Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Default LA-San Fran-Yosemite-Death Valley-Vegas - any advice appreciated

    hi there, haven't been on here in a while and our plans have changed a lot in the meantime! four of us are planning a trip this summer and some of the hotels etc are booked already. if anyone has any advice to offer or can direct me to relevant threads I would appreciate it.

    20th June - arrive in LA
    21st, 22nd, 23rd - in LA
    24th - LA to Santa Barbara (2hrs??)
    25th - Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz along the coast (6hrs??)
    26th - Santa Cruz through San Fran (see the bridge) to Yosemite (6hrs??)
    27th - looking round Yosemite
    28th - Yosemite through Death Valley to Vegas (8hrs??)
    29th, 30th, 1st July - Las Vegas
    2nd - Vegas back to LA
    3rd - fly to New York for a few days

    obviously Google Maps can only get you so far so any real-life experience anyone can offer would be great. as you can see we have opted for spending longer in each place and doing longer stretches of driving as a result - are there any problems we are overlooking? is the long drive on the 28th too ambitious? should we leave LA a day earlier and have a night in SF?

    I've seen one or two good threads on part of this journey already so I'll keep looking around... and hopefully post photos when we get back! thanks everyone.

  2. Default A couple of comments..

    A couple of comments, if I may..

    24th - LA to Santa Barbara (2hrs??)

    Like most routes, this is going to depend upon the specific roads you take, traffic and somewhat on when you start. If you're starting in the Santa Monica/ West LA area, it is about 2 hours to Santa Barbara if you go the fastest (101) route to Santa Barbara, and you're not fighting rush hour traffic. If you go via Coast 1 through Malibu, its probably closer to 3-4 hours, as would be the case if you start in the middle of rush hour and have to compete with all the morning commuters (the good news is most of them are heading INTO town, while you're heading OUT of town). Similarly, if you start on the other side of LA (say in Newport Beach) and have to transit through downtown LA at rush hour, 2 hours is way too short.

    25th - Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz along the coast (6hrs??)

    I'd put this route as closer to 8-10 hours, depending upon stops and what you want to see. For example -- are you stopping at Hearst Castle? to see the sights in Big Sur? to see the elephant seal colony at Pedros Blancas? any of the wineries in San Ynez? or Paso Robles?

    26th - Santa Cruz through San Fran (see the bridge) to Yosemite (6hrs??)

    Of all the days, I think this one is the most underestimated on time. The issues here are traffic and stops. If you're going into SF, be aware you'll be traveling with rush hour traffic, which can be rather nasty (like any other big city). Plus there really aren't good freeway connections through downtown SF to the Golden Gate bridge. And are you stopping anywhere, even just for a moment to say you were there? Coit Tower? Lombardo Street (the "crookedest street in the world")? to watch the cable cars? at Fisherman's wharf? etc etc. My guess is that with a moderately early start (say 8:00 am) you still wouldn't get into downtown SF before about 10 or 11, and then spend 1-2 hours in SF looking at a couple of places. Then it would be another 4-5 hours to get out of SF, across the bay, and head for Yosemite. Probably 8-10 hours is a better estimate.

    In general, the experience on the board that we've found found with internet mapping engines like Google, is that they give you the best, no-stops-at-all, travel time. That is, there is no allowance for traffic, road construction, or the like in the route -- plus no allowance for those optional stops (like pull the car over get out and look around), or those necessary stops to get gas, stretch the legs, find a bathroom, have lunch, etc.

  3. #3

    Default

    thanks very much for your help Larrison, it's hard to work all of this out over the Internet without ever having been to the US before. any experience people have had will really help us out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    24th - LA to Santa Barbara (2hrs??)

    Like most routes, this is going to depend upon the specific roads you take, traffic and somewhat on when you start.
    having spent a few days in LA I assume we'll be able to leave pretty early... not sure exactly where we'll be as the hotel isn't booked yet, but it's something we can bear in mind when we choose one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    25th - Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz along the coast (6hrs??)

    I'd put this route as closer to 8-10 hours, depending upon stops and what you want to see. For example -- are you stopping at Hearst Castle? to see the sights in Big Sur? to see the elephant seal colony at Pedros Blancas? any of the wineries in San Ynez? or Paso Robles?
    I guess we'd want to stop off and see a few things of interest - I'll check out what you've mentioned there. looks like it could be a very full day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    26th - Santa Cruz through San Fran (see the bridge) to Yosemite (6hrs??)

    Of all the days, I think this one is the most underestimated on time. The issues here are traffic and stops.
    I can see this might be a bit of a problem! the idea was just to take a look at the city so I don't think we'd want to stay long - maybe stop for lunch or something. as you say, with 8-10hr drives we're going to be wanting a couple of stops in there as well, though I don't really mind long stretches of driving.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Traffic can be an issue, too

    San Francisco has its share of rush-hour traffic congestion. If you get to San Francisco, see the bridge, and see that it's mid- to late-afternoon, you might find that your moving pretty slowly getting out of the city. I would say that your best way of making this work with time to get to Yosemite before dark would be to have a very, very early morning starting time.

  5. #5

    Default

    thanks again for the advice about San Fran. I think we will leave LA a day earlier to give us more time and probably stay in Santa Monica so it's easy to get out when we set off.

    with Yosemite being all booked up we are staying in Groveland instead and then driving in. we've also sorted the car rental at last.

    I notice there are a lot of threads about similar routes so respect to the board regulars for having to repeat themselves so many times!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default That extra day should come in handy

    I think it will make the trip far more enjoyable and less rushed.

    Well, we do point you all to older discussions sometimes so we don't have to repeat ourselves, LOL. We don't mind. That's what we're here for. However, we do appreciate it when people do some searching through the forums themselves, too.

    Anything else we can help you with?

  7. #7

    Default Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz

    Hello Dave-

    I can only heartily second the notion that this may be too long of a day to really enjoy. I was in the area in early November and transited Monterey to Morro Bay in about 7 hours with a 1 hour lunch stop in Cambria. We took US 101 from San Luis Obispo on down to our planned stopping point of Ventura rather than the PCH, so that segment was pretty quick.

    The sights mentioned by Larrison are all worth a look and I'm told the Hearst Castle tour is + 2 hours in and of itself. We didn't stop there but did spend +1 hour observing the elephant seal beach nearby. Besides, if the weather is nice, you'll want to make many stops at pull-outs along the way between Morro Bay and Monterey, the most rugged and remote part of the drive.

    Speaking of weather, I'd look in to what constitutes the "fog season" on the central California coast. The juxtaposition of the always-cold Pacific and warmer land mass air creates pervasive morning fog at certain parts of the year. I fear summertime is one of them, but I'm not a local and can't say for certain. If that's correct, you may want to adjust your travel times of day to allow for later starts and later stops, as there is little point in driving the PCH in a pea-soup fog.

    Up in San Francisco, you might want to allow for some time to stop and get a good look at the Golden Gate and immediately surrounding area. One of my laments from my November 2007 trip was having allowed insufficient time there. We re-entered the PCH at Half-Moon Bay headed for the Golden Gate, and got fairly seriously tied up in 3pm weekday traffic, drove across to the other side, stopped at the observation park for <15 minutes, and had to head back across so as not to be late for a dinner date with friends in the Belmont area of the Bay. I'd loved to have spent more time there, being an engineering and geology geek.

    Foy

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-19-2011, 07:04 AM
  2. Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite Travel
    By Allyson19 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 07-28-2010, 06:54 PM
  3. Replies: 18
    Last Post: 08-08-2007, 10:02 AM
  4. Over 60's trip to SF/ Yosemite/ Death valley & Vegas
    By lozza7 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-02-2007, 11:45 AM
  5. San Fran -> Yosemite -> Death Valley -> Vegas (AGAIN!!)
    By James Brown in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-23-2006, 08:25 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES