We (adults in mid 40s and two teenagers) are in the early stages of planning a road trip next year and would value some input as not done this kind of thing before. There is so much to see but we don't want to spend hours and hours on the road every day. We like the natural world and beaches but obviously want to see the main sites in the cities (especially SF). We also want to finish off the trip with some down time, probably in San Diego. We have put a rough itinerary together as follows:
2 Drive to Flagstaff or Sedona - stay the night. Any advice on preferred option?
3 Drive to Grand Canyon - stay 2 nights
5 Drive on Hwy 40 towards Barstow - want a stop over but not sure where - any advice? Want to drive up route 395 to Lone Pine or Bishop next day. Is it worth the trek to Barstow so we can call in Death Valley on the way up the next day? Or will we not have enough time to do it justice?
6 Drive to Bishop/Lone Pine - stay the night. Any comments on best place to stop?
7 Drive to Yosemite - stay 2 nights
9 Drive to San Francisco - stay 2 or 3 nights - is 1 1/2 days enough to see main sights or will we need 2 -2 1/2 days?
13 Drive to Cambria or Pismo Beach - stay 1 night - any comments on best place to stop over?
14 Drive to Santa Monica - stay the night
15 Would like to head down to San Diego for some down time for the remainder of the holiday. Any suggestions on best route? Accommodation recommendations for beach area?
Would we need a car in San Diego or is public transport good?
Many thanks in advance for your help. It's a mammoth task trying to put this together with very little knowledge!