Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. Default California on my own! (Sep 2015)

    Hello everyone,

    I am currently planning out my trip around Cali in September 2015. I am desperately searching for some advice as I have never been to America and just don't know how to organize all my destinations. I'd like to give you an overview of what I already thought trough and would love to get opinions on that!


    1. San Diego (Arrival on 29th Sep by plane)
    2. Los Angeles
    3. Las Vegas
    4. Valley of Fire National Park
    5. Zion National Park
    6. Glen Canyon National Park
    7. Navajo National Monument
    8. Olijato Monument Valley
    9. Sequoia National Park
    10. San Francisco
    11. Lassen Volcanic National Park

    As you can see, my main reason to see Cali are those beautiful National Parks! The cities of San Diego, LA and Las Vegas themselves don't appeal much to me. I basically want to stay there to see the National Parks around. Of course I would want to spend one or two days exploring the city as well, but it's not my first priority. As I am really into art and hippie culture, I'd love to spend some more time in the city of San Fran though. Any recommendations on how long I should stay there to get the vibe? And how many days should I estimate for the listed parks? I'm thankful for each and every little help here.

    I will be traveling alone, so I'd rather travel by plane then by bus when it makes sense. I don't know yet how to get around in the national parks and will still have to find out. I'm really not that far with planning everything out. At the end of my Cali trip I'd like to depart from San Fran by plane. I do not have a limitation for the duration of my trip, so you can suggest everything that comes to mind!

    I apologize for my rusty English and hope, that everything makes sense. If you got any questions, just let me know! And thanks a lot for reading.

    wulfie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    This is a road trip forum, so of course we would recommend you rent a car and drive! You will HAVE to have a car to visit the national parks, our public transportation systems are only in cities and to and from them. Rent the car when you leave San Diego, plot out a trip with paper maps to finish in SF, where you can turn in the car. You won't need a car in SF itself.

    When you decide on a rough route, we can help you with the details.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wulfie View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently planning out my trip around Cali in September 2015. I am desperately searching for some advice as I have never been to America and just don't know how to organize all my destinations. I'd like to give you an overview of what I already thought trough and would love to get opinions on that!


    1. San Diego (Arrival on 29th Sep by plane)
    2. Los Angeles
    3. Las Vegas
    4. Valley of Fire National Park
    5. Zion National Park
    6. Glen Canyon National Park
    7. Navajo National Monument
    8. Olijato Monument Valley
    9. Sequoia National Park
    10. San Francisco
    11. Lassen Volcanic National Park



    wulfie
    You asked how long in each park. I'll try and give you an idea but it depends on what you want to do. All the parks have great hiking trails so if you want to explore, you will want to stay longer. I'm going to also add a few places that are near by some of the places you mentioned

    4. Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada 1 full day to see the park.

    5. Zion National Park, Utah at least 2 full days to get in several of the wonderful hikes and walks.

    Near Zion: Bryce National Park, Utah is only 88 miles from Zion and is so different! One full day at least, two would be better

    6. Glen Canyon National Recreational Area on Utah - Arizona border: Lake Powell near Page, AZ: One day to see Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and do the hike to Horseshoe Bend. Another day if you want to do either the boat tour on the lake to Rainbow Bridge National Monument or the Float trip on the Colorado River. Three days if you want to do it all.

    7. Navajo National Monument, Arizona could possible be done on your way to Monument Valley

    8. Monument Valley Tribal Park, Utah - Arizona border: one full day and take a tour

    Near Glen Canyon and Monument Valley is the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. A national park you really should not miss. Two full days.

    9. Sequoia National Park, CA one day for Sequoia and a second day to see Kings Canyon which is right next door.

    Near Sequoia is Yosemite National Park which I would recommend as the one national park in California not to miss. Two days maybe 3 if you are a big hiker.

    11. Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA: While Lassen is open year-round, 24 hours per day it can have limited road access during the winter months. You should check road conditions before heading up there in October. http://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisi...conditions.htm
    Many facilities are open for the summer season only. This park is pretty much a days drive from San Francisco so it is the one park that is most out of your way. It will eat up at least three of your days.

    Utahtea

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    just don't know how to organize all my destinations.
    Do you have a road atlas or large map of the US? If not, you can order one either from the RTA store (link below) or from your local stationer or map store. You have some time.

    Once you get the map, circle all the places that you want to visit, or flag them with a sticky note. A logical order will start to appear as you do that. Utahtea has given you some new suggestions, and suggestion duration of stays.

    If your only reason in going to Las Vegas is to see the Valley of Fire (recommended!), then you might want to stay in north Las Vegas rather than on The Strip. Just a suggestion, mind you.

    As for how long to stay in the cities, well, that depends a lot on you. You were most interested in the hippie vibes of San Francisco. You can explore San Francisco on public transportation (bus, cable car) or walking. Depending on what you want to DO in SF, you could take anywhere from a full day to three days. Just be careful. There are areas of SF that you want to stay OUT of.

    I live here in San Diego, and have for 30+ years. There is a lot I still haven't seen. I've spent the summers of 2013 and 2015, re-exploring areas that I haven't seen recently, and trying to visit other things that I've never visited at all. Here is a link to a thread about San Diego County that I wrote a few years back. Within that thread are links to two other threads, one about Staycation 2013, and one in progress, Staycation 2015.

    Definitely, rent a car in San Diego. If you loop your trip back to where you rent the car, you shouldn't have to pay a one-way drop fee when you turn the car in.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A loop trip.

