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  1. #1

    Default reno to LA via yosemite and coast

    We are a family of 5, kids are 11, 8, and 6 and are flying in from Florida for 2 weeks at the end of June/beginning July this summer. Our only definites are Yosemite (staying 4 nights in Wawona in western part yosemite) and we would like to spend time in monterey/big sur and drive the coast down to about LA.
    We have no desire at all for the cities, so we will not plan to spend time in reno, san francisco or LA so any advice you have just plan on skipping those unless there is something you feel we must do there (we are open to fun).
    We also want to limit driving time (we don't enjoy a lot of hours in the car), we would like to see and do a lot, which is why we are not planning a loop, figured we could enjoy time in the pretty locations more without backtracking to airport, so the reno to LA seemed reasonable. I have not booked the flight our other consideration is fly into LV to yosemite and then down the coast. Both of these flight plans are reasonable cost for us. We have also considered fly into SFO but it makes for a weird trek to yosemite (4 days after the flight in) then back over to the coast and down. But it's still an option if you point me in that direction.

    1. Plan is currently, we fly in to reno on 6/24 and we have 4 nights before we check into our rental in yosemite. What to do for 4 nights in between? Where to stay and what to see? we are open to lake tahoe stop but we have been there for skiing before prior to kids (that was winter this is summer, is there fun for kids?)
    2. Why do so many have plan to drive UP the coast on hwy 1 instead of down (i.e. LA to SFO) , am I missing something or doing it right?
    3. After leaving yosemite we will have ~5 nights left. We definitely would like to head straight to santa cruz or monterey and stay there for a couple nights before driving down. Where else to stop and stay? What must we see in between? Fun for kids also is key.
    4. we don't have plans for camping and the only booking we have made is the yosemite one. we planned to pick up hotels along the way wherever we feel like stopping. If we have too much itinerary we don't have as much fun. Is this ok this time of year?

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

    Default Closed Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by Lfamilytrippers View Post
    2. Why do so many have plan to drive UP the coast on hwy 1 instead of down (i.e. LA to SFO) , am I missing something or doing it right?
    I'm not sure who you're referring to when you talk about "so many" here, but the general recommendation on RTA is actually to go south, so the ocean and the pulloffs are on your side of the road. It's great either direction, but if all other things are equal, we recommend driving south.

    Having said that, the Coast is a major problem this year. There is a Bridge Out at Big Sur that is making it impossible to drive south from there. It won't be rebuilt until at least September 2017, so to get from Big Sur south, you have to drive all the way back north to Monterey and take US-101 all the way down to the Cambria area.

    You said you haven't booked flights, so have you looked at what car rental costs will be flying into Reno and out of LAX? One way car rental costs can be extremely expensive - especially when you're dealing with a relatively small airport like Reno. The one-way fees tend to be less and sometimes waived between LA/Vegas/SFO, so I'd check into that before deciding on your flights.

    Noting the issues with the Coast, it might make sense to start your trip by flying into SFO, and spend those first few days in the Monterey/Big Sur area, then head over to Yosemite. After that, you could head over the Sierras and check out Death Valley and end in Vegas or LA, or head south to Sequoia National Park, maybe even heading back to the coast from there, before ending in LA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Hotel rooms for five.

    Leaving booking hotels until you get there, for a family of five is not as easy as you may think. The majority of hotel rooms have an occupancy limit of four. As well, be aware that your two weeks includes the 4th of July holiday period, when hotel rooms are generally at a premium, both in price and avalability.

    My daughter recently travelled as a family of five and prebooked all her accommodation, but had great difficulty finding rooms in some of the popular tourism areas. There is a special website for booking rooms for five or more.


  4. #4


    Thank you both, that is incredibly helpful information, I had not heard about the bridge there being out, but certainly would make our plans change.
    And I had not considered rental car costs from a smaller airport. It appears our best option then would be to fly into SFO even though its more expensive, and use up the first few days in the monterey and big sur area like you say, and then over to yosemite.
    What do you think is better to see for us, Death Valley or Sequoia? I think we would prefer heading back to the coast after that rather than vegas.
    Also good point on the 4th of July week. I am so glad I posted these questions :)
    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Why not go down the coast to Big Sur, then go back to Monterey and over to Sequoia via 101 and 198, then to Yosemite, go over Tioga Pass, then go through Death Valley and end your trip in Las Vegas just to drop off the car and drive home? Death Valley is going to be VERY hot, so you don't need to spend a lot of time there, just sightsee out the car windows.

  6. #6


    We decided to fly in to SFO, then down to monterey and then out to yosemite. From yosemite we will head to sierra national park on the way back to the coast. We will take our time driving down and leave out of LA. This way we can see the coast and yosemite and limit the time in the car as much as possible, and still take our time to enjoy it all. Any thoughts on where to stop along the way on the trip from yosemite back to coast or along the coast...especially any great place to be for 4th of July?
    Thank you all for your input, so helpful! We were able to get a pretty good deal on tickets to SFO so it worked out.

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