Stop offs in California
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Feb 13, 2013 2:44 PM Last Post By: amysaunders82
Jan 27, 2013 11:31 AM
Stop offs in CaliforniaHi all,
I am looking for some advice on places to stop off at on the long drive from Yosemite to LA.
My boyfriend and I are doing a road trip in August; San Fran - Yosemite - LA - San Diego - Tijuana (day trip) - Vegas. Unfortunately I can't drive, so we need to break up longer sections of driving with stop offs. We can either stay over somewhere between YNP and LA, or just have a few hours break to see something, we're open to any kind of suggestion. We are 30 and 32 and both like amateur photography and good food. Do you think it's better to go along the coast or is there anything worth seeing more towards the mountains?
Also, I could use the same advice for the drive from San Diego to Vegas. We'd like to see Death Valley, but it might be a bit of a detour depending on which route we take.
Jan 27, 2013 11:48 AM
1How many days do you have for this trip?
You could do SF to Yosemite to Death Valley to Las Vegas, then San Diego, LA, and drive up the coast back to SF. See map. However, the main reason to go to Death Valley in August is to be able to have your picture taken next to a thermometer showing that it's 50 degrees. You can see some of it from your air conditioned car, but you won't want to do much ore than that.
Unless you just want to say you visited Mexico, a day trip to Tijuana may not be the best use of your time. It won't give you a real glimpse of Mexico, more like a glimpse of a border town with serious problems.
Jan 27, 2013 12:51 PM
2Have a look at a map... As suggested above The better route would be Yosemite first...To highway 120 through the Sierras to 395 with a overnight say, in Lone Pine... A early AM drive through D. VY to "Vegas"... From Vegas it would add a day to drive the "Old 66 from Kingman AZ & then visit the South Rim Grand Canyon NP.... A much better use of time and miles than either San Diego OR, TJ. ... carracar
Jan 27, 2013 2:05 PM
3Thanks for the advice guys.
We're going for about 19 nights we think, but this can be lengthened or shortened by 2 or 3 days accordingly.
I'm umming and ahhing about Tijuana. I volunteered in Mexico in 2008 for three months and I'd love to go back there, my thinking behind a quick visit was to just get a cheap thrill of going there and seeing familiar Mexican things. Really not sure though as heard it's pretty dangerous?
Our thinking at the moment is:
San Fran -3 1/2days
Yosemite - 1 1/2 days
Stopover -1 day
LA - 3 days
SD - 1 day
Vegas - 4 1/2 days
I think if we leave out SD and Tijuana we might end up staying too long in one place? Could do a few stopovers in random places though, but I am finding it a bit overwhelming trying to find the right places.There is so much choice!
Jan 27, 2013 2:10 PM
Jan 28, 2013 8:50 AM
5Yeah we were wondering if 4.5 days in Vegas may be too much, however our thoughts behind it were roughly like this:
Day 1: grand canyon and Hoover dam
Day 2: strip/casinos, rides, Segway tour
Day 3: neon museum, titanic exhibition, nuclear museum
Day 4: chill out by the pool for the day as its our last full one
Day 4.5: have lunch, catch flight home
The hotels are really cheap as we're avoiding the weekend so we can get a really nice suite for those days, so hopefully it'll be a nice end to the holiday and we'll avoid all the frantic moving from place to place with all the crowds as its so hot there so its not so crowded?
I'm thinking maybe we give Death Valley a miss if its just all about the thermometer!
Are there large sequoia trees in Yosemite too? I'd really like to see some, but sequoia national park is a bit out if the way from LA back to Vegas.
Jan 28, 2013 9:06 AM
6Yes, there are Giant Sequoia groves in Yosemite. The Mariposa Grove is the largest and most accessible. You can hike around or you can take a narrated tram tour. Or you can do both. The tour goes uphill. You can get off at the top and walk back down. I've done that and it was the best of both worlds.
