bodie, the ghost town, is such a different and remote place, it is well worth the somewhat rough road drive.

Las Vegas casinos don't allow anyone under 21 to even hang around their gambling rooms for more than just walking through quickly. It will probably be even too hot to sit out by the pool. People from Scotland can be sunburned in 10 minutes there!

I suspect that you will be here sometime in late July or August, due to the school calendar, so this trip will be mostly scorchingly hot, even at night. After all that, you will be able to cool your jets, and brains in San Francisco, where you will find, cool breezes and a more urban vibe.

Once you have your plans in place, the first order of business is to get Yosemite area accommodations, and San Francisco hotels in place early on next.

Unless you have a big reason for staying in Colfax Spring area, there are much nicer small towns, like Grass Valley or Nevada City, close by.

I'm sure you will have a great time whatever you decide.

Edited: 01 November 2012, 16:53
cambs
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7. Re: Family road trip around california

hi there

we are from glasgow originally - love us vacations! have been 13 times in all including 9 with our boys when they were kids

our last visit to california we were on our own

flew into san fran but didnt stop - headed to the coast hear point reyes nat park

then further up the coast to mendocino

inland to calistoga

drove thru sacramento en route to lake tahoe

then yosemite

and back to the coast at lucia and pacific grove

before flying back from san fran

id echo the comments about stealing days from barstow etc (also from san fran perhaps)

i think an over night in death valley is enuf - as long as you have time to do some touring the day you arrive and the day you leave

id prefer napa valley to sacramento

and id definitely take in the coast

its wonderfu lboth north and south of san fran

but MUCH quieter to the north

carmel\pacific grove area is well woth a visit........

have you been to the grand canyon?

i know you cant get everywhere but it really does take the word awesome (absolutuly in the literal sense) to describe it!

have a great trip

Carnoustie, United...
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8. Re: Family road trip around california

Thanks fellow Scot

Was in Grand canyon just a couple of years back so think we will give it miss this time around Also just 4 years ago my wife and I did the coast run from Seattle to LA so this time will be sticking inland. Thanks for all the great tips.

Arrabest

Carnoustie, United...
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9. Re: Family road trip around california

Thanks for all the information. It is very much appreciated

Carnoustie, United...
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10. Re: Family road trip around california

Hi

Thanks

This is just the kind of information we were needing so it is much appreciated. Think Barstow will have to be dropped in favor of Palm Springs and will definitely be going to Brodie.

Thanks again