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  1. Default 1st Road Trip. 7 days. Begin and end in San Fran

    Hello all,

    I just stumbled across this great forum and am glad I did! I searched the city San Francisco but everyones trips sem to be specific and different from my needs.

    Here is what I know (not much) and would love some input and ideas as this will be for my 10th anniversiary and would love to have a great trip. We live in TN and its also our first time to the west coast and we are in way over our heads in trying pick out and to see the best sites.

    We will be flying into San Francisco on July 3rd and out on the 10th. Im thinking that we should stick around and see fireworks on the 4th in SF but there may be more spectacular options out there?? From SF we could go south and make a loop or go east and make a loop. We would have to be back in SF at least by the 9th. Other than that we are wide open. I guess im looking for input on what to see, routes, where to stay along the way, etc. All we will have is what we pack and a rental car so the only limit is imagination.

    Some sites I have read about that I would like to get to are (not necessarily in this order)....
    Yosemite Nat Park
    Tioga Pass
    Sequoia Nat Forest
    Hwy 1

    So you can see that by that order im thinking about heading east, then south looping back to the coast and back up the hwy to SF.

    My tentative thinking..... I would spend 3rd and 4th in and around SF (day trip on 4th but get back for fireworks)? Where is best place for FW viewing? Where to go on the day trip? Maybe North?
    Leave on the 5th east to national parks. Where to stay?
    6th and 7th in the parks a long the way headed south. Where to stay?
    8th on the west coast off hwy 1 (where to stay?)
    9th back in or around SF ready to fly out on 10th from SF

    Im not sure if we should go ahead and make reservations at each place or play it by ear? But im sure that this is going to be a busy week so if I can get reservations I probably need to start doing that ASAP.

    We will be site seeing and I enjoy photography as a hobby other than that I open it up to you all.

    Please help.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by hooker771; 04-05-2011 at 09:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a rough outline

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would recommend you start out by going south along the coast, that will allow you to enjoy that drive with the ocean on your side of the road, and not having to cross traffic every time you want to stop at a pullout.

    I'd guess you'd want to spend a night or two along the coast, going down as far as the Cambria area. Then you'd head back over to Sequoia, and up into Yosemite. Tioga Pass takes you farther east, but you could cross the pass, spend a final night around Lake Tahoe, before making the drive back to SF. You're really going to have to figure out how you want to break this up though, because if you have 7 days for the trip, its a nice amount of time, but if you aren't leaving until the 5th, and planning to return on the 9th, that shortens things quite a bit.

    Because you are talking about a high demand area, and you've got a fairly short time frame, and you are traveling at peak season (over a holiday no less) I'd say reservations would be a good idea.

    As far as specific places to stay, that's really going to depend upon how exactly you want to break up your trip, what you are looking for in terms of price/features/location, and at this point, what is still available.

  3. Default

    I'd plan to spend the 3rd and 4th in SF. There's plenty to see there and it's a wonderful and tasty city. If you like to walk it's fairly easy to get around that way, though certainly very hilly. You could easily spend your whole week there so don't shortchange yourself by planning a day trip out of the city on those two days.

    After that I like the suggestion of heading south down the PCH. Santa Cruz and Monterrey are great stops. Cambria is nice, too. Sequoia and Yosemite are fabulous and then you bookend it again with San Francisco. Should be really nice.

  4. Default Thank you

    That tip about heading south first is exactly what I was hoping for. That is wonderful advice. So that being said I think we will do just that. Are there any other cities along the coast that anyone believes would be good for a firework show, really that is the only thing keeping me in SF all day on the 4th.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Some more research may be worth it - being that July 4 is on Monday this year, I'd think that some cities may have their shows on Sunday. Other than SF, I'd probably investigate Santa Cruz and Monterey.

  6. Default Ok

    So, here is what we are thinking.
    SF for 2 nights
    travel down to the Monterey/Carmel area and stay for 2 nights. Exploring Julia Pfeiffer State Park
    Waking up and heading east to Sequoia Nat (day trip) then up to Yosemite for 2 nights.
    then last night back in SF.

    Does anyone know if that Nacimiento-Fergussen Rd from Hwy 1 headed East is a decent route to get me back to Sequoia? Looks like my kind of road, lol.

    Where would you stay in and around Julia Pfeiffer Burns park? Can we get to Julia Burns on HWY 1? What part of HWY 1 is closed right now? It says just south of Big Sur, but it seems thats where the JPB park is.

    Is there anything to see at slates hot springs?

    Sorry for all the questions! But thank you so far. This is really narrowing it down for us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The closure is NORTH of Big Sur. However, they are estimating that one lane will be open with traffic controls with a 5 ton limit by the end of April.

    The N-F road is narrow, steep, and winding with no guardrails, but fully paved and well maintained. It would not be any faster than going all the way to Cambria then taking 46/41/198 to Sequoia, the miles traveled are almost identical.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If I'm reading you correctly, you are hoping to get from Big Sur to Yosemite including Sequoia in one day? If so, that's just not going to work. That's nearly 500 miles, a large portion of which is on very slow roads.

    At the most, you might be able to make it to, and through Sequoia, but then I wouldn't even think about going farther than Fresno. Even that's going to be a very long day, especially if you start adding in things like the N-F road.

  9. Default

    Thanks again. Obviously im in over my head.

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