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  1. Default SF - Yosemite - DV - Vegas - GC - with toddlers

    Hi - I know this is a popular topic but here we go again. We are from Australia with three boys (4yo, 3yo twins) and are contemplating a road trip from SF - Yosemite - Death Valley - Vegas - GC then fly to LA from Vegas in June/July. Some questions:
    1) We don't want to drive for more than five hours before staying somewhere so what do you recommend as the best route?
    2) We also don't want to drive every day so want some good down time in the right places - obviously Yosemite but where else and how many days would you recommend?
    3) With kids we will probably hire an RV and look for campgrounds along the way (preferrably with pools). Any suggestions?
    4) Our kids are quite adventurous - is there enough to interest them on this route?
    5) Could this route be done comfortably in two weeks?

    Any other suggestions welcome.

    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Initial thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    1]There isn't a single 'best route' as there are always options. Stopping within a 5 hour per day driving limit won't be an issue either. A popular route would be to Yosemite and over the Tioga pass [CA120] and to Vegas via Death valley on 395/190/160 through Pahrump. Instead of crossing the Sierra's on Tioga you could head North to the Lake Tahoe area or South and through Sequoia NP and around Lake Isabella.

    2] It will come down to your final itinerary, you have time available to spend in these places, but you will have to decide how to spend it. I would stay at least 2 nights in SF, Yosemite and Grand canyon, Vegas is great but could be challenging with 'adventurous' young ones.

    3]For 'resort' type parks with pools, you would have to look outside of the National parks. I would actually recommend staying in the NP campgrounds where possible, they are in wonderful wooded surroundings and I am sure the Kid's would love it for playing. One of the 3 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite are all great and the Mather campground at the Grand canyon is also. The Oasis RV resort in Vegas is good fun for the whole family with swimming pools there.

    4]Kid's of that age are normally interested in letting off a bit of steam, no matter where they are, and with regular stops and not cooped up for long hours [as you plan] they should be fine.

    5] Yes.

    A couple of things to consider is that if you travel early June, the Tioga pass isn't guaranteed to be open due to winter snow accumulation on the high ground, and the later you travel the less chance of an RV company permitting you to take an RV across Death valley, you would have to check their policy.

    Some 'bit's' to consider.

    During your stay in SF I would consider staying in a Motel, it is a compact City and easy to get around without transport and RV parks are limited. It would not be easy getting around SF in an RV.

    You could drive to LA from Vegas quite comfortably and would save the hassle of airports with the young one's. If you chose to do so, you could visit Vegas on the way through to GC and then go from GC direct to LA.

    Depending on how much 'down time' you want, you could consider doing a complete loop and end up back in SF and drive along the coast. Something like this SF>LA [overnight on coast, Cambria?]>GC [overnight on route] > Las Vegas > Yosemite [overnight on route] > SF.

    Other options you could fit in are the two popular parks of Southern Utah, Zion [3.5 hours from Vegas] and Bryce canyon and then to GC.

    Have a look around the forums and get the map out and discuss your options. Once you have done so and have more questions just ask and we will help fill in the blanks. Click here to see our San Fran RV trip if you have the time, it might give you an insight into what's possible.

  3. Default Family RV trip LA-SF via Yosemite

    We are an Australian family with three young boys (4yo, 3yo twins) planning to visit the west coast in mid-June. After doing Disney we will have 10 days to travel north to San Fran. Our aim is to focus mainly on natural sites and outdoor activites. We also want to avoid too much driving each day so we have some time to explore. So I'm eager to hear advice on how to make it as "relaxing as possible for all of us while still taking in the must see sights. Our draft itinerary is below. Key question is whether we should make the effort to get to Lake Tahoe or slow down and go straight from Yosemite to the wine country. Any recommendatons for good campsites along the way welcomed.

    Day 1 - collect RV in LA overnight in Santa Barbara (or beaches just north). Is it possible to walk into the many state campsites along the coast road? Any sites recommended?
    Day 2 - Santa Barbara area to Big Sur. Is it worth staying two nights here?
    Day 3 - Big Sur to Yosemite just outside park on the 140 (via Carmel and Monterey). Is the 140 the best route?
    Day 4 and 5 - Yosemite (camping outside the park at 120 entrance - all campsites in park reserved)
    Day 6 - Yosemite to South Lake Tahoe
    Day 8 - Tahoe to Napa or Sonoma. Any recommendations?
    Day 9 - Napa
    Day 10 - SF

    Thanks so much for this forum - it has been a fantastic resource already.

    Mod note. ]Please do not create multiple threads for the same trip!!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-13-2011 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Merged threads.

  4. Default

    Apologies - the second request for information is actually for a very different route and we would really appreciate some feedback on those questions, which is why it was posted as a separate thread. Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    That's OK, but FYI.

    Most trips take on a much different itinerary to the one originally posted, but by putting each trip in one thread other people can follow the progress, read what has already been asked and the responses before making comments. Otherwise the forums would be full of threads with one question with the response that apparently went unnoticed or was ignored.

    You will have to keep an eye on the situation around Big Sur where there has been recent problems with the road. You can find info here. It might be open by the time you travel, but if not you will have to take the 101 inland route to Monterey an down to Big Sur.

    From Big Sur into Yosemite NP the 140 from Merced is the most direct route. However this will depend on what time you leave Big Sur and whether you want to head to the park or your campground. If it's on 120 [possibly 'Yosemite Pines'] and you want to head to camp then you could head North towards Manteca on I 5 connect with 120 there.

    With the roadway issue on the coast you could consider spending 2 nights on the coast but splitting them up, perhaps one in the Cambria area and one in the Big Sur/Monterey area that will give you some time to explore the coast even if you have to go around on 101.

    I haven't done the Tahoe to Napa run so can't help there but you should have no shortage of campground options. I usually type in a town or area with RV parks and look at whats available. I usually select privately operated sites and steer clear of the KOA type resorts, but that's a personal opinion. Make sure the 'Campgrounds' have RV facilities or use the term 'RV park' as campgrounds often refer to tent camping.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-14-2011 at 08:45 AM.

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