First time poster here, although reader since the inception of a road trip in the US.
Iíll be in Austin, TX for business during the 1st week of December, and the 2nd week my girlfriend will join me for a 1 week vacation on the west coast. Arriving afternoon Saturday 8th and departing both morning Saturday 15th. Sadly, her dates are fixed and canít be changed however, we are fortunate to have good flight options (inbound & outbound) from either LAX or SFO which means picking one to arrive and depart from the other. Havenít booked any flights (domestic & International) so Iíll see how our plan shapes before finalizing flight details.
** Interests & things to do:
Our main focus is to rent a vehicle and enjoy a road trip on the west coast. If that sounds broad, Iíll narrow it by saying from our initial research the coast is full of gems to discover and enjoy. Iíve done the Great Ocean Road in Australia (Hello Lifey :D) and it was a magnificent drive. Hence the idea of a road trip along the coast, and to name few of what might be of interest to us:
- National parks or state parks (weather permitting?!)
- Lookouts / observatories / sceneries and any photo opportunities. (Sheís a photographer fanatic of some sort).
- Beaches & mountains
- Historical sites
- Architectural beauties
- Distinguished small towns and attractions
- Wildlife parks
As you might tell, nature is probably the theme of this trip, but we also would like to spend couple of days in SF and SD depending on our route and days spent on the road. LA is not part of our plan this time. So, skipping LA is intentional, LAX is just an entry or exit point for us.
**Financials & travel style:
Our travel style is on the control freak side (hope she doesnít reads this, lol) we are always detailed and plan almost everything. So this will be a first for both of us to hit the road, stay in motels/hotels whenever we feel it, stop at attractions and take it easy. Our idea is to take our time on the road, be spontaneous and make plans as we go. I bet itís not going to be easy for two control freaks, lol. We sat together and discussed this thoroughly and agreed to have the free spirit style.
Iím aware of the one way fee for a car rental but due to the time limit weíll bear it.
**The questions and queries, based on the above info:
- North to South (SF Ė SD) or South to North (SD ĖSF) ?
- Although itís hard to predict December's weather, does it ruin the beauty of the drive/coast ?
- How viable is it to visit the Grand Canyon (south rim) in our time frame? (weather and time wise)
- SUV or normal sedan? Any advantage of having an SUV ?
- Yosemite NP for day trip from SF ? And how is it weather wise ?
- Is 3 full days to do the Coastal trip between SF - SD (or SD-SF) on a relaxed pace, enough ? or more than enough and should be shortened ?
- Best way to avoid LA but not miss on anything important on the coast.
- Staying in SF and SD is better in the outer suburbs or downtown to be near everything ?
Appreciate any advice, tips and ideas or suggestions.