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  1. #1

    Default California road trip with 2 teenage daughters - any advice?

    Hi, as a special big family holiday before the girls fly the nest, we're looking at doing a California road trip with them next year. we have to go the last 2 weeks in August (work dictates) but will need to start booking this september for the best flight deals. The girls will be 15 and 17 (closer to 18) at the time.

    Can anyone please offer any advice on planning our route. our airport options are San Fran and LA (we can go into one and out of the other if necessary) or in and out of Las Vegas.

    Our eldest is fairly quiet but a bit of a hippy chick. she is very artistic and following an art career, so we need to check out that scene. she is also desperate to have a surf lesson sometime on the trip.

    Our youngest is a wannabe superstar nutcase. loves singing, acting, rollercoasters and thrill rides. she also loves the idea of staying overnight on the haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach (no-one will share with her though as she spooks you out!).

    so far we have thought about flying into San Francisco and having 2/3 days there before picking up a car (apparently parking isn't good there). We would then head down the pacific coast highway, then veer off to Vegas for 1 night, then back down to San Diego and the LA area to fly out of LA.

    Another option is to do a loop from San Franscisco, taking in Yosemite out of SF, possibly 1 night in vegas, then down to SD and LA and back up the Pacific Coast highway. is this all feasible? we do want to see a lot, but don't want to always be in a car and would like a few pool/chill-out days along the way.

    i'm also not sure about vegas with the girls, but my fella thinks it is a place they should at least see. any thoughts?

    finally, we know we are going to have to get 4 in a room at many places, but can anyone advise of any private apartment/condo rental webites in SF and also between SD and LA that might hire for 3-5 days so we can have a bit more space and privacy as well as a base for a few days.

    so sorry for all of the questions but after great results on this site before, we really have faith in you guys.

    Thanks in advance
    Debs & Ian
    Nottinghamshire, UK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default California Dreamin'

    Quote Originally Posted by debs66
    Can anyone please offer any advice on planning our route. our airport options are San Fran and LA (we can go into one and out of the other if necessary) or in and out of Las Vegas.
    Since you want to do some chllin' on sandy beaches I would suggest LA as your hub and that you do a modified circle tour to include Monterey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas and back to LA.

    It is pretty cool to drive over the famous Golden Gate Bridge as we are doing in this shot above...
    is this all feasible? we do want to see a lot, but don't want to always be in a car and would like a few pool/chill-out days along the way.
    Do you like hot weather? It will be a tad warm ~110 degrees most days in August in Las Vegas. It could be cold and drizzly along the coast near San Francisco in August. I would suggest that you spend 2-3 days relaxing in a beach city near LA when you first arrive and then 1-2 days driving up to San Francisco and then 1-2 days driving between San Francisco and Las Vegas via Yosemite. 1-2 days in Las Vegas and then back to warm southern California for more pool-sitting.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-12-2006 at 04:59 PM. Reason: add a photo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Traveling with Teens

    Traveling with a 15 and 17 year old? That might be crazier than the questions we get from people want to drive coast to coast and back during a long weekend.

    Ok, its not really that crazy, but traveling with teens will certainly have some challenges to make the trip enjoyable for all of you.

    Most importantly, make sure to make your kids a taking a large part in the planning of the trip, so they get to do the things they really want to do. The "hippy" should find plenty to enjoy in San Francisco, and perhaps your "nutcase" would enjoy a visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain or maybe Universal Studios.

    As far as Vegas, I might lean towards leaving it off this trip. You could work it in, but I think you might have a more enjoyable time if you just focus on California.

    I don't know about short term Apartment/Condo rentals, but you also might try looking into Hotels Suites or even motels that offer adjoining rooms. They would also be a good option to give your family some extra space, and it would much easier to find than an apartment, which I would guess you'd have to rent for at least a week.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Satisfying the Crowd

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    I think that you've already got a pretty good handle on what will keep your two girls happy. It seems to me that your best bet is to split the difference between your two daughters and yourself. The older one should love the Bay Area (San Francisco) particularly the areas around the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. Although San Francisco gave birth to the Hippy movement, there is little of that lifestyle left, but the city still has a vibrant social scene. Your younger daughter would clearly be happier in Los Angeles which is full of wannabe stars and performers. Both cities have sufficient art galleries and amusements to keep the other occupied while in the 'other' city. So look at three days in each, a couple of days to make the drive between them along the coast and then 4 days or so to make the circuit of Yosemite, Death Valley and Las Vegas and back to your originating city for the trip home. I think I might leave out San Diego on this trip. While it is a great destination, it might be just one to many for the time you have available.

    Not that different, in the end, from what Mark has suggested.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael
    As far as Vegas, I might lean towards leaving it off this trip. You could work it in, but I think you might have a more enjoyable time if you just focus on California.
    This was the first thing to pop into my mind as well. There are plenty of fun, funky, exciting, and interesting places in the San Diego to San Francisco stretch that would give you all tons to do without making the trek to LV. Heck, I could spend 2 weeks just in LA or San Francisco. Add in the coast and you have more than enough to fill 2 weeks, imho.

