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CALIFORNIA DREAMING....PLANNING A FAMILY TRIP TO THE WEST COAST>

CALIFORNIA DREAMING....PLANNING A FAMILY TRIP TO THE WEST COAST>

Old Apr 1st, 2010, 03:09 PM
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I've been to Yosemite 4 or 5 times (although only in June and September) and Sequoia/Kings Canyon only twice. I've been fortunate to travel extensively in the US and some parts of Europe, but Yosemite still remains my various spot.

I'm going to California again in June and have convinced my friend who has never been there to spend 5 days of our 15 day vacation there.
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Old Apr 5th, 2010, 10:03 PM
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Griffith Observatory is a MUST, open til 10pm (great around sunset)..closed Mondays...great photo op of the Hollywood sign from here.

Agree that you need to tweak so that you have more than 3 nights for LA/Zion/GC. So much to see and do, plus the August heat will make it impossible to do too much in one day.

Rooms along the California coast will be pricey this summer. HowardJohnsonMonterey, if available, is usually a great bargain in an expensive tourist town.
If you find something affordable in Anaheim (ParkPlaceInnandminiSuites, CandyCaneInn.net, Annabella Hotel?) you could always do beach days from there, Crystal Cove state park is a hop skip and a jump down the freeway as is Newport Beach.
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Old Apr 5th, 2010, 10:22 PM
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Thanks for your 2 cents Tracey.

I have just paid for my flights. We arrive in LA at 7am on the 11th of June and depart on the 14th of July. I have managed to bring it forward a month and extend it by a few days so I will be reworking my schedule. Should be in Vegas around the 4th of July.

The only dissapointment so far is that we wont be in SanFran for a Giants game unless we go to Tahoe first and save Yosemite for after SF. Will this be too much bactracking and extra travel just for a game of baseball? WE will actually arrive on the weekend that the Angels play the Dodgers so we might try and get tix for one of thoose games and then go to a game in Sandiego at the end of our trip.

I have tried to get accomadation at Camp Curry in Yosemite and there doesnt seem to be anything available. What would be the best plan B?
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 06:01 AM
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When you rework your schedule, it would be desirable to include a visit to Sequoia National Park. It has the 5 largest trees in the world including of course THE largest, the General Sherman Tree. The grandeur of the forest can't be described. It must be experienced.

It's only a 4 hour drive south of Yosemite, which you may have gathered, is in danger of being loved to death.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Thankyou dbdurand. Can you recommend any onsite accomodation in the park?
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 12:34 PM
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For Yosemite lodging, you might get lucky closer to your trip as people cancel reservations that they have, so keep trying for something in Yosemite Valley - but make cancellable reservations someplace else. The towns of El Portal and Mariposa are outside of Yosemite on Hwy 140. Groveland is a good option on Hwy 120. Then south of the park, the towns of Oakhurst and Fish Camp are good options.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 12:47 PM
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My Aussie relatives stayed at Evergreen Lodge just outside Yosemite when they visited in 2008. They really liked it. They stayed in a little cabin which had a kitchen. There is also a restaurant on the premises and they said it was perfect for families. It is near Hetch Hetchy, which is beautiful for hiking. Evergreen is just off the Highway 120 entrance to Yosemite (near Groveland).

I think you will be pleased with your new time schedule for the trip, as you will most likely avoid the monsoon season that hits the southwest in August.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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I have mananged to get 3 nights at Camp Curry. THe only issue is that the dates available were the week before what I had planned.

This will mean that we will head to Yosemite from Monterey/Santa Cruz and go to SanF after that. I realise that this is not the ideal. Is there a better way to tackle this?
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 02:34 PM
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I think that rearranging your itinerary to accomodate being able to stay in Yosemite valley is a good idea. I don't remember the whole of your itinerary, but Monterey-Yosemite-SF is definitely doable. Lots of people visit these three places in that order.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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OK...After much searching and tweaking, I have what I hope is a workable itinerary but I just need some help with the final details. Flights and Camp Curry are booked and paid for and I have booked a car for the entire trip with National, though this can be cancelled if any better deals come up.

JUNE 11TH....Fly in LA at 7AM.

We plan to stay in the LA/Anaheim area for 6 nights and we will do 3 days at Disney (Mon 14th-16th)

My question here is would it be a good idea just to book a Hotel near Disney, like the Howard Johnson, for the entire stay, get a 3 day flexible Disney pass and visit other attractions from there? Will it be too far from there to do day trips to other places around LA (Griffith Observatory/Hollywood etc)?

The other option is an LA based hotel for 3 nights then move to Anaheim for 3.

JUNE 17TH-20TH.....VEGAS and GRAND CANYON.

