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  1. #1

    Default California 1-way trip

    Hello there! I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (so forgive me for any English mistakes) and I'm planning to have a road trip with my friends (3) as last “single trip” (I’m going to get married in September).
    We have only 12 days (August 5th till August 16 h) but in the last day we will have to go back to Brazil.
    I could really use some help working out the best route for my trip.
    Here is what I figure out until now:

    08/04/2009 Tuesday/ RJ - LA
    08/05/2009 Wednesday/ Los Angeles - San Francisco
    08/06/2009 Thursday/ San Francisco
    08/07/2009 Friday/ San Francisco - Santa Cruz - Monterey
    08/08/2009 Saturday/ Monterey - Santa Barbara
    08/09/2009 Sunday/ St. Barbara-St. Monica-La Jolla-S Diego
    08/10/2009 Monday/ San Diego
    08/11/2009 Tuesday/ San Diego - Las Vegas
    08/12/2009 Wednesday/ Las Vegas
    08/13/2009 Thursday/ Las Vegas
    08/14/2009 Friday/ Las Vegas - Los Angeles
    08/15/2009 Saturday/ Los Angeles
    08/16/2009 Sunday/ Los Angeles – RJ

    I thought to fly from LA to San Francisco and start the road trip there. Actually this itinerary it’s only a draft so feel free to change it all.
    What we CAN’T miss? Which are the “must-see” places on this route? Will we have enough time to enjoy all these places? It would be better to stop in less places, staying more time in each one?

    Notice that we would like to take time at the nature, but also in the city. Our budget it’s around 1K each and we don’t want any luxury and camping.

    Any suggestions are certainly appreciated.
    Thank you all!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just Very Generally

    Bem-Vindo! Welcome aboard the RoadTip America forums!

    Your general itinerary and budget look reasonable, but as to what is 'best' or 'must-see', that is entirely up to you, and you haven't given us a lot to go on for recommendations. The one thing I will say is that your itinerary seems to be heavily loaded towards the cities, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, with only minimal driving time in between. If you really want to take some time to see the natural beauty of the area, you're going to have to give up some time in the cities. I can't tell you which city to skip or cut back on, that will be your decision, but I can tell you that there is quite a lot that you'll just be driving by or missing entirely such as Yosemite, Death Valley, and the deserts of southern California. So as a first couple of general suggestion, take a look at a loop that goes more like Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles. That will cut out some of the backtracking in your current plan, and then read through these discussions to get an idea of what's available and see what might appeal to you and your friends.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It will be considerably less expensive to rent a car if you do a "loop" trip, returning the car to the same place. One way "dropoff charges" can be substantial, and adding the cost of an internal flight just adds more expense.

  4. #4


    Given you are roadtripping in August you will have be careful when driving in the southwest deserts because it will be monsoon season (i.e. hot and humid with potential late evening storms).

    I agree with AZBuck that you need to re-examine the LA-SF-LA-SD sequence

    I'd visit Cabrillo National Monument when in San Diego. Take a peek at information about Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California (east of SF; CA/NV border). Hoover Dam south of Las Vegas is one heck of a dam. With respect to LA beaches: Venice and Malibu are my favorites.

  5. #5


    Thanks very much you guys!

    Considering what you just said, we decided to leave San Francisco behind and do the round-trip from LA.
    What do you suggest as an itinerary? LA, San Diego, Vegas, LA looks good?
    How can I add Yosemite or/and Death Valley and also enjoy part of the Coast?
    Thurman, Hoover Dam itís truly amazing. Do you suggest any thing else?

    Thanks again for your promptness.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You can go either way - LA, up the coast, Yosemite, DV, LV, SD, and back to LA - or the exact opposite. That would be the ideal order. Hoover Dam is an easy day trip from LV, just park in the garage and take the tour rather than go through the security hassles to drive over it.

    Assuming a clockwise trip, go up the coast on US-101 to CA-1, take the Hearst Castle tour, continue to Monterey, head over to Yosemite (several ways to go depending on what else you want to see), take the Tioga Pass over to CA-395, go down through DV, take the "locals route" to Pahrump and then NV-160 over to LV. There are several ways to get from LV to SD depending on what attractions you might be interested in.

  7. #7


    Thanks Glc!

    As Iím from Brazil I really donít know anything up there, so I would really appreciate if you could help me find out what to see, where to go.
    If this trip were yours, if you would get married and this would be the last trip with all your friends what would be your itinerary?

    Thanks again!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Congrats on the upcoming nuptials!

    You've been given some good ideas already. And AZBuck gave you a link in his post (see post #2 above) that should give you a lot of ideas.

    We could give you more ideas if you gave us an idea of what kinds of things you want to see and do. Without knowing what interests you, we might as well take a shot in the dark.

    I suggest you spend some time reading through the links and the ideas presented here and start coming up with a basic plan. We can then make further recommendations and help you tweak it.

  9. #9

    Default Change of plans!

    I'm back!

    With a new itinerary, a short one.
    07/Aug RJ - LA
    08/Aug Los Angeles
    09/Aug Los Angeles
    10/Aug Los Angeles - San Diego
    11/Aug San Diego
    12/Aug San Diego - Las vegas
    13/Aug Las vegas
    14/Aug Las vegas
    15/Aug Las Vegas - Miami - RJ
    16/Aug RJ

    So we will not have much time to spend on the road. That is why I don't know if you could help me, since this is a "Road Trip" website...
    But here is my doubts: Where to go in those places? Which are the main tourist places to visit?
    During the Day: Beaches, places...
    During the Night: Nightclubs, Restaurants, events....

    Thanks again for your help!

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