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itinerary critique for USA visit

Hong Kong, China
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itinerary critique for USA visit

Hello California! My friend and I are visiting next month and we are hammering out our itinerary. I am curious if we are trying to do too much in CA. Could you give us some feedback? Here is what we have so far:

day start in end in note

1 HK NYC travel day, jet lag

2 NYC NYC jet lag

3 NYC NYC

4 NYC NYC

5 NYC NYC

6 NYC Vegas travel day

7 Vegas Vegas

8 Vegas Yosemite travel day, via Fresno

9 Yosemite Yosemite day hiking in Yosemite

10 Yosemite SF travel day, drive to SF

11 SF SF tour SF

12 SF Napa travel to Napa

13 Napa SF return to SF

14 SF SF tour SF

15 SF SB Pac Coast Hwy to Santa Barbara

16 SB HK Pac Coast Hwy to LAX, fly to HK

What do you think?

San Francisco...
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1. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

As you point out this is the California forum to discuss your Ca itinerary

Have you seen the top questions with sample itineraries. You are too optimistic wrt the driving distances in Ca

Vegas to one halt say lone pine to YNP to SF to Cambria to la. Summer route

Most would suggest 3-4 full days I'm SF and la and 2-3 in YNP

That is what I think

Edited: 26 March 2014, 17:59
Los Angeles
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2. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

I don't think you'll want to drive SF to Santa Barbara in one day if you are planning to take the highway 1 / Pacific Coast Highway / coastal route. There's too much to see along the way and that's a drive of probably 8-10 hours without stops (you'll want to stop a lot). If you do this drive (SF to LA) in only one overnight stop, Cambria is a better choice as its closer to half way between the two.

Thousand Oaks...
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3. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

Agreed.

Day 15 is not advised. Too much driving along Hwy 1 (not PCH). That drive alone is best broken up into 2-3 days.

Do you already have accomodations for Yosemite?

Hong Kong, China
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4. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

we do not have Yosemite lodgings yet

The Vegas - Fresno leg would be a flight, we would rent a car in Fresno and drive to Yosemite from there.

Pasadena, California
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5. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

A few thoughts:

Las Vegas to Yosemite Valley is a long, boring drive via Fresno, which will probably be your only option this time of year; at least 7-8 hours. If you don't yet have your reservations for YOsemite Valley, OR if you can change them, you might want to:

FLY from Vegas directly to San FRancisco (look at Southwest Airlines: www.southwest.com).

Sightsee San Francisco, then leave for Napa. One day in Napa should be enough.

Drive from Napa to Yosemite Valley (@ 3.5 hours). Sightsee Yosemite Valley.

Drive from Yosemite Valley directly to Monterey (@ 3.5 hours). Sleep Monterey, great town.

Drive Rte. 1 from Monterey to Santa Barbara.

Drive Santa Barbara to LAX.

Washington State
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6. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

I'd tweak it this way, still using your flight idea.

7 Vegas

8 Fly LAS-FAT, rent car, drive 2 hrs to Yosemite Valley via South Entrance. Stop at Mariposa Grove on the way.

9 day hiking in Yosemite. Stay Yosemite Valley.

10 Drive 4+ hrs to Napa. Stay Napa.

11 Drive 1+ hr to San Francisco, stay SF

12 SF

13 SF

14 Drive 2.5 hrs to Monterey. Maybe drive via Henry Cowell Redwoods & Santa Cruz. Explore Monterey.

15 Drive all day w/ numerous scenic stops to Cambria or Pismo Beach. Details in Top Questions on the right.

16 Drive through Santa Barbara to LAX, late flight from LAX to HK

===========

Yosemite lodging ideas are on the Yosemite NP forum page, Top Questions on the right. SF lodging ideas are on the SF forum page; read the ones about where to stay with a car.

===========

Alternate plan (maybe easier)

LAS - SFO - {transfer to} SF (take day tour to Napa w/ someone else driving) - {pick up rental car in downtown SF and drive to} Yosemite Valley - {exit via Mariposa Grove / South Entrance and drive to} Monterey - Pismo Beach - LAX

Pasadena, California
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7. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

Adding to my proposed itinerary, save some money by picking the car up when you leave SF for Napa. You won't need it in SF.

PacificNWFAmily's second plan is very similar to mine. I like the idea of a day-tour to Napa so that you don't need to drive when you've been drinking. Napa is quite close to SF and makes a nice day trip. I agree that Pismo BEach, ideally, is a better place to stop; but unless your flight is very late, I think you should stay in Santa Barbara. Traffic from Santa Barbara to LAX can be horrible so allow for much more time than you think you will need.

Pasadena, California
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8. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

I just re-read your post #4 and saw that you plan to fly to Fresno. That's better. Flying to Fresno and renting a car there MAY be more expensive than flying/renting in SF. And I agree that SF-SB via the coastal route is a very long day and requires a very early start.

I still prefer:

8 Vegas-SF (fly)

9 SF

10 SF

11 SF-Napa

12 Napa-Yosemite

13 Yosemite

14 Yosemite-Monterey

15 Monterey- Santa Barbara

16 Santa Barbara-LAX

Edited: 26 March 2014, 23:36
Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

thanks everyone for the helpful comments! We will do Napa as an entry or exit to SF for sure, still debating other ordering challenges. I want to skip Vegas and spend more time on the SF-LA route.

Pasca, is the reason you still prefer Vegas - SFO in order to delay renting the car? I had thought Vegas-Fresno-Yosemite-SF area would minimize the travel time.

Pasadena, California
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10. Re: itinerary critique for USA visit

If the prices for car and flight are the same, it is just fine.

However, if you stay with your original itinerary, I would change day #14. At some point that day, I would drive from SF to Monterey. It is about a 2 hour drive, if you avoid rush hour. Subtracting those two hours will make a big difference on the next day's drive. Sleep that night in Monterey; get there in the afternoon if you would like some time to sightsee in the area. The next morning, start on the Big Sur drive.

Monterey to Santa Barbara is much more manageable than San Francisco to Santa Barbara, if you plan to take Rte 1 through Big Sur.

If you don't care about Rte. 1, you could easily drive SF to LA in one day via #101.

Edited: 27 March 2014, 01:03