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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip from Vancouver, BC Canada to California

    I am just looking for some information. Me and a friend are planning a road trip from Vancouver, BC Canada to California. We are planning to go for 2 to 2 and a half weeks. We are planning on taking the most Scenic routes and I have no idea if the time we have allotted for this will be enough time for every place we want to go to. We definately want to take the Hwy 1 along the coast of California. We want to stop in San Francisco, Monterey, San Diego, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Death Valley and maybe Reno if time. We aren't planning on spending tons of time in one place. I have been told that there is no way we will be able to see all these places all over California in 2 weeks. I think we can but I really have no idea since I have never been to California. Any suggestions? Any places we should skip or make time to see? We are more interested in outdoor things. We are both really into photography. We planning on staying in some hotels but mainly want to do things cheaply and camp. I would appreciate any feedback anyone has! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I think you may have a bit too much on your plate for this trip - Vancouver to San Diego one-way on the quickest routes is about 1400 miles, figure on that taking about three days each way, and that would be a week of your trip right there.

  3. Default 2 1/2 weeks may be too short..

    First of all, you can drive from Vancouver BC to San Diego in 2 long days of driving.. I've done the Orange County, California to Bellingham WA route numerous times... But those are LONG days of driving -- you wouldn't be doing anything else. So that's your minimum trip -- 4 days of doing nothing but driving.

    Your list of SF, Monterey, Coast Highway, Santa Barbara, LA, Huntington Beach, SD, Death Valley, Yosemite, and Tahoe is going to be a push to accomplish in 2+ weeks. The reason is if you want to stop and take a few hours for pictures at each point, you're going to burn through the time pretty quickly.

    But it is a doable trip For a rough time scale..

    Day 1 -- to Mt Shasta area
    Day 2 to SF
    Day 3 SF
    Day 4 Monterey
    Day 5 coast highway to Solvang area
    Day 6 Santa Barbara and the coast, ending in HB (no real stops in LA, other than a drive through on the freeway)
    Day 7 HB/ Laguna Beach
    Day 8 San Diego
    Day 9 to Death Valley (longish drive -- figure 2/3rd day on the road
    Day 10 Death Valley to Yosemite (longish drive -- but over the scenic Tioga Pass)
    Day 11 Yosemite
    Day 12 Tahoe?
    Day 13 head back north - Portland area
    Day 14 home to Vancouver.

    You have may be 1-3 days more to play for additional places to stop or visit.. You might take out a day, with SF down the coast highway in one day -- spending the night near San Simeon. That way you can do Hearst Castle the next morning, and then make it to Santa Barbara area that night. You might try to fit in Mt Lassen and Crater Lake on the way back north, if you can take an extra day.

    Here's a trip I took from Orange County to Bellingham (and beyond) and back again last year.

    Fiddle around which what you'd like to do and a route, and we might be able to add in a few more places to stop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I often take the contrarian view here, it seems

    I think your trip is very feasable in 2-2.5 weeks. The caveat is that you know you will be doing a whistle-stop tour and not be planning on lingering for a long time in any one place. If you keep moving and are cool with that, you should be fine. Larrison laid out a great itinerary that should serve you well. Let me throw out another option....

    I live on the Olympic Peninsula in WA State and have done this trip several times. If it were me, I would drive down the coast the entire way and then zip back up I-5 to home, skipping Death Valley and the other more inland areas. I would save those for another trip.

    Take the Keystone-Port Townsend ferry and swing around the northern part of the Olympia Peninsula and then head south all the way to LA. It's an amazing drive. Figure a week to San Francisco in order to have time to enjoy everything along that leg. Figure another week to LA and for enjoying LA itself. And then figure 2-3 days home up I-5.

    Just another option to consider.

  5. Default

    Hi, I'm thinking of doing the same trip, does anyone have a general amount on how much this would cost (with/without gas), I'm a student so we would look at hostels and that sort of thing, possibly camping on the side of the road? any thoughts/advice?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default variables

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    There really are too many variables to just throw out a number. Its going to depend upon how many people are going and how you actually end up traveling. This thread should give you a good starting point to start plugging in some of your own numbers.

    I will remind you that you can't just set up camp on the side of the road - unless you'd really like to find out the penalties for trespassing. If you want you need to be in a campsite, unless you are in some national forest land where dispersed camping is allowed - but you need to be sure you are in those areas and following the proper procedures if you go that route.

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

    Default Free overnight stays

    To save costs, do check out dispersed camping along the way in national forests. The best way to find out what's legal is to stop at the ranger station.

    If you are comfortable sleeping in your car, you could also pull over at trucks stops for the night. It's perfectly OK to do this. But do buy something at either the truck stop store or restaurant as a way of saying thanks.

    Another good way to keep costs down is to eat out of your cooler for most meals.

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