We've booked a trip to California (first timers - cant wait!) from 5 - 26 August. The flight, hotels and car hire are all booked. The itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 - Arrive San Francisco (4 nights)
Day 5 - Pick up car & drive to Monterey (5 nights)
Day 10 - Drive to lake Isabella (1 night)
Day 11 - Drive to Vegas (5 nights)
Day 16 - Drive to Annaheim (6 nights)
We've tried to minimise the driving as my husband doesn't want to spend too much of the holiday sat in a car (I tried to include Yosemite but he wasn't up for the drive).
We'd really appreciate some advice on the following:
First, given our itinerary, what are the 'must see's? So far we've identified various 'things we must do' including Alcatraz, Whale watching, Hearst Castle, Grand Canyon, Disney & Universal (for my 11 year old the LA leg is the absolute highlight of the trip!). Whilst in SF I'd like to drive out to Napa - but where exactly and what should we see?
Second, tips on best driving routes - and where to stop for views/lunch etc - en route to the various places we're staying.
Third, whats the best way to buy tickets for Disney & Universal. Online in advance? There is a 3 day Disney (both parks) pass for $265 and my son is nagging me for a front of line pass for Universal (worth the high price?. The Southern California City Pass seems to include San Diego but we're not planning on going that far south).
Many thanks in advance
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3 weeks covering SF, Monterey, Lake Isabella, Las Vegas and LA (Disney)