Will leave Anaheim early on the 17th and drive to Vegas.

I am leaning towards spdending one night there, then one at the GC South RIM and then come back to Vegas for another 2 as there are a few shows that we want to take the kids to. I know there will be many of you that will suggest more time at the GC/ Zion etc but I dont want to put the kids into Canyon overload. I will book this part last in case I have a change of heart.

JUNE 21ST-23RD....YOSEMITE

I have got Camp Curry for 3 nights. My one issue here is the LONG drive from Vegas to the park. I am estimating about 8 hours. We will leave pre-dawn and want to stop off on the way to break the drive. Where would you suggest? Is there a better way to do this?

JUNE 24th-28th....SANFRANCISCO.

Will book a "Mystery" Hotel deal through Hotwire. Which area would you suggest staying in? They have 4* Union SQ East for $109 or 4* Embarcadero for $136. What do you think?

We will book into a Giants game and a trip to Alcatraz and do the rest on the spur, depending on moods.

Any suggestions on where we can park that wont break the bank?

JUNE 29TH-JULY 2ND....LAKE TAHOE.

Still looking around for deals. Leaning towards the North but everything seems expensive. Would like a lake view for around $200 a night. Is this possible?

JULY 3RD-5TH....SANTA CRUZ/MONTEREY/SANTA BARBARA ?????

This will be the drive back south on route to San Diego. I was thinking of Santa Cruz for 2 nights then 1 in Santa Barbara. This will give me 3 drives of around 4 hours of road time, obviously with extra time for stops and side trips. Does this make sense? Would there be a better plan? I can steal an extra night from San Diego if it is really necessary.

JULY 6TH-13TH....SAN DIEGO/LA

We fly out late night on the 14th, so will have 8 nights.

I would probably prefer to stay the whole time at La Jolla but I still may go back to LA for a few nights as we want a day at Universal Studios. Is it practical to go there from La Jolla?

Hotwire have 3* for $163 and 4* for $179 in the La Jolla area. Would like to walk to the beach but this is about the extent of my budget.

Thats the plan....Only just over 2 months to go, I will be counting sleeps soon.

Thank you all for your generous advice, if you can add anything that will help me fill in the gaps, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 07:04 PM
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Be sure to prebook the hotel for the July 4th weekend. It is a major holiday in the US and many people travel that weekend.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Just to be certain - on Hotwire, you said 4 people, right? Otherwise, you'll only be guaranteed one bed -- but with 4 people, they kind of have to give you two beds!

I'm not certain which hotel is the 4* in Union Square East, but all the choices shown on betterbidding would be absolutely fine. I come up with no hotels in the Embarcadero area for your dates.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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Hint for SF:

I just paid $104 per night on travelzoo.com for the Westin on Market, (which is really on Berry street) in San Francisco.. guaranteed two queen beds. Parking in the public lot nearby was $25 per night without in and out privledges... which is FINE in the City because walking, the muni and taxis can get you where you need to go!! It's right near the Powell Street station and very convenient to union square, the financial district, embarcadero and public transportation. If you can get a sure thing with less expensive parking, id do it!
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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the hotwire hotels can tend to disappear so book ASAP or be patient and hope the one you want comes back onboard.

I see a $99, very high customer satisfaction at F. Wharf and a $105 at Union sq. I would take the highest customer satisfaction /star rating proportion .. can't go wrong. The Hotwire list will change even during the same day..there are some "regulars" but hotels are added all the time.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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parking options

http://sanfrancisco.bestparking.com/index.php

also works for other big cities. a real find!
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 12:17 AM
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That parking site is fantastic. Thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 12:46 AM
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If you can swing Lake Tahoe over the 4th of July you will be treated to wonderful fireworks over the lake. We stay at the Hyatt in Incline Village, 2 miles from Sand Harbor. It's a beautiful area. You might check out The Crown Motel on the lake in King's Beach. They are located lake front and have a water activity desk on the property.

http://www.tahoecrown.com/lake-front-lodging

http://www.tahoe.com/article/2007041...03/-1/EVENTS05
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 03:12 AM
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disney specials that might be of interest

http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disn...ferPage&bhcp=1
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 09:03 AM
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>>


Moneygirl, I live here, so I'm not sure why this hint was for me!
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Between Anaheim and Monterey there is Hearst Castle and the elephant seals a couple miles north of it. It may be worthwhile to stop to see these sights, but then pushing it to continue to Monterey. You may have to backtrack to Morro Bay to find accommodations--between Hearst Castle and Monterey, there are relatively few accommodations and they would require reservations. But if you can stay in Santa Lucia, you probably would not regret it--the hamlet consists of an old motel (my parents stayed there 45 years ago) which has an unbeatable location over the ocean.
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