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  1. Default West Coast road trip help

    We are taking a 8 day trip to the west coast in January and just beginning the planning now. The only have to is 3 nights in San Diego. The most reasonable air fares are either RT to San Diego or Vegas. We would LOVE to travel the california coast for some bit and am just trying to figure out the best way to do this. We tried pricing flying into San Franscico and out of San Diego but the cost is just not cutting it.

    I would love to hear what you folks think is the best route and city for flying. We love to hike and aside from San Diego we have nothing else we have to see or do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you fly in and out of SD, 5 days is enough for a "loop trip", 3 days up the coast to SF, then 2 days back via a different route.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tough Choices

    Any vacation or RoadTrip is a continuous set of choices, mainly of the type: can afford to do such-and-such? Do I have the money? Do I have the time? What is the experience worth? We can't answer those questions for you, but I will say this. San Diego is not where I would be going if I wanted to see pristine beach. The only open, uncrowded beach between the Mexican border and Santa Barbara is within the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and not available. So you're looking at having to drive nearly 200 miles through some of the most congested traffic in the country to get to the first meaningful stretch of undeveloped and uncrowded beach. If the Big Sur coast is the main objective of this trip, then San Francisco, or even Monterey would be a better choice in terms of time, but only you can make the choice of how much you'd have to save to make the 5+ hour drive to the beach worth it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Other airport options...

    You may want to try pricing alternate airports. Oakland for instance sometimes has cheaper fares than San Francisco, and is actually CLOSER to downtown SF than SFO is.

    In the Bay Area your options are SFO, OAK, and SJC (San Jose). If you want to really push things, Sacramento (SMF) is an option, about a 90 minute drive from downtown SF.

    San Diego only has the one (that I'm aware of).

    In LA there's LAX, Burbank (BUR), Ontario (kind of out in the sticks: ONT), and John Wayne in Orange County (SNA, fomerly known as "Santa Ana").

    Fares depend a lot on what the competition is, so depending on where you're flying to/from OAK could be cheaper than SFO (or not).

    I wouldn't give up on the open-jaw option until I had tried some alternatives.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default SD for the coast.

    Well as you say that SD is a "have to" destination, you would like to see the coast with 5 days to spare and SD fits your budget, that seems to be the answer.
    If SF or surrounding airports don't match your budget then explore the coast one way and use mainly I-5 in a " sprint" the other. If you took Interstate to SF you would have the coastal views on the way back down on your side of the highway, and it might be more relaxed as regards to keeping an eye on the time line. Keep in mind that using two airports will most likely result in a one way drop off charge on your car rental.
    You mention hiking and if 3 days in SD fulfilled your coastal ambitions then Vegas would make a good "gateway" to the Grand canyon.

  6. Default

    visiting my friend in san diego is the entire reason for the trip so that is why that is a must do. As far as visiting the coast or hiking, nothing is set in stone and we are really open to seeing and doing just about anything, except spending time in LA, neither of us has any interest in LA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The coast probably makes more sense than the Grand Canyon in January - but even the coast would be subject to rain, clouds, and fog. It's definitely off season, you wouldn't be fighting the crowds.

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