California Road Trip

Feb 21st, 2012, 01:39 PM
  #1  
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California Road Trip

My teenage girls and I would like to fly into California from PA. for Spring Break. Would like to experience California Coast and it's popular cities/Redwoods. We have 6 days. Any suggestions on airports/cities/hotels/iteniary etc. would be helpful. Thank you. Plus we don't need to fly in and out of the same airport. I really don't want to back track.
Angel3 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 01:45 PM
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With those interests and that amount of time, I would fly in and out of one of the Bay Area airports (SFO, SJC, OAK) and visit SF, the Santa Cruz mountains (redwoods) and the Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterey, Carmel). Santa Cruz and Capitola are more beachy - wide, sandy beaches, surf culture, the Boardwalk, etc. Monterey and Carmel are more about beautiful coastline - rocky with small beaches tucked in here and there, lots of marine life, some good tide pools. Carmel itself does have a very beautiful sandy beach though.
november_moon is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 02:11 PM
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Would like to experience California Coast and it's popular cities/Redwoods.

*For the coast, drive Highway 1 from Ventura to Monterey.
*For popular cities, visit Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco (it would be inconvenient to include San Diego).
*For redwoods, visit Muir Woods or Big Basin Redwoods State Park--both near San Francisco.

Muir Woods can be easily combined a drive to the Napa Valley (or Sonoma Valley).

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 04:45 PM
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I like Monterey area and San Francisco. I usually agree with HTTY---But, yes Muir Woods and Big Basin are redwoods, but nothing like Redwood National Park, which is far northern CA. Specifically, Prairie Creek area and Stout Grove area. My very favorite trees are in Sequoia National park though. Yosemite would be 3rd.

You could do San Francisco for a couple of days and then head North or South. I don't think you will have time for both. Another interesting place just North of Muir Woods is Point Reyes National Seashore. If you go South towards Monterey, then I would go as far as Hearst Castle.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Point Lobos near Carmel/Monterey area is another good spot. If you go as far as Hearst Castle then you will pass by the very pretty McWay Falls.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 07:12 PM
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Simple. Fly into San Francisco, (second most popular). 2 days SF. 2 days down coast to LA. 2 days LA (most popular). Fly out.

For SF, see:
http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/...city-guide.htm

For LA, see:
http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/...city-guide.htm

"Down coast" is covered in preceding posts. While you're at it, visit one of the 21 California Missions. Carmel or Santa Barbara are good choices.

This is a whirlwind trip and some of the Elders on these boards may disapprove. But hey. You've only got 6 days.

There may also be some clucking about drop-off charges. But since you don't want to back track, you just pay them. You can get an idea of how much by going to a car rental web site and putting in some data.
dbdurand is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Skip Napa/Sonoma wine country. Big yawn for teens.
MichelleY is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 07:47 PM
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>>San Francisco, (second most popular)...... LA (most popular)<<

According to Who ?????

Just about everything I've read in polls, travel magazines, non-travel magazines, have ranked SF as the most popular tourist destination in the US.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 08:10 PM
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San Francisco, (second most popular)...... LA (most popular)

According to Who ?????


I'm reminded of Woddy Allen's parents in "Stardust Memories" arguing which ocean was better--the Atlantic or the Pacific.

In 2010 Los Angeles airport serviced 59,000,000 passengers compared to 39,250,000 at the San Francisco airport.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 08:31 PM
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Not worth arguing about. Reverse it if you like. I think it's a reasonable itinerary. I forget where I got the data. It was on an internet list of cities and the number of tourists visiting per year. (That same list showed New York way above any other cities in the US. I find that very believable because of its relative proximity to Europe compared with the west coast.)

Anyway, I gotta go do dishes.
dbdurand is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 09:33 PM
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Of course, LAX would see more traffic. Los Angeles has a population of 3,792,621 as compared to a San Francisco population of 805,235. LA's pop. is over four and a half times larger than SF's, so, theoretically, you've got four and half times more locals travelling through LAX than through SFO.

