California Road Trip Help

Old Mar 29th, 2024, 08:49 AM
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California Road Trip Help


We have 6 nights in California.

Day 1 - Land in San Francisco. We have been to SFO before and are really just landing here so we can go to Yosemite (2nights) before driving to LA for a work event. (2 nights) and then flying home from LA.

The question is, we have 2 nights after we arrive in San Francisco before our reservation at Yosemite Valley. Would it be a good idea to drive straight from the SFO airport to Carmel/Monterey area for the first 2 nights? Or do you have other suggestions? As I said we have been to SFO before but never outside of the city so would love to check out the surroundings we just don't want to be driving the entire trip since it's about 2 hours from SFO to Monterey and then 4 hours to Yosemite and then 6 hours to LA.

Thank you so much for an advice or suggestions.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 09:00 AM
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Heading straight to the Monterey peninsula would be the easiest and a good use of your time. You could visit Henry Cowell Redwood state Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains en route depending on what time you land at SFO.

Or another completely different option would be to head east across the Central Valley to the Gold Rush foothills along Hwy 49. Little towns/villages, MANY vineyards/wineries, Calaveras Big Trees, caves, Columbia State Historic Park and easy access to Yosemite. Stay anywhere between Plymouth/Sutter Creek in the north and Sonora in the south.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 09:46 AM
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The Monterey area is fantastic - we did that from the San Jose airport. We drove down to Santa Cruz (the traffic back into the city was INSANE, but luckily we were leaving the city) and did the Marine Center - we happened upon a terrific lady who really knew her stuff and it was a great visit. Then we drove south to Moss Landing where we rented kayaks and paddled with hundreds of otters, pelicans and seals - fantastic. Then we drove into Carmel where we stayed for a few days - the sunsets are superb. We took a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium - you must do that as it is one of the best in the world.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 11:05 AM
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Going to Monterey/Carmel sounds like the best idea. You can go on a Monterey Bay Whale Watch tour; view the 1855 Point Pinos Lighthouse and 1794 San Carlos Catheral; and hike the Sea Lion Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 11:12 AM
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JanisJ offers 2 options. I think the second one is better since it is less running around overall, and allows early access to Yosemite on the first day, to get a hike in. With only 2 nights, I don't know how you will choose to spend your only day in Yosemite, there are so many rewarding and different hikes. However if the trip is mid-June to Labor day Yosemite may be too crowded to enjoy.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:41 PM
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Thanks everyone for some great advice
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