Hi everybody. My wife and I are planning a road trip between May 22 Friday - May 30th Saturday mainly between LA and SF. Our return flight is on 630am on 30th from LAX. So it looks like we'll have several road options, of course it all depends on your valuable input.
I've only been to CA once which was 15 years ago. At that time I spent couple of months mainly in SF and Berkeley and only visited Yosemite and Palo Alto. Then I moved to US from Europe 8 years ago but never had any chance to road trip California. So although I still remember where to go in Bay Area, I need your advice on what to do, where to eat, which roads to take from LA tp SF.
Referring to threads on the same route, I'm taking LA-SF instead of SF-LA because our schedule will depend on Lakers Western Conference Finals schedule which I probably won't know until mid May. Seeing Lakers at Staples is a priority in this trip (that way I'll erase an item on my bucket list).
We only have 8 nights. Based on other threads it looks like we'll take Highway 1 and make spontaneous stops for sighseeing lodging etc..We'll probably book hotels (max $100/night) 1-2 days in advance or maybe not. That part is easy as long as we know which places we want to visit.
We don't want to spend more than 2 nights in LA. Though I'm a big movie buff, I'm not interested in Hollywood tours etc. We'll probably spend 6-7 hrs shopping to entertain my wife (premium outlets looks like a must). Other than that, we just want to hit the road. Driving south to San Diego is an option, that way we can drive back to LA to watch Lakers before driving towards SF. But I don't know if it makes sense. I need your input whether it's worth it.
Other main questions are:
1-Dining: We'd mainly like to spend minimum for breakfast and lunch to dine at decent places and check out the night scenes on wherever we stay.Also, if you know small but authentic restaurants on Highway 1, that would be great. (I mean places like Czech Stop driving from Austin to Dallas)
2-Which cities close to Highway 1 should we consider? I've heard about San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Monterey. I haven't done too much research so far about the mapping. So does it make sense if we stay 1 night in each. All I know is we want to stay in SF 2 nights before
a- leaving the rental to the airport on Friday night and fly back to LAX.
or b- taking 101 to drive back to LA (if there are other things to see on that road that we'll miss on our way to SF)
3-I know there are tons of state parks but we may not have too much time for trekking. But we would like to spontaneously visit 1-2 for couple of hours. So which ones on the way serve that purpose?
4-I love amusement parks and been to Six Flags, DisneyWorld, Universal, SeaWorld etc a lot of times but I'm not sure if I want to spend 1 day in Disney in this trip unless it's really different from DisneyWorld. So you tell me if it's a must. I'm not craving at this point due to time constraint.
5-If we add Lake Tahoe for 1 night, is it doable or too ambitious? I know we won't add Vegas because we've been there before.
Other questions will follow...
Thanks so much in advance.