11 days in No. California - help

Mar 5th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 39
11 days in No. California - help

My husband and I will be spending about 11 days in northern CA in late May/early June. He must attend a convention in San Fran for 5 days, so we're tacking on 3 days before in Napa/Sonoma and 3 days afterwards in Yosemite. Lodging is already arranged. Now I'm dealing with flights/rental cars. I'm thinking of flying one-way from DC to SFO on Virgin, renting a car at airport, and returning it to airport (to avoid high fees of returning car in downtown SF). Once convention ends, though, I'll need to pick up a rental car downtown and drive to Yosemite (there will be 4 of us for this part of the trip). I'm wondering if I should fly back on JetBlue from Oakland, rather than SFO, since isn't Oakland a bit easier to get to from Yosemite than SFO? Only SFO and Oakland have non-stops to Washington, so other airports aren't in the running. Another problem: Jetblue's flight back east leaves Oakland at 11:30 am. If we left Yosemite super early (say 5 am), could we make it to the airport in plenty of time? I'd rather not have to take the red-eye. Thanks for any advice you all can offer.
Profsuzy is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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It all depends on the traffic. Under good conditions you should allow at least 4 hours from Yosemite to Oakland or SFO. A 5 a.m. departure would put you in the Bar Area at the peak of rush hour, so you won't have a lot of room for error.
boom_boom is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Oakland airport is easier to get to from yosemite and is just an easier airport to navigate than SFO. I think if you leave Yosemite by 5 am you will be fine.
sharon62 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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One well kept secret is that Oakland International is closer to downtown San Francisco than SFO. From Oakland just go south on 880 to 238 to 580 & you are on your way to Yosemite.
Stewbear is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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"Oakland International is closer to downtown San Francisco than SFO."

I believe OAK is 20 miles from downtown SF while SFO is a meager 15. And SFO is easier to get to.

As far as Yosemite is concerned, I would leave it the night before and find someplace to stay a little closer. You never know what can happen on Bay Area highways. Why add any stress to what will be a very long day anyway?
Supercilious is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 10:45 PM
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I think using the Oakland airport is much better for your return trip if you are coming from Yosemite. Leave as early as possible or be stressed out for the 4+ hr. drive. This could take 5 hrs. if the traffic is bad or there has been an accident somewhere.

In my opinion, leaving Yosemite at 5am is an hour too late considering the early arrival needed at the airport to get everything in order, but it could be done.
Pildredge is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for your advice and help. I haven't booked the flights yet, but I'm 99% sure I'll book our return trip out of Oakland. I appreciate your warnings about traffic - maybe we'll leave Yosemite at 4:30am instead of 5:00. We booked a house in Yosemite West for 3 nights, so leaving a day early is not an option, and we're all hoping to get home by the next day rather than doing the red-eye. Even if the drive took us 5 hours, that would put as at the airport at 9:30 for a 11:30 am flight - good enough. Thanks!
Profsuzy is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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The commute traffic along the 580 corridor from beyond Tracy to the East Bay will probably be horrendous.

I'd take the red-eye from Oakland that way you can check out later, have a more leasurely day and enjoy your last day in California a bit more.
iamq is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 371
What kind of flight can you get out of SFO? It really isn't that much further (30 miles between the airports) and may offer you more of a leisurely drive from Yosemite.
beth_fitz is offline  
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