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Southern California road trip

Oakland, Maryland
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Southern California road trip

I'm in the process of planning a road trip for my husband and I in June of this year (6th - 14th). We are going to fly into Las Vegas on Friday (renting a car), drive to the Grand Canyon on Saturday, and then proceed to LA Saturday into Sunday. At that point, we'll have until Saturday the 14th to get to Oakland for our flight back home. We don't have any kind of firm plans, so I'm looking to get any kind of advice, tips, recommendations, etc to make this a fun and memorable trip!

My rough plan is to stay in LA a couple days - definitely want to see the Hollywood sign, Hollywood walk of fame, the Rainbow bar, Sunset blvd, Rodeo Drive, etc. What other things should we be sure to see while in LA?? I feel like there are so many more things that we should see and do while we're there, but I just don't know about them!!

From LA, I'd like to drive up and hit Sequoia NP and also Yosemite NP. Any thoughts on particular routes to take or entrances to get into the park?

The last few days will be on our way to Oakland. I'd like to go to San Francisco and see the Golden Gate Bridge. Any suggestions on other things to see and do in San Francisco or in route from Yosemite??

As far as lodging, we are going to be on a tight budget (whose vacation isn't!), so I'm trying to find some descent hotels that are easy on the wallet. We're definitely open to camping somewhere - I would really appreciate advice and info in this department! Are there any state or national parks, or just independent campgrounds that are better/less expensive than others? Or would hotels be better altogether?

I realize I've packed a ton of info in this post, but I'm desperate for any information. I don't know too much about California, and I want to see everything that we can see in the week that we have there. If we should try to include other areas/things in our trip, please suggest them!

Thanks in advance!!

Manhattan Beach...
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1. Re: Southern California road trip

Yosemite needs advance reservations if you want to stay inside the park, so the dates that are available there might end up dictating a portion of your itinerary. The tent cabins in Curry Village are a good budget option. I think that you might be tight on time to do Grand Canyon, LA, Yosemite, Sequoia, and San Francisco. My own preference would be to drop Sequoia. You are also missing out on the drive up the coast through Big Sur and Monterey, but you can't do everything. There are sample itineraries on the right side of the webpage.

Outside of eating Thai food and seeing the view from Griffith Park Observatory at night, I am not a big fan of Hollywood, but seeing the stars on the sidewalk and the wax museum can be done in an afternoon. The Hollywood sign is visible over a wide area of the city, so you can check that off real quick. Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive are nearby. I think you should see a studio tour, like Warner Brothers because that is unique to LA (a favorite TV shows or movie might influence which tour you take). If you are into theme parks, a day at Universal Studios, with their studio tour is good. On the right side of the full-up webpage for LA are some good ideas of things to do.

Santa Monica...
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2. Re: Southern California road trip

Yikes, that's a lot of driving in only 6 days! The one thing that will be memorable about your trip will be the image of the car in front of you, and the concrete freeways. You've given yourself no time to do what's on your list. Most of what you plan to see is a day's driving, and that's with NO stops, not even for a meal. When do you plan to see the sights? Do you have any idea of the distances involved, have you consulted a map?

Drop the Grand Canyon, drop Las Vegas - the Grand Canyon you think you're seeing is not what you will see, it's the blah side, created to be a close drive to Vegas. Fly into either San Francisco or LAX and drive from one to the other, flying out of the other airport. Drop Yosemite, you don't have the time. It takes a week just to do the trip from SF to LA, including seeing SF and LA.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Southern California road trip

Yes, that's a lot of driving. From GCNP to Los Angeles already will take 8-9 hours depending on traffic and stops. maybe have a stop in Seligman for R66. if you skip Seki you could drive from LA east of the Sierra and stay Lone Pine or Bishop and next day into Yosemte via fabulous Tioga Pass. Also the "basin" srive from Lone Pine north on 395 is very scenic.

Fremont, California
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4. Re: Southern California road trip

Nine days....

1) In Las Vegas look at staying in Fremont Street area (older part of Las Vegas) for better rates.....or a place close to the strip such as Southpoint.



2) For LA, lots of great suggestions for less expensive places to stay near Hollywood on that forum - which is the area that you want to see this time given your interests. I would restrict your sightseeing to your list given time constraints.

3) For SEKI, skip Kings Canyon this trip. It consumes a full day. You could stay in Fresno and drive up to Seqouia and see Sequoia in a day. Drive in and out via 180 (do not go through Rivers - the 180 switchbacks on that road from Sequaoia to Three Rivers is not worth it. At the end of the day from Sequoia stay closer to Yosemite in Oakhurst.


4) For Yosemtie enter via the Oakhurst entrance - closer to Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

Exit Yosemite however via the 120 exit.

5) Its about a 4.5 to 5 hour drive to San Francisco - you really only have about 1 day in San Francisco given the other things you want to see. In San Francisco, try to drop the car off and take BART into San Francisco as car parking is very high. However, if you do keep the car look for places with no cost for parking such as Columbus Motor Inn.


As mentioned this is a whirlwind trip to California - but its doable. Locals love to spend more time in each area...and their comments definitely reflect that. Each of these areas is worthy of more time so you would have a grreat time with doing less.....but you could do what you plan as long as you do not do Kings Canyon - the slow drive into the valley floor and back is just not worth it given the other amazing things you want to see.

While camping is fun to do in California, big city areas do not work for camping asuch as Las Vegas, Hollywood, San Francisco. I would probably opt to look for motels, etc. to stay at instead. In terms of Yosemite lodging is minimum inside the park - so if you jujst want to get a flavor of it, stay in Oakhurst, do a full day (early start - late end) in Yosemtie, and then exit the park, and stay just outside the park.....

Yes, Yosemite is worthy of much more time.....but budgets are what they are. Camping is a possibility but even that gets full up months in advance in Yosemite....and dealing with last minute cancellations can eat up a full day of tryiing to get a spot especially in vacation intensive June.

Edited: 27 January 2014, 00:52
5. Re: Southern California road trip

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