California road trip - help!

Old Mar 17th, 2011, 10:26 AM
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California road trip - help!

DH and I have decided to plan a California trip for the first/second week of June. (Approx. June 5-11). We have a very basic plan, but we need some fine tuning. DH has only been to California on business, and I have never been.

Here is our basic plan:

Day 1 - Fly into SFO - rent a car and stay the night somewhere (needs to be a Marriott - we have points to use!) No idea where to stay in SF......Fisherman's Wharf? Nob Hill?

Day 2 - Check out the sights in Bay area - need day trip ideas.....

Day 3 - Napa Valley day trip?

Day 3 - Drive to Anaheim along the coast - evening in Disneyland (totally have this one covered, we LOVE Disney so I have this part planned out........)

Day 4 - Spend the day at DL

Day 5 - Spend the day at DL

Day 6 - Drive to Yosemite

Day 7 - Yosemite - any ideas on trails to hike, sights to see, etc?

Day 8 - Yosemite

Day 9 - Drive to SFO and fly home......

Is this too much to fit in the time alloted? I know that Yosemite is a place you could spend many days, but we really just want to check out the main sights and maybe do a driving trip through the park from South to North and stop at places along the way? Is there lodging within the park that we can start at the Southern part (Seqouia) and go north during a 2-3 day trek??

We are from Indiana, and this is our last trip before having kids, so we want to try to pack in as much "California" as possible in a short amount of time......

I seriously have no clue where to begin with this trip........so ANY thoughts are appreciated.......thanks!
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Yourplan simply won't work. SF to Anaheim along the coast will take a minimum of 2 full days driving.

And it doesn't make sense to go from northern Calif to southern CA and then back north to Yosemite.

"I know that Yosemite is a place you could spend many days, but we really just want to check out the main sights and maybe do a driving trip through the park from South to North and stop at places along the way? Is there lodging within the park that we can start at the Southern part (Seqouia)"

Some confusion re the geography here. Yosemite isn't a 'south to north' place (well a small bit of it is between Wawona and the entrance to Yosemite Valley) and Sequoia is an entirely different park.

W/ just a week and IF Disneyland is a must -- you really would have to fly open jaw into SFO and out of LAX. 2 days in SF (no real time for Napa), 1 day/night in Yosemite, 2 days on the coast, and 2 days in LA/Anaheim - then fly home.

You don't have time to circle half the state in 7 days.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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StuDudley will fill you in on everything you need to know about San Francisco and Yosemite.
As of today, you will not be able to travel much south of Big Sur on highway 1. A chunk of it washed into the Pacific Ocean this morning.
Cars are cheaper to rent in downtown San Francisco than at the airport. Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite and then go south to Disneyland. I suggest at least 2 days at Yosemite and maybe even forget about Disneyland until you have kids.
You might want to drive up Rt. 1 north of SF to Fort Bragg then take Highway 20 over to Willits and then US 101 south through the Napa Valley wine country.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:02 AM
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meant to add -- your post is a bit confusing. You say June 5-11 but then list a 9-day itinerary. Even IF you mean 9 days instead of a week, you'd still want to fly open jaw. That gives you one extra day for SF and you could maybe squeeze in a day in the wine country (though there are other wine regions you'll pass on your route south so it doesn't HAVE to be Napa)

And that would give you another day to add to either Yosemite or Anaheim. For YNP -- you want to book immediately (and it is most likely booked up so you will want to hope for cancellations)
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:05 AM
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You clearly said Disneyland is a must so telling you to skip it seems a bit silly IMO.

You can do DL of course -- you just can't go from SF to DL and back again in your 7-9 days. Open jaw solves the biggest part of your problem.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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tomfuller: They want Disney and you tell them to go to Willits??
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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You can't possibly drive along the coast from San Francisco to Anaheim, and then spend the evening at Disneyland.

Your first 3 days are not realistic at all.

Not a good idea to drive from Yosemite to SFO and then fly to anyplace in Indiana (no direct flights) on the same day. Might even be impossible.

I'm sure you'll disagree with this - but if you LOVE Disneyland - that implies that you've visited a Disneyland before. But you've never visited California. Why not visit something you've never seen before. My Hoosier wife LOVES San Francisco. She is even a tour guide for Victorian houses in San Francisco.
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:27 AM
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I'd probably drop Napa Valley. You can drive SF to Orange County in a day, along the coast, despite the nattering above, but don't do it from Napa. HOWEVER, do check the weather forecast and if it is foggy, then you can take one of the inland routings. Hopefully the Big Sur highway is fixed by June.

If you save Yosemite for the end of the trip, there is a chance the Tioga Pass Road may open. Allow at least one overnight either in Bishop, Lone Pine, or Yosemite (you may be stuck with Camp Curry).

