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  1. Default Road Trip From San Diego Up West Coast and Back

    Hi Guys, me and friends a bunch of Singaporeans on student exchange and were planning a road trip during spring break (something we HAVE to do while we are here!)

    As this is our very first road trip, we were hoping to get advice on the internet on this matter and I stumbled upon this forum!

    We are currently in San Diego and plan to rent a car to drive around the West Coast and back to San Diego.

    Our planned stops are:

    Hollywood
    San Francisco
    Portland
    Seattle
    Utah
    Phoenix
    and back to San Diego

    We have about 10 days to cover this. (March 27 to April 5 2009) Are we too ambitious? What should we plan for? What are the problems we will encounter? And is it worth it to visit Utah and Phoenix? I only added those two cities in so that we get a different route back to San Diego.

    Thanks a bunch before hand!
    Last edited by djkr; 03-04-2009 at 02:12 AM. Reason: Added Details

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by djkr View Post
    And is it worth it to visit Utah and Phoenix? I only added those two cities in so that we get a different route back to San Diego.
    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Utah is much more than a city; it's a large state. Anywhere in particular you wanted to visit? There are many great natural areas in Utah and you would be hard pressed to not enjoy visiting any one of them. Did you have a planned route from Seattle to Utah that you were thinking of taking?

    You say that there is a "bunch" of you. How many would that be? It sounds like you would need a large van to pull this off. What are you looking for in regards to lodging? Camping, hotels, etc?

    I think that amount of time might be a bit tight for the distance involved, your relative inexperience, and the number of people on this trip.

    Have you considered the Grand Canyon at all for this group?

  3. Default

    Hey there

    We have already been to vegas and the grand canyon so thats why i left them out of the picture. Also, we didn't want to come back the same way we go up hence we thought of taking the trip into utah and arizona.

    Utah is much more than a city; it's a large state. Anywhere in particular you wanted to visit? There are many great natural areas in Utah and you would be hard pressed to not enjoy visiting any one of them. Did you have a planned route from Seattle to Utah that you were thinking of taking?
    We were perhaps thinking Salt Lake City. Since this is our first time on a road trip, we have not planned a specific route as of yet. Is google maps reliable at all for planning the drive? Or do you have anywhere in Utah and Arizona to recommend?

    You say that there is a "bunch" of you. How many would that be? It sounds like you would need a large van to pull this off. What are you looking for in regards to lodging? Camping, hotels, etc?
    There will be about 4 of us so we were thinking of renting a 5 seater saloon car. For lodging we are planning to look at hostels or motels.

    Is 10 days too ambitious for this drive? What would you guys think would be better to fit into 10 days?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Default Hope this helps!

    Hello and Welcome!
    How long have you been in the states? If you are missing food from home, there are some great restaurants and grocery stores (Malay, Indian, Indo, Chinese) in the Los Angeles area which I could direct you to before you get far on the road trip. Hollywood itself doesn't take much longer than a few hours to explore - it is rather dirty and very much geared towards tourists (think Far East Center). There are nicer places in LA to visit like Santa Monica - big sandy beach (but gross city-polluted water), Beverly Hills - rich part of town, Westwood - where the UCLA kids and sometimes celebs hang out, the Getty - art center (depends on what you want to see).

    Depending on the route you take to SF, Monterey is a beautiful ocean-side city to stop in along the way. It's definitely worth it to drive along the 17 mile drive. You'll stop to take pictures very often!

    San Fran is a great city as well. You can see the Golden Gate and go visit the fisherman's wharf. The science center in the Golden Gate Park is supposed to be really nice (they just remodeled it), and the Golden Gate Park itself is quite pleasant and spacious to walk around in. Also, you can walk around the downtown of the city (you can't do this in LA), and see what all the hype of liberal San Franciscans is about.

    Portland is probably my favourite of the Northwestern cities. It's artsy and quirky. There is a giant bookstore there called "Powells" that is a must visit. Also, the city is just fun to walk around in. In the spring it's pretty clean as well. In the summer there are a lot of homeless people.

    Seattle is a more sterile, DINK version of Portland. Although that's only an opinion based on my exposure to it. It does have a plethora of parks worth visiting.

