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  1. Default August trip starting at San Francisco, then...

    Hi Guys

    I have used this forum twice before to help me plan 2 amazing roadtrips. One around Arizona and Utah, visiting the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Arches, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, to name just a few places :) Then 2 years ago, travelled around Colorado in an anti clockwise direction starting and finishing in Denver, which was also soon amazing. On both trips trekking where we could and staying in Motels that were available along the way.

    We have now decided (at short notice) that this year, in August, we would like to go to the West side, flying in to San Francisco (or Los Angeles) but visiting Yosemite and hopefully going to Yellowstone Park. I am not sure where else will be feasible to do? We have 2 weeks to travel and wanting to visit places to trek, see beautiful sights. I know from past experience that where I may like to plan and what is achievable is often very different, hence a little advice from you guys on the forum (past advice has been invaluable).

    Any advice of great places to visit would be much appreciated, again staying at motels that have some space along the way (this allows us to be flexible too)

    As we haven't booked flights yet, the destination can be quite flexible, as long we can get back to the UK from a nearby city

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default You have so many options.

    Hello and welcome back, that's another lovely trip to look forward to !

    Creating a loop trip has it's advantages as you often find better airfares and you don't have the one way drop off fees on the car rental. San Francisco or Vegas could be your best bets. Whereas a couple of weeks is nice the time soon disappears and you would want to spend at least a couple of days in Yosemite and 3 or 4 in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and you could have 5 days of driving a loop, leaving you 4 days to break up those journeys. From Yosemite it would be a couple of days drive to to Yellowstone, you could exit the park over Tioga Pass [CA120] and head through Elko, Twin Falls to Jackson and into Yellowstone via the Tetons. From Yellowstone you could head west towards the coast with visits to Craters of the Moon and Crater Lake on route. You could then check out the coast and Redwoods before driving over the Golden Gate into SF.

    This is just one possibility of thousands so it's a case of doing a little research and finding a few places that appeal and then we can help you join the dots. If you want to cut down on the miles you could always consider flying out from Salt Lake City but check out the costs.

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

    Default More Options to Keep Open

    Besides Las Vegas and San Francisco, keep an eye on Salt Lake City and Denver as well. Salt Lake City would actually result in the fewest total miles for a loop that included both Yellowstone and Yosemite. A quick survey of flights in August yielded round-trip airfares of roughly £1,000 for most of these cities, but also fares as low as ~£750 for mid-week mid-month trips. Prices really start to drop off at the end of the month. Most travel search engines will allow you to set 'alerts' that will notify you if a particular fare drops, I'd go ahead and set a number of those. And don't forget to check some of the low-cost airlines that don't share their pricing info with search engines, such as Norwegian Air, WOW, Icelandair - even Ryanair is considering transatlantic flights.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Finally got around to booking my flights... a bit of ad hoc planning going on now (aka panic planning hahaha)

    I am flying into to San Francisco and plan to stay near the airport for the first night and start afresh the next morning. Thanks to Southwest Dave and AZBuck for some ideas. We will not be trying to fit in a visit to LA on this trip, it seems like a lot of days to get there and back as we would prefer to get some tracking in and see the natural beauty of the area.
    The general plan, for now at least, is to visit Yosemite for a couple of days then make our way up to Yellowstone park, stopping off along the way.
    One of my questions, if someone doesn't mind giving me a bit of advice, I was thinking if it is worth, on the return journey, flying from Salt Lake City (leaving the car there) to SFO and spending the last couple of days in SF to enjoy the sights? My thinking was that it may save a couple of days of driving back... or would it not be worth the effort, waiting in the airports etc??
    Thanks in advance

    *edit* Also wondered, we have travelled in america 2 times now, both in August, besides a handful of nights, we have always managed to get a motel on the day and at a fairly reasonable cost - is this the same on the Southwest? - thanks again
    Last edited by tracymg; 07-22-2016 at 01:58 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default I would drive everytime.

    Personally I would drive the loop back to SF, you could perhaps break the journey with a night around Lake Tahoe. You could possibly take a quick detour and visit the Salt Flats. It's a comfortable 13 hour drive so split over 2 days would give you time to enjoy a bit more of the country. The flight might only be a couple of hours but with check in and getting out the other end with your baggage etc it's going to eat up a big part of the day anyway and then you will have the expense of a one way drop off fee on your rental and flight costs to consider.

    You could already struggle to find reasonable lodgings near Yosemite and Yellowstone so I would look into it right away. Once they start to sell out only the most expensive options are left. Yellowstone has a free cancellation policy so it's worth checking their site as often as possible and if you see something grab it and then check again.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Personally I would drive the loop back to SF, you could perhaps break the journey with a night around Lake Tahoe. You could possibly take a quick detour and visit the Salt Flats. It's a comfortable 13 hour drive so split over 2 days would give you time to enjoy a bit more of the country. The flight might only be a couple of hours but with check in and getting out the other end with your baggage etc it's going to eat up a big part of the day anyway and then you will have the expense of a one way drop off fee on your rental and flight costs to consider.

    You could already struggle to find reasonable lodgings near Yosemite and Yellowstone so I would look into it right away. Once they start to sell out only the most expensive options are left. Yellowstone has a free cancellation policy so it's worth checking their site as often as possible and if you see something grab it and then check again.
    Thanks for that great advice Dave, I think I will re-look at the maps and pick out a good route so I am not re tracing my route on the way up.

    As for accommodation, I am quickly finding out that places are filling up and remaining choices are quite pricey. There is always the option of camping I suppose, I would guess that the facilities are pretty good - wouldn't normally be my first choice you understand :) but they seem more readily available. I assume all the in between places would be easier to get on the day

  7. Default

    Just wondered if anyone had any advise of the best area to stay in for 2/3 nights in San Fransisco, as there seems to be lots of areas to visit. I assume that everywhere is easily accessible by either public transport of car (as we will still have our car from the trip). We will be staying here at the end of our trip for a nice finish.

    Also, can anyone recommend camping areas in Yosemite and Yellowstone Parks (or indeed recommend camping fullstop), it seems like it is becoming a more viable option for both. We have plenty of luggage allowance to take our own tent and sleeping bags with us, so that is not a problem.

    Many thanks in advance... again :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Any campsite available in the parks.

    One of the 3 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite are great and located in the valley, but with both parks you will be lucky to find available camping sites that you can book in advance, so if you see one I would grab it !

    San Francisco isn't car friendly and parking can be difficult and expensive, even paying for it at your hotel. If you want to visit outside of the city [ Drive over the Golden Gate bridge for example] then it would be best to plan that early while you have the car and then turn it in. One place we stayed at many years ago was the Buena Vista Motor Inn on Lombard/Gough and there were a few other good value options. At the time it included parking and it wasn't fat to walk to Fisherman's Wharf and the Trams into the city.

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