Hello all :)
Karen from the UK here :D
My husband and I have never been to California before, so we are very excited to be coming soon, last two weeks of August in fact! We were in the hands of a travel agent who unfortunately just didn't seem to get the 'tailor made' part of the advertised road trip, everything we asked about was met with 'No' (We 'had' to rent a car from Day 1 apparently! and couldn't incorporate beaches in the itinerary!)
So due to them wasting an awful lot of time, we have booked the hotels and flights ourselves. It remains to be seen whether the order we have put them in was a mistake, lol! My OH will be doing the majority of the driving (if not all) and has driven in America before and drives for a living so that's a bonus - if it were me alone I'd be advertising for a driver :D
I have spent a lot of time reading this forum and will continue to do so, picking up tips- it's fantastic! I have played around a little putting sections of my itinerary into the map planner to see what attractions there are nearby and this is an excellent resource to use. However, you can't beat first hand knowledge or experience of a trip/area so I thought I'd post our plans so far.
Anyway, here we go: ( I am hoping to fill in all the little bits inbetween that will really make it enjoyable as well as leaving time for us to relax and enjoy the scenery.)
Day 1 : Arrive San Francisco - Flight gets in at 7pm, we are going to arrange for a airport shuttle or maybe a taxi? Taxi would be around $51 excl tip right? Shuttle would be around $18 each excl tip so not sure it's worth sharing plus waiting while everyone else gets dropped off etc.
Staying for 3 days here at Golden Gateway, Van Ness Ave due to it being right next to the Cable cars. We will probably grab a Muni pass as we are not renting a car until we leave (don't see the need to pay to park it in the hotel)
Day 2 : San Francisco - Hoping to arrange a tour of San Fran and also explore ourselves. Looking forward to hearing the seals!
Day 3 : San Francisco - Planning to visit Alcatraz, will be booking tickets very soon, evening tours already sold out.
Day 4 : Picking up rental car and driving to Yosemite (approx 195 miles) - staying overnight here in Cedar Lodge.
Day 5 : Driving to Death Valley (approx 304 miles) - staying overnight at Furnace Creek Resort
Day 6 : Driving to Las Vegas (approx 144 miles) - staying here for 2 nights. Las Vegas and it's night life/gambling doesn't really appeal but hey, we've never been so will try to keep an open mind, what should we not miss?
Day 7 : Las Vegas - Planning on taking a Helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon (Anyone have any personal rec's for companies who offer this?)
Day 8 : Driving to Grand Canyon (approx 278 miles) - staying overnight here at Holiday Inn.
Day 9 : Driving to Phoenix/Scottsdale (approx 225 miles) - staying overnight at Xona Resort. Beaches next :)
Day 10 : Driving to Palm Springs (approx 298 miles) - staying overnight at Holiday Inn.
Day 11 : Driving to Ventura (approx 178 miles) - staying here for 2 nights at Crown Plaza.
Day 12 : Ventura - Relaxed day - nothing planned so far.
Day 13 : Driving to Monterey (approx 272 miles) - on the way from Ventura am hoping it's do-able to visit McWay Creek Waterfall, it looks beautiful! Staying overnight here at Hilton Garden Inn.
Day 14 Driving to San Francisco (approx 105 miles) - staying here overnight at Hilton airport hotel
Day 15 Checkout and travel to airport. Mid-morning flight.
2, 010 miles in total (-ish, no doubt there will be a variation)
So, are there any glaring mistakes in our plans so far?
I did read (after booking!) that it was best to travel the opposite way due to all the pull ins being on the same side of the road, how much of a problem is this likely to cause us, if any?
If anyone has any little gems up their sleeves that could be incorporated along the way, like no-nonsense places to grab something to eat/rest stops, it would be much appreciated if you could share :)