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  1. Default Lake Tahoe / Northern California April 2007

    Hi! We're from UK coming to ski at LAke Tahoe very early April. We've been here before and also visited San Francisco. Our dilemma is that we have three nights and four days at the end of our trip before flying out of San Francisco - we want to see more of California! Help - where do we go - Reno, round top and back down coast towards San Francisco or over to Yosemite (know Tioga pass will be closed)? We've also already been to Vegas. We will have four wheel drive cars but have kids (one is 4 years old) so can't do amazing mileage. Like to end up near to San Francisco on last night although have evening flight. Is it best to do Yosemite etc. on summer road trip through Death valley etc? Possibility next year.

    Kids like anything - whats Virginia City like? Is there stuff on the coast of Northern California for them? Would love to see Giant seqouias - General Sherman looks too far away. Like the idea of NApa valley - but kids would be bored? Any great itineries out there?!!! Open to all ideas. Thanks very much.

    Maddie Cowley (and family)
    Last edited by Maddie; 10-17-2006 at 11:11 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Some ideas

    Good to see you back on the forum Maddie!
    Our dilemma is that we have three nights and four days at the end of our trip before flying out of San Francisco - we want to see more of California!
    Have you ever been on the Pacific Coast Highway? You could drive the PCH from San Francisco to LA.

    Here are some must sees along that stretch of the PCH :

    -17 Mile Drive (interactive map);
    -Monterey Bay Aquarium;
    -Carmel River State Beach;
    -Pfeiffer Beach and other Big Sur beaches;
    -McWay Falls Trail, Pfeiffer Beach and Pfeiffer Falls Trail, Big Sur;
    -Point Lobos State Reserve;
    -Hearst Castle, San Simeon;
    -Apple Farm Mill House, San Luis Obispo;
    -Hans Christian Andersen Museum for the kids, Solvang;
    -Santa Barbara Zoo;

    In Los Angeles :
    -Pier at Santa Monica;
    -Queen Mary vessel (a.k.a. the Grey Ghost) turned into a hotel, Long Beach;
    -Hollywood Walk of Fame;
    -Hollywood Sign;
    -Universal Studios;
    -Tour television studios (Paramount, NBC, Warner Bros) and attend popular shows like the Jay Leno's Tonight Show or The Price is Right;
    -Autry Museum of Western Heritage;
    -Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific;

    If you have time to kill in San Francisco, here are some attractions you might not have been to already:
    -Twin Peaks;
    -Golden Gate Park (feed the penguins at the Steinhart Aquarium, Japanese Tea Garden);
    -Alcatraz Island;
    -Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company Guided Tour;

    (know Tioga pass will be closed)?
    We actually had a poll last year where people tried to guess when it was going to open. It opened on June 17th in 2006 so I wouldn't be too enthousiast about that possibility if I were you:-)

    Would love to see Giant seqouias -
    How about going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP? It is about 270 miles from San Francisco.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-17-2006 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Added Maddie's quote notation

  3. Default A couple of other options

    There's also a couple of other options other than heading south from Tahoe, given you have a few nights.

    - Sacramento -- Sutter's Fort, California Rail Museum (always popular with kids), Old Sacramento, California State Musuem, and perhaps a paddlewheel riverboat ride. For kids you can't beat the California Rain Museum -- they'll learn a bit of history, can ride some of the old steam locomotives, and see lots of cool BIG engines that still run.

    - Gold Country -- Real Gold Panning and real stories of the 49'ers.

    - Mt Lassen -- Volcanic cones, mountain hiking, boiling hot springs, bubbliing mud pots, etc. Very scenic -- but no accommodations in the park (you can stay in Chico or Red Bluff or Burney). But in April there *might* be snow -- I've been there in April and had very little snow, and one year there was 16' at the park entrance (and the main road was closed...)

    - Napa/Sonoma -- This isn't amazingly kid friendly but most places aren't bad. There's a gondola ride up Stirling Winery, if memory services, and some of the others you can tour the bottlinng lines and the like. You might go on over to Sonoma and visit the mission and the Bear Republic monument for some California History.

    - Redwoods National Park is about a day's drive north of SF, if you take 101. Very impressive trees, and April is a beautiful month to visit. You can beach comb or hike through the forests or perhaps even go whale watching off shore.

    - Monterey Bay/ Carmel. Other folks have listed numerous things to do, but for the kids there's the Aquarium to visit, and the wharf to walk on and beaches to visit (although its way too cold to swim). There's the Carmel Mission, and having dinner on the Monterey wharf and watching otters and seals in the water outside the restaurant should be memorable for the kids.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-17-2006 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Added a photo and link

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Wooden sidewalks and wild and wooly characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddie View Post
    We will have four wheel drive cars but have kids (one is 4 years old) so can't do amazing mileage.

    The ghost town at Bodie is pretty dang cool in the spring months.
    Like to end up near to San Francisco on last night although have evening flight Kids like anything - whats Virginia City like?
    Virginia City and the site of the famous Comstock Lode is a very cool place to hang out for as long as you have time for. Still has old western-style wooden sidewalks and western-syled human characters walking around.

    If the steamtrain is running -- the kids will love it

    Happy Planning!


  5. #5


    Virginia City is not your ordinary historical western mining town. It has character, and lacks the upscale commercialism that Cody WY and Deadwood SD. have. Sure there are gift shops and museums to attract the tourist and even a few casinos there, but casinos are what Nevada is famous for. You can take a train ride tour the gold and silver mines and even visit a mansion. What makes Virginia City so different are the people and how they take pride in their town. There are no fast food joints and fancy hotels. Walking along the wooden sidewalks one would think they were back in the 1800’s if it was not for the modern dress of the people. The whole city is filled with nostalgia.
    Personaly i would love to go back and spend a whole week in that town!

  6. Default

    Thanks everyone - given us more food for thought. Think will do the SF to LA highway one summer so think will go North and back down to SF. Like the sound of Virginia City and Redwood National park (could someone tell me approx. mileage from say, Virginia City?) Is this itenary feasible ( want to enjoy ourselves!!!!)?

    Leave Tahoe am - Virginia city (stay the night) via malls at Carson City for teenage daughter!!!! You guys have very cheap trainers...
    Leave Virginia city late am - Redwood national park OR stay the night on way??
    Redwood Park all day - stay night near and return down 101 to SF for 6.00pm flight....

    Could possibly do another night and leave Tahoe earlier - would it be better to do Virginia City / Bodie (where abouts?!) then onto Mt. LAssen then back to SF? Coming from a crowded country like UK I find the sheer vastness of the states overwhelming - lovely empty country. Lucky guys!

    P.S. Whale watching - how feasible in April to do this at Redwood National Park? I'd give up another day at Tahoe to do this!!! Thought this might be a trip up to Seattle /Alaska - can but dream!

    Thanks everyone again - this is a great sight, really easy to use. Maddie

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