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California Roadtrip in August 2013

California Roadtrip in August 2013

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Removed on: 12 August 2013, 21:56
San Francisco...
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1. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Plenty of questions but I am confused. you want to do adventurous activities but are mainly interested in the large cities. As you may know the best hikes, bike rides, sporting activities would be outside the main city areas. The more south you go the warmer the water is. there is diving off the Monterey Coast which I think would be lovely or you can look at PADI certified diving companies in Venice or south of that in the LA area.

There are opportunities for paragliding along the coast as well. Dune Buggy rides in Pismo beach,

Most would suggest 2-3 days in the major cities and trying to come last minute and NOT have hotel or car reservations is a very bad idea. You may want to do SF - yosemite (check now for last minute hotels) - Monterey - Pismo Beach - La then LV and then fly to SFO or OAK and then fly out from SFO, Check www.carhire3000.com for a car and please pre-book. use southwest.com for airfares or www.kayak.com

You will have to search for smoking rooms as they are few and far in between.

You can visit wine country in Paso Robles or near Santa Barbara. there is no time for Sacramento. Not sure what you want to see there.

Please read the Top Questions on the right side. here is a primer on the coastal drive

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c197885/Califo…

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

August is our heaviest traveled month. Most hotels along the coast will be fully booked by now. Don't expect to save money with a last minute visit in August. Expect the opposite. There are plenty of fast food options to help allay your expenses. Whatever rooms are available will come at a premium price. And many lodgings along the coast have 2 night minimum requirements.

Smoking..... Every town/city has their own laws/ordinances on smoking. You can't smoke in any restaurants, stores, etc. And many parks/beaches, etc. do not allow it. It's also getting harder to find hotels that offer rooms for smokers. Many towns/cities have laws that require smokers to be at least 20 feet from the entrance to any public building, whether it's a store, hotel, office building, etc. Your friend may want to invest in some nicotine gum to help curb his/her craving to smoke. I'm also pretty sure whatever car rental agency you use will forbid smoking in their vehicle.

Most here would suggest at least a 2 overnight trip down the coast with stops in Monterey and another in Pismo Beach. If you can only afford 1 night between the 2 cities, then Cambria is the logical midway stop, but you may have to set sights on Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach for available lodging.

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3. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

You MUST have hotel reservations as this is HIGH season along the California coast and Yosemite!!

You MUST also book your car before you leave home.

Many European visitors find that using a European car agency will include needed insurance and allow pick up and drop off at different locations without an extra fee. IF you use a USA car company like Hertz make sure you tell them your home location because USA citizens will have different insurance needs.

California is a very anti -smoking state! Your friend will have to go outside away from people to find a place to smoke. There is no smoking inside restaurants/hotels(very few smoking rooms)bars etc.Even many beaches and parks are no smoking areas.

Please ask questions about Las Vegas on the specific Las Vegas forum . In general rooms there during the week are less expensive than on the weekends. Prices there in general are lower than in California cities.

There are many different areas in California where you can taste wine.

You do not have to go to Napa for that.

On your trip south from San Francisco there are tasting areas near Monterey, near Cambria in the town of Paso Robles and near Santa Barbara. There are also tasting areas in Amador County south of Sacramento so depending on the route you choose you will be able to stop off and do some tasting.

You certainly don't have to spend $500 a person!!!

4. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

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Removed on: 12 August 2013, 21:56
Grover Beach...
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5. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Some of the "adventurous" activities you might to include in your travels include:

Surf lessons in Santa Cruz or enjoying the fun beach boardwalk with the 100+ year old roller coaster. The boardwalk is free to enter. Only pay for whatever you want to ride, eat, drink, etc.

Kayak the Elkhorn Slough for amazing views of seals, otters and birds or kayak Monterey Bay with possible dolphin, otter, whale sightings. You can dive from Whaler's Cove at Point Lobos State Reserve.

Rent off highway vehicles and ride the dunes in the Oceano State Vehicular Recreational Area near Pismo Beach, skydive Pismo Beach or take a bi-plane ride. Pismo Beach probably has more beach activities to keep you busy for a few days compared to other beaches between SF and LA. Keep in mind, though, that the water temps north of LA are quite chilly even in the summer months. Wet suits will be required for any water adventure you engage in north of LA.

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6. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

A one day drive from Las Vegas to SF via Yosemite would be an all day nonstop in-the-car adventure and not a very good one. Most folks enjoy a drive thru visit of Death Valley with a night in Lone pine. Then it's an all day with stops drive to Yosemite Valley- another overnight.Then most of the day or another full day in YoYosemite before heading back to SF or a hotel near SFO if the flight is an early one.

Lots of details in the Top Questions

San Francisco...
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7. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Life is an adventure so we all agree if that is your definition of adventure

15th - 17th San Francisco

If you arrive on the Lufthansa flight around Mid-day on the 15th, add a couple of hours before you get to your hotel so with jet lag et al, you may just have a half day and then just the 16th to see SF before you leave. Not much time to be adventurous in SF

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8. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Also, in case you haven't checked our temperatures in San Francisco and the Northern California coast, our daytime highs are in the mid- to high-60s, with fog and low clouds starting in late afternoons, overnight, generally (but not always) clearing around mid-day.

