California road trip questions
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Aug 11, 2013 10:11 PM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Aug 8, 2013 3:09 PM
California road trip questionsHi again
Our road trip is slowing coming together. I have a few random questions.
If it worth booking in advance for hotels/motels in San Diego, big sur area,, Monterey or can you just turn up and find good options ??
Is a jeep Cherokee a good car rental option... I.e is it cost effective with gas ?? Is it worth waiting until a month before to book as I have heard it will be cheaper then ?
Is Monterey worth a visit of 2nights ? If so not sure if we will but if we do is the Aquarium worth seeing. Or is Seaworld in San Diego better? Also San Diego zoo... Is that worth seeing ??
In Monterey I was going to spend two nights and get to San Francisco late and have four nights there. But I think now I will have 1night half way between LA and Monterey and 2nights in Monterey and leave early to arrive in San Fran for 3nights.... Does that sound better than just driving from la to Monterey ??
Lastly for now... Would it be better to drive from Las Vegas to San Diego, then to La. or Las Vegas, La and then San Diego. I know the later doesn't look like the best option, but you guys might know some local knowledge that says otherwise.
Thanking you in advance
Aug 8, 2013 3:23 PM
1The Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seaworld are two very different places.
The Aquarium is just that. They are a non-prift organization that specialize in marine creatures from the Western Pacific, along North America, particularly the local area. They are also a research and education organization. Lots of exhibits, lots of hands-on activities. The jellyfish exhibit is a must and they are currently dong one on sea horses
Seaworld is more of a theme park plus zoo. Dolphin, sea lion, and whale shows. Thrill rides. Swim with dolphins and see penguins up close. They are owned by a corporation that is involved in ocean conservation.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Aug 8, 2013 3:41 PM
2To answer some of the questions (and to ask a couple):
-Booking in advance: Depends when your trip is. If off season you can probably wing it. when is this trip?
-Jeep Cherokee: Why? Uncomfortable, gas-guzzling SUV. Rent a comfortable sedan with good gas mileage - you don't need 4WD.
-Monterey: The aquarium is well worth a visit. If you are a Steinbeck fan then you want to poke around Cannery Row. If not a day will do it for Monterey.
-Seaworld: This is a far more touristy type affair than the Monterey Aquarium with acrobatic porpoises and such all set in a theme park.
-Best routing from Las Vegas: To San Diego drive to Los Angeles, then on to San Diego.
Aug 8, 2013 5:54 PM
3"Just turning up" has not been a good option for quite a while unless you have no issues with overpaying.
San Diego is a large city. Do you plan on staying downtown, near Hotel Circle, somewhere else. Just turning up in Big Sur or Monterey could lead spending an hour looking for a place or not finding a place to stay. If you don't want to be locked into place months beforehand, book a week in advance.
I've not seen a Jeep Cherokee as a rental option. Most people book just a largish 4 door sedan.
Aug 8, 2013 6:06 PM
The Jeep Cherokee was discontinued years ago. It's being reintroduced this fall, but it shouldn't be in rental fleets for a couple months still. Anyway, when you reserve a rental car, you're reserving a class of vehicle, not a specific model. So even if they say "Cherokee", they mean "some mid-sized SUV".
As for renting an SUV, well, they tend to have comfortable more upright seating positions but get worse fuel economy than sedans. And cost a lot more to rent. Are you going anywhere that would require the high ground clearance of an SUV? Rental SUVs are usually 2WD, not 4WD, and anyway the contract will forbid taking your rental off road. I vote for getting a sedan.
Most rental reservations can be cancelled without penalty, which makes it possible to reserve a car now (for peace of mind) and check back later on to see if rates have dropped.
It takes 5 hours to drive from LA to Monterey via the moderately scenic US 101. Or you can drive one of the most beautiful roads anywhere on Earth, Hwy. 1 along the coast through Big Sur. Yes, you want to do this, and you want to stay overnight along the way so that you can take your time -- the road is winding and you'll want to stop frequently. You could overnight either in Big Sur in the midst of all the beauty, or in San Luis Obispo or Cambria, a short distance to the south of the most spectacular stretch.
Aug 8, 2013 7:54 PM
5You will save money on lodging by reserving in advance. Here in California with our 38 million residents-- "winging it"
is a sure-fire way to pay more than you have to. Figure an itinerary and reserve ahead. Las Vegas and San Diego are
much more expensive on weekENDS for logdging as this is when all the Los Angelenos holiday in both those towns.
For the same reason, you should plan to avoid road travel on Fridays and Sundays, if possible. Yes- the San Diego Zoo is
awesome-- one of the best zoos in the world. Don't miss it!
Aug 9, 2013 12:16 AM
Aug 9, 2013 3:11 AM
Aug 9, 2013 7:57 AM
8Nice month to travel, especially the first half of the month. San Francisco should be fogfree. I could spend two nights in Monterey, the Aquarium alone deserves at least 3 hours, plus you should visit Point Lobos, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the waterfall (forget the name now) that drops down onto a deserted beach, etc.
San Diego Zoo is very worthwhile.
Aug 9, 2013 11:55 AM
9Around Monterey, Elkhorn Slough kayaking and a whale watching trip are well worth if you are interested in wildlife (and much better than Sea World or any zoo, in my opinion). You'll see marine mammals very close. If you do those activities, you'll fill 2 days quickly. The aquarium is very nice and worth visiting, too -- but I'd also want to see some marine life in the wild.
Aug 9, 2013 2:53 PM
10Another vote for kayaking Elkhorn Slough, assuming you enjoy outdoor activities. To give you an idea of how up-close you get to the sea life: They warn you to keep a certain distance from otters. They don't warn the otters to keep away from you, however, and we found ourselves whacking an endangered (and naturally curious) species over the head with our paddles to keep them from climbing up on our boats and chewing on the ropes.
If you go, check the tides and time your visit so that you can let the current carry you up the slough and back down, rather than having to paddle against it both ways.
Aug 10, 2013 6:35 AM
11All of California is worth seeing...Its the one US State that is really unique...sort of a State of Mind...
In smaller tourist places like Big Sur reservations may be needed ...But big cities like SD LA SF have plenty of motels and rooms... Arriving in LA straightaway from Vegas can be shocking because of all the traffic...Perhaps Vegas to SD would give you time to get used to California Drivers and roads... SD Zoo is world famous and Balboa Park next to it is worth some time...
A Jeep may not get best mileage but would be cool to drive in around California... People are known by their cars in California...more than in any other State...
Aug 11, 2013 10:11 PM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$169.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$179.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$11.59 per night