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  1. Default California honeymoon, SF to LA to SD to LV to SF, help appreciated!

    Hi everyone! First of all thanks for all of the great tips we have read on the site so far, we've learned a lot from your posts which has helped us a great deal in planning our honeymoon.

    We'll be coming from the UK early June 2011! It's the first time we'll be undertaking this type of road trip so wanted to ask some specific questions about our route.

    Here is our plan so far:

    Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco in the afternoon
    Day 2: San Francisco
    Day 3: San Francisco
    Day 4: San Francisco
    Day 5: Leave San Francisco am, drive to Santa Cruz, then on to Monterey
    Day 6: Visit Carmel until early afternoon before continuing down the coast and stopping for the night at _____
    Day 7: Continue drive down the coast, finishing in San Luis Opisbo
    Day 8: Hearst Castle tour, then drive to Santa Barbara
    Day 9: Los Angeles sights am, evening drive to Anaheim
    Day 10: Disney
    Day 11: Disney and Universal Studios, nighttime drive to San Diego
    Day 12: San Diego
    Day 13: San Diego
    Day 14: San Diego
    Day 15: Leave San Diego AM on route to Vegas, stopping for the night on the way
    Day 16: Complete drive to Vegas, afternoon and evening in Vegas
    Day 17: Helicopter to Grand Canyon, evening in Vegas
    Day 18: Early start drive to Death Valley, quick stop there, on to Sequoia for the night
    Day 19: Explore Sequoia until early afternoon, drive the rest of the day to Napa
    Day 20: Napa wine stuff
    Day 21: Drive to San Francisco, drop off car.
    Day 22: Early start, fly to Caribbean!

    I hope that we're not trying to squeeze too much in, if we are I think it might be between the LV and Napa stages. But our flights are booked now so we're going to try and rework it if needed.

    So here are the questions we have right now.

    We don't know a great deal about Santa Cruz other than it's a good stop for surfing. We wont be surfing so wanted to ask if anyone had recommendations for anywhere else that might be more worth seeing or anything that might be worth doing on route to Montery?

    On day 6 we'll be driving down the coast from Carmel, are there any recommendations for a great place to stop over on night 6? Preferably somewhere roughly half way between Carmel and San Luis Opisbo?

    We're going to be doing much more research on this part of the trip, but are there any must see's or must do's on the coast between Carmel and San Luis Opisbo?

    After a Hearst Castle tour on day 8 we're planning on driving to Santa Barbara for dinner and to check into a hotel for the night. Is Santa Barbara the best stop for a night on route to LA from Hearst Castle?

    Again we're still researching this stage, but are there any particular recommendations for the most scenic route from San Diego to Las Vegas? We're planning on stopping for a night on the way to LV, is there somewhere that might be particularly interesting to stop for the night on route? Although if our LV to Napa driving days look too ambitious we may drive SD to LV with no stopover.

    Final question! We were planning on hiring our car from SF airport, but as we aren't planning on using the car during out 4 days in SF we thought it would be best to hire the car when we leave SF? Are there any car rental companies in SF that come highly recommended for road trippers? We're looking for a Jeep or 4x4 of some sort.

    Thanks again for all of the great information so far. Any help you can offer regarding our plans would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance, L&H.

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

    Default this and that

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a couple days where you could do a lot more, and a few days where what you want to do is just too much.

    Day 11, seeing Disney, Universal, and driving to San Diego would be a pretty impossible day. Even trying to do two of those things would be brutal.

    Day 18, There is no road to drive between Death Valley and Sequoia, without going south around the Sierra Nevada mountains. That means you just can't see both places in one day.

    Also since this is June, there is a chance that Tioga Pass will be open. If it is, then you might consider doing Death Valley and then going to Yosemite. You can see large Sequoia trees at the Mariposa Grove inside Yosemite. Its not the same experience as going to Sequoia NP, but Yosemite is a fantastic place, and it is a much more efficient use of time.

    You should also know that Helicopter tours from Vegas generally only go to the "west rim" and not the Grand Canyon National Park. If you only had time to do a Helicopter tour, that would be ok, but I think you're missing out by not actually going to the National Park.

    SD to Vegas could easily be done in a half day, and I think you could shave a day along the coast, by eliminating the stop you hadn't yet figured out. If I were you, I'd use that time to make the drive out to the Grand Canyon.

    Most of the major car rental agencies will have offices in San Francisco, or in the worst case, you could just travel back out to the airport to pick up your car. I will note there is no place on your trip where 4 wheel drive will be needed, and you'll usually pay a significant premium for renting one. I'll also tell you that I don't know of anyone who rents Jeeps in the US, but even if you could I rented a Jeep on a trip in Mexico, and it was a little problematic because there is no place in the car to safely store your luggage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Day 6: Visit Carmel until early afternoon before continuing down the coast and stopping for the night at _____
    Day 7: Continue drive down the coast, finishing in San Luis Opisbo
    Day 8: Hearst Castle tour, then drive to Santa Barbara
    That's somewhat out of sequence. Hearst Castle is just past halfway between Carmel and SLO.

    Between Carmel and SLO, places to stay would be in San Simeon (that's where Hearst Castle is), Cambria, Cayucos, and Morro Bay.

    You can probably free up a day here fairly easily. It's less than an hour from San Simeon to SLO and less than 2 hours from SLO to Santa Barbara. Drive from Carmel to San Simeon, then take the tour the next morning and press on to Santa Barbara. You will have time to take your time on that stretch. Just prebook your tour.

  4. Default

    Thank you both very much for taking the time to reply! We really appreciate your advice.

    We'll definitely be amending the route with these tips in mind. It looks like San Simeon will be our stop before the Hearst Castle visit, and we are going to try to shorten our journey getting to Las Vegas so that we have more time for the Grand Canyon and Yosemite via Death Valley. We'll definitely research the Tioga Pass, hopefully that will be open.

    If anyone has any other particular tips for this route we'd really appreciate the input!

    Thanks again, L&H

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