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Old 12-25-2017, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Nyon, Switzerland
179 posts, read 55,329 times
Reputation: 104

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Hello,

I will be doing a 2 weeks road trip in California in September 2018 with my wife (only our second US trip, the first one being NYC-Boston-Cape Cod). I am not quite sure if these destinations are well chosen, so I need some advise from our California experts.

In the order of visit we'll try to hit the following (we land at LAX, but we'll only visit LA at the end of out trip):

Santa Barbara, Coastal Hwy to SF, Big Sur, do a bit of drive-by in Palo Alto, Menlo Park + surrounding towns (we're curious to see these hyped towns in the Bay Area), San Francisco (2 or 3 days ?), coastal hwy north of SF then turn east towards Lake Tahoe, spend some time around Lake Tahoe, Yosemite (we'll apply for the lottery for a few hiking routes - Half Dome is the first that springs in mind), hiking and camping in the area, then down south on the mountain Hwy till Sequia Natl Park, then Death Valley Natl Park, and finally back to LA where we plan to visit (Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica).

Anything major missing in this road tour ? Anything that you think it's not worth seeing? I realize San Diego is also an interesting place to see and enjoy the milder weather, but I don;t think we'll have enough time in 14 days for anything south of LA.

Also do you think I will need an AWD rental for the section comprising Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley Parks ?

Many Thanks
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Old 12-25-2017, 01:15 PM
 
Location: North State (California)
39,850 posts, read 3,018,080 times
Reputation: 13081
Also do you think I will need an AWD rental for the section comprising Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley Parks



No we have driven in all those places, using either our own car or a rental car. the roads are paved & good. If you want to stay inside Yosemite, I recommend making reservations now. Being inside the Park is much better than driving in, as the valley is a long drive in & out. We stayed in Housekeeping camp, which is a basic camping canvas cabin, with electricity, on the river banks. They will also rent out blankets & camping stoves for a minimal fee if you need them.
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:07 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 1,648,555 times
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Do stop by Carmel after Big Sur. Very cute fairy tale village.

No snow in Sep. No need for AWD.
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Old 12-25-2017, 06:58 PM
 
Location: North State (California)
39,850 posts, read 3,018,080 times
Reputation: 13081
I see you are coming from Switzerland, so maybe just a few days in Yosemite will be enough. Down in the Southland, I like Joshua Tree, but that probably needs a day from LA. I recommended booking your tent in Yosemite now, becasue sometimes they can be booked out a year in advance.
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Old 12-25-2017, 08:16 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,554 posts, read 62,302,713 times
Reputation: 32331
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaSunshine View Post
In the order of visit we'll try to hit the following ...
Reverse order so you can drive north to SOUTH along the coast.
Better views and all the pulloffs will be on the safe side near the ocean.
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:23 PM
 
Location: State of Denial
1,917 posts, read 966,059 times
Reputation: 10231
Just my opinion, but if you're strapped for time, I'd just do Yosemite and skip Sequoia. They're both fantastic parks, but I'd tilt the scale toward Yosemite.
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:41 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,678 posts, read 40,050,764 times
Reputation: 23830
Yes, drive southbound on USA left coast. Don’t miss Solvang! Good pastries!

I really enjoy the people I meet @ Ft Mason hostel SF (and the free parking and excellent location). Free library sponsored tours are excellent..

I would fit in San Diego (nice area and history, one of the best in CA) as well as Pallm Desert (cut across to San Diego) and possibly Las Vegas (valley of fire is my favorite) +a Air tour of Grand Canyon (from LV)

Consider night and early morning driving in LA and in regions with no view (deserts).

I night drive a lot and take naps under a tree during hectic traffic during the day.
A camper van would be great, or just buy a used minivan <$1000... and sell or leave it at the airport parking lot when you leave. or I can buy back from you and resell.

Bring me another Raclette cooker! It is a big hit with friends and family!

Let me know when you schedule your PNW USA tour. Our home has been open to international guests for over 30 yrs... free!

Have a great trip. While in LA try the vintage eateries. Such as Philippe’s, next to Union Station.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 12-25-2017 at 09:52 PM..
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Ankara, Turkey
401 posts, read 185,100 times
Reputation: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaSunshine View Post
Hello,

I will be doing a 2 weeks road trip in California in September 2018 with my wife (only our second US trip, the first one being NYC-Boston-Cape Cod). I am not quite sure if these destinations are well chosen, so I need some advise from our California experts.

In the order of visit we'll try to hit the following (we land at LAX, but we'll only visit LA at the end of out trip):

Santa Barbara, Coastal Hwy to SF, Big Sur, do a bit of drive-by in Palo Alto, Menlo Park + surrounding towns (we're curious to see these hyped towns in the Bay Area), San Francisco (2 or 3 days ?), coastal hwy north of SF then turn east towards Lake Tahoe, spend some time around Lake Tahoe, Yosemite (we'll apply for the lottery for a few hiking routes - Half Dome is the first that springs in mind), hiking and camping in the area, then down south on the mountain Hwy till Sequia Natl Park, then Death Valley Natl Park, and finally back to LA where we plan to visit (Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica).

Anything major missing in this road tour ? Anything that you think it's not worth seeing? I realize San Diego is also an interesting place to see and enjoy the milder weather, but I don;t think we'll have enough time in 14 days for anything south of LA.

Also do you think I will need an AWD rental for the section comprising Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley Parks ?

Many Thanks
How good do you know these parks to go hiking there? I read a story about a foreign tourist family who died of thirst in Death Valley National Park while hiking.
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Old 12-26-2017, 04:52 AM
 
32,127 posts, read 33,037,268 times
Reputation: 14972
I would suggest visiting the Hearst Castle (Home - Hearst Castle) as well.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Florida
5,661 posts, read 3,682,609 times
Reputation: 10620
I second driving southbound along the coast. We did Big Sur a couple years ago... it’s amazing and the photos don’t do it justice. If I had it to do over again, I’d stay in one of the little motels/cabins along the way just to watch the sunset and see the stars. But you want to be on the side closest to the edge (the southbound side).
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