  6. Default

    Interesting combination... Hmm..

    For your eldest in California, there are some interesting places to visit perhaps -- For and artistic interest, for Southern California she should check out Laguna Beach, an artists community about an hour's drive from Los Angeles. There is a very vibrant arts community in LA (besides the performing arts) including in Laguna, up to Venice beach west of LA, and in downtown. It's also a beach resort community.

    For surfing lessons, a quick search turned up a couple of possible options..
    Corky Carrol's Surf School in Huntington Beach is one I've heard recommended a few times. Corky's something like a 5 times world champion surfer and is a fixture in Huntingon Beach (he also plays and sings at a restaurant near the pier in HB). http://www.surfschool.net/huntington/ His school operates out of Bolsa Chica State Beach in HB, and as such have a bit more regulatory oversight I believe. The school has been going at least 10 years and is said to be reasonably priced. They have a number of different options, including a private lesson option. They do surf in an area without huge waves, but HB is the "surf city" that Jan & Dean sing about -- this is one of the core areas of California surfing, and while you probably won't get Corky as an instructor, he was one of THE big names in making surfing happen.

    Kim Hamrock also has a surf school, and will give private lessons. She's been US women's surfing chamption for like a dozen times, and world chamption at least once. She will do a private lesson for a beginner, but you pay for a private lesson with a US and world chamption ($525 for 3 hours I believe..) www.dangerwoman.com She's also in the Huntington Beach area, although I'm not sure exactly where.

    (FYI -- Laguna Beach is about 30 minutes south of Huntington Beach, both in the "OC" or Orange County area along the beaches south-west of downtown LA. )

    Hmm.. for your younger -- you really do have to visit Hollywood. Ane while I mean the usual movie stars, studios and etc, you might check to see if there is a possibility of getting a tour of the music business in LA. Besides the movies, the recording industry in the US has a VERY large presence in LA, including most of the big labels. There are tours, but I'm drawing a blank on who runs them at the moment. Depending upon your comfort level you can check out some of the clubs in Hollywood/ West LA with a lot of bands and artists trying to get their big break into stardom. Depending upon what she likes, there is also the world-famous Getty Musuem west of Hollwood/ downtown LA. And oh yeah, for rollercoasts, Magic Mountain about an hour north of downtown LA is one of the best collection of rollercoasters in the US -- but as an amusement park, it can be crowded in the summer, and may be fairly warm being inland beyond LA in the August heat.

    SF is a fun town -- as was pointed out by others, you'll have to spend a day in Berkeley, home of one of the biggest campuses of the University of California and many ex-hippies and etc. The Haight Ashbury region in SF still has some shops and scenes, but is pretty much tourist haven now.

    If you can, take the coast route up -- stop in Santa Barbara and see the mission, stop at Heart Castle and take the tour, go up through Big Sur and stop at Nepenthe's for lunch or a drink, stop at Monterey Bay and visit the Aquarium and Steinbeck's Cannery Row -- all before making SF.

    All this is doable in 2 weeks, without pushing yourself too much. You can probably do Death Valley, but in August it will be a furnance there -- figure temperatures of 120F+ during the day. Yosemite will be gorgeous and its about a half day drive from the coast there, or back -- and might be a bit crowded, since August is the high season of tourist time. You might want to do one or the other, depending upon how you fix your itenerary.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thank you everyone. You've given us loads of tips to get us started. We want the girls to help the trip planning process, so they now have some jump off points. I think we might just leave out Yosemite and do the coast from SF to LA (with or without Vegas).

    On another note, my fella has been to SF and says that cars are not really needed there, and we've heard that parking can be difficult/expensive. Is this the case? We don't really want to pay for car hire for 3 days to let it sit without use (+ parking on top). that's why we considered going in to SF and picking up a car when we're ready to head out. that said, if we drop off the car at LA I presume we'll get hit with a charge for different location drop off..... hmmm.

    Thanks again. You've been great as usual.

    Debs

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Personally, I would keep the car

    Quote Originally Posted by debs66
    On another note, my fella has been to SF and says that cars are not really needed there, and we've heard that parking can be difficult/expensive.
    Well, in places it is challenging, and it is true that you can get around the city of San Francisco well with out a car, but if you wanted to take a day trip down to Santa Cruz or something, a car is awfully handy.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Cars in SF

    I would agree with Mark that keeping the car will be a better option. I've only been to SF once, but when I was there I had my own car and didn't really have any problems parking. In fact, I didn't even think the parking rates were that much more than other major cities I've been to. If you get a hotel in the heart of the city, then you will probably be charged 20-30 a night extra for parking, but having a car also gives you the option of staying out a little farther from the city, where hotel rates could be less.

    I would also encourage you to reconsider your Yosemite plans. Certainly take the coast on direction of your trip, but when you go back, Yosemite is no that far out of the way if you head back on an inland route. Yosemite (and Sequoia too for that matter) are amazing places that I would consider must sees on a round trip between LA and SF.

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