California Road Trip
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 24, 2012 7:04 PM Last Post By: velvet_jones
Aug 24, 2012 7:34 AM
California Road TripHi All,
I would really appreciate your help in designing a Californian Road Trip.
I am flying to San Francisco on Monday 27th and leaving LA on Thursday September 13th - this gives me 16 and a half days.
I was hoping to drive the PCH to LA, perhaps departing at Santa Barbara to head towards Las Vegas for a couple of nights to see friends. I would also really appreciate help in doing The Grand Canyon well and not just skimming over it. I would them aim to drive back to LA for a few nights with my cousin before flying home again.
In addition, I was hoping to see a bit more of California as opposed to just the coast I.e. the wine regions and national parks.
Any help would be massively appreciated.
Aug 24, 2012 8:12 AM
1First things first:
Monday, September 3 is Labor Day. That weekend (Fri-Mon) is the unofficial end of the summer travel season. Places, especially parks, get much busier.
Mon, 27 - Arrive xSF
Tue, 28 - xSF
Wed, 29 - xSF
Thu, 30 - xSF
Fri, 31 - xMonterey
Sat, 1 - Day trip to xBig Sur
Sun, 2 - Drive to xYosemite (surprisingly, there is still lodging available, but book NOW)
Mon, 3 - xYosemite
Tue, 4 - xYosemite
Wed, 5 - Drive to and through xDeath Valley to xVegas
Thu, 6 - xVegas
Fri, 7 - Drive to xGrand Canyon
Sat, 8 - Drive back to xVegas
Sun, 9 - Drive to xLA
Mon, 10 - xLA
Tue, 11 - xLA
Wed, 12 - Day trip to xSanta Barbara
Thu, 13 - xLA, leave
Aug 24, 2012 9:07 AM
2Bzookaj, why backtrack to Las Vegas on Saturday the 8th? Saturday is the most expensive night in Las Vegas on the whole. Just stay on I-40 and go directly to Los Angeles.
OP, if you want to see more of the interior of California, you are going to have to give up extended satys in Los Angeles and/or San Francisco. Otherwise, extend the length of youir trip.
Aug 24, 2012 9:40 AM
3Thank you to both of you for your advice, it is much appreciated.
Would it be possible to drive out to the wine region on Thursday and miss a day in SF and then either drive back or stay up there?
Also, is Yosemite the one to do or are there other National Parks I can visit. If it is to be Yosemite, where would you suggest I stay? I am on a fairly tight budget and the places seem quite expensive up there. Is camping possible around California and if so, should I be brining my tent?
Could you maybe indicate the time for journeys in the car so I can gauge the distance a little more? I was thinking I could maybe go to Napa/Sonoma and on to Yosemite and then back to the coast road, down to Santa Barbara and then over to Vegas and the GC -is this an illogical way compared to Bzookaj's suggested plan? On the Grand Canyon, where is good to stay and what is good to do there? Given my budget, I was hoping to just get involved and explore it as opposed to the helicopter ride that people seem to do!
Finally, any good car hire places would be massively appreciated. I have been advised car3000 by a friend and it seems reasonable.
Many thanks for all of your help, it is hugely appreciated.
Aug 24, 2012 10:04 AM
You will pass through a number of these wine regions on your way down the coast. You can stay an extra day in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara just to tour wineries in those ares if you want, or just take the time to detour on your way south.
Aug 24, 2012 10:13 AM
5First, read the instructions at the top of this branch. Things like time for a route can be found using sites like Mapquest. Of course camping is possible in many places. There is a place called google. Try it. Scads of national parks. Look at a map. Everyone has a web site that lists features and lets you make reservations for camping if needed. Not just parks. National forests and national monuments. I live 20 miles from Yosemite. Surrounded by the Stanislaus National Forest. Fraction of the crowds of Yosemite. Camping available. White water rafting. We are also in the midst of the Mother Lode. That is the Californial Gold Rush area. I still get my water from sluices built by the gold miners. Drive along Hwy 49 and visit towns from that era. Grand Canyon has a web site that lists campgrounds and the reservation system. Only 1% of visitors at most take the helicopter flight. The site lists trails into the canyon.
Aug 24, 2012 11:00 AM
Let us not be greedy. You have given yourself three whole days to plan a complex trip. Bzookaj's itinerary takes you to three of our crown jewel national parks. You sound as if you come from a part of the "English speaking world" that speaks English with an accent. Are there any major tourist attractions where you live that get CHEAPER during their high season? You need reservations NOW! You may camp in commercial campgrounds and at campgrounds at state and national parks along your route. Google can find those for you. I would recommend buying a cheap tent at someplace like Wal-Mart once you are here. It may actually be cheaper. You can donate it to Goodwill when you leave. Maybe your cousin would want it. The various travel websites can reserve a car for you. Be certain you obtain a "Total Estimated Cost" before you decide which one is cheaper.
As noted above, Google Maps and MapQuest, among others, can do this for you. Remember that we use miles here, not kilometers. Pay attention to the times and the distances. You should make reservations for Grand Canyon lodging. If it is booked up, the next best place to stay would be in Tusayan, AZ. Take a couple of gallons of emergency water and STAY ON THE PAVEMENT when driving through Death Valley National Park. Its name was not a random historical accident.
Good luck to you.
Aug 24, 2012 11:00 AM
7Many many recent posts here on this subject. If you search "California" and related terms you will find most of them and be able to glean a lot of good info from them.
Aug 24, 2012 12:41 PM
You could also try the xYosemite Bug, outside the park.
Camping outside it, and driving in (or exploring the surrounding areas), is. Much of this camping will be very basic (think tent, stoves, and water from streams).
Your route is fine too, but misses more of the interior, which you expressed a desire for.
You could also paint, photograph, talk with people, eat dirt, etc.
There is no set "cheapest car rental." Any agency may be the cheapest at any time, dependent on dates, routes, age, etc.
kayak.com, priceline, expedia, travelocity, orbitz, hotwire, the individual agencies, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes foreign versions of these sites or other foreign brokers will include one-way fees, mandatory insurance fees, etc. in the rate.
Make sure you compare prices like for like (some show subtotals, others totals). Also, be aware that sometimes one-way fees, etc. are hidden in the base rate (i.e. a company may not charge a one-way fee, but may raise the daily rate accordingly).
It will take a lot of effort on your part.
See FAQ 146.
(This is the third time I posted this today.)
Aug 24, 2012 7:04 PM
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