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  1. Default SF to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Bakersfield, Monterey, SF

    Hi there,
    My husband and I are planing a road trip. We are flying into San Francisco on the 1rst of September and leave from there on the 23rd. Our plan so far is:
    SF - 3 days
    Lake Tahoe - 2 days (should we really go up there?)
    Yosemite - 4 days
    Death Valley - 2 days
    Las Vegas - 3 days
    Bakersfield 1night
    and then up the coast to SF. (where should we stay??? which cities are nice?)

    We like:
    - we are looking for great hikes along this road
    - we are not so much into museums
    - love to brunch ;-)

    My questions:
    - What do you think about this itinery?
    - suggestions for the drive / highways?
    - is Lake Tahoe worth it? or should we spend more time in Yosemite?
    - any tips for place we should see?
    - are there maybe other national parks we should visit along this road?
    - lodging tips? we realised, that this is quite an expensive area. where can we camp or sleep in our car?
    - we do want to have three days spend in a lovely hotel and get pampered. guess thats best done along the coast, right? (it will be our honeymoon...) Do you have any tips?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Grand canyon National park.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You could consider reversing your trip order so you have the ocean on your side of the road heading south. Monterey and Cambria areas are popular choices for an overnight stop and using both would give you a nice amount of time to explore along the coast. Personally I would prioritise a trip to the GC before considering Lake Tahoe but that's not to say the lake isn't worth a visit. If you head down the coast first you could then cut inland towards the GC and then back to Vegas, Death valley and Yosemite. Note that if you had thought of doing a tour to GC from Vegas, they don't generally take you to the National park area. Instead they go to the west rim on Indian lands which are nowhere near as spectacular.

    We don't recommend car camping as it's not really suited to getting a good nights sleep, at the very least you should consider buying basic equipment for camping. An alternative would be a converted van rental which you can check out at escape campervans although that might not be a great saving if you are able to use your own vehicle and not renting.

  3. Default

    Thank you for your answer Dave.
    We have already been to GC and other sides / parks below Las Vegas. Thats why we decided to see the "upper" part.
    So, I understood you correct, that if we take the coast road back up to SF we do not really get to experience the beauty of the coastal drive?

    Any suggestions for low budget lodging alont the way?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The easier way.

    The main reason we usually recommend travelling southbound along the Pacific Coast Highway is because there are view points and other pull offs on the ocean side of the road. Travelling south to north, each of those scenic attractions would mean having to cross over oncoming traffic to get into and out of. Of course it also means that shoiuld you be fortunate enough to see a whale breach you will not have a truck obscuring your view.'

    For budget lodging you should check the hotel/motel coupon books found at many visitor centres and rest areas. However, you are planning to travel to and through a very popular tourist area, and may have to expect prices to reflect this.


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

    Default Advanced bookings.

    No, you will still enjoy the scenic beauty, there are a couple of advantages to travelling south as explained above. You could also look at areas north of San Fran, Napa valley, Muir woods, Point Reyes and Goden gate Nat rec area for example and then a drive across the GG bridge.[Toll fee for this]

    When I am travelling in popular areas and limited by time I like to book on-line in advance which can offer some great deals. You can search rates using the RTA hotels link to the top right of this page, it will give you a good idea of what you can get for your money. You might want to 'wing it' but places like Yosemite book up real early. If you want to stay in the park check out the nps website.

    While in San Fran I would recommend a trip to Alcatraz which you have probably considered anyway. I would book your boat tickets in advance and do so using the National parks website, which is the only official ticket office, the link is here.

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