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  1. Default California round trip a month from now


    I just walked in on this great place, when looking for ideas for my family's (2 adults and 2 kids at 4 & 8) upcoming vacation to CA from AUG 3 to AUG 20.

    So far, we've only booked airline tickets, rental car (normal mid-sized) and lodging at Curry Village in Yosemite on AUG 11. Rest is up for grabs.

    We were thinking of the following plan

    3 AUG arrival at Ontario (from DC) drive to hotel close to San Diego
    4 AUG SD/Sea World
    5-7 Drive along HWY 1 to San Francisco
    8-10 Experience San Francisco then drive to hotel close to Yosemite
    11-12 Yosemite, drive south towards Death Valley area
    13-14 Experience Death Valley (no idea how much time the drive takes)
    15-17 LA
    18-19 Palm Springs (resort/relax/pool experience before leaving CA)
    20 Departure (Ontario)

    Another version could be the other way round. I.e. SD->LA->DV->Yosemite->SF->HWY1->Palm Springs.

    Any comments on "way around" and choice of routes? Driving up or down HWY1 should be uncomplicated, but the part in the nature parks out east is presently unknown to me - suggestions would be very welcome.

    Any must sees along the way? Should we include Sequoia National Park?

    We have seen San Diego before, so the stay there is to have a short drive the first day + experience Sea World free (Hero Tribute Program).


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


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    The only part of your trip that really doesn't make any sense to me is why you are planning to visit LA between DV and Palm Spring, which will require significant backtracking - when by driving up the coast from SD to SF, you will have to go right through LA. You'll actually save a couple hundred miles of driving just by visiting it the first time you are there.

    If you reversed the direction of your trip you could travel south down the PCH, which puts the pull out and the ocean on your side of the road. Not a major issue, but it is a bit nicer.

    I really enjoy Sequoia, but it is tough to work into any trip trip that includes Death Valley and Yosemite. There is no way to cross the Sierras through Sequoia National Park, so to get to DV you have to either backtrack back into Yosemite to cross via the scenic Tioga Pass, or you have to go around via the Bakersfield area.

  3. Default

    Michael, thanks for your input.

    LA efter DV and before Palm Springs on the "clockwise model" is because we would be hardpressed to squeeze in a couple of days there on the way up to SF and still make it to Yosemite to our booking AUG 11.

    And frankly, were not set on Palm Springs, but so far its cheaper for resorts than the LA area, and since we're flying out of Ontario East of LA, I didn't think the drive was that much of a hazzle.

    But, your points on PCH (driving direction) and someone else in the forum mentioning that DV is prettier coming from the south, might make me want to do the "counter clockwise model".

    Is the trip from LA to DV to Yosemite straightforward - i.e. just punch that into a trip planner/GPS and we're good to go? Or is there some tips worth knowing?

    Thanks again.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Depending on exactly where you are in LA and which DV entrance you want to use, there are a few ways to get to DV. From there to Yosemite, go out the west entrance on 190 to 136 to 395 to 120 and go over Tioga Pass.

  5. Default

    Thanks glc,

    I have no idea, what DV entrance to use. However, someone mentioned coming in from the south had the best scenery, why I figured we could go up I-15 and catch 127 up to 190. Would that work? Or does someone have a better idea.

    I do not know where to stay in LA yet, but we are probably going to see the obvious sites. Hollywood, Venice Beach, Disney etc. etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    127 to 190 would take you to the east entrance, unless you get on Badwater Road (178) out of Shoshone, that's the south entrance. 14/395 to 190 would be the west entrance, an alternate which may be what you are thinking of would be Trona Road (178) out of Ridgecrest to Panamint Valley Road, which joins 190 just west of the west entrance. Wildrose Road has a 2 mile unpaved stretch, it's drivable in a car but will probably violate your rental contract.

  7. Default

    Ok, thanks for clarifying that.

    We might take 178 out of Shoshone then. Unless you would recommend a better entrance? Obviously, because of the time of year, most of the experience from DV will be the drive and the few stops at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs (got those sights from the DV Natural Park website).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Quote Originally Posted by jangk View Post
    I do not know where to stay in LA yet, but we are probably going to see the obvious sites. Hollywood, Venice Beach, Disney etc. etc.
    First off, realize that LA is huge! It can take 3-4 hours to cross the whole metropolis that includes its suburbs. You may end up staying in two different in the Hollywood/Venice Beach/Burbank area, and one further south in Anaheim/Buena Park area. This website does have a hotel finder, or you can seek out another means of finding a hotel.

    If I were you, once your plans are more-or-less finalized, I'd get hotel reservations for the Anaheim area, especially if you want something right on top of the Disney parks. We usually use Best Western Stovall's Inn in Anaheim, which is within walking distance to Disneyland (DL) and California Adventure (CA). DL has 3 hotels of its own, but unless you can find a deal, they're a bit more pricey than the ones outside of the park.


  9. Default

    Thanks Donna, good to know. I noted your recommendations on Anaheim. We did the same in Orlando and stayed outside on International Drive instead of inside at the resorts.

    The good thing about doing the "counter-clockwise" model is then that I do not have to cross through LA twice as I can go East of it from San Diego towards Death Valley.

    One more question to you all. Where does Death Valley actually start? I think we want to take it slow from San Diego and move to the south of Death Valley for a sleep over and then head into the park directly after breakfast. Hence, I´m looking for a hotel just south of the park. Is it all the way up at Shoshone? Or down at the I-15/127? Or?


  10. Default

    Firming up plans as we speak and other questions arise.

    The drive from south of Death Valley to a hotel just outside Yosemite looks too long for a 1-day drive (with stops in DV), why we plan on spending the night somewhere between DV and Yosemite.

    Does anyone have some recommendations for accommodations somewhere along the 395 between DV and Yosemite?

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