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California Road Trip advice please.....

London, United...
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California Road Trip advice please.....

I am flying with my family (inc 2 kids 15 & 18 yrs) to LA for 3 weeks wef July 28th

We are planning to spend the 3 weeks on a circular road trip,We are planning to adapt the following 2 week plan (from autotoursusa) and stretch over 3 weeks - additionally extending to include Catalina Island and San Diego for a "beachy" ending

14 DAY ITINERY

Day 1 Arrive LA

2 Palm Springs 147m

3 Laughlin 260m

4 Williams 147m

5 Page 191m

6 Bryce Canyon NP 170m

7 Vegas 240m

8 Vegas

9 Frensco 450m

10 San Fran 244m

11 San Fran

12 San Simeon 289m

13 LA 250m

I am sorry to be rather greedy but I wonder if I could ask a few questions ?

1) We have a relatively tight budgey.Would you recommend hiring the car and booking hotels separately or through the same firm as a package ?

Do any companies stand out ?

2) Any recommendations as to where / how we should spend the extra 7 days ie perhaps 2 nights in SD and Catalina ?

3) Reflecting we have kids , to avoid the "are we there yet" factor are there any particular stop overs you would recommend to keep them happy (ex Disney/Sea world !).

4) Have we got it right with SD and Catlina as beachy type stops for the 3rd week ?

Sorry to be cheeky with all my questions but any advise greatly appreciated !

Many thanks

Best

Paul

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

You need to add at least 1 extra day to the drive between SF and LA to do it justice.

Monterey for 1 night

Cambria/San Simeon or Pismo Beach for 1 night

Uden, The...
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2. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Your 2 weeks roadtrip actually needs 3 weeks already. I'd do

as follows:

1. Arr LA

2. Drive to Kingman (some parts of R66 on your way)

3. To Grand Canyon NP (more parts of R66, stop in Seligman)

4. GCNP-Page

5. Page (Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe bend, Antelope Canyons, Colorado Riverraft)

6. Page-Bryce

7. Bryce-Zion

8. Zion (hiking paradise)

9. Zion-Las Vegas

10. Las Vegas-Lone Pine via Death Valley NP

11. Lone Pine-Yosemite via Tioga Pass (skip the drive via Fresno)

12. Yosemite NP

13. Yosemite-San Francisco

14,15: SF

16. SF-Monterey

17. Monterey-Cambria/Pismo Beach

18. Cambria-Los Angeles.

19,20,21: DL, Beaches, whatever you want to do in the LA area.

Rent the car already from UK and makes sure you'll have your reservation this time of year for lodging.

Your original route is very rushed imo and youll miss places like Zion, Death Valley and Yosemite.

Tet

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Hi Paul

As usual, Tet has offered an excellent itinerary. He has actually traveled to all of these places while the folks who created the fly-drive itinerary you tried to copy have only looked at a map.

It's possible that your kids will want to add Anaheim / Disneyland rather than a beach visit. I think it's slightly less crowded to visit Disneyland in the 3rd week of August instead of the very end of July, but ask on the Anaheim forum. And your kids may *need* to visit Disneyland first. Or they may be excited about taking surf lessons at a beach. As teens, they need to give their input. I like Tet's itinerary, and it would have appealed to my kids at the ages of 15 & 18 since we're a hiking family. But some teens might want more time in Southern California (Six Flags roller coasters? beaches of Orange County? shopping? activities in L.A?)

Check over Tet's itinerary. Make sure it matches your travel style with enough time in each destination. Then go to the destination forum and do more research. The Top Questions in the upper right of each page will help. Read the relevant Top Q, and then post on that forum.

Yosemite will be the toughest to find lodging. I have two ideas in mind for you, and I'll share them on your new Yosemite forum thread. tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g61000-i315

Also read the Top Q here on this page. There are articles about lovely drive down Hwy 1 from SF to L.A. and about the eastern Sierra drive from Las Vegas to Yosemite NP.

Cuenca, Ecuador
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4. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Hello, Paul, and welcome to TripAdvisor and the California forum.

Earlier in my life I drove foreign tourists like yourself in a touring motorcoach to these very same destinations. We used to call it "the Southwest Loop" back in that time not too long ago, and it's not all in California. . . You will be visiting Nevada, Arizona, and Utah as well. Lots of miles/kilometers to cover.

You've got the general pacing of the day to day itinerary down fairly well. I understand you are on a budget. May I offer a few suggestions? (smile)

Consider staying at Page, Arizona for an extra night. You could visit Monument Valley, Utah on a day trip and not incur the high priced lodging charge there that way. Great scenery that has made its way in many Western and even comedy films. While there, visit Goulding's Trading Post (Lodge, restaurant and museum). The museum (nominal cost) is quite educational for kids and adults and shows you the interaction the Gouldings had with the native Navajo people in helping them use their majestic and scenic landscape to benefit the entire Navajo Nation via motion picture film production.

I also agree with Kibblesmom on staying the night at Monterey area (Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach). Just a lot of great sights to see, and an aquarium (Monterey Bay Aquarium in historic Cannery Row) that kids love to visit. While at San Simeon area (San Simeon, Cambria, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach) Hearst Castle (Hearst San Simeon State Historic Park, the estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst) is a beautiful place to experience, especially in the Summer. Worth checking out to see if you could afford to visit them. Driving and walking around these sights without paying for the entrance fee is also far better than passing them by altogether. Seventeen Mile Drive in Pebble Beach is also worth the fee (around $10 per auto) to go see the coastline and do some hiking as well. Parking is readily available for it.

It's more work to book hotels separately, but worth it in my view. You will be going through some relatively isolated country, and not all hotel chains are in these places. Check it out vs. the packaged situation for booking the lodgings and rental vehicle. You want recommendations? I am familiar, and would be glad to help out. Just let me know.

I haven't been to Catalina Island. I'm much more familiar with San Diego. Sea World is a easy choice, as is the San Diego Zoo. Reuben H. Fleet Space Observatory in Balboa Park is great for older kids, and it's relatively near the zoo. Check it out. I also like the Star of India wooden ship which allows tours, as well as the Hotel del Coronado for the old style and grace it quietly exudes. Horton Plaza is worth the visit for shopping and eats. Theater there, too. Lots out there besides just the beach. Speaking of the beach, La Jolla would be my favorite family beach in SD. There's sea anenomes and other sea life in the coves and tidepools in this vicinity below Scripps Observatory.

Your "kid stop" places would likely include the following: Oatman, Arizona near Laughlin Nevada on Historic Route 66. Free old west mining town that has free range burros that will stop on the road (bring carrots to feed them!) as well as a couple of staged street gunfight shows in the middle of town. Cheap and fun! http://www.welcometooatman.com/ Cameron's Trading Post at Cameron on US Route 89 on the way to Page from the Grand Canyon is a worthwhile stop to visit Native American handmade items for sale, and a good lunch stop at the dining room if desired. Not too pricey on items if you're careful, and great selection here. http://www.camerontradingpost.com/ Glen Canyon Dam is any kid's favorite stop. Cost to enter the tour is far lower than Las Vegas' Hoover Dam (I've been on both, so I know). Best bang for the money for a dam tour for sure! nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/guidedtours.htm I like to stop in Denny's Wigwam in Kanab, Utah on the way to Bryce Canyon for the western wear, and the ice cream. Interesting shop and stuff here, and great western music CDs. http://www.dennyswigwam.com/ On the way from Las Vegas to Fresno, stop by the Twenty Mule Team Borax mine in Boron on California State Route 58 right by the "doghouse" of yours truly. Nominal $3 fee for your vehicle to enter, and the largest open pit mine of its kind in North America. Makes giant earthmovers look like Tonka trucks! www.borax.com/about-borax/visitor-center

Questions? Let us know, and the forum members here will be glad to help. Enjoy your travels with us.

London, United...
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5. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Hey kibblesmom , Tet & pacificNW family- i really appreciate you taking the time to provide such useful and practical advice ! many thanks guys

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Glad to help, borischelski. We just want our visitors to get the most out of their visit, since they come from from great distances.

London, United...
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7. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the great info I am putting our route together based on your advice. Just one question assuming we will be going into Yosemite via the Tioga Pass any recommendations of where to stay for a couple of nights. Having looked at accommodation in the park it is either really expensive/ already booked up. Any advice greatly appreciated.

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

If on a budget, book some campsites. We are going June/July and booked 2 nights in Yosemite Valley for such cheap rates. Although you might struggle to book one now in the valley but there are some sites further out I think.

We have also decided to take 2 nights for the SF to LA drive. Again we might look into camping somewhere on this route if we can find somewhere so any suggestions are welcome!

Also the Motor Inns in SF seem decent value and come with parking which might save a bit of money!

Definitely book everything separately, it will be cheaper. Book the hire car through a broker.

Washington State
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9. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

Specific recommendations about a destination are best discussed on that forum page. Please visit the Yosemite forum for a campground chat & a Top Question all about lodging. Visit the SF forum for a great Top Question about budget hotels and info about parking a car in SF.

London, United...
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10. Re: California Road Trip advice please.....

hi tet

please may i ask you a quick question?

on your route from lone pine to tioga pass according to my calculations is about an 8 hour drive which sems v long ?are my calculations approximately correct ?

an alternative option was staying somewhere in between such as perhaps mammoth lakes.is this something you might recommend as a good idea?

any advice appreciated

best