In popular vacation areas (which includes most of the coast between SF and LA), even motels get booked up in advance. (This is a rugged coastline, which does not have a lot of population centers, so there are not hundreds -- or even dozens -- of options to choose from in any given location.)

You might consider flying from SF to Las Vegas and then flying to LA, then driving between LA and SF, including Yosemite and the coast.

If you do decide to risk not having pre-booked accommodations along the coast, bring a mobile phone and guidebook, then about lunch time, pick your overnight destination, call ahead and book something. You can then relax for the rest of the day and explore at your leisure, knowing you won't be sleeping in your car. (Which, by the way, is generally not legal....)

California state law forbids smoking indoors in any establishment that has employees... so not shops, restaurants, bars, etc. Hotels may or may not offer smoking rooms (many and more do not). And as mentioned, local jurisdictions may have even stricter laws... generally speaking, if anyone would be subjected to second-hand smoke involuntarily (while waiting in a theater line, or playing in a park), you cannot smoke, even outdoors.

You really should overnight in or near Yosemite, if you can find accommodations (check the Yosemite forum for advice).

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9. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Simon,

Here are my thoughts -----

TO SAVE DRIVE TIME:

o I like the idea of flying to Las Vegas from SFO.

o I like the idea of flying from Las Vegas to LAX.

To do this, may I suggest www.southwest.com You need to go on their web site and book directly with them because to offer the low flight rates, they do not go through a booking platform like expedia, etc. This airline is completely reliable and is a respected airline company with big jets. Nothing to worry about with them.

---------------------

TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE THE DESERT:

o Rent a vehicle in Las Vegas for a day or two and do a day trip to the Grand Canyon, or to Death Valley.

---------------------

TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE THE CALIFORNIA COAST, YOSEMITE and NAPA:

o I like the idea to rent a vehicle in Los Angeles and then drive north on the California coast to the Monterey area, then east to Yosemite, then west to Napa if you have the extra day and night, then south to San Francisco to depart for home. This is a very popular route. By California driving standards, it is not considered wasteful zig-zag driving.

---------------------

PRE-BOOK ALL LODGING ! ! !

o People like flexibility, especially when traveling. As others have already posted, you have selected some of the most popular places in the western US to visit during one of the most popular times of the year. Therefore, flexibility with lodging in these areas is essentially a thing of the distant past. Many areas you wish to visit start taking lodging reservations a year in advance, such as Yosemite lodging. And Yosemite camprounds book 6 months in advance as another example. Some of the lodging at the Grand Canyon open reservations over one year in advance and some types of those accommodations book up within 2 hours for the entire next season.

o Here are some alternate cities or areas close to popular cities or popular destinations that might have availability at this time or offer less expensive lodging..

In Los Angeles area -- In place of lodging in Hollywood, CA

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA or BURBANK, CA

Along the California Coast ~

CARPENTERIA, CA or GOLETA, CA in place of lodging in Santa Barbara, CA

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA in place of lodging in Cambria, CA

SEASIDE, CA in place of lodging in Monterey, CA or Carmel, CA

In place of lodging in or near Yosemite National Park --

OAKDALE, CA to the west of Yosemite

SONORA, CA to the north of Yosemite

OAKHURST, CA or COARSEGOLD, CA to the south of Yosemite

In the Napa Wine Country --- in place of lodging in Napa, CA or Sonoma, CA

HEALDSBURG, CA or CLOVERDALE, CA or CLEAR LAKE, CA

I hope my post helps you to further understand some of the potential and likely disasters that we want you to avoid -- and ways to manage your lodging and time spent here -- so that you can experience a great visit to the USA without regrets. It is very easy to rent a vehicle, fill it up with gas, get out on the highways and drive! As someone who was born in the US, I think I do not realize how free, easy and safe it is to drive the highways here. Just watch the speed zones and highway signs ----- first, for safety and second, so you do not receive a stiff fine.

------------------------ ONE BIG REMINDER -----------------------------

IF YOU PLAN TO DRIVE in the desert areas and in the mountain areas, PLEASE DO NOT RELY 100% ON GPS or COMPUTERIZED MAPPING SYSTEMS. It is in your best interest to buy a paper map or a road atlas that covers each state you will drive. Why? GPS picks up every pioneer wagon trail and other often abandoned roads that you do not want to be routed.

Have fun!

Edited: 08 August 2013, 01:42
Washington State
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10. Re: California Roadtrip in August 2013

Please use a good mapping program like Google maps to help with planning. Add time for delays due to crowded roads. For example, the usual 1.5 hr drive to Yosemite Valley from Oakhurst would be closer to 2 hrs with the August crowds I have seen, and Sonora would be 2.5 he's away. A cheaper lodging choice isn't always better.