I agree--reduce the time in Vegas and add at least a day to San Diego. There's lots to do in San Diego. You can use up a half day just visiting the world famous zoo or checking out the beaches.
Jan 28, 2013 9:34 AM
7If you decide to skip Death Valley, you have several choices. Mileage & driving times from Yosemite Valley to all sorts of places.
I have marked all the places I'm going ot mention on This map.
Since you will have spent your time in Yosemite Valley and/or Wawona, you won't have seen the high country which is also pretty amazing. You may want to take your time, stop, do some hiking, and just stay at a motel in Lee Vining. Or, you could go north, see the Bodie Ghost Town and Mono Lake and return to Lee Vining. Bodie is a state park. It's a true ghost town--there is nothing there but abandoned building. Great place to stop for food in Lee Vining. Whoa Nellie Deli Lee Vining to Vegas the next day will be approx. 6 hours.
You can drive further south and stay at Mammoth Lakes. This is a summer & winter resort area. Lots of stuff to do and places to stay. About 5 hours to Vegas the next day. Or, you can drive another hour and stay in Bishop. Lots of lodging and a great bakery for breakfast.
Jan 28, 2013 9:44 AM
Feb 13, 2013 2:50 AM
9We've booked some hotels now so it's starting to take more shape. I'm working my way through four different Lonely Planet books as well!!
We've managed to get two nights in Curry Village in Yosemite. We plan to drive to Mariposa Grove on the way out. I have looked into visiting Bodie as it looks fantastic, however, it's such a long way there and back out again, unless we go down the east side of the mountains all the way. It would be tempting to do that, but we've booked flights into San Fran and then back out of Vegas now. We don't want to miss out LA and SD.
Where are the decent areas to stay in LA? We'd like to be close to the beach. I have heard that there are quite a few dodgy areas, like any city really, but I've heard more bad than good about LA!
Feb 13, 2013 11:46 AM
Feb 13, 2013 12:50 PM
11Monterey Bay Aquarium
Watch elephant seals just north of Hearst Castle
San Luis Obispo A Mission, wineries, a great Thursday Night Market, Bubblgum Alley, a rather strange hotel, the Madonna Inn you may not want to stay there, but it's worth checking out, including the public men's rooms ,into which women do venture for a look at the unusual urinals.
There is also ample opportunity for winery visits between SanLuis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
On the way from Yosemite to Monterey, you could easily stop in San Juan Bautista. See route. There is a wonderful Mission and the central square is a State HIstoric Park, the only intact Spanish era plaza in California. I think it's a charming town.
Book Hearst Castle in advance. You can only see it by a tour and tours fill up in summer. Allow 2 hours.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Feb 13, 2013 2:44 PM
12We hope to stay at the Madonna Inn as it happens, some of the rooms look crazy! Thanks for the tip on the tours at Hearst Castle. Nepenthe looks great too.
I've been looking into Monterey Bay some more this afternoon and I think we might book on a whale watching tour, they look great and that should happily fill a morning. It looks like a really nice town.
I think we might end up going to Hurricane Harbour one day before LA (please don't judge me, I have an unhealthy obsession with waterparks and it's not something we have in abundance in England!! I am 30, honest). I think we're going to end up with a spare day/day and a half at some point. Can you offer me any inspiration for the gaps as below? I have now booked SF, Yosemite and Vegas hotels, but nothing else yet, so it's all flexible in the middle.
So, so far we've got the following:
Day 1: Home/San Fran
2: San Fran
3: San Fran
4: San Fran/Yosemite
6: Yosemite/Mariposa Grove/Monterey
7: Monterey/San Luis Obispo (Madonna Inn)
8: San Luis Obispo (Madonna Inn)/Santa Clarita (Six Flags)
9: Santa Clarita (Six Flags)/LA
11: LA/San Diego
12: San Diego
13: San Diego/?????
Thanks guys. Still wading my way through the guide books so this is very helpful in getting things booked faster!
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