Comparison of mere numbers doesn't tell the whole story.


Anyhow, to get back to the OP: one would need a car to visit LA because it is so spread out whereas one does NOT need a car for San Francisco. It's best to use SF public transportation. You might want to factor this into your considerations of where you want to spend the majority of your time.

You could do dbdurand's itinerary or you could spend 3 days in San Francisco, fly down to LA and spend 3 days there. Six days really isn't much time.

Whatever you decide, have a find trip!
easytraveler is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 10:39 PM
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I agree with november moon's ideas, and I would probably try to fly in to the Bay Area, then drive directly to Carmel. Stay there for 3 nights, and be sure to go to Big Sur where there are redwoods and a spectacular coastline. You can also go kayaking in Monterey, go to the beach in Carmel, and drive through Santa Cruz on your way to San Francisco. Stay in SF for 3 nights, where you can either spend all of your time in The City, or go to Sausalito, Tiburon, Berkeley, etc. You can easily fly in and out of SFO (even though you said you don't want to backtrack).

If you think your daughters have in mind warm weather, sunbathing on the beach, seeing and being seen,etc., Southern California might be a better option. Spring break in Northern California can be chilly, but who knows this year.
MRoo is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 10:49 PM
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Oops, that should be "fine trip"
easytraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Thank you all so much for the wonderful information. I guess I visioned in my head that I could easily fly into SF stay two nights then drive down and see some of the sights on the way to LA. I mapquested the trip and it's about a 6hr. drive. Easy enough for me. We are free spirited girls and like to fly into somewhere and take off and work our way through our travels. Actually, we've only done that once. LOL...

My plan was: San Fran fly in on Friday...stay next to Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge...very simple. I've been there before so I sort of know what to expect and what my girls like to see. They are more anxious to get to Hollywood/LA. On Third day start heading south, get to LA on the 4th. day...

I just want to see what is worth seeing on the way down to LA.

Thank you all again.
Angel3 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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"I mapquested the trip and it's about a 6hr. drive."

It isn't - not down the coast or via any scenic route.
janisj is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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No way are you going to drive down the coast in 6 hours. There is 3 days minimum "worth seeing" just on HWY 1. And you could easily spend a week to ten days.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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California is much bigger and takes quite a bit of time to drive. I know because my husband and I live in LA and took a 3 week CA road trip in September and just came back from a week stay in Carmel/Big Sur. If your girls want to see LA, I suggest you fly into SF, stay there a few days, without a car, and then pick up the rental car and drive straight to LA via the 5 fwy (not the coast) as that drive alone will be about 8 hours (if you don't hit traffic). Although I LOVE the Coast/Hwy 1, you need a lot of time to drive it. You know what you and your girls would like most. If you want to see the coast, pick either SF or LA to spend some time in. You can't do it all in that short amount of time.
TerryLFred is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 01:25 PM
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Airfares from SF or San Jose to LA or Long Beach are approx. $100 around trip. See SF, don't rent a car in SF, fly to LA. Rent car, see Hollywood, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach Hiway #1 from LA is amazing coastal drive. Newport Beach, Balboa Island. So much to see in LA. I live in SF and grew up in LA. Teenagers will love the trip. 7 to 8 hrs in car from SF to LA I would avoid. With gas at $4.00 plus a gallon, One way drop off fee for car, your much better flying into LA. Don't forget Jetblue fly's into Long Beach airport ONE way fares. Good luck
ivancpr is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 01:59 PM
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I like November moons ideas. Also the SF to LA route (reversed) or even San Diego to LA, staying in La Jolla and maybe another beach town on the way, then LA where you can check out Santa Monica and Malibu. That might be too much coast.
Austin is offline  
Feb 26th, 2012, 03:16 PM
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It does not take 8 hours to drive from San Francisco to LA via I-5, but it takes quite a bit more than 8 hours driving down the coast.

You could do a couple of days in SF, take two days (one overnight) to drive down the coast and then spend a few days in the LA area.
sf7307 is offline  

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