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  1. Default Westcoast for first timer

    Hi Mike from London Iím planning 14 days a road trip to the USA in late September , itís will be our first time driving in the states and we are looking at the west coast of the states. We thinking of San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas like to know is it to do all that possible in 14 days. We were hoping to arrive in San Diego and just planned our Road trip tour from there. Reading this forum we realised thatís not such good idea and just wondered if anyone out there had any tips/suggestions for Road Tripí any idea on accommodation, suggestions on where go, where to stop? What to see? Whatís not to miss? Any suggestions are great! We are really appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default oh so much

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I'd say a little preplanning at least to get a basic idea of the area you'll be covering would make more sense than totally winging it, but you certainly don't need to plan out every single detail.

    There are several thousand posts discussing trips through California and the areas you are looking to visit. I would really suggest that you start simply by taking a look around and use the several search functions this forum offers to get an idea of where you want to go, stop, stay, and see. Once you've got a better idea of what it is you are looking for, we'll be in a better position to answer your specific questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Great time to travel.

    Late September/Oct is my favorite time to travel, the crowds are going, and the fall colours are coming alive. You will have to decide if you want to do a loop, starting and finishing in the same place or a one way trip. With 14 days you have time to do a loop and enjoy mountains and sea and as well as the city's you have listed there are some great National parks and a detour to Grand canyon would be feasible. Between Las Vegas and San Francisco is Death valley and Yosemite, two totally different landscapes but both memorable in there own right. As Michael stated, get yourself familiar with the area even if you don't want to stick to a pre planned itinerary. Here are some of our favorite links on the area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
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    777

    Default Great time of year for California

    San Francisco has some of it's best weather in September and October. Right now the natives are snickering at the tourists in shorts... July and August in SF tends to be colder than September and October; has to do with microclimates, fog, and other imponderables (short answer; when it's really hot inland, it draws cold breezes off the freezing ocean currents onshore, causing fog and general coolness in SF... when it's not so hot inland, SF can warm up to decent temperatures). Case in point; forecast for my location (20 miles inland) tomorrow is 74; forecast for SF: 59.

    What did you see that indicates San Diego is a bad idea? It's one of my favorite cities; very tourist-friendly, world-class zoo, best fish tacos on the planet? In 14 days you can do a decent loop from SD (2 days) up the coast (2 days) to SF (2 days) to LV (5 days, allowing time for Yosemite and Death Valley), LV (2-3 days) and back to SD to fly out. If you book an open-jaw (fly in and out of different places) you can avoid some back tracking.

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

    Default Not SD.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalOldBlue View Post
    What did you see that indicates San Diego is a bad idea?
    I think you may have misread the quote.

    We were hoping to arrive in San Diego and just planned our Road trip tour from there. Reading this forum we realised thatís not such good idea and just wondered if anyone out there had any tips/suggestions
    The OP is referring to hitting the road from SD without any prior research/knowledge of the area. ;-0
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-06-2009 at 04:48 AM. Reason: fixed link format

  6. Default Don't Underestimate Scale

    Hi Mike

    I'd just like to add an extra tip to the excellent advice already posted above, from a fellow Brit, which is "bear in mind the sacale of the maps that you are looking at" ... us Brits are used to looking at maps with just (bits of) our little island on!

    As previous posters have said the trip you are planning is very achievable but only YOU can decide how much time YOU want to devote to lying on the beach/walking in the woods/visiting the museum/sampling the wine/enjoying the cuisine/taking in a show/dancing till 4am/whatever it is you like to do VERSUS driving from place to place!

    The online trip planners as reviewed here should help you work out how long it will take you to get from place to place but as a rough guide .... San Diego to San Francisco is about 8 hours of driving (that's like driving London to Dundee), it's longer if you detour along the coast and the Pacific Coast Highway (highly recommended) in which case it's 10 hours and more like London to well past Aberdeen ... San Francisco to Las Vegas (via Yosemite and Death Valley) is around 12 hours of driving (you'll struggle to do a trip that takes 12 hours of driving within Britain without turning back on yourself) so for comparison, that's around the same amount of driving time for a drive from London to Prague!

    I'm not trying to put you off ... 12 hours of driving can be OK if you do it as 3 hours a day over four days and stop off at some great places in between .... I'm sure you will have a fantastic time ... I'm just suggesting that you put that bit of time in to the planning.

    Regards, PhilB

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default more than that

    San Diego to San Francisco is about 8 hours of driving , it's longer if you detour along the coast and the Pacific Coast Highway (highly recommended) in which case it's 10 hours
    Actually, those estimates are quite low. You might be able to make it from SD to SF in 8 hours on I-5, if you didn't hit any traffic in LA, but that would be pretty unusual.

    Going up the coast simply can't be done in 10 hours. You're looking at a good 12 hours if you start in LA, and another 2-3 starting from San Diego. In either case, the coast really needs 2 or even 3 days to be done right.

    SF to Vegas can be done in 9-10 hours via Bakersfield, but again, 12 hours would be extremely optimistic if traveling through Yosemite. Once again, at least two days to make it a reasonable drive where you could actually enjoy some of the remarkable landscapes would be strongly recommended.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default Good points well made.

    Yes it is very important to remember how vast the area is you are covering and being a Brit I know how easy it is to get carried away, but one point I would like to add is not to mistake a drive in this area as a way to get just from A to B, unless that is of course all you want to do, but as part of the experience with many places in between to explore and scenery that will "blow your mind". You will want to stop frequently to take in the ever changing scenery which takes longer but breaks up the journey into smaller parts, and another way to put things in perspective, Yosemite park covers an area much larger than the Lake district.
    I fully understand what pkb is saying, it's good advice and as said you must also make up your own mind how you want to spend your time between travelling and resting, but don't mistake it for a blast up the M6, Lol!

  9. Default London Mike

    Thanks advise Guys, I have been reading forum last couple days and still trying work out what we're going do. So please keep throwing me more info please. And if anybody got More Info about San Diego, were go and best places see by Car !

    We just started our in itinerary
    Arrive in San Diego on 17 Sept (2days
    Then of to Huntinghan Beach in La (1 Day
    San Francisco for 3 Days there’s seams so much to do and see in San Fran
    Leaving bay area and heading of to Yosemite National Park then Death Valley on to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon (5Days)

    San Luis Obispo: plan to stay the night here and if you're able, do a tour of Hearst Castle

    Then back to San Diego.

    (Ps It's hard to get tickets for Gridiron game , 49er or the Chargers !
    Thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default Slo?

    Are you planning to do San Luis Obispo after the Grand Canyon? That really doesn't make much sense, as it would require adding a whole lot of extra miles. It would make a whole lot more sense to just stop there as part of a drive up the coast between LA and SF.

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