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  1. Default 20 day trip starting from LAX


    First of all it's great to be on the forum. I have read many of the posts and have finally come up with a plan for a CA road trip.

    My wife and I will arrive in LAX on May 18 and I had thought of

    18-21 (3 nights) in LA
    21 leave for Yosemite
    21-24 (3 nights) in Yosemite
    24 leave for NAPA
    24-26 (2 nights) in NAPA
    26 leave for SF
    26-29 (3 nights) in SF
    29- 2/June - PCH to San Diego (4 nights)
    2/June leave for Joshua Tree
    2-4 (2 nights) in JT
    4 return to LA, 2 more days
    6 return to Brazil

    At this point I have doubts as to whether I'm dedicating too many days to Yosemite and JT, for instance. I followed a strategy of trying to arrive at the parks at the end of the day so I would always have a night's rest and a fresh start at the next morning, but I was hoping to get a sense of whether this isn't too much time.

    One other thing is the apparent difficulty of finding hotels in the parks, especially Yosemite, and if it is generally possible to find motels that don't have to be reserved in advance.

    Best, and thanks a lot for taking the time to read and eventually answer this,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Accommodation.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    It is hard to spend too much time in Yosemite, especially in spring when the waterfalls are at their best. Though this year there has been little snow, so their best may not be as good as previous years. Accommodation within the park is limited and much sought after. I am not aware of any which does not need to be booked in advance - well in advance.

    Be aware that your visit to NAPA is during a holiday weekend. I would definitely book accommodation for that weekend.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default To consider.

    You have a nice trip to look forward to !

    Have you considered going from LA direct to SD and then to Joshua Tree and then make your way to Yosemite from there. As you start and finish your trip in LA it would avoid having to drive through it a 3rd time to get to SD. If you took a night from somewhere else, you could actually break the journey to Yosemite with a visit to Sequoia NP.

    Booking lodgings in Yosemite is highly recommended and as said above, the holiday weekend. If you have a set plan you can often get better deals booking in advance with less hassle of having to find a suitable place to meet your requirements/budget.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    29- 2/June - PCH to San Diego (4 nights)
    I'm not sure how you are planning to break this up - if you mean 4 days driving to San Diego, or driving to SD in one day and spending 4 nights there, or some combination. In any case, you should know that the PCH is not a road you can take from SF to SD in a single day. You really need at least 2 long days, and 3 would be much better.

    But I would also agree with Dave that you should look at doing SD first, then Joshua Tree, and up to Yosemite (and/or Sequoia) so you can save some miles and bypass LA, rather than fight through the heart of it 3 times.

    As has been said, if you want to stay in Yosemite, book ASAP, as there is limited lodging. There are some small towns with lodging outside the park, like Oakhurst and Mariposa for example, but even those places can fill up, and pretty much any place outside of the park is going to require about an hour drive to get back into the Yosemite Valley.

  5. Default

    Hi there!

    Thanks to everyone for the valuable tips,

    My wife and I managed to book something in Yosemite and Napa and we have reduced our trip for a couple of days which basically means letting go of the final days in Joshua Tree (so after San Diego at the end of the PCH we would simply return to LA).

    Hi Midwest Michael - yes, it does mean we plan to spend 4 days driving down the PCH to SD, though at this point we don't know exactly where to make the stops. While we do prefer to take things at a more leisurely pace, do you think this may be too much time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Time in San Diego ?

    I'm also a little confused. I thought you meant that you had 4 nights for the coast drive and to stay in San Diego. If it's 4 nights to reach SD then you don't seem to have alotted any time to actually stay there which seems a little odd. You could easily spend 4 nights along the coast staying in seaside towns and exploring, but it doesn't add up if you will then have no time to spare in SD having taken the time to get there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Once you get to LA, there's no point in staying on the PCH to San Diego - it's just one beach town after another and very congested. All the real scenery is north of Santa Monica. If you want to go to San Diego, you might as well just take I-5.

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