Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. Default Xmas 2011 - LA to San Francisco

    Hi everyone,
    I am new to this site and just starting to plan our first ever US road trip for this Xmas and New Year. I will be travelling with my husband and two young teenage girls. Were flying in to LA from Spain and returning two weeks later, also from LA.
    At the moment our priorities are the trip up to SF and time in SF itself. We will drop the hire car in SF on arrival and fly back to LA before the return home.
    We arrive early afternoon on 23 Dec in LA - I have read that the shuttle bus up to Santa Barbara is a good idea following an international flight, then wed hire the car from there the following day.
    My worries at this stage concern the time of year that were travelling - do some places get really quiet or shut down for Xmas, what would be a good itinerary for these two weeks?
    Id also like to have some idea of budget for a family of four - what could we expect to spend each day for food/accommodation? Id like to treat everyone at times with both, though have little idea of what this means.
    Any help is really appreciated, thankyou.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    Can I suggest you do the trip in reverse? That way, you can drive from SF to LA down the coast and the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road. Another option is to keep the rental car for the entire duration - the fast, non-scenic way from LA to SF can easily be driven in 1 day. You could also, weather permitting, see sights such as Yosemite and Sequoia in the other direction.

    The additional expense of the rental car for the whole period will be balanced out by not having to pay a 1 way dropoff fee or for internal plane flights. I'd simply rent right at LAX.

  3. Default

    Thank you so much for getting back to me - I hadnt thought of doing it like that, and had no idea that coming the other way is perhaps the better option.
    So, we could stay in LA the first night and drive up to SF on the 24th.
    I presume Xmas Day in SF would have more options than en-route?
    Id love to see Yosemite and Sequoia and hadnt factured those in before. The places Ive heard worth visiting are SLO/Pismo Beach, Carmel, Hearst Castle, Paseo Robles, Ao Nuevo SP, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Beach, Davenport, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Cold Spring Tavern/Lake Cachuma, Solvang, Morro Bay and Alcatraz.
    If we spent NY in SF too would we be able to fit all this in before the 6th?
    Would NY be better anywhere other than SF?
    I was thinking of using carhire 3000 as apparently they dont charge a one-way dropoff fee.
    The saving on the internal flights back to LA is a great tip, thanks once again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you want to go right to SF from LA, plan on 1 day straight up I-5 or US-101. If you want to see Yosemite and/or Sequoia, add a day or two.

    To drive down the coast from SF to LA, seeing everything that you have listed, I'd allow 3 days.

  5. Default

    Thanks again glc, 3 days you say, maybe we could fit in the Grand Canyon?
    I spent yesterday looking at the budget - for the time of year, does 400USD/night (for 2 rooms) and 120USD/day for food sound about right?
    Also, is it possible to leave the car cheaply somewhere in SF whilst were there?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You can drive from LA to the GC in one long day, but from the GC to SF will need 2 days. You also want to allow at least half a day to actually see the GC.

    I'd research hotels in SF that offer free or low cost parking.

    Your budget figures will almost allow you to live like royalty!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    With 2 weeks you could create a nice loop from LA to GC to Vegas[?] to Sequoia to Yosemite to SF for New Year and then back down the coast. The main problem there would be where to spend Christmas day? Your best bet might be to sit tight in LA for a couple of days and enjoy Christmas and look around/relax a little while your body clocks adjust. For me the Grand canyon would present itself as a perfect and memorable location for Christmas day but it might be too 'low key' for others.

    As glc mentioned, 'weather permitting' is another concern and Sequoia and Yosemite have Chain control laws where you will have to carry snow chains and be prepared to use them if necessary.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    The additional expense of the rental car for the whole period will be balanced out by not having to pay a 1 way dropoff fee .........
    As I understand it, there is no one way drop off fee between the greater SF area and LA area. I have rented from Nevada City, Stockton, Sacramento and Berkeley and dropped of at LAX (always with Budget), and never been charged a one way fee.

  9. Default

    Thanks lots southwest dave and lifemagician for your input - its looking hopeful that I can avoid the one-way fee and Im now starting to think of a possible route no.2!
    Thanks too for your reply glc - glad that I can pare down the accommodation/food budget to afford exciting treats such as GC.
    glc, this is my provisional plan following your advice (Im still working yours out southwest dave!). Could you let me know what you think?
    Day 1: Book into a LAX hotel (tbc)
    Day 2: Fly LA to SF
    Days 3,4 & 5: SF
    Day 6: Bus tour SF to Yosemite and back
    Day 7: Pick up hire car; Ao Nuevo SP for elephant seals; Davenport for lunch; Santa Cruz afternoon & overnight
    Day 8: Mystery Spot; Monterey Bay Aquarium; Carmel overnight
    Day 9: Big Sur drive; Nepenthe for lunch; Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP; San Simeon overnight
    Day 10: Hearst Castle; Paseo Robles for lunch; Morro Bay; SLO overnight (Madonna Inn!)
    Day 11: Pismo Beach; Solvang for pastries; Lake Cachuma; Cold Spring Tavern for lunch; Santa Barbara afternoon & overnight
    Day 12: Malibu for lunch; LA; drop off hire car; Venice Beach?
    Day 13 & 14: Find a 2-day GC tour (as yet not found); back to LA
    Day 15: LAX back to Spain

    Xmas Day would be in SF, NYE would be the Big Sur drive etc (Day 9) - if you think this sounds a valid itinerary Ill check out whether all places are open.
    It may be that we keep the car for the GC, as I cant find a tour that leaves on the Wednesday to come back Thursday evening. Would you recommend seeing the GC by air? Im sure the girls would love anything slightly adventurous at this final point of the trip.

    Southwest dave - snow chains sound a scary prospect for a soft European such as myself ;) however I imagine once explained its fine & thanks for the info. Just now starting to think about your option, could GC up to Sequoia & Yosemite be potentially cut off at this time of year & do chains take up a lot of boot-room if not in use (please excuse my ignorance)?

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    As I understand it, there is no one way drop off fee between the greater SF area and LA area. I have rented from Nevada City, Stockton, Sacramento and Berkeley and dropped of at LAX (always with Budget), and never been charged a one way fee.
    That is often the case. One ways between those cities and Vegas often also have the fee waived.

    However, it certainly isn't a rule or even an industry wide policy, and you can't just assume there will be no fee. It's just something to look for, or even ask about, when renting in this area.

Similar Threads

  1. Las Vegas to San francisco via Yosemite in April 2011
    By Royhil in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-21-2010, 03:55 AM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-07-2010, 01:51 PM
  3. San Francisco, Las Vegas, Xmas.. in 10 days...
    By miso in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-25-2010, 02:25 PM
  4. DC to Chicago post-Xmas
    By levarfan in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-15-2009, 05:44 PM
  5. Vancouver Mt Rushmore Xmas 08
    By Geoff Sadler in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-26-2007, 07:20 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES