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  1. Default Road trip in Nov San Fran to LA to LV to Yosmite to San fran

    Hi We are going on a three week road trip please see below plan.

    Iam a bit concerned about the time of year we are going should we leave out Yosmite and Death Valley And just do the coast from San fran to LA and then on to Las vegas. I dont fany doing loads to driving if the weather is going to be bad and alot of places closed.

    Any advise or alternative plans are all weclcome

    Please see below itenery I have drawn up
    Fly into San Fran stay 4 nights
    -Golden Gate bridge
    -city tour
    Pick up Car and drive coast to LA-stopping for two nights on the way
    Arrive in LA stay 3 nights
    -Hollywood rodeo drive, beveryhills
    -Universal Studios
    -venice beach
    Continue on to San Diego for four nights
    -Sea world
    -Tour of city
    Leave San Diego heading for Gran Caynon stopping along the way for two nights.
    Arrive in Grand Canyon stay one night
    Leave Grand Canyon for Las Vegas-stay two nights
    From Las vegas-death Valley-Yosemite-three nights
    From Yosimite back to San Fran.

    All help very much apperciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Roadtrip #1

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You didn't say when exactly you are planning to do this trip, so its hard to say what weather you'd be looking at.

    Your itenerary otherwise looks pretty good. You are giving yourself plenty of time to enjoy the sites. This route is discussed extensively on the forum, and links some of our favorite threads can be found here.

  3. Default

    Sorry arriving in US on the 27th OCt for three weeks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Good time

    Fall is a really great time to make this trip. The weather should be comfortable just about everywhere on your trip, including death valley.

    The only potential problem is that Tioga pass into Yosemite could be closed. If you were going here at the start of your trip I wouldn't worry about it, but you will be going back right around the time the pass could get blocked by snow. Of course, there are signs and if this is the case, you could still easily enjoy Yosemite, you'd just have to use another route to get there.

  5. Default

    Hello aNNMARIE --

    First of all, 3 weeks is a goodly allocation of time to do this trip. I think you should consider Death valley and Yosemite -- I've been to both places in the winter and summer. Both are open year round. What season of the year were you planning on going?

    My personal opinion is that you need to do the next layer of planning. In general the times you have look reasonable, and depending upon your personal style might work perfectly. But I'd adjust things just a bit..

    For example, typically I'm in SF for 2, maybe 3 nights. Part of that is I've spent a fair amount of time in the area over the years. Key places I always try to hit are:
    - Cable Cars
    - Chinatown (usually for lunch, but also for dinner)
    - Fisherman's Wharf (for dinner)
    - SF Bay tour (or Alcatraz)
    - Golden Gate bridge
    - Coit Tower
    - Musuems (at Golden Gate Park)
    - Lombard Street
    - Etc.

    But I find that 2 full days in SF and I'm heading out -- usually somewhere nearby (Santa Cruz, Napa/ Sonoma, San Jose, etc.)

    From SF To LA, a reasonable route might be

    - SF to Monterey/ Carmel area. Visit Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel for the day (its only about a 2 hour drive)
    - Monterey to San Ynez/ Santa Barbara via Coast 1 (Big Sur) with stops at Hearst Castle and Pedros Blancas and Big Sur. This can be done in as little as a half day, but its always better to take your time. From Santa Barbara to LA is from 2-4 hours depending upon where in LA you're heading and traffic of course.

    You listed visiting the Hollywood/ Beverly Hills area. You should stay at least one night in this area, possibly 2 since Rodeo Drive, Hollywood itself, and Universal Studios are all in this general vicinity (although they may be up to 30-40 minutes drive apart via surface streets). Venice Beach is near Santa Monica, which isn't too far from Rodeo Drive, but about 30 minutes farther away from Hollywood.

    However, Disneyland is about 40 miles from here, across/ through downtown LA. Just be careful about rush hour traffic here, since rush hour traffic ebbs and flows from downtown (just like any other big city).

    An option would be to change your hotel to basecamp nearer Disneyland outside the more crowded metro hub of downtown LA. That is, change to a hotel in Anaheim near Disneyland, or somewhere along the south coast from Long Beach to Newport Beach areas. For example, staying in Huntington Beach will put you about 30 minutes from Disneyland in "Surf City", and also give you the options of visiting Newport Beach (home of the "OC"), Knotts Berry Farm, Long Beach (Queen Mary, Pacific Aquarium, etc), or Laguna Beach (artists colony). This is just an option to avoid trying to commute through LA's traffic.

    There are also a number of interesting places to visit in LA, but they are spread out over a geographically diverse area. These include the Getty Musuem, the Peterson Automotive Musuem, the La Brea Tar Pits, etc etc.

    From LA to San Diego will be 2-3 hours drive. One of the more interesting routes is to take PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) from Seal Beach down through Dana Point instead of the interstate I-5. A little more scenic, but slightly slower.

