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  1. Default West Coast Trip from Vegas to San Diego

    Hi All

    This is my first effort at using this site and have been advised by Mark to try asking my question to all to see what options are best...

    Next summer (August 14) we are planning on coming from the UK with my wife and 3 kids all aged 10 to 15 to do a west coat trip

    We are starting in Vegas as that's where the cheapest flights were available and ending after 21 nights to fly out of San Diego

    After just a few nights in Vegas we are going to hire a large car(suv) and drive to Yosemite where we have booked accommodation in Ahwahnee for 2 nights ( a friend recommended this to us) then from here the plan was then to drive to San Francisco
    and spend 2 or 3 nights in a nice hotel was suggested the Westin ST Francais, but after this stop I am not sure which order to go and which cities to aim to stop in, had been suggested that From San Francisco we head to LA but stopping en route in Monterey/Carmel Area and possibly also stop in San Luis Obispo before going onto LA/Beverly Hills but so many places such as Laguna Beach, Monarch Beach, Huntington Beach have been suggested or maybe to go straight to San Diego as this is where are flight back to the UK is leaving from.

    My main question is :-

    I wanted to see if you could help suggest in which order we do our 6 or maybe 7 stops

    We want to have a variety of places to see and activities to do so that the kids don't get bored, but that they do have some experiences and see the right sites in each city , but also want to be able to stay at some nice hotels and have a bit of relaxing time without getting back in the car after just 1 night stops as we will no doubt have plenty of luggage...

    Hope the above doesn't sound to complicated and if any of you who may read this happen to of done a similar trip and have a sort or itinery city by city and even good hotel recommendations then would be really grateful if you were able to share these with me.

    If you have any links or sites you can refer me to it would really be appreciated

    Thank you

    Russell Fraser

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Get the kids to join in.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I would certainly recommend you take at least 2 or 3 days to explore some of the coastal towns and Monterey/Carmel and the Cambria area are 2 popular areas to break the trip when travelling on CA1 around Big Sur, a spectacular piece of coastline.

    This thread has lots of info to sort through.
    You will find lots more info searching the forums and road trip planning pages above and if you scroll down this page you will find 'similar threads' and repeat as many times as you wish. To get an idea of lodgings and costs use the RTA reservations centre to the right of each page where you will also get other peoples reviews on each property.

    You might find that it would be more budget friendly to end your trip in Vegas, as it could offer a better car rental rate as well as cheaper flights in and out of the same airport. That's if you are not booked already.

    As you continue with your planning and more specific questions come up then just ask.

    Enjoy the planning and get the kids involved with it. If they do their own pieces of research and come up with ideas they will have a vested interest and will be more excited about the trip, making it more fun for everyone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default At home in Las Vegas

    Russell, thanks for making the effort to post here!

    The Ahwahnee is pretty special -- it's pretty expensive lodging -- but I think you will enjoy it. Here's a photo from a wintery day at the hotel.

    Las Vegas is my home town and there is a place that I think your kids will find pretty fun. It's a place where one can play pin ball machines dating back a couple of decades -- They all work and they all cost would they would have when the machines were new.

    We also produce and there are plenty of places that kids find pretty cool. One of my favorite places to take kids of all ages -- is the Clark County Museum -- here is a short article that explains some of the why...

    What is your budget for lodging? That will give us more of an idea of places to suggest to you.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Making the Most of It

    As I read your post, you've already got some parts of this trip hard wired. Looks like you've booked your international flights into Las Vegas and out of San Diego, and have made reservations in Yosemite. So let's work with those 'fixed' points since changing them would be expensive at best and impossible at worst.

    But if you've got three nights before you have to be in Yosemite, here's what I'd suggest. First of all, I'd try to make the very most of the time you have before your reservatins in Yosemite. It would be a real shame to come all that way and miss one of the great natural wonders of the world. So by all means spend the first night or two in Las Vegas, soak in a bit of the culture that makes it unique, and get over your jet lag.

    Then take the next two nights (and three days) for some great natural sites 'on the way' to Yosemite. On the first day drive to the Grand Canyon, see as much of it as you can in the evening, especially around sunset when the lighting should make it spectacular, and return to Williams AZ for the evening. The next two days would then be devoted to driving to Yosemite allowing you to make the drive through Death Valley with a very brief stop at Badwater Basin (expect temperatures near 120ºF (49ºC) and perhaps a longer stop at Scotty's Castle before leaving on CA-190 west to US-395 north to enter Yosemite from the east on CA-120 over Tioga Pass.

    Then on the west coast, besides San Francisco, Monterey is a great place to visit with kids particularly the aquarium and some of the walking tours of historic homes with docents in period costumes. Plan on taking at least a couple of days for the drive down to Los Angeles via the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1) which is dotted with great state parks and sea lion/seal rookeries. There's also San Simeon, Hearst Castle.

    In San Diego, there are several museums and a world class zoo all together in one place, Balboa Park, where you could easily spend several days. I'd also recommend a harbor tour which includes the naval base and airport. My grandsons loved it when we took them a few years ago.

    And one last thing. At every national park or monument you come to, ask about the age-appropriate Junior Ranger Program for each of your children. It's free, gives them a better understanding of the park, and includes some great souvenirs.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Five or more.

    Most hotel rooms have a limit of four occupants. However, there is a website dedicated to hotels which cater for five or more. You might find it useful.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'm one of the San Diego County residents that's a regular participant here at RTA. San Diego has a lot to see and do. We made an entire "stay-cation" this year by staying here at home and visiting the places we have nearby. Here's a link to our thread, with photos.

    BTW, when my girls were teens, they LOVED the arcade at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. From what I've been given to understand, it's still pretty decent. They also liked the amusement park that's at Circus Circus, AdventureDome. They were 13 and 14 at the time.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-08-2013 at 12:27 PM. Reason: fixed punctuation

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