We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

California road trip

6 posts
Save Topic
California road trip

hi all,

I was wondering if there is a suggestion for this Canadian whose never been to California.

I will be in San Francisco in mid August, 8-18, for about 2 weeks.

I was planning on doing a road trip.

2 adults and 1 teenager.

I was wondering what route to take, things to do and see along the way.

the current plan I was going to take was San Francsico to L.A.

-visit Hollywood, Disneyland, universal studios and Seaworld. 3 nights?

drive to Las Vegas, 3 nights.

then back to San Francisco via Yosemite park. possibly a 2 day trip.

I was looking for suggestions on paths to take, places to see, stops to rest at even for a few hours.

I know its summer and busy but how busy is the 3 attractions in LA? during that time?

Hollywood, Disneyland, universal studios and Seaworld.

days to visit those places and days to avoid?

budget is kind of tight. better to pre buy my tickets here in Canada?

how are the high ways?

paths to avoid? places to avoid on the way back from Las Vegas to San Francisco?

paths to take?

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
31,868 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: California road trip

You are trying to pack a lot into two weeks. Do you have a sense of the distance between the places you want to visit? And how much time the visit should take to fully enjoy the destination? Or are you willing just to "check them off" as places you have been? Are you willing to fly between some of the destinations? Are you aware of the wonderful drive through the Big Sur coast between Monterey and San Simeon?

I would suggest that you go to the Top Questions on the right of your screen when you are in the California forum and read them all. They will enlighten you to what is ahead of you and allow you to come back and ask specific questions after you have planned a tentative itinerary.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
57,102 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: California road trip

Aug 8 - 18 is 11 days / 10 nights. It's not 2 weeks. And it's not clear to me how many nights you want to spend in San Francisco.

I agree w/ Puter (Reply 1.) You're dreaming about too many destinations in too short a period of time. You need to pare down your list.

========

>> how busy are the 3 attractions in LA? Hollywood, Disneyland, universal studios and Seaworld<<

Hollywood is a neighborhood in L.A. Universal Studios is in L.A.

Disneyland is in Anaheim (an hour south.)

Sea World is in San Diego (another hour + south.)

They are all very busy in August and miles away from each other.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
22,525 posts
5,278 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: California road trip

All the parks are busy in the summer months. Darkbeer is the resident trip advisor expert on the parks so you might want to read some of his excellent posts.

www.tripadvisor.com/members-forums/Darkbeer

In general, the minimum amount of time you need to see the parks is

Universal - one day

Disneyland and California Adventure - minimum 2 1/2 to 3 days

Sea World - one day

The drive to San Diego to Seaworld is slow in the summer due to beach traffic. So you need to factor that in.

You might need to prioritize which theme parks you want to see - and make a trade off decision between Las Vegas and Yosemite. Yosemite would be easiest to incorporate into your plans if you are driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. You could enter via the Oakhurst/Wawona entrance to the park, and then drive back to San Francisco on highway 120. The hard part is if you can find reservations in the park as many book a year in advance.

Given your :"wish list" to see on your trip, either fly to Los Angeles/Orange Country or take the fast route to LA which is highway 5.

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,858 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: California road trip

The two weeks in SF is separate, right? Like a business trip? You might not need the car for your initial part of the trip in SF. Compact city, good public transit: rare for California.

Vegas is extremely hot in the summer and may have limited interest with a child. Reduce the amount of time and perhaps fly there as a separate trip. Look into flights on Southwest.com , into and out of all the major California airports. You could fly RT, Las Vegas to SF or Oakland-- or better yet, from one California airport, and back to another.

If your Canada flights are to/from SF, you could fly SF-LV; then LV-San Diego. Rent car in San Diego, sleep SD. Drive to Anaheim, spend night/s. Drive to LA, spend one or two nights. Drive to Pismo BEach (stop in Santa Barbara for lunch, sightseeing), spend night. Drive Highway 1 (Big Sur Coast) to Monterey, spend 1-2 nights. If you have time and can get a reservation, drive directly to Yosemite, spend 2 nights (one night, not worth the effort). From Yosemite, drive back to SF.

Edited: 04 July 2014, 20:33
Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,858 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: California road trip

Check on one way car rentals. If they are super expensive, then it might be cheaper to fly RT SF-LV-SF. Adds a lot of driving though.

6 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: California road trip

oh sorry, i'll be back in san fran from the 18 to 21.

6 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: California road trip

sorry I mean the dates are as follow according to my plans right now

9th drive to LA

10 universal studios then continue south to

11 disneyland

12 seaworld/disneyland if the road from san diego is too far to las Vegas

13 drive to Vegas, heard its only 5 hours from LA.

14-15 Las Vegas

16th first leg of drive from Vegas to SFO stay some where? looking for ideas, 5 hours to somewhere?

17th back in SFO

18-21 is all time in SFO.

too much in such a short period? seaworld, I dont even know whats there other than fish...

but I just check some flights with southwest. holy, $90 a person? so cheap!

I already booked a car for the two weeks. wonder if I can drop it off at the airport and get another one when I come back part of the same booking

I booked with Hertz I think via expedia.ca

Edited: 05 July 2014, 05:38
6 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: California road trip

what would be the "best" city to head to LAs Vegas from if I drive? of those 3 places? disneyland, universal studios and seaworld

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,858 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: California road trip

Seaworld is just a marine park in San Diego. If you aren't interested in fish, or in anything else in San Diego, there is no reason to go there. San Diego is a minimum of 1.5 hour drive south of Anaheim (Disneyland) and may be longer, as traffic on that freeway tends to be heavy.

You may not need the car in San Francisco at all. Parking may be expensive depending on your hotel, and public transit is good there.

Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
11,302 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: California road trip

Have you considered taking Highway 1 from SF to LA? Is that part of your plan?