Greetings from Australia!
I stumbled upon this great site today whilst googling for the first family overseas trip.
No, my tag doesn't mean I wrestle crocs. On the contrary, the closest I want to get to them is at Australia Zoo. However, I do live a very short distance from where the late Steve Irwin lived and his family still live, here on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
My wife and I are planning our first overseas trip with our children [aged 11 and 9] next year and have chosen your beautiful country. Planning is in th every preliminary stages - very! We travelled to California, NY, Washington DC and Pennsylvania before we started a family and have some experience in driving on the "wrong" side of the road so that doesn't particularly phase us. We like the idea of driving independence.
The bare bones at this stage are:
. about 3 weeks [best we can manage]
. beginning early December 2008 - post December 5 [the only time that fits into our vacation schedules. I travelled to LA, SD, SF and Las Vegas around Christmas about 20 years back and was surprised by how relatively mild the weather was...I hope it still is. I recall driving south from Yosemite through snow and spectacularly giant redwoods. Mind you our children have never seen snow and we intend to see plenty]
. we want to fly into LA and spend 3 or 4 days there only to see a few theme parks; also 5 or 6 days around the Bay Area, several days at Yosemite and my wife is dead keen to go to LV [though time may be an issue and driving there a bigger one]
. as far as possible we want to avoid hotels. We like more space and prefer either self catering holiday apartments or cabins etc. If anyone can suggest any good websites for family friendly accommodation that would be great.
. we want to drive as much as we can. Originally thought of a car but are warming to the idea of a campervan - or RV as you call them. I've checked out a few rental places in California and the choice is awesome! We like the idea of driving the LA>SF coast [Hearst castle] >inland to Yosemite and then to see giant redwoods, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley and/or Kings Canyon and possibly to LV [or possibly not]
Which gets me to a few questions please, hopefully to save me endless barren hours trawling around the net:
. is early December OK forwhat we are planning, given weather constraints?
. I'm not sure of school vacation terms onthe west coast. Are we likely to be inundated with crowds from the theme parks to Yosemite?
. is the RV idea a good one for someone who drives on the other side of the road? I've not driven one but have been driving safely for 35 years so have a few ideas. I confess I'm seduced by the 40 footers with multi-bedrooms, home entertainment systems and granite benchtops but will settle for something a bit more modest!.
. any suggestions for RV rental places?
. any suggestions for the best website/s for RV parks and family friendly accommodation en route?
. is it feasible to go through to LV given distance and weather constraints? If need be we could drop the RV off there and fly back to LA, but my guess is that road passes will be closed.
. is it necessary or beneficial to stay in Yosemite? My wife likes the idea of staying at a nearby town but I'm attracted to the idea of staying in a cabin with the children.
. given what I've outlined, what suggestions are there for scenic driving routes? We have children who haven't seen snow, a wife who would like to see LV if possible, and 4 people who want to see as much of your beautiful land as we can.
Sorry for being so verbose, but having had a look through this forum I can see that you people know what you're talking about and can save us a lot of confusion.