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Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Sydney, Australia
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Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Hi folks,

My wife and I are making our first ever trip (and possibly the last as I am 60yrs old) to the USA, so we are trying to see as much as we can whilst in Califonia for 11 days this Spring, mid March onwards. We will be flying in to San Fran after spending a few days in New York. We plan on hiring a car in San Fran and droping it off in LA. I have put togerther the following itenerary and would like your views on it..

San Fran 2 nights

San Fran to Monteray/Carmel 2Hrs/200k 1 night

Carmel to Cambria 2 Hrs 15min/160k 1 night

Cambria to Santa Barbara 2 Hrs 15min/200k 1 night

Santa Barbara to Las Vegas 5Hrs 19min/570k 2 nights

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon 4Hrs 20min/447k 1 night

Grand Canyon to Phoenix 3 Hrs 40min/370k 1 night

Phoenix to San Deigo 5Hrs 20min/570k 1 night

San Deigo to LA 2Hrs/196k 1 night

Questions:

1. Is this the best use of time in Califonia?.....I would have liked to visit Yosemite, death valley, Bruce Canyon but can't fit it all in.

2. We would prefer to have 2 nights in LA but cant fit it in either....can we skip one of the less interesting stops? if so which?

3. Will there be any problem with the car hire since I will be driving in multiple states?

Any advise will be much appreciated!

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

You should add a lot of time to the drivingtimes you have calculated. In your trip I'd skip Santa Barbara and drive directly between Cambria and Las vegas (app 7 hours). Instead staying Phoenix I''d spend the night in Sedona and make it between Sedona and San Diego next day (app 8 hours drive). Your time for San Diego and LA will be very short but you''ll gain one day if you skip SB. If you want to spend longer in LA I'd skip San Diego.

You can visit Death Valley NP by driving from Cambria to DV, stay overnight and drive to Las Vegas after that.

Tet

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Ro me the thing to do would be to ship Santa Barbara and drive Cambria direct to LA, then stay there one night before driving to Vegas. That will get you some extra LA time.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Agree with the above. SB is lovely but perhaps you can skip it

By the way you are 60 years YOUNG you can come back again --I am sure you will.

As far car rental. check out traveljigsaw.com.au and no issues with renting a car and driving through all those states. Please rent from a top tier car company -- Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo or Enterprise

if you want to do some National Parks, why not extend your trip by a week or so. Also March will still be our rainy season and it will still be cold in NY? Can you not come in May or perhaps in September ?

Washington State
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4. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Do you have 11 nights or just 10?

Fewer miles ... San Francisco (3 nights, pick up the car just before you leave) - Yosemite Valley (1 n) - Monterey (1 n) - Cambria (1 n) - L.A. (2 n) ~~~ fly from a convenient airport BUR / SNA / ONT / LAX to LAS - Las Vegas (2 n)

Day trip to Death Valley while you're in Las Vegas?

If you have to fly out of LAX for your flight home., you could visit Las Vegas first and fly from LAS to SFO, then drive south.

Huntington Beach...
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5. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

I think your proposed itinerary is a bit over-ambitious. I would edit out three or four of the destinations and plan it for another trip. 60 is very young. I am over 60 and certainly plan on visiting Australia again. You want to be able to take in and enjoy the destinations you visit. Don't try to do it all in 11 days. It would be like trying to take in every Australian tourist destination in 11 days.

You will enjoy your trip far more if you limit yourself to 3 or 4 destinations and stay at least 2 nights at each.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Thank you all for your views....all very interesting suggestions....will discuss with the wife and get back to this post

Ventura...
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7. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

You are doing WAY too much driving and not enough enjoying. All cities along the California coast are very similar: beautiful, good-weather, cities. Pick one, (like San Francisco), and then see something else. Nevada is a HUGE desert. You will see a lot of Nevada on your drive to Las Vegas. If I were you, I would skip Death Valley and see Yousemite instead. It is a breath-taking place. Los Angeles is also too huge and the traffic is terrible. I avoid it when I can. If you go there, you will see nothing but bad traffic and smog. If you had a week to just see Los Angeles, that would be different, but one day? Skip it.

Ventura...
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8. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

What is it that you enjoy doing? You overlooked Disneyland, and there are also some amazing museums. The Getty Museum has a lot of top-notch art. And the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino (Pasadena) has 200 acres of gardens and art. It is my favorite place.

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

For Yosemite you''ll need to have chains in the car that time of year and Tioga Pass on the way to Death Valley and Las Vegas will be closed.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Aussie needs help with Califonia Spring trip!

Hi all,

Thanks for your views and agree that our original itenerary is overly ambitious with far too much driving.....so we are now considering a combination of fliying, driving and day coach tours. It will be a more expensive doing it this way but if we can contain the costs we ought to get more fun out off the trip.

So to recap, the main cities we want to visit are SF, LA and LV and have a total of 11 nights, flight pre booked to arrive in SF mid day and depart from LAX 10pm.

Proposed Itenerary as follows:

SF- 3 nights + 1 night Yosemite.

Day coach tour to Yosemite or self drive hire car to Yosemite with 1 night stop over.

Return to SF

Fly to LV or LA ( preferably LV)

LV - 3 nights

1 day LV tour

1 day guided coach tour to Grand Canyon South rim

1 day guided coach tour to Death Valley ( long day!).

Or we could self drive hire car to the above - would probably be cheaper, more flexible but more tiring and miss out on local tour guide knowledge).

LA 3 nights

2 days LA tour

1 day self drive hire car to surrounding areas and San Deigo.

Still leaves us with a free night to spend somewhere.

Does this look better?