First time on West coast!

Mar 3rd, 2009, 06:38 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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First time on West coast!

Hi there

My husband and I (in our late 50's) are travelling to the USA and will have 1 week in San Diego. The dilemma is what to do after that!

We will have 6 nights / 7 days in early June to make our way from San Diego to Los Angeles - from where we will depart back to Australia.

We would love to see the Grand Canyon and San Francisco. DH is not too keen to hire a car so would also be interested to hear what our options are regarding transportation.

Would be very grateful for any suggestions you have!

Thank you!
aussietraveller50 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hi Aussie: we are going to San Diego Friday...we go to La Jolla and enjoy the beach, good museums, restaurants, etc., then drift up the coast toward LA, enjoying the sights in a leisurely fashion. From LA, it's easy to San Francisco, or could take some short tours out of SD, but you must bear in mind that there are great distances in USA from points of interest, and without an auto, you must really plan ahead.

As for me, I'd rather see some place up close and personal, than dash about trying to see it all...why not focus on the west coast...lots to see and do.
clarasong is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Could you clarify - you said you have 6 nights/7 days to make your way from San Diego to Los Angeles (about 100 miles). Then you say you want to see San Francisco (about 400 miles north of Los Angeles) and the Grand Canyon (about 500 miles east of Los Angeles). Sorry, but I'm not sure WHAT your plans or desires are.
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 08:29 PM
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I believe they have 6 nights to tour around before ending at LA to catch their return flight. During those 6 nights they would like to visit the Grand Canyon and San Francisco.

aussietraveller, it is going to be difficult to see the Grand Canyon without renting a car. But you CAN do it. Here is one suggestion:

Fly to Las Vegas from San Diego. From LV, you can take an overnight tour to the Grand Canyon South Rim, with a flight from LV to the GC. These depart LV in the morning, so you would have to fly to Las Vegas the day before, and spend a night in LV. But you would get to the Grand Canyon in time to spend the whole afternoon, evening, and next morning. The tours generally include a 3-hour bus tours of viewpoints on the rim of the canyon, followed by time on your own to explore.

If you are interested, make sure that the tour you choose goes to the South Rim, NOT the so-called "West Rim". And for the overnight tours, make sure that they book you at one of the lodges inside the national park, NOT in the nearby town of Tusayan. That way you can spend as much time as you like at the rim of the canyon, exploring, and a choice of several places for dinner.

There are lots of booking agencies for these tours, but there are only two airline companies that fly the planes.

I believe that these each offer the hotel stay at a lodge inside the park, but confirm with them before choosing:

This one is a well-regarded company, but they don't specify that the hotel is inside the park. It's worth asking:

Whichever you choose, you will return to Las Vegas on the following day in plenty of time to catch a flight to San Francisco. That leaves you 3 or 4 nights to spend there, depending on what time you have to be back in LA for you return flight to Australia. (I think most of them leave at night. It this is true of your flight you could spend all 4 nights in San Francisco and return to LA on Day 7 in plenty of time to catch your flight).

You will have no trouble enjoying San Francisco without hiring a car. The public transport is excellent, including from the airport into downtown and back (BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit is what we use).
enzian is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:00 PM
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I'll assume you are spending a week in SD, and then have another week for travel, ending in LA. Not sure what your budget or priorities are.

Grand Canyon is fairly remote, especially if you don't have a car. I'm sure there are bus trips, but 10 hours in a bus crossing the desert can get old. You might be able to fly into Flagstaff, it would only be about an hour trip from there to GC. Alternately, you might be able to fly to Las Vegas and do a helicopter tour from there. There is a small airport at GC, but I don't know of any scheduled air service there.

San Francisco itself is fairly easy to visit without a car, though much of the scenic surrounding area is best visited with a car. There are lots of flights between SF and LA, SD, or Las Vegas. Los Angeles has lots to see as well, but it is easier with a car. I'm sure there are local bus tour companies in SF and LA, but I haven't dealt with them; I think Greyline might be one.
curmudgeon is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:05 PM
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You may want to compare the cost of planes, trains and buses to renting a car.

I curious as to what people do with a week in San Diego? I live here but not sure it's that entertaining for a visitor.
LSky is offline  
Mar 14th, 2009, 05:02 PM
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Thanks everyone. I've been away in Sydney for ten days so a bit strapped for spare time to reply. It's actually 5 days in SD, we're there for a convention and will also tour locally.
Enzian - your suggestions give us a good basis to work with, we are looking at internal flights rather than road travel now and will cut down the destinations!
aussietraveller50 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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aussietraveller50, that's perfect then. Mornings are usually a little gloomy and gray in San Diego. By the time your finished with the convention, things should clear up.
LSky is offline  
Mar 14th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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We went to San Diego in October and while there we booked a one day bus tour to Ensenada, Mexico. We also took in the Internationally renowned San Diego Zoo where we saw the panda bears. The Grand Canyon is far from San Diego. It might be difficult to see with out renting a car.
cooltones57 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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From San Diego, Southwest Airlines has 10 or more daily direct flights to San Francisco or Las Vegas (for the Grand Canyon as above) for as little as $57 to San Francisco if you can travel on a Tuesday through Thursday or $39 to Las Vegas same stipulation if you book as soon as possible. Southwest is at In San Francisco you can take BART, the subway system from the airport to the downtown and not need a car. With six nights, you do not want to drive to San Francisco or the Grand Canyon.
stumpworks73 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 09:44 PM
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Thanks to all the above. We ended up spending one day at the San Diego zoo, then flew to San Francisco for the rest of our stay. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience, took local transport around the city and suburbs, day trip to Yosemite and ferry to Alcatraz. Thought we'd be back this year to spend longer exploring the national parks but we're heading for Lima instead - escorting a widowed friend to visit her son.
Only three nights in LA before flying on to Lima, so not much chance to get out of town, we'll be wrecked after the flight from Oz.
aussietraveller50 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Please tell aussietraveller50, is the day trip to Yosemite worth doing. I will be in San FRancisco in December and trying to decide if we should do the day trip, oh and can I please know who your tour was with. thanks in advance.
millie2112 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 10:16 PM
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I hope you had a good time at the San Diego Zoo, things didn't warm up around here until after the 4th of July.
LSky is offline  
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