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  1. Default Road Trip advice for greenhorn Limey:

    Hey guys & gals

    Im flying into SFO & driving from there thru Death Valley to Vegas. From Vegas to Wlliams AZ, then down to San Diego, on to LA & then from LA back up to SFO.

    I have a few questions that I need help with pse:

    I would like to visit the Grand Canyon & Im planning to do this from either Las Vegas or Williams. Which would be the best option ?. Also being on a budget, I will be driving to the GC as opposed to taking a coach trip or whatever & need to know the best place to head for at the GC to make the most of our 1 day there. I know the Canyon is extremely large, so I'm not gonna miss it, just want to go to the correct area(s) to ensure best views etc. Would also appreciate suggested routes, time frames & possible tolls or charges (how much to enter the National Park ?).

    I would also like suggestions of best places to visit between LA & SFO. I have about 5 days & I wanna drive the coast road (route one), this is spose to be the restful part of the trip & I'm hoping to stop at some nice beachy type places on the way, so any suggestions most welcome.

    Thank you in advance for any help.

    Best Russ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Canyon etc

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would like to visit the Grand Canyon & Im planning to do this from either Las Vegas or Williams. Which would be the best option ?.
    Williams is about an hour from the Grand Canyon's South Rim, and makes a very good place to find lodging if you aren't going to stay inside the park.

    Las Vegas is a 5 hour drive from the Canyon.

    Would also appreciate suggested routes, time frames & possible tolls or charges (how much to enter the National Park ?).
    Its either $20 or $25 dollars for a weeklong pass into the Grand Canyon, but if you are also planning to visit Death Valley, Yosemite, or any other National Park along the way, you would be much better off buying the $50 Annual National Parks pass, which will cover your fees at any National Park in the country.

    I have about 5 days & I wanna drive the coast road (route one), this is spose to be the restful part of the trip & I'm hoping to stop at some nice beachy type places on the way, so any suggestions most welcome.
    Much of the Central Coast is fairly rocky, and while beautiful, its not the best beach area. There are some of them along the way, including around Monterey, but if you are really looking to enjoy some time on the beach, I'd schedule more time around San Diego.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!
    Its either $20 or $25 dollars for a weeklong pass into the Grand Canyon, but if you are also planning to visit Death Valley, Yosemite, or any other National Park along the way, you would be much better off buying the $50 Annual National Parks pass, which will cover your fees at any National Park in the country.
    I've just got back from our first road trip thanks to the advice from these forums (unfortunately only got the boring post-holiday washing etc to do right now but hopefully soon I'll be able to post a field report) and would highly recommend a National Parks Pass too if you're going to be visiting a few parks. It was particularly useful for the Grand Canyon as there were long queues to enter the park, however, two of the four entry booths were for use by people with passes only. Very satisfying (and quick) to drive past the long lines waiting to pay to get in :o) !

    BTW - We bought our pass up from the NPS shop at Pier 39 in San Francisco so as this is your first stop off it might be worth looking into.

  4. Default

    Are there any other sandy beach areas that any one can reccomend between LA & SFO as well as Monterey ???.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-04-2006 at 07:35 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Several beaches

    Quote Originally Posted by RussV
    Are there any other sandy beach areas that any one can reccomend between LA & SFO as well as Monterey ???.
    For starters as you head north are the famous Venice and Santa Monica Beaches. When you reach Santa Barbara, pick up a copy of the free Santa Barbara Independent for lists of fun things to do and see in this most lovely of beach cities.

    Around San Luis Obispo -- there are two great sandy beaches -- Pirate's Cove (very nice, very secluded and clothing optional) and many nice sections along Pismo beach. One of my favorite beach town is Cayucos -- there is a nice, flat beach (sand is so, so) but a very cute town.

    Cambria has the Moonstone Beach -- again sand is not the draw -- but you can still find pieces of jade, agate and quartz along the beach.

    Moving farther north are a host of sandy beaches in the state parks -- of special note: Limekiln with another secluded beach at the base of a gorge, Sand Dollar beach (very nice sand) at the Plaskett Creek Campground area. One of my favorite photo spots is in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park -- most of the year, McWay Falls, pours over a narrow ledge some 80 feet into ocean, but another one that you have to consider would be Partington Beach -- (there is a 100-foot tunnel just off the beach that has been the favored stashing place for booty of all kinds for a couple hundred years).

    There is a city beach in Carmel -- that has great sand on Ocean Avenue. The sand is so-so at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, but it is very cool beach for hanging out and seeing whatever the storms have washed in. I have seen huge redwood roots, small (dead) whales and the weirdest sea-monster-esque "thing" I have ever seen on any beach. I still don't know what it was -- smelled bad....

    At Santa Cruz, sand is OK at the boardwalk -- but the real attraction (for me) is being able to watch the expert surfers at the point. North of Santa Cruz -- two beaches stand out for sand and clothing-optional -- Montara State beach and Grey Whale Cove.

    So,yeah, there are a few beaches where you can expect to sink your toes, and rest up. Just remember the water is cold and there are plenty of hungry sharks trolling the shores looking for seals....

    Mark

  6. Default

    Im flying into SFO & driving from there thru Death Valley to Vegas. From Vegas to Wlliams AZ, then down to San Diego, on to LA & then from LA back up to SFO.
    Hello RussV --

    If you're going through Williams AZ, then that's probably your best route to the Grand Canyon. I did that about 2 years ago, staying the night at Williams, and then driving about 45 minutes north to the rim of the Grand Canyon. For view spots and to make your day a good full day of sightseeing, you should stop at Grand Canyon Village, and visit at least a couple of the view points there. My suggestion would be to continue east from there, along the south Rim of the GC -- there are easily another half dozen wonderful view points where you can pull the car over and see differing vistas of the GC, all the way down to Desert View, with its replica Indian lookout tower. It's worth the drive, and very reasonable in time.

    If you're going to go to other National Parks (it sounds like you're going to at least 2 -- Death Valley and the Grand Canyon), consider getting the $50 annual pass. You buy it at the entrance station to the Grand Canyon, and in Death Valley, at the Visitors Center, I believe. It will give you entrance to any National Monument or National Park in the US for a year. Cost for the Grand Canyon is about $30 if memory serves, and around $10 at Death Valley if memory serves, so if you want to go to one more place, you'll end up ahead.

    Since you're heading for San Diego, you'd have to head back West to the Colorado River area, but another option would be to head south on US 89 from the East Entrance at the Grand Canyon, heading towards Flagstaff AZ. There are potential side trips to the Indian Ruins at Wupatki and the Sunset Crater National Volcanic Monument (which was the route I took heading to Flagstaff). From Flagstaff you can head down via the artist's mecca at Sedona with its Red Rock canyon area, and down through Oak Creek Canyon towards Phoeniz. Montezuma's Castle National Monument (Indian Cliff Dwelling) is very nice and a very short detour off the superhighway heading for Phoenix -- your National Park pass will work here too.

    From Phoenix you can either head West via I-10 to California, or continue a little farther south to catch I-8 west directly to San Diego via Yuma.

    Overall this route might give you a broader view of Arizona and the southwestern desret, instead of just retracing your path into California from Williams.


    For places to visit between LA and SFO, a couple of places that might be interesting to visit are:

    -Getty Museum Villa in Malibu. This is a recreation of a Roman Villa and used to be the main site of the Getty Art Museum (the main site is about 10 miles east, now, in a dedicated facility). This just reopened after being closed for quite a few years.

    - Santa Barbara Mission. Supposedly the most beautiful of the old Spanish Missions in California.

    - Hearst Castle, in San Simeon (on the coast of California, on PCH just as you start up towards Big Sur). Take the tour!!

    - The Elephant Seal colony at Pedros Blancos, about 10 miles north of San Simeon.

    - There are pretty good wine growing areas near Solvang/ Santa Ynez (this is where the movie Sideways was set), and around Paso Robles. Lots of small wineries, and some very good restaurants.

    - Monterey Bay is fun -- visit the museum, visit Cannery Row, and have dinner on the Wharf.

    There have been a couple of suggestions about some very good beaches. I'd like to add two:

    - Jalama Beach, near Lompoc CA (not too far from Solvang area). This is probably one of the most isolated beaches south of San Francisco. The road in is winding but very pretty, and once you hit the beach, there's nothing developed as far as you can see, other than the little beach/ campground area. For years this was one of the hidden surf spots in SoCal...

    - Guadelupe Dunes beach, south of Pismo Beach. I have to confess I'm not a fan of Pismo beach -- too many people. But south of Pismo near the little town of Guadelupe is a fairly sizable sand dunes area and preserve, right along the beach. You might want to check this out. Years and years ago, this was used as a movie making area and every so often the sand dunes wll move and they'll find part of an old movie set under the sand...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-04-2006 at 11:49 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default I agree, but buy ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison
    If you're going to go to other National Parks (it sounds like you're going to at least 2 -- Death Valley and the Grand Canyon), consider getting the $50 annual pass. You buy it at the entrance station to the Grand Canyon, and in Death Valley, at the Visitors Center, I believe. It will give you entrance to any National Monument or National Park in the US for a year. Cost for the Grand Canyon is about $30 if memory serves, and around $10 at Death Valley if memory serves, so if you want to go to one more place, you'll end up ahead.
    It doesn't take much for a National Parks Pass to pay for itself so it's a great idea to get one. But, if you can, buy it before you get here at this link. Reason: at the busier parks they often have special lanes for people with National Parks passes. I bet we saved ourselves almost an hour getting into Grand Canyon by having one before we got there. The line was LONG.

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