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Old 02-13-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
6,548 posts, read 3,465,471 times
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Greetings West Coast!
I plan on taking the Summer off this year and am driving out to California from the East Coast. Itinerary is still being decided but I plan on going to a music festival in Tennessee and then heading out to San Diego and from there hopefully driving up along the Coast to North of San Francisco, maybe all the way up to Eureka.

Time is not a factor although money might be, but I plan to have at least 5K saved up for the Summer. I was in San Francisco once during a spontaneous trip in College in 08 and loved it but was literally there for 24 Hours.
What are some cool places to see along the way? I really don't know much about CA beside the major cities, some notable beach towns and the Wine region/Redwood Forests area which I can't wait to see. What about places like Death Valley? Is it worth it to venture so far from the Coast? Is Rt 1 the best/only route? Is it a toll road?
Any and all guidance appreciated!

Last edited by 2e1m5a; 02-13-2012 at 09:03 AM..
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,541 posts, read 15,130,177 times
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We have very few toll roads in CA. You may have some toll charges on bridges in San Francisco but they can be avoided, the extra miles to avoid do not make it worth it.

PCH hwy 1 is a great road. The part thru LA is no where near the beach thou. From Malibu and north is fun and pretty. Watch out for speed traps on hwy 1, we had a Mustang pass us one day just to see him pulled over a mile down the road. If time gets short you can take hwy 101. The route from Moro bay to Monterey will take over 4 hours on hwy 1 opposed to 2 hours on 101, but the hwy 1 is a great feature to the state including Big Sur.

Death Valley is nice if you enjoy that sort of thing. We have a lot to see like Yosemite (my back yard) and Calaveras Big Trees.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
6,548 posts, read 3,465,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretkona View Post
We have very few toll roads in CA. You may have some toll charges on bridges in San Francisco but they can be avoided, the extra miles to avoid do not make it worth it.

PCH hwy 1 is a great road. The part thru LA is no where near the beach thou. From Malibu and north is fun and pretty. Watch out for speed traps on hwy 1, we had a Mustang pass us one day just to see him pulled over a mile down the road. If time gets short you can take hwy 101. The route from Moro bay to Monterey will take over 4 hours on hwy 1 opposed to 2 hours on 101, but the hwy 1 is a great feature to the state including Big Sur.

Death Valley is nice if you enjoy that sort of thing. We have a lot to see like Yosemite (my back yard) and Calaveras Big Trees.
Thanks! I'd forgotten about Yosemite-definitely want to get there and the Calaveras Big Trees look amazing. Also, Lake Tahoe doesn't seem to far from there and definitely would be worth seeing.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:11 AM
 
Location: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
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Also, Lake Tahoe doesn't seem to far from there and definitely would be worth seeing.
California is bigger than a lot of people realize. You can plan on 4-5 hours drive from Yosemite Valley to Lake Tahoe. You will either go over 120 and 9,000 foot Tioga Pass to 395 then north to Tahoe, make sure you turn off onto the 8,314 Monitor Pass Road, and use it to go over 7740 Luther Pass to Tahoe.

Or, 49 to Tahoe take two days, stop in the gold rush towns.

Or drop on 120 to 99 north to 80 or 50, the quickest and most boring route.

Either way, you will take most of a day to drive from one to the other.

Death Valley is well worth a week, but not in Summer, save your trip to a cooler time.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Quimper Peninsula
1,790 posts, read 1,056,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
Thanks! I'd forgotten about Yosemite-definitely want to get there and the Calaveras Big Trees look amazing. Also, Lake Tahoe doesn't seem to far from there and definitely would be worth seeing.
IMO 120 across the Sierra can not be beat, neither can Mono lake and 395 all the way down through Bishop and Independence.. You are in a valley with 14,000 foot mountain ranges on both sides of you.. (Sierra and White mountains...) Down there is were all the big peaks are, and they are young raw granite spires.)

Hwy 1 through Big Sur and north of San Fransisco up to Fort Bragg is pretty spectacular.. For Redwoods, Armstrong in Sonoma county is nice for a quick little visit. Or keep going north from Fort Bragg into deep Redwood country.. (hwy 1 leaves the coast and cuts inland for a while..)
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Big Sur.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:07 PM
 
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This thread on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum has a lot of suggestions for places to see when driving up Highway 1, make sure you click on all the links: LA to San Francisco - Route 1 Recommendations! - Lonely Planet travel forum

There are also many threads there regarding Yosemite, Death Valley, and most of the must-see attractions in California, with lots of helpful information on places to stay, camp, costs involved, etc. If you do travel on Highway 395 out of Tioga Pass in Yosemite, make sure you go north to Bodie, it is a wonderful ghost town, kept in a state of "arrested decay": Bodie State Historic Park, Bodie SHP, Bodie State Park - Bodie.com
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Thank You everyone! Great info and I'm already stunned just looking at pictures
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,192 posts, read 3,326,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
Thank You everyone! Great info and I'm already stunned just looking at pictures
You may want to bring a tent and gear for opportunities to camp when you feel like it in order to save money so you can extend your trip and so you can treat yourself to special lodging (like in Big Sur although camping there is wonderful too ... under the redwoods and amazing starry nights [assuming there's no fog]) once in awhile.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:26 PM
 
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The Mendocino area is our favorite. Bring camping gear if you can because camping in Mendo is wonderful!
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