    Do a loop trip through the national parks. It would save in both the car rental costs and the airfares. There are several field reports on this site which are loops from the coast through southern UT and AZ, as well as CA.

    If you want to spend some time in SF, then look at flying into and out of there. Pick up the car when you are ready to leave and drop it back when you arrive back in the city. You will not need/want a car in SF.

    Head down the coast to SD, to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the southern UT parks, Death Valley and Yosemite and back to SF. Adding whatever you want to see along the way.

    I'd agree with the advice, get the atlas as soon as you can and just see how much there is to see. It is all marked on the maps, as are all the routes from which you can choose, ranging from high speed interstates to nice scenic routes and local roads.

    From where are you flying to CA?

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Time is key.

    The cities of San Diego, LA and Las Vegas themselves don't appeal much to me. I basically want to stay there to see the National Parks around.
    If you want to get a look at these City's and do a little sight seeing that's fine, but non of them make a base to see the National parks, for that you need to stay closer to, or actually in the parks themselves.


    I will be traveling alone, so I'd rather travel by plane then by bus when it makes sense
    This wouldn't make financial sense and neither would it make a memorable road trip in the traditional sense. All that time spent in bus stations, airports and car rental offices while driving/flying right by interesting places you could stop and explore while talking to the Locals and other visitors. Not to mention it's near impossible to get around to the places you want to visit in this way.

    I do not have a limitation for the duration of my trip, so you can suggest everything that comes to mind! -
    There are thousands of possibilities that we could list that would last a lifetime so your "unlimited duration" doesn't help us in suggesting other places, or how much time to spend in those you are visiting. As you are an overseas visitor, presumably you would be limited to the 90 day tourist visa, but do you think you would stay that long ? If you could give us a ballpark figure it would help in planning your trip. ie : 2-3 weeks, a month, 6 weeks, 90 days ?

    As already mentioned, the Grand canyon, Bryce canyon and Yosemite NP are 3 amazing places to add, but there are also Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands in Utah, you could even 'dip your toes' into Colorado and visit Mesa Verde NP and much more. It would be better to visit Lassen before SF, but it is a long way out from the other places. If you went there you could then head across to the coast to the Redwoods and then south to SF over the Golden gate bridge. From SF I would continue south and visit LA at the end of your trip so that you drive the scenic coast highway around Big Sur. That would require an overnight stop on route. I think you will find that flying in and out of LA will find you the cheapest flight options and is worth considering.

    So my suggested route would look like this:
    LA>SD>Grand canyon>Monument valley>Four corners>[Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef??]>Bryce canyon>Zion NP>Valley of Fire>Las Vegas>Death valley>Sequoia>Yosemite>[Lassen>Redwoods??]SF>Coast>LA.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-24-2015 at 08:07 AM.

  7. Default

    Okay.. I see. My last post didn't get sent. :(

    Well, here we go again!

    First of all: Thank you everyone for your very helpful and kind replies! I really appreciate how much into detail you went there to help me!

    As all of you recommended doing a loop trip by car, that is exactly what I'm going to do. I haven't decided yet whether I want to start off in SD or LA, but I will eventually come to terms with it. Of course I will let you know. :)

    @Donna: Which parts of SF are you talking about? Should be really useful information for me, to know where to stay away! ;)

    @Dave: Thanks for that suggested route of yours! And yes, you are right. I will be in the States with a regular tourist visa which allows me to stay for 90 days max. But up to that, everything is possible for me.

    Alright, thank you again for your help - I really didn't expect so much activity in this thread! :)

    One last question though: Do you recommend doing such a road trip on my own or would you advise me to search for a travel buddy? I'm quite indecisive about that. I don't mind exploring cities on my own, but I was afraid that the national park experience would be way nicer with a partner. Maybe some of you got experiences on that to share?

    wulfie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    The good thing about doing a loop is that it doesn't make much difference where you start so comparing air fares and car rental costs in and out of each possible city makes good sense.

    There is nothing wrong with travelling with a buddy or going solo, there are pros and cons for each option. If I were to travel with someone, it would be someone I know well and we were familiar with each others habits, good and bad ! I certainly wouldn't be looking for anyone that I did not have a good relationship with, or someone that I did not know, this works for some people, but I am also happy in my own company and there are never a shortage of people to meet and chat to along the way and, both locals and visitors. It's a great way of discovering places of interest you may not find on the Internet.

    Note: Your previous post was held in Moderation for some reason. I suspect it was identified as possible spam because of the number of @'s in the post. [?] If this happens again a Mod will approve the post but it may cause a slight delay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Rule of thumb: instead of the @ sign, use the word "To". Most of us regulars will know anyway. :-)

    Since you're flying in, LA may be loads cheaper. It's usually more expensive to fly into SD.

    The area of San Francisco to stay out of is called The Tenderloin. Lots of crime in the area!


    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. LA to florida..sep 2015
    By Nathan Steel in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-14-2015, 08:35 AM
  2. Trip in Sept 2015 California to Grand Canyon
    By Bandit 25 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-30-2014, 05:27 PM
  3. California to Arizon RV Roadtrip in May 2015
    By Nostalgic Americans in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 11-29-2014, 01:58 AM
  4. DE to IL Sep 21 to Sep 26 take I-76 or I-80 ?
    By Ateet in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-13-2012, 06:13 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES