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  1. Default road trip honeymoon

    Hi, me and my partner are from England and getting married in Las Vegas at the beginning of may next year, we are planning to spend 5 nights in Las Vegas and then hire a car and for our honeymoon drive up through Death Valley and Yosemite to Napa valley, then to San Francisco, down to Santa Barbara, LA, San Diego and back to LV. But we only have 7 days, so could you please advise,which would be the best route?, which of these places we could cut out or if there are any to add and how many miles are roughly between each stop?. Also could you advise of any places to stay along the way and the best places to eat as we are both big food lovers and this is an important part of our holiday. We are very grateful for any imput that can be given as we have never been to America, so we really are starting from scratch. Thanks Emma

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Choices Must Be Made

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Let me first, then, get the bad news out of the way. The route that links Las Vegas, Death Valley, and Yosemite involves crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains using Tioga Pass and CA-120. Unfortunately, this road cannot be kept open through the winter due to heavy snow and is not re-opened in the spring until well into May in a typical year. In fact the last time it was opened in Early May was 1987, when it opened on the 8th. So, I would highly recommend that you plan on skipping Death Valley and driving around the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas using I-15, CA-58, CA-99 and CA-41 to reach Yosemite. You can still experience the desert southwest on day trips from Las Vegas to local venues such as Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon. By the same token, trying to include Napa, San Francisco, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego in a 7 day loop is simply too much driving and not enough time seeing the places you're driving to. You will have to decide whether to explore northern California - Yosemite, Napa, and San Francisco OR southern California - Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. You cannot do justice to both in 7 days. Whichever part of California you choose, you will be able to see some beautiful coast and find plenty to do.


  3. Default Congratulations!

    I also have to agree with this -- given the time of year, and the amount of time, you may have to pick and chose....

    However, you've got a couple of really great opportunities for trips. And since its your honeymoon, it can be really romantic..

    let me offer a couple of suggestions, starting with cutting your Las Vegas stay to 4 nights, to get one more night travelling. And also to keep the driving to not a lot every day to give you some time to explore places and enjoy being together at a special time..

    Option 1 (8 days, ending back in Las Vegas)

    1- LV to Death Valley. Furnance Creek is very nice and the winter is the best time to stay there...
    2- DV to Yosemite. Longish day's drive, but doable around the southern Sierras in a day without much problem. I would be concerned about snow in the Sierras as you go back up into them from the Central Valley of California, but the roads are pretty good, so unless its actively snowing you shouldn't have any problems.
    3 - In Yosemite.
    4 - Yosemite to Napa Valley
    5 - Napa Valley
    6 - SF (about 2 hours drive from Napa, so you can spend the day here)
    7 - SF all day sightseeing
    8 - Longish day's drive back to Las Vegas.

    Option 2 -- a southerly option. Starts off the same.
    1- LV to Death Valley.
    2- DV to Yosemite.
    3 - In Yosemite.
    4 - Yosemite to Carmel.
    5 - Down coast highway through Big Sur to near San Luis Obispo (San Simeon?) Sightseeing at Hearst Castle and along the California Coast.
    6 - SLO to Santa Barbara -- wineries and sightseeing.
    7 - In Santa Barbara area -- day on the beach, etc.
    8 - Drive SB to Las Vegas. Longish day's drive, but very doable.

  4. Default re honeymoon

    Thanks sooo much for your help, yes thought it would be too much to do it all, especially as i dont drive so it would be all on my future hubby! So which do you reccommend option 1 or 2 which would be the more romantic? which would be the less driving and lastly which would have the more to do and see? cutting LV to 4 nights is definatly an option so thats fine. Also where are the best wineries? do they do tastings? n tours? and how much should we expect to budget for hotels?
    Thanks again for your knowledge and help, it is very much appreciated. Emma

  5. Default

    oh and could you please reccommend a good map/guide book for the area too thanks Emma

  6. Default Wineries and stuff

    Which one of these would be romantic? *Grins* I don't think I can call that, as that's up to you two. I'd say its a toss up and would depend upon what you both like. The first option has more time in SF, which can be a very romantic city, but has big city prices on the hotels usually. The other option is maybe a bit more laid back, and in somewhat smaller cities like Santa Barbarba.

    As for wineries, you can potentially go through 4 different wine areas, depending upon which option. The fanciest wine growing area in California is the Napa Valley, which is on Option 1. Lots of wineries, lots of tours, some very amazing architecture and good wines -- but the most developed, the most touristy, and some of the wineries ask for tasting fees or charge for the tours. The other three wine areas include the Monterey area (near Carmel), the Paso Robles area (just north of San Luis Obispo) and near San Ynez/ Solvang just north of Santa Barbara (this area was the setting for the movie "Sideways"). All of the wine areas have good wines, and you can literally spend several days just visiting wineries. Napa Valley has the most infrastructure including bed & breakfasts, good restaurants and organized wine tours. But places like Paso Robles have more than 100 wineries in the area, and while they aren't as developed for tourists, have plenty of wineries and good food to enjoy. The Internet can give you a good introduction to each area -- just about every winery has tours and tastings, although they may have limited hours during the winter. (If you call ahead, you can get into just about any one, I've found, with a few exceptions.)

    Your hotel budget will depend upon your tastes. If you want to stay in the honeymoon suite at the best hotel in San Francisco, that will be $$$$. If you are willing to stay in a smaller hotel/ motel a bit out of the way, you can stay for $80 or so for 2. If you want to stay on the beach, you'll pay a bit more than inland as well. I can't really give you a budget, since I think that's going to be so dependent upon how special you want to make some nights or days...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Guidebooks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstrin View Post
    oh and could you please reccommend a good map/guide book for the area too thanks Emma
    I just reviewed a superb one for Yosemite. "Yosemite: The Complete Guide." For the Big Sur and California Highway One, I have always preferred this one -- but every book listed on this page is personally recommended by the editorial crew here at RTA.


  8. Default

    Have taken into account your advise and after talking with my partner we have come up with this:-

    day1- LV to Yosemite,
    day 2- yosemite to Carmel, spending 2nghts here
    day 4- Carmel to San Luis Obispo, with visit to hearst castle and winery
    day 5- San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara, spending 2 nights here to relax n chill out on the beach.
    day 7- Santa Barbara to LV

    or do you think we are best cutting out yosemite and going somewhere else first before Carmel? any ideas? do you think 2 nights is too long in Carmel?
    Last edited by Sandstrin; 09-12-2007 at 04:13 AM. Reason: needed to add more questions

  9. Default finishing touches to road trip

    We are just putting the finishing touches on our road after you have given us some great advise. Could you please help with a few queries. Firstly this is what we have planned.

    Sat 3rd May- drive from LV, stopping at Death valley for few photos. Stop somewhere halfway between LV and San Francisco.
    Sun 4th- carry on from stop off to San Francisco stay 2 nights here.
    Tues 6th- From San Fran down to Carmel staying a night here
    Wed 7th - Carmel to San Luis Obispo, staying a night here
    Thurs 8th - San Luis Obispo via Hearst castle, n big sur to Santa Barbara,staying a night here.
    Fri 9th - Santa Barbara back to LV

    So what do you think? my queries are;

    1 - where to stop over at from LV to San Fran? wont be going up to Yosemite with it being early may. Are there any good sights to see from DV to SF that are not too out of the way?

    2 - how long from Santa Barbara to LV? would we need to stop over somewhere on way back? can you reccomend somewhere? or should we just stay our last night in LV? are there any sights to see from Santa Barbara to LV that are not too far off track?

    Thank you for your help

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Firming Up Nicely

    1) Since you are looking for 'romantic', I'd suggest a Lodge or Bed & Breakfast somewhere around Isabella Lake. This is closer to Las Vegas than San Francisco, so would let you spend some time in Death Valley while still setting you up for a very easy drive into San Francisco the next day. One possible detour for that second day's drive is to use I-5 up through the San Joaquin valley and then head west on CA-198 through Coalinga and then north on CA-25 to Pinnacles National Monument. I've only been to the west side of this park (There is no road between its two halves.) but it could be a great place for a romantic hike in some other-worldly terrain.

    2) Santa Barbara to Las Vegas is 'only' 360 miles, but a good chunk of that is on the freeways that skirt the northern fringes of Los Angeles. So I'd plan on this drive taking all day. If you are planning to catch a flight home the next day, I'd just grit my teeth and make it all the way. Once you clear L.A. the drive becomes rather scenic and relaxing.

    One other note. Big Sur is the stretch of coast just south of Carmel, and Hearst Castle is in San Simeon, between Carmel and San Louis Obispo. So you should plan on seeing them on Wednesday the 7th rather than Thursday the 8th.


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