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  1. Default 6 Nights - LA Roadtrip

    Hello to everyone,

    This is my first time in California. My girlfriend and I are planning to go on a road trip to explore your amazing State in the coming week.

    We will start from Los Angeles at midday 17th September and must be back at Los Angeles International airport at 10am on 23rd September.

    We are hoping this kind forum could map out a great road trip schedule for us.

    17th - 22nd (including the night) September

    Things we would like to do (we are aware that we can't do everything but here are some key aspect we hope to include):
    Hot Springs
    - we have been told to see Big Sur, Sequoia (apparently there are fires), and Yosemite. But are open to suggestions.

    We would require lodging too so if you could suggest where to stay along the way that would be immensely helpful.

    With all best wishes,

  2. #2


    That is a ton of ground to cover in a very short time!

    For some nature, forests and beautiful coastlines, an option would be to drive the coastal route north to the Orick, CA (coastal redwoods). That would put Big Sur and big trees in the check-box list (and worthy). Lady Bird Forest is a wonderful area to hike.

    From LAX, my route would be to hit the highway to Santa Monica (I-405 N to I-10W) and then take CA-1 (PCH/Coastal Hwy) north to the famed surfing beach in Malibu to stretch your legs and breath some fresh sea air. Continue on CA-1 and it will merge with US-101 in Ventura.

    Ventura is a nice town to spend the night or grab a meal depending upon your timing and resting needs.

    From Ventura continue north on US 101 to Santa Barbara and branch off onto CA-154. Along the way is Cachuma Lake Recreation Area (which provides a 15-min free pass and restrooms are available). Continuing north, a detour for lunch, coffee, dinner is an old Danish town of Solvang. Back on CA-154, or continue west to US 101, and head north towards San Luis Obispo, where you will exit back onto CA-1 towards Morro Bay and Big Sur (Cambria and San Simeon are the gateway towns to the beginning of Big Sur). Downtown Morro Bay and Cambria are worth a stop to stretch your legs.

    The driving through Big Sur will be slow and scenic. North of Big Sur are Monterey and Santa Cruz, both on the coast. At this point you need to decide whether you want to stop or drive through San Francisco. Hop back onto US 101, north of San Francisco and head up to Orick, CA, for big trees.

    Yosemite is wonderful, but very crowded. I have never been to Death Valley or Mojave, so won't comment. All three take you far inland and away from other things that are green, blue and flowing.

    Recommend you stay at an airport area hotel if you need to be at LAX at 10am. The traffic in Los Angeles will otherwise put that requirement at risk. Better to arrive to LAX hotel at 8pm and get a good night's sleep.

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


    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Some great suggestions above but I would suggest that you save the coast for when heading back to LA, heading south will put the oceanside view points on your side of the road. As mentioned, you really need to be back in LA and near the airport on the night of the 22nd so you have 5.5 days and personally I think going as far north as Orick might be too much along with travelling around Big Sur which requires at least 2 days from the Bay area back to LA. Yosemite is quite amazing even though the waterfalls are likely to be dried up and I would highly recommend it. You could drive up the east side of the Sierra's through Lone Pine and Bishop and enter Yosemite over the spectacular Tioga pass [CA120] which would take your first day and a half up with a little sight seeing. A day in Yosemite before heading towards the coast where you could visit SF or some of the Redwoods just to the south, possibly head north of SF to Muir woods and head across the Golden Gate bridge into the city before a couple of nights along the coast.

    You need to decide whether you want a bit of quality time in a couple of places or keep on the move. Before deciding which route to take around the Sierra's [if you decide to ] you will need to keep an eye on the fire and road situations.

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