    San Diego is a great town to visit. You've listed the usual places -- SD Zoo, Sea World, City tour. You might also do a harbor tour which is always fun, or depending upon your circumstances take the Trolley (light rail) down to the Mexican border and spend a few hours shopping and looking around in Mexico. There are also some wonderful musuems in Balboa Park near the SD Zoo.

    You can make from San Diego to near the Grand Canyon in a long day's drive if you want to. With 3 days/ 2 nights to make the trip you have the luxury of picking your route. The fastest route is to go north via I-15 to the I-40 at Barstow and then east to Williams AZ. An alternative route which takes you through some differing country side is to go east to CA 79, then north to Julian, then down into the desert near Borrego Springs (Anza Borrego Dessert State Park), then north to Indio/Palm Springs area. Then from there through Joshua Tree National Park (via the southern entrance to the park at Cotton wood), and through 29 Palms and Amboy to the I-40. A slower drive, but takes you from 4000' mountains to near sea level, and through 2 different dessert bio zones (Sonoran and Mojave) before getting to the Grand Canyon.

    A third route is also available in 3 days. That would be to head east to either Tucson or Phoenix, and then north to Sedona/ Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. I recently did most of this route in reverse -- visiting Yuma (inclduing Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument), Tucson (Saguaro National Park, Dessert Museum), and Phoenix. it is possible to drive this route in a day (I've done it in a LONG day's drive) so I know it is possible in 3 days without too much push.

    Your return trip to SF Via Las Vegas, Death Valley, and Yosemite look reasonable on time, and that's been a very popular topic on line.

  6. Default

    Thank you so much for all the info I an going to have another read through it at the weekend and rearrange the trip a bit we are leaving Ireland the last week in OCt and are going traveling for a year starting in the US for three weeks which I am really looking forward to We are booking our round the world trip next week so am thinking of flying into and out of LA now it might be better.

    Thanks again for all the advise I might get back to you next week if you don't mind once I have done a bit more research!!

    I didnt realise what hard work it is planning a trip Dont know if Ill be able to do a whole year of it!!!!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default The planning is part of the fun!

    I think most of us here enjoy the planning almost as much as we enjoy the trip. It's fun and interesting to find out what's out there. And don't over-plan your days. Leave room in the day for serendipity!

    Actually, I think longer trips means less planning ahead of time. You can plan as you go, have time to change plans, and can even take a week (or 2 or 3 weeks) and just park yourself someplace you really love for awhile. When we have less time, we want to cram more into it.

    Enjoy the planning. If you can't fit it all into this trip, then look forward to a return trip in the future to see everything left out this time.

  8. Default

    Just a quick question on LA we are going to stay there for four nights. we want to do the city tour Universal Studios, Hollywood sign etc would staying on Venice Beach be a good location for that then the other two nights we where going to stay in Huntington Beach as we are going to be doing Disneyland. Do that sould good? We are starting our road trip here so would we leave hiring our car till we are finished in La or would you recommend a car for our four nights there?

  9. Default Rent a car.. its a big place geographically..

    Hello aNNMARIE

    I think you've got the basics for doing LA pretty well. 2 nights somewhere near Universal Studios/ Hollywood, and then 2 nights nearer Disneyland.

    You asked if you should rent a car in LA. I would recommend that if its not going to break your budget. The reason is just the physical distances between places. For example, Universal Studios to Venice is 24 miles. Universal Studios to Disneyland is about 40 miles. Huntington Beach to Disneyland is about 18 miles.

    Having a car gives you more options of places to go and visit -- for example, from the Universal City area you can also easily visit the Getty Musuem in Santa Monica, Hollywood (which is fairly geographically dispersed in itself), Rodeo Drive/ Beverly Hills, etc. You *can* make it to many of these places via bus, but you'll have to transfer a couple of times and it will take longer, and taxis will cost about as much as a rental car.

    If you don't want to rent a car, I would encourage you to pick a hotel within a close distance of one of your primary destinations (walking distance). There are several hotels near Universal Studios in Universal City, and numerous hotels near Disneyland in Anaheim. To get to other places, you can either take a tour bus (which unfortunately has a fixed schedule and routes), or take a taxi or bus. If you're relying on taxis, just be aware that because LA is so geographically spread out unless you're in a high demand area (downtown or in an area with lots of hotels, etc) you may not see empty taxis crusing the local streets. Just grab the phone number of one of the big taxi companies from the hotel desk and put it in your pocket -- they'll come pick you up if you need a ride. Most big hotels and restaurants and similar have lists of local taxi companies and can recommend a good local taxi company (there are at least 10-12 taxi companies in the LA area, and some specialize in specific areas, like Orange County where Disneyland is).

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