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Old 05-04-2021, 06:11 AM
 
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OP, you might consider a few days of houseboating on Lake Mead and/or Lake Powell (or stay on shore and rent a powerboat).
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:16 AM
 
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Having recently visited both areas mentioned by the OP, I STRONGLY recommend avoiding LV and GC in the summer, especially if you want to do hiking.

Fly into SFO. Visit Yosemite for two days, hiking the Nevada falls trail with the kids. Then explore San Francisco for a day or two. Then north along the coast. There are so many places to see as you go north, I can't mention them all here, from Pt. Reyes to Mendocino to the Redwoods NP. Swing back through Sonoma for some adult recreation at vineyards.
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:46 AM
 
47 posts, read 193,179 times
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and that is why I love City-Data forums.... THANK YOU all for such thoughtful, sincere recommendations. Lots to process... my gut is telling me option 2. I will post again once we have it all decided and planned.

all I know for sure is that we only have a few more years with our children before they fly the coop. Time moves so fast.
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:23 PM
 
Location: So Cal - Orange County
1,192 posts, read 502,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew in Jersey View Post
and that is why I love City-Data forums.... THANK YOU all for such thoughtful, sincere recommendations. Lots to process... my gut is telling me option 2. I will post again once we have it all decided and planned.

all I know for sure is that we only have a few more years with our children before they fly the coop. Time moves so fast.
Good luck with your decision. Yosemite is always a good time for us. We were there the week before Easter this year. It was perfect weather. It started to get much more crowded on Easter weekend. The line of cars near the Upper, Lower falls was crazy. We always stay in the Valley, Yosemite Valley lodge or The Ahwahnee. If you keep an eye on Yosemite Valley Lodge reservations closer to your stay you can sometimes get late cancellations to get a room. The bad thing is there is no AC in the Valley lodge, just ceiling fans. It can get hot in July. Also think about renting bikes instead of driving in the valley.
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:38 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
27,825 posts, read 46,252,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew in Jersey View Post
and that is why I love City-Data forums.... THANK YOU all for such thoughtful, sincere recommendations. Lots to process... my gut is telling me option 2. I will post again once we have it all decided and planned.

all I know for sure is that we only have a few more years with our children before they fly the coop. Time moves so fast.
maybe you have time remaining to book a GC raft trip out a couple yrs. That would certainly be a good memorable time together.

Renting a motorhome is a good option for memories. (We used a VW van for that, but not with teenagers)

Also some unique places (like Lake Louise / Banff (when open again)) Utah NP are great for unique sights and memories (and fairly close to LV or SLC). Condor cliffs / Monument valley / North rim GC and Valley of Fire are all great. (except in July / Aug)

Our kids really enjoyed DC (when open). We sent them on their own for AM and met for luch and rehashed what to see as a family in afternoon. MANY bike trails makes a great fall vacation (since you are nearby, you may have done that.) For left coast... SF and Palm Springs (resort pools).

They liked to use my first class upgrades while flying. I warned them not to get spoiled... reality is coming!
ironically they ended up with jobs that pay for 1st class travel.

Living international as a family was very educational for all.

Taking time off school and job is worth considering for family trip / time together. Our kids survived K-8 as unschooled, then went direct to college instead of HS. Glad we had traveled a lot. Reduced income as a single night shift factory worker (with a lot of unpaid sabbiticals for travel still allowed a pre age 50 'retirement'. (I.e. QUIT when the kids left home!)
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:54 PM
Status: "My advice is worth every penny you paid for it" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
17,223 posts, read 22,388,989 times
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to Approach the Grand Canyon you will first have to go to Flagstaff and then north from there.
A couple hundred more miles if you include the overhang on the Indian Reservation a lot of driving.

Yosemite from SF isn’t as bad a drive but Yosemite can be really crowded
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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if you're doing the Southwestern circuit, might also look into a night or two on a houseboat out of Page, AZ for a unique place to stay.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:41 PM
Status: "My advice is worth every penny you paid for it" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
17,223 posts, read 22,388,989 times
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Las Vegas to Death Valley or Mammoth. Over Tioga Pass into Yosemite and then int San Francisco. Good Luck.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:43 PM
 
47 posts, read 193,179 times
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Taking a shuttle into Yosemite versus driving myself?

the park website has a small sentence saying no shuttles this year - but still loads of tour companies offering their service..?? any clarity would be welcomed.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Was Midvalley Oregon; Now Eastside Seattle area
8,637 posts, read 3,792,652 times
Reputation: 6090
Option 2.
April, I did SanJose>Monterey-Carmel->SantaCruz-Pacific Coast Hiway1>SanLuisObispo>Santa Barbara>SanDiego. Amtrak Bus-Train and Car Rental.

Features: San Jose has an airport and serviced by light rail. Airport is close to downtown SJ. Downtown is has a Paseo strip. Rent a car in SanJose.
Monterey-Aquarium, small paseo, Steinbeck locations and you can link his stories. No sardines. Seaside has the beach.
Carmel-by-the-Sea has upscale, boutique shops. Small interesting beach.
Skip the 17 mile drive around the penisula and residential area, ($25) but you can see part of the Carmel golf course.

Santa Cruz is just 35 miles up coast from Monterey. Has a beach, Amusement park on the beach. A long pier with restaurants and sealions at the end. Surfing and good view points. Great for kids and teenagers.

PCH1 Monterey to SanLuisObispo. Fairly boring compared to Oregon's coast. Around midpoint (north end of big sur) there is a small grove of Redwoods (Julia Pfeiffer Park). In BigSur the road is exceedingly windy, hairpin curves. 15mph. Southern end is fairly desolate (California National Guard Reserve training area) Hearst Castle is really isolated and was closed in April. I didnt do Moro Bay.

San Luis Obispo is a college town (Cal Poly) and northern end of Amtrak-California SurfLiner. A large Paeso.
From here you can head back up 101 to SanJose/Bay area. See the vegetable garden of America. Allocate rush 2day. 3 days leisurely. 4-5 days for fun. Mileage is not much but BigSur will really slow you down.

Be ware of coastal fog and cool beach weather when inland temperatures are high.

From SJ you can do Yosemite, Tahoe, Reno.
or Bay area attractions
or north to Wine Country or further to Oregon border and the Redwoods.

Last edited by leastprime; 05-11-2021 at 09:08 PM..
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