So actually, in my opinion your plan will work, however I'd drop Napa Valley. If you wanted to, you could spend a night along the way between SF and OC somewhere around the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara, which has great wine tasting. That will give you more time to enjoy Big Sur if it's open.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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You love Disney? Have you been to Disneyland or DisneyWorld before? If so, then skip it this trip. It is an 8 hour drive with no stopping from SF to Anaheim. Do a loop round N. Cal. San Francisco, Napa, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Monterey etc. Much easier and productive trip.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:51 AM
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Okay a little clarification - the June 5-11 was an idea of the "timeframe" for which we are basing the trip around - everything is flexible at this point by adding a day, eliminating a day, etc.

As far as Disney - I have been to Disney World about 17 times in my 26 years - so it is very dear to my heart So since we are going to be in California, I wanted to fit it in somehow. I am not married to the idea of going to Napa.....our plan was to stay in a hotel in San Francisco the first 3 night and only go to Napa for the day. (There is a typo in my original plan, the second day 3 should actually say day 4 and then going from there. sorry!) So basically day 3 would be only Napa, sleep in the hotel and one full day for driving from the bay area to Anaheim (arriving in the evening.)

And I have been checking on lodging around YNP and the lodging in the parks are pretty much booked at this point, so we would have to stay outside the park somewhere........which makes me wonder if that is more hassle than it is worth.

I guess my real dilemma is finding out what to cut......Napa, San Francisco, YNP, or Disneyland......because it just seems like too much to pack into 9-10 days......and I have no clue where to begin with that decision.....
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 11:55 AM
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MichellY - I think that is the direction I am leaning at this point......maybe save Disneyland for a trip with the kiddos in the future......

So everyone - let's say I eliminate Disneyland and we have 9 days flying in and out of SFO - what do you suggest as an itinerary?
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 12:20 PM
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Regarding SF to Disneyland.

According to Mapquest:
- If you drive Hwy 1 From SF to Cambira, and then on the fastest route possible to Anaheim - it will take you 9 hrs.
- If you take Hwy 1 from Cambria to about Ventura and then the fastest route to Anaheim, it will take you 10 hrs

This is without stops for gas, breakfast, lunch, dinner, pottie, picture taking, walks along Carmel Beach, visit to Pt Lobos, etc. Of course, it does not account for commute traffic in the LA/Orange Co area. At the bare MINIMUM, I would "plan" for a 1 hr lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur, an additional 30 mins for pictuure taking, and an added 1 hr for the commute traffic (it could be more). So, now the trip is 11 1/2 to 12 1/2 hrs. It's a shame that this won't allow you time to enjoy the many wonders we have along our beautiful Hwy 1 (Nothing like it in Hoosierland).

If you check out of your hotel in SF and get on the road at 8:30 - that puts you in Anaheim at 8:00 to 9:00. Checking into a hotel, changing clothes, and getting to Disneyland will consume 30 to 60 mins (depending on the location of your hotel). So now you are at Disneyland at 9:00PM to 10:00PM - and after a tough driving day (with LA stop-n-go traffic) and no dinner.

Do-able - yes. But I wouldn't advise a friend of mine to do this.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 12:34 PM
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I agree you can't do it all. You can do MOST of it with an open jaw flight. Fly into SF and fly out of LA.

If you had 9 days you could do 3 days in SF (with a day trip to Napa on 2nd day if you had to), 3 days driving down the coast, and 3 days in LA seeing Disneyland.

I did a similar 3 part split a few years ago and it was a delightful trip. I don't see a way to squeeze all of it in, especially flying back out of SFO.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 12:59 PM
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>>So everyone - let's say I eliminate Disneyland and we have 9 days flying in and out of SFO - what do you suggest as an itinerary?
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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Try Camp Curry for Yosemite..
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Stu has a great plan.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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PS you should know that the California board is dominated by northern Californians who are SoCal and Disney Haters!! Hence advice will be just a tiny bit biased.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Why would I hate SoCal & Disney?? I was raised there, probably visited Disneyland as many times as DisneyDuck, I was a parking lot attendent at the Disneyland Hotel, lived in Laguna Beach for 5 years after I got married (loved it). But I find San Francisco & the Bay Area more to my liking - which doesn't mean I now "hate" SoCal & Disney.

DisneyDuck
Visit the Walt Disney museum in the Presidio area of San Francisco for your "Disney fix"

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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If you really feel the need to go to the original Disneyland, turn in the rental car in SF and fly to LAX from SFO, see Disney and then fly home from SoCal.
I don't hate Disney or SoCal but I can find so much more that I want to see anywhere north of Victorville (aka victimville).
For the record, I live in Oregon north of Crater Lake but I visit Helendale, CA at least twice a year to see my grandsons.
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Old Mar 17th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Day 3 may have to be changed, depending on how long it takes CalTrans to fix highway 1 south of Carmel.
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