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California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Buenos Aires...
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California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Hi! I´m traveling to California from Argentina in October arriving to LA with my husband and 2 kids (11 & 14 years old) for 21 days.

The itinerary would be LA, Big Sur/Carmel/Monterrey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas and San Diego (flying back home from LA)

We´re taking a flight from Yosemite to Las Vegas and another from Las Vegas to LA.

- How many days would you suggest for each place?

- Is there something we don´t want to miss on the way from LA to the Carmel/Monterrey/Big Sur area, or should we go straight up and spend two or three days in Carmel?

- Which studio tours would you recommend (my son is a movie lover!!!)

Thanks in advance!!!

Washington State
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1. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Hi barbara b

This sounds like an outline of a great trip. Here are my suggestions:

1) For tips specific to a destination (movie tour in L.A. for example), read the Top Questions on that destination forum and then post your question.

2) Stay in Pismo Beach on your first night up the Hwy 1 coast. The Top Q here on this forum have oodles of info about this lovely drive. (Top Q are visible on the full TripAdvisor website.) Monterey (one "r") is a great choice for the next night or even two nights.

3) October can be very very busy in San Francisco. Check those Top Q for tips about lodging w/ free parking, and then begin your hunt.

4) Yosemite is still popular in the fall. If you don't yet have lodging reservations, check the Top Q (first topic) for lodging tips. Also read the Trip Reports so you can see what others have done that may appeal to you. Entering via Hwy 41 to Mariposa Grove and exiting via Hwy 120 through Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Pass is the best idea.

5) Don't fly from anywhere near Yosemite to Las Vegas. Drive. It's worth the time! Stay a night in Lone Pine or at Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley. Details: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361

6) If Disneyland is on your wish list, check with the folks on the Anaheim forum to see whether it's better to go to Anaheim from L.A. at the beginning or from San Diego at the end.

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Thanks for your tips PacificNWFamily!

I got confused with the dates!!! I´ll be staying for 18 days, not 21...

So I was thinking:

- 4 days in LA

- 3 days going up to SF (1 in Pismo, 2 Carmel area)

- 4 days in SF

- 2 days in Yosemite

- 2 days in Las Vegas

- 3 days in San Diego

Would that be ok?

Also I´ve some questions about Yosemite:

Is the Tenaya Lodge very far from the main attractions? I know it´s near Mariposa Grove, which we want to visit… I´d rather stay at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls as I think it´s in the heart of the valley, but it´s already sold out. Would you recommend any other lodging?

Are two days enough to experience some of the park?

Washington State
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3. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Hi

Specific questions about Yosemite are best on that forum. There are other folks who will offer their 2 cents, but only if you ask there. They won't see your questions here. (Short answer: book Tenaya Lodge now, but watch for cancellations at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Persistent folks usually snag the room they want.)

You need a night between Yosemite & Las Vegas. Too much to see & do along the way. See #5 in Reply 1

Carmel is romantic w/ cute B&Bs and fancy shopping. It is a great choice for a couple, but I think there are better choices for families in Monterey. Of course you can choose to stay in Carmel and have a lovely visit. Everything about your trip is up to you to decide.

Last tip ~ with some of these long distances, it's better to think in terms of nights. For example, on the day you arrive at LAX, jet lagged after a long flight, does that count as one of your days in L.A.? So you have 1/2 day plus 3 full days? Or do you have 4 full days beginning the first full day you're in the US? And 3 days on the coastal drive usually means two nights, but you're talking about 3 nights which is 4 days.

It's a half day drive from SF to Yosemite, so are your two days really 1 1/2 days?

18 days = 17 nights

LAX - L.A. (4 nights) - Pismo Beach (1 n) - Monterey (2 n) - SF (4 n) - Yosemite (2 n) - Lone Pine or DVNP (1 n) - Las Vegas (2 n) - LAS - SAN - San Diego (3 n) - LAX

Oops 19 nights. Something has got to go!

Fremont, California
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4. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

In terms of your questions, I would decide what you want to do in Las Vegas. There are so many shows, great places to eat, and so forth its worth your time to decide what you want to do there. There are also outside places to see such as the dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, and so forth. So I would give some thought if two days is enough in Las Vegas.

LIkewise decide what you want to do in Los Angeles -It is more of a region with ocean cities, amusement parks such as Disneyland and California Adventure, Universal Studios, and then there are other attracctions as well etc. Four days may be ok or it might be too little or too much, depending on what you want to do there.

In regards to the timing in the other cities, I think it sounds great.

I think your number of days in each area is just fine (yes - you need to drive from place to place but its all manageable. For example, from Los Angeles to Pismo Beach is about a four hour drive. There are pretty places to see along the drive such as Santa Barbara. For the drive from San Francisco to Yosemite, its about 5 hours. Driving from Yosemite to Las Vegas is fine, but jus realize it will be about an 8 to 9 hour drive if you decide to see Death Valley. Staying in Lone Pine is NOT a good idea unless you want to - its a very small place with older motels and some older family owned restaurants with a couple of fast food places. You do NOT need to spend a night in between Yosemite and Las Vegas unless you want to split up the drive. Prettier places to stay would be Mammoth Lakes area.

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

In terms of Yosemite, the heart of Yosemite is the valley for first time visitors. While Tenaya Lodge is one of the nicer places to stay in the park, you want to try to stay in the valley if at all possible. Other places to look at would be cabins in Camp Curry or if budget allows (as rates are pricey) Ahwahnee Lodge. If you cannot find a place, Tenaya Lodge will work. But I would stay one night at Tenaya Lodge; the next day, enjoy Yosemite, and then stay in the Eastern Sierras such as in Lee Vining if you cannot find a place in the valley floor area. You do not want to drive to/from Tenaya Lodge on a daily basis as its mountain drive to the valley and slow. Spending one night at Tenaya and seeing the sites there such as Mariposa Big Trees, Wawaona area, perhaps seeing by the lodge Yosemite Railroad would be nice for one day. Next day get an earlier start and drive to the valley floor, see the things in the valley floor area, and then before its dark drive out the eastern entrance through Toulumne Meadows (its very scenic there so you want to do it in daylight hours.)

Is two days enough? It will give you a nice overview - of course, you could spend more time and explore in more details, but two days will let you see much of the park.

In regards to a movie picture studio to see

If you want a theme park, Universal

if you want a studio tour Warner Brothers is quite popular with many ( we have gone and really enjoyed it)

http://vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com/

:Nothing has to "go" but do give some thoughts to what you want to see in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Based on that, you may need to prioritize or juggle the number of days in each location (i.e. one day in Monterey/Carmel instead of two). Its more a personal decision.

Washington State
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5. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

"Oops 19 nights. Something has got to go!"

I'm sorry. I wasn't clear. I tried to set up your itinerary in terms of nights in each destination, matching the number of days that you plan to stay. That plan has 19 nights in it. You have only 17 nights. So "something has got to go" means that there are two nights too many in my draft itinerary.

My apologies for being unclear to you and to others.

Depending on *your* travel style, you could delete two nights in a variety of places or rearrange your itinerary entirely. But it's your choice.

Buenos Aires...
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6. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

Thanks Mini and PacificNWFamily,

I´ve been thinking about what you said and it´s true, I can´t fit everything in one trip. So we´ve decided to leave the "road trip" idea behind and take a flight from LA to San Francisco (leaving the coast for another trip) and taking another flight from Yosemite to Las Vegas and leaving Death Valley aside also… :(

So the plan would be something like this:

October 4 arriving Los Angeles 8am

October 5 LA

October 6 Early fligh to San Francisco

October 7- 8 - 9 San Francisco

October 10 Leaving early to Carmel

October 11-12 Carme/Monterey/Big Sur

October 13 Leaving 6am to Yosemite

October 14 Yosemite

October 15 early flight to Las Vegas

October 16 Las vegas

October 17-18-19 San Diego

October 20 Los Angeles

October 21 Los Angeles - Airport 21.30

Would you take 1/2 a day or an entire day from Carmel/Monterrey/Big Sur to give it to Yosemite?

Maybe do Carmel in a day, Monterey in another (we want to visit the aquarium) go to big sur (pfeiffer park) for half a day and then head to yosemite (This way we gain 1/2 a day in Yosemite) or is it pointless to get to yosemite around 6pm?

Washington State
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7. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

There is no flight from Yosemite to Las Vegas. The nearest airports are at least 2 hours away, then you need to get there early and such. I think it's easier to drive.

Not much happening in Yosemite after dark (stargazing?)

Monterey & Carmel run into each other. Check into what you might want to "do" in each town to determine how much time you need.

Some folks drive from Monterey/Carmel THROUGH Big Sur / Hwy 1, stopping often, enjoying the drive, and then staying in Cambria that night. Then they make a drive across the state to the South Entrance of Yosemite.

But it sounds like you want to drive an hour or so down Hwy 1 from Monterey and then drive back up north to Monterey. Then you can head across the state from there, if you want.

Daylight hours www.SunriseSunset.com

Fremont, California
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8. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

The airport for your flight from Yosemite to Las Vegas would be Fresno.

You would exit Yosemite via the Oakhurst entrance and then fly from Fresno to Las Vegas.

http://www.flyfresno.com/

Its up to you on the Yosemite versus Monterey. If you get there at 6, plan on dinner at the Ahwahnee that night.

San Francisco
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9. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

I think you would be better off picking either a northern or southern itinerary.

1) SF and down the coast to Cambria then over to Yosemite and back to SF

2) LA to Vegas (with two underage children I would use it only as a base for Grand Canyon), perhaps Santa Barbara or Disney or San Diego.

10. Re: California & Las vegas Roadtrip

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