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Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

Huntington Beach...
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Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

Hi,

I would like to take a mini 4 days road trip from orange county to Lake Tahoe during the Thanksgiving weekend with family including parents + 3 kids. I'm hoping we can either stop at Yosemite or SF as well. Could anyone advise on what's a good scenic route to take? We don't ski so i'm thinking of spending max 2 days in Lake tahoe. Would like to leave wednesday 11/27 and start driving back to OC on saturday 11/30. I don't mind getting in to OC late at night as we plan on resting at home on sunday before heading back to work and school.

Please help with suggestions for itinerary.

Thanks!

Washington State
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1. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

Wow. That's a lot of miles with kids & parents. Have you looked at the drive time estimates on Google Maps & added time for meals, refueling, stretching legs, & running around with kids?

Are you leaving first thing in the morning on Wednesday or a bit later?

Off the top of my head I'd suggest one of these

A:

Wed: Orange County to Fresno or Oakhurst.

Thurs: On to Yosemite Valley. Yosemite tourism.

Fri: Yosemite tourism.

Sat: drive home

--

B.

Wed: OC to Monterey via Hwy 101.

Thurs: Monterey

Fri: On to San Francisco.

Sat: SF in the morning, I-5 drive home.

--

C.

Wed: OC to Sacramento (don't know how far you plan to drive on this day)

Thurs: Lake Tahoe

Fri: Lake Tahoe in the AM, afternoon drive south on Hwy 395 to Lee Vining

Sat: scenic drive down Hwy 395 w/ a few stops (some of the "Day 2" ideas from this LV to Yosemite article tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361 )

Huntington Beach...
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2. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

Thanks for the tips. I did use the roadtrip calculator so i was thinking the following:

A)

Wednesday: Leave early in the AM from OC to Yosemite (stay overnight at Yosemite)

Thursday: Yosemite to Lake Tahoe in the late afternoon

Friday: Spend day at Lake Tahoe

Saturday: Lake Tahoe to OC

B)

Wed: Leaving early AM form OC to SF via scenic route 101

Thursday: spend day in SF

Friday: leave early AM from SF to Lake Tahoe

Saturday: Leave from Lake Tahoe to OC

C)

Wed: Leaving AM from OC to Tahoe

Thursday: Tahoe

Friday: Tahoe to SF

Saturday: SF home via scenic route

What do you think? I do want to be able to go and see scenery and not just take the fastest route on I-5. Do you think it's doable?

Huntington Beach...
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3. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

The other option would be:

Wed: Oc to Tahoe

Thursday: Tahoe

Friday: Tahoe to SF

Satuday: SF Cambria

Sunday: Cambria to OC

Washington State
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4. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

I think that spending 5 days makes this a more feasible trip. For many years we took a 4 or 5 day family mini-vacation over Thanksgiving. We never tried to travel as many hours. We prefer to get to a destination and to spend time enjoying it. Your options A, B, & C are too much time in the car for my travel style.

A:

OC to Yosemite Valley ~ 350 miles, 6 hrs of wheels turning (hopefully no weather delays!), 7.5 - 8 hrs of travel time. Leave your home at 8 am, arrive at 4 pm.

Yosemite Valley to South Lake Tahoe (is this the part of Tahoe you want to see?) ~ 4 hrs in Yosemite Valley in the morning, leave at noon, 200 miles, 4.5 hrs of wheels turning, 5.5-6 hrs of travel. Get there after dark.

One day of tourism

South Lake Tahoe to OC ~ 525 miles, 8 hrs of wheels turning, again without weather delays, longer hours of travel

--> All this for 4 daylight hours in Yosemite Valley and a day at Lake Tahoe.

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

How long is your family happy to be traveling in one car? How often will you need to stop? What kinds of things will you want to do on your "rest" days?

www.SunriseSunset.com will help with daylight hours.

5. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

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Huntington Beach...
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6. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

Thank you for all the tips on where to go and stay. it just hit me after reading the comments here that there may be bad weather condition on the way up north during this time (i'm in socal where it's sunny all the time, LOL). I did some googling and found out that some part of yosemite might be closed if weather is bad. I'm not a bit hesitant about this trip as i really don't want to risk spending hours on the road stuck somewhere during thanksgiving if we happens to hit bad weather. What is the typical weather/driving condition like towards Yosemite & Lake Tahoe at end of November based on your expertise? Should i reserve this trip for another time when the weather is more favorable to visit both places?

Washington State
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7. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

It's not that the weather will be "bad" and parts of Yosemite are closed, it's that it's winter and parts of Yosemite are closed. Seasonal Info: nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/seasonal.htm Read both the Visiting In Fall and Visiting In Winter links on the left of that seasonal page. Late November could be either one.

In the mountains you're likely to see rain and/or snow. At the very least, it will be chilly. If you're lucky, the high temperature in Yosemite Valley will get up to 55 degrees. Or it could be snowy with chains required to access the Valley.

With only 4 hours allotted for Yosemite tourism, it doesn't matter that Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road will be closed for the season. You won't have time.

Have you heard of Tule Fog? That's a central California phenomenon that might occur during the mornings of your drive.

I don't know if this is the best time of year for you to make this drive. Even in summer it's too many miles with too little "pay off."

8. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

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Removed on: 27 February 2014, 02:32
Santa Clara...
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9. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

With that group, I would just pick one spot and stay there. It doesn't matter if you don't ski. You really only have 3 full days. I like the idea of a rental home at South Lake Tahoe, either in town or at Fallen Lake as suggested.

Rather than dart from place to place, I much prefer to stay put with a group like this, especially if the parents don't live with you. Some of my best family vacation memories (including many at Tahoe in the summer and winter) are just hanging out at the rental house cooking together or in front of the fire.

Have you been to Tahoe before?

I lived in SoCal for many years and drove to Tahoe to meet up with Bay Area family. It is a full day of driving there and back.

Huntington Beach...
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10. Re: Thanksgiving road trip- Yosemite & Lake Tahoe or SF & Tahoe?

After reading the suggestions here, my husband decided that the originally plan will be too tiring and not enough time to truly enjoy each destinations. We didn't think about AZ Copper_JackRabbit mentioned it. We visited Zion last April so didn't think we should be heading back to that region but then again we always wanted to visit Sedona/grand canyon area. I never heard of suggestion to Prescott until now so thanks for the tips. If we stick with Tahoe then i think the option of going straight to Tahoe and spending several days there to relax instead of driving everyday. This forum has been most helpful! We will be doing many roadtrips since it's much cheaper than flying with 3 kids. Only issue is it's always more of a last minute thing so it's harder to plan lodgings. Thanks so much!