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Road trip help please - highway 1!

Bristol
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Road trip help please - highway 1!

Hi all

I've read some really useful posts on this forum and the Road trip forum and would really appreciate some comments on my proposed itinerary. Hubby and I (both 27, like good food, sunshine, beaches, seeing new cities) are planning a 2 week road trip SF to Las Vegas (or the other way around if necessary) end of August/start of September. Here is what I'm thinking:

Saturday arrive SF, stay 4 nights - pick up car (I'm dreaming of some cool convertible American car!)

Wednesday drive down coast, stay in either Monterey or Carmel, look around, go to aquarium

Thursday/Friday flexible but heading south, nice beach town down highway 1, stop at Big Sur, stay in Cambria maybe?

Saturday some sort of wine tour on the way to spend 2-3 nights in either Santa Barbara/San Diego/LA (here is where I need some help, where would you recommend? - want nice beach, restaurants, shops, bars)

Tuesday drive all day to Vegas - assume we will be going through some nice desert scenes? I'm picturing like in the movies! anywhere to stop on the way? - then drop off car

Saturday leave Las Vegas

Any thoughts? Any of the driving bits too long? Will it be poolside weather? Is it too much to try and do SF, Vegas as well as LA/Santa Barbara?

Also posted in road trip forum, very excited about planning this

Many thanks, I love TA!

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Carmel
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Cambria
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San Luis Obispo County, CA
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San Francisco...
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1. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Looks good. Santa Monica would be where I would suggest you stay. The drive to LV is really boring so a flight may be better from nearby LAX. The rest looks good

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Santa Monica
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Los Angeles
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2. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

First, I'd suggest doing the trip a little bit after Labor Day (Sep. 2 this year) as kids are back in school by then which tends to deflate hotel and other prices from their summer highs - you'll also find roads and attractions less crowded.

Santa Barbara is a great little town with some shopping and good restaurants by the beach. But SB itself is a small town so if you're looking for more than that its not there. Santa Monica is adjacent to LA and has a bigger feel to it than Santa Barbara but still has the beach and tons of shops and great restaurants, plus you'll have easy access to other parts of LA. San Diego is great too but its another 2 1/2 hours or so driving past LA. Santa Barbara hotels can be pricey especially on weekends (its a weekend getaway destination for a lot of LA area residents), Santa Monica can be pricey as well.

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Bristol
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3. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Thanks that is really helpful will look into Santa Monica for sure. Do you think prices will be inflated Labour Day weekend? Will the weather be nice if we come the first 2 weeks of September?

How long is the drive to Vegas? I'm thinking it'll be interesting to see the dry empty dessert but also wary that it'll be very very hot!

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Santa Monica
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4. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Not only will prices be inflated over Labor Day, but many, if not most, hotels will have 2 or even 3 night minimum requirements.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

The drive to Vegas will be extremely hot.

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Bristol
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6. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Hmmm how bout if we are in Vegas around 28-31 August, flying out 31st morning? Would we still be affected?

Perhaps better to come week after, ie trip 7-21 September but I'm worried we won't have any good beach/poolside weather then?

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Bristol
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7. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Extremely hot yikes! Maybe will look into flying. I guess even with an aircon car we will be sweltering

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8. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

The problem with Labor Day weekend is that everything is extremely crowded. The day after Labor Day, the crowds magically drop by in half. If you can postpone your trip until September 3 or later, you will find everything much less crowded, yet the weather will still be as warm and sunny as in the summer. The deserts will still be hot - Las Vegas averages an afternoon high of 98 F (36.6 C) with a nightly low of 73 F (22.7 C) in early September. So if you drive to Las Vegas make sure you have good air conditioning in the car. The drive from Santa Monica to Las Vegas is 281 miles (450 km) and takes about 5 hours, if there is no heavy traffic anywhere along the way. Plus any stops along the way. Barstow, a small city in the desert, is approximately the halfway point. If you do the drive on a weekday, wait until the morning rush hour has ended before starting the drive. It is not a very scenic or remarkable drive through the desert, at least compared to the best desert scenery of the southwest U.S. You could visit places like Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, or Valley of Fire State Park, both of which are pretty close to Las Vegas. Both have nice landscapes but both will be just as hot as Las Vegas, so if you go to either one, be well prepared for heat.

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9. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

Generally the first few weeks in September is the hottest time of year in LA. You'd most likely still have great weather from the 7th to the 21st so I wouldn't worry about that.

re: Vegas on the 28th to the 31st, I suspect you won't like the hotel prices at that time as they're sure to be quite high Labor Day weekend there as well.

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10. Re: Road trip help please - highway 1!

I'd hate to see all your lovely memories of California ruined by the drive to Las Vegas. It will be extremely hot, so there goes the idea of a convertible. And all the smog from LA will be following you. If you stay in Santa Monica, and you should, you will be just a couple of easy miles to LAX, so fly to LAS. The wide beach at LA from Santa Monica southward has to be seen to be believed.

From SF I'd suggest picking up hwy 1 right away and taking it down the coast, but go beyond Monterey. Treat yourselves to an unforgettable overnight at one of the Big Sur lodges, from the outrageous Post Ranch Inn to the less expensive Lucia Lodge.

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