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  1. #1

    Default San Fran via Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks to Grand Canyon, March 2016

    Hi all. We have just 12 nights in March. We want to spend 2 nights in San Francisco before driving to Yosemite for 2 nights. I understand there will be snow and the c-120 will be closed so should maybe stay in Mariposa and drive into Yosemite Valley for a whole day. Then drive via Fresno to Sequoia national park, stay one night and see the giant redwoods. Drive on to Las Vegas for just one night and then go off to the Grand Canyon for 2 nights - again leaving one whole day to visit the park. That leaves us just 4 nights to see San Diego, visit our daughter in Long Beach and hopefully see a bit of the coast near LA. We are flying back to London from there. All tips re places to see, roads to take and how to get to San Diego from Grand Canyon gratefully received - we will have a SUV. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Looks good.

    Hello and welcome to RTA, you have a nice trip planned !

    Mariposa is quite a good option for staying outside of Yosemite although if your budget could manage it you can't beat staying in the park. On your second night you could stay a little further south, perhaps in Oakhurst before heading to Sequoia NP. From Oakhurst you could drive through the park and out of the south and stay in Three Rivers or Exeter. On route to Vegas you could drive across Death valley and go via Pahrump but that would depend on how much time you want to be on the road against how much time you want in Vegas. Going via Death valley would make it quite a full day on the road.

    From the Grand canyon to San Diego is going to be another full day on the road and if you spent a day there it's only going to leave you a couple of days to visit your daughter and explore LA beaches etc. It could be done but if you want to spend a bit of time in LA with your daughter I would consider if it's worth going to SD seeing as you won't have a lot of time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Unique Time of Year, But Time is Still a Constraint

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While it will certainly be cool (not to say cold!) in Yosemite in March, and CA-120 over Tioga Pass out of Yosemite to the east will certainly still be snowbound, the park's western (CA-120) and southern (CA-41) entrances will be open and almost all of the major viewing sites accessible. That makes early Spring a great time of year to see Yosemite. First of all, there will be very few tourists and you can experience the park and its wildlife in a quieter and more natural setting. Then there's the fact that even though it will be cooler, the snow pack will have started to melt and the waterfalls and streams will be flowing and spectacular. Finally, there is the off chance that you can experience something truly unique, Frazil Ice. I would plan at least two full day's (and some very warm outdoor clothing and footwear) to explore the park in some detail. Lodging n Mariposa would put you within an hour's drive of Yosemite Village and most of the other frequented sites in Yosemite. When my wife and I visited the park, we stayed about half an hour away, and found that to be quite manageable. You might want to look at El Portal, Fish Camp, and Buck Meadows and do a little comparison shopping to find the best value.

    Also, while there is a grove of giant redwoods in Yosemite, that will be closed at the time of your visit. Still, your time is so tight that the detour to Sequoia National Park can probably be dropped from your itinerary. I would say the same, reluctantly, about the Grand Canyon. Trying to include it on this trip would require a full day of driving plus whatever time you would like to spend there. Skipping it would leave you barely enough time to visit San Diego and then your daughter in Los Angeles (in that order). And family should come before even a sight as spectacular as the Grand Canyon.

    I'm sure that your daughter will know best what's available relatively close to her home that would suit your interests, so I won't make suggestions there. And the nice thing about San Diego is that many of the best sites are all in one place: Balboa Park. However the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, also worth a visit, is on the coast.

    AZBuck

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

    Default

    Here's a whole thread about San Diego, along with some links to Stay-Cations we've taken around our home city area.


    Donna

  5. #5

    Default San Fran via Yosemite and Sequioa National Parks to Grand Canyon

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While it will certainly be cool (not to say cold!) in Yosemite in March, and CA-120 over Tioga Pass out of Yosemite to the east will certainly still be snowbound, the park's western (CA-120) and southern (CA-41) entrances will be open and almost all of the major viewing sites accessible. That makes early Spring a great time of year to see Yosemite. First of all, there will be very few tourists and you can experience the park and its wildlife in a quieter and more natural setting. Then there's the fact that even though it will be cooler, the snow pack will have started to melt and the waterfalls and streams will be flowing and spectacular. Finally, there is the off chance that you can experience something truly unique, Frazil Ice. I would plan at least two full day's (and some very warm outdoor clothing and footwear) to explore the park in some detail. Lodging n Mariposa would put you within an hour's drive of Yosemite Village and most of the other frequented sites in Yosemite. When my wife and I visited the park, we stayed about half an hour away, and found that to be quite manageable. You might want to look at El Portal, Fish Camp, and Buck Meadows and do a little comparison shopping to find the best value.

    Also, while there is a grove of giant redwoods in Yosemite, that will be closed at the time of your visit. Still, your time is so tight that the detour to Sequoia National Park can probably be dropped from your itinerary. I would say the same, reluctantly, about the Grand Canyon. Trying to include it on this trip would require a full day of driving plus whatever time you would like to spend there. Skipping it would leave you barely enough time to visit San Diego and then your daughter in Los Angeles (in that order). And family should come before even a sight as spectacular as the Grand Canyon.

    I'm sure that your daughter will know best what's available relatively close to her home that would suit your interests, so I won't make suggestions there. And the nice thing about San Diego is that many of the best sites are all in one place: Balboa Park. However the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, also worth a visit, is on the coast.

    AZBuck
    Thank you for your reply AZ, much appreciated. Great to know that Yosemite will be as wonderful as we expect it to be. Warm outdoor clothing is no problem and we expected that. Just to clarify, our daughter is doing an exchange year at the university of California and will be with us in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. We are just going to Long Beach to see where she is living and to visit the university. If we have to drop something it will be LA and if we have to, San Diego, but we are all into the great outdoors and really want to see your wonderful national parks. Thanks about suggestions on where to stay for Yosemite.

  6. #6

    Default Thanks Soutwest Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to RTA, you have a nice trip planned !

    Mariposa is quite a good option for staying outside of Yosemite although if your budget could manage it you can't beat staying in the park. On your second night you could stay a little further south, perhaps in Oakhurst before heading to Sequoia NP. From Oakhurst you could drive through the park and out of the south and stay in Three Rivers or Exeter. On route to Vegas you could drive across Death valley and go via Pahrump but that would depend on how much time you want to be on the road against how much time you want in Vegas. Going via Death valley would make it quite a full day on the road.

    From the Grand canyon to San Diego is going to be another full day on the road and if you spent a day there it's only going to leave you a couple of days to visit your daughter and explore LA beaches etc. It could be done but if you want to spend a bit of time in LA with your daughter I would consider if it's worth going to SD seeing as you won't have a lot of time.
    Thank you for really helpful tips re staying in Oakhurst and Three Rivers or Exeter, I will look into those. We've thought about Death Valley and haven't ruled it out but want to maximise time in the national parks. Commitments at work unfortunately only allow me to stay away for 14 days including flights hence the time constraints.

  7. #7

    Default Thank you Donna

    Thanks so much for the SD thread - Lots of information to help us decide what to do there.

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