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Thread: 4th July plans

  1. Default 4th July plans


    We are starting a road trip in SFO on the holiday weekend, and the closer I come to it, the more I realise we have no idea what to expect.

    Arriving from Scandinavia on the 1st July, I have only made plans for a few dates so far.

    1st - Arrive SFO evening
    2nd - Alcatraz, sightseeing SFO
    3rd - Pick up car from airport, and plan to see Muir Woods, Golden Gate and maybe a little further north. Hotel in SFO
    4th ????
    5th - Hotel near South lake Tahoe booked.

    We are flying back on the 23rd from SFO, and plan to head as far as the Grand Canyon, before heading back towards San Diego and up highway 1.

    But my main question is about the 4th July holiday.
    We have 2 small kids (11 and 8), and from what I expect, will be still pretty early to bed by the 4th (10 hour time difference for us)
    We have the hotel in SFO booked until the 5th, but is there a better option than staying in the city for a family with small children (who are not so good at standing in crowds for long periods).

    Should we maybe look at moving out towards Yosemite there, or a smaller town to get some local atmosphere?

    Any input more than welcome..


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Let me start by saying things will be a lot easier if you sketch out the rest of your plan - so you can work on your entire trip, and not just have lots of pieces that have to be put together.

    SF is a city where parking is expensive and you can get around pretty easily without a car, so I would completely skip the idea of getting a car until you are ready to leave the city for good.

    That means if you want to pick up the car on the 3rd, and head across the Golden Gate to points north, then look for a hotel north of the city to spend that night, and then continue on to somewhere else on the 4th - which could be Yosemite.

    However, having said that, I'd really look at completely reversing your trip, so you head down the coast first - that will keep the ocean and the scenic pullouts on your side of the road. That means, after picking up your car, perhaps instead head towards Monterey and plan to spend the 4th somewhere along the coast. Obviously, this would mean changing your hotel reservations, but even with the holiday, that shouldn't be much of a problem this early in the game.

  3. Default

    Get your Alcatraz tickets well ahead of time! They are often sold out.

  4. #4


    The 4th of July is a huge USA holiday celebrating our independence from England. In cities and towns across the USA you can expect fireworks celebrations. Being on Monday creates a big 3-day weekend -- many families will take off the entire week so making some reservations in advance would be very important.

    The suggestion to start your journey southward from SFO makes a lot of sense as all the pull-outs for scene viewing are on the right side of the highway. The Big Sur stretch of highway is beautiful but can be slow going. Think of an extra early start from Monterey, CA, maybe around dawn and take some breakfast food with you for a stop while in Big Sur. The Aquarium in Monterey should be a big hit for adults and children.

    South of Big Sur you can find lodgings in Cambria and Morro Bay.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the tips..
    I think the option to reverse the trip sounds good. I will look at changing a few bits, and working from there..

    Monterey actually looks like a better option for spending the 4th. Maybe a little less crowded than San Francisco for the kids?

    Other than that, my plan so far looks like

    1st - 3rd San Francisco (I booked Alcatraz tickets the other day - Thanks for the tip there)
    4th - Drive to Monterey, and spend the 4th there
    5th - South to Big Sur and towards LA

    From there, I will plot out regular stops, but the route should go through LA, (couple of days at Disneyland).
    Then east towards Sedona, Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas, Yosemite, and SFO. I guess this is the "Grand Circle".

    Thanks for the tips.. I'm sure I'll be back with a lot more questions!!

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

    Default The Grand circle.

    Then east towards Sedona, Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas, Yosemite, and SFO. I guess this is the "Grand Circle".
    The 'Grand circle' as it is often referred to, is actually a loop from Vegas through Southern Utah, Monument valley and Grand canyon and back to Vegas. The smaller loop includes Zion and Bryce canyon with the option of attractions near Page AZ such as Antelope canyon and Horseshoe bend. The bigger loop can extend out to Arches and Canyonlands also.

    Depending on how you spend your time you would have the option of heading north through Page from GC to Bryce and then to Zion and south back to LV on I-15. I would highly recommend it if you can spare a few extra days on this part of your trip, perhaps 1 night at Bryce and 2 at Zion. Whether you do or not, you could still visit Monument valley.

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