    Depending on how much time you spend where, you might have enough time to visit cities in Utah and Arizona.. I don't know much about Phoenix, and have only spent a couple of nights in Salt Lake. The National Parks in Southern Utah (Bryce, Zion) are amazing to visit, even if you can't spend the night. If you arrive early enough, you can go on some pretty spectacular hikes.

    I'd reccommend figuring out what the purpose of the road trip is. Is it to visit these cities and check them off your list? Do you want to visit them and experience the more hidden parts or the more touristy parts? Are you also interested in seeing nature? I'd also recommend taking advantage of the geographic beauty that the United States has to offer that SEA doesn't. The mountains and the steep ocean cliffs.. The expansive parks that aren't always necessarily maintained the same way they are in Singapore..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A smaller detour.

    Whereas I agree that the parks of Zion and Bryce are spectacular you could end up feeling a little rushed, especially if you want to take time enjoying the coast.

    An option would be to travel North inland and then head back down the coastal route. Possible detours/stops on the way up that you could choose from would include Yosemite valley, Lassen volcanic NP, Shasta lake, Lava beds NP, Crater lake, Mount St Helens and Mt Ranier NP.

    Have fun!

  6. Default

    Hi guys, thanks for more replies. Just got back from a busy weekend!

    @shrui: i been in the states for 2 months now i will be here for another 3 months. Haha i am not really missing the food food in Singapore yet. I must fully exploit american food while i am here. But sure, it be nice to have some local food. Are you a Singaporean too? And is it tough to adapt to left hand drive?

    @the rest: most likely now we will be driving one way and fly the other way to save some time. also we will not be going to arizona or utah anymore, as we think there might not have enough time.

    so our current itinerary is:

    LA - SF - Portland - Seattle - Vancouver (possibly)

    we would like to know will it be better to drive up to seattle or fly up to seattle and drive down? what do you all think? also, besides those already mentioned, what else is go to visit along the way?

    thanks again so much. this forum is really a treasure bed for road trips. :) 3 weeks more to spring break!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by djkr View Post
    we would like to know will it be better to drive up to seattle or fly up to seattle and drive down? what do you all think? also, besides those already mentioned, what else is go to visit along the way?
    My choice would be from North to South... so that where you want to drive along the coast, you will have the ocean on your side.

    Here is a little known gem before you get to SF.

  8. Default

    Hi guys, after much deliberating we have decided on the following iterinary

    27 March - Fly into San Francisco from San Diego Reach SF 8am Settle down

    27 - 28 - 29 March - San Francisco - Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Chinatown, Cheesecake Factory Macy's Mall (any other suggestions)

    30 March - Pick up car rental drive to Yosemite and back

    31 March - Drive up North. Passing by Napa Valley, Redwood statepark. Rest in Eureka

    1 April - Eureka to Oregon Sand Dunes. Drive up to Portland for the night.

    2 April - Spend the morning in Portland. By evening go up to Seattle

    3 April - In the morning drive up to Vancouver

    3 - 5 April - Spent in Vancouver

    5 April - Drive back down to Seattle and fly back to San Diego.

    Any suggestion, comments etc?

    (we are in the midst of planning a more detailed daily plan)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    30 March - Pick up car rental drive to Yosemite and back
    I wouldn't go back to SF - spend the night out on the road somewhere.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default too much, in spots

    You've got a couple days that I think you're trying to pack in more than is realistic.
    30 March - Pick up car rental drive to Yosemite and back
    Yosemite is just too far to do as a daytrip from SF. You're looking at a solid 4+ hour drive each way. Basically, by the time you got there, you'd barely have time to take a quick look at the sites out your window, and then you'd have to be looking at turning around to go back.
    1 April - Eureka to Oregon Sand Dunes. Drive up to Portland for the night.
    While trying to do Yosemite as a daytrip might be possible, but extremely rushed, this just isn't feasable without changing the laws of physics.

    You're looking at about a 500 mile trip, which isn't a problem on the interstates, but you're talking about doing it while following the extremely slow coastal route. You'd very likely be looking at more than 13 hours on the road just to cover the distance. That's not including any time at the San Dunes or any other significant stops along the way.

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