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  1. Default 3 weeks on the west coast in November

    Hi there,

    My husband and I are planning a 3 week road trip on the west coast in November. We flying in from Australia to San Francisco and out from LA.

    We were thinking we'd spend 3-4 days in San Fran/Napa Valley etc, then fly to Seattle, pick up a car, and drive to LA via the redwoods, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and the Mojave Desert.

    Do experienced roadtripers know if that's insanity or a realistic drive? Are we missing anything unmissable? And is there a better order/way to do it?

    I've never been to the US before so definitely appreciate your tips. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Welcome to America

    and to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Here's a map of a possible route you might consider. Instead of flying to Seattle, I made it as if you're driving up. The Redwoods and the beautiful Oregon Coast should make the drive worth it. I've also pulled the route so you can explore what Washington state has to offer like the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens (one of my must-see places), then into Oregon for the Columbia River Gorge, the high desert country of eastern Oregon, and amazing Crater Lake.

    The whole trip is about 3500 miles which is about seven comfortable, but fairly long, days of driving if you were to drive the whole route without stops. But you will have few, if any, days that long as your driving would be disbursed throughout your trip. So this is do-able in 3 weeks but you will want to keep moving so you don't get behind schedule. I would have weekly destination goals to keep myself on track instead of daily goals. Just a suggestion.

    You could play with that map a bit and delete things that don't interest you or add things that do.

    Be aware that very popular areas like Yosemite and Grand Canyon have limited lodging so you will want to have reservations ahead of time for those types of areas.

    Also, anytime you rent a vehicle in one place and drop it off in another, there is a fairly significant drop-off charge. You will definitely need to make these arrangements with the rental company ahead of time. Check around the various rental agencies for prices as they vary a lot.

    How else can we help?

  3. Default What are you interested in seeing?

    What are you interested in seeing or doing? With 3 weeks, you can visit all of what you have lised, and have time to either releax on the beach, in the mountains or in the desert, or time to spend a few days exploring some specific area.

    The distances you're listing are all from 1-2 days apart, and most are only one day apart.

    From San Francisco to Seattle is about 2-3 days if you go up via the coast (with more time better, if you want to take a slower drive, or visit more places each day). Comiing back down, its about 2 days of driving to go from Seattle to Yosemite. This is your longest distance section, but it goes through some very interesting areas, and you have some very good options of sightseeing. These include -- the Oregon Coast -- very scenic. Olympic Penninsula/ Olympic National Park -- very scenic. Seattle for a vibrant cultural experience in art and music. Oregon has a very good, but not well known wine region in the Williamette Valley, as well as the very scenic Crater Lake National Park.

    Further south, and still before you get to Yosemite, you can visit through the intense agricultural areas of the California Central Valley, including olives, wine/ grapes/ raisin, rices and other speciality crops. There is also Mt Lassen, or the Reno/ Tahoe area -- very scenic, with Reno being a mini-Las Vegas. Sacramento and the California Gold Country offer very interesting historical, cultural and scenic options along the west side of the Sierras, or you could go down the east side of the sierras,

    Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is about a 1/2 day's drive. Also within a half day's drive of Las Vegas is Death Valley. The Mojave is a pretty large geographic region, about a day's drive north to south, and maybe a days drive east to west. Some interesting places to visit in it, include the Mojave National Preserve, Palm Springs area, Anza Borrego Dessert State Park, the Salton Sea area, and the high desert near Palmdale and Barstow (including Edwards Dry Lake, and other dry lackes).

    There is another, somewhat different desert east and somewhat south of the Mojave -- the Sonoran dessert, with different plant and animal life. This is the dessert around Phoenix and Tucson, and continues east and south into Mexico. Some interesting places to visit in the Sonoran Dessert include Saggauro National Park, Organpipe Cactus National Monument, the Yuma Dunes, and the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

    You can drive from the Grand Canyon to LA in a long day's drive. The LA area is pretty big metropolitan area, with lots of cultural things to do -- art, industry, music, entertainment etc. There are also beach resorts and areas from the Orange County to Santa Barbara. Depending upon your tastes, you could spend a week between Hollywood, the music scene, the art and natural history musuems, and the beaches.

    From LA to SF is from 1 day (if you're in a hurry) up to about 3 days if you want a leisurely drive back up the coast. There are also pretty good wine areas near Solvang/ San Ynez (where the movie Sideways was set and filmed), Paso Robles, and Monterey areas.

    As Judy has noted, you have enough time to do more of a grand tour of the west coast of the US, but where you go and how long you stay, and what you see is going to be set by your tastes and interests. What are you interested in?

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