From San Diego to Fresno - Tips on the Trip

Aug 16th, 2010, 08:28 AM
  #1  
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From San Diego to Fresno - Tips on the Trip

Hi all,

I am going to California with my family of 5 ( wife and kid plus in-laws ), and besides doing the theme park stuff, we´re planning on going to Yosemite and Sequoia National Park using Fresno as a sleeping base.

Thing is, we´re heading north from San Diego and I would like to know how long does it take to travel to Fresno, and if there´s anything worth stopping on the way north.

Any outlets or shopping malls worth taking a detour?


thanks!
Bernardo

PS: Sorry about the double-topic. I didnt tag the first one...
bernardolmendes is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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It would take about 6 hours (depending on traffic could be much more). Once you get thru LA there is nothing at all to see along the way on the 99 freeway.
krgystn is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 10:30 AM
  #3  
 
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We are particularly fond of Hodel's in Bakersfield. It is a buffet place with a really nice salad bar, and lots of other stuff as well. I believe it is on the Olive Ave. exit but I would not swear to that.

No, there isn't much in the way of retail therapy along the way, but you will see our state's agricultural strength. Enjoy the drive.
cferrb is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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"using Fresno as a sleeping base."

Big BIG mistake IMO!

It is a pit and a long drive from Fresno to either park.

Fresno is not a practical place to stay for daily commutes into either park. About 2.5 hours into Yosemite Valley and about the same or a few minutes less to Sequoia.

A huge mistake IMO.
janisj is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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I agree that staying in Fresno is a bad idea for visiting Yosemite and Sequoia. It will take you 2 hours 15 minutes minimum to drive from Fresno to Yosemite Valley. Due to construction on 41 in the park between Wawona and the valley expect delays of up to 1 hour. No construction on the weekends. Here’s a link to the schedule. If you prefer to avoid the construction you can drive to Mariposa and then into the park on 140, that will take 3 hours though.

If you drive to Merced instead of Fresno and then take 140 to El Portal you can stay within 30 minutes of the valley. Then on getaway day drive to the southern part of the park, see Wawona and the Mariposa Grove, exit the park though the south gate and make your way to Sequoia Kings Canyon. Stay nearby and then when you are ready to head back to San Diego you are that much closer to home.
Suzie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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There are factory outlet stores in Carlsbad and LA. No detour required.

http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=66

http://www.citadeloutlets.com/

Grab some really fresh fruit en route from Sequoia to Yosemite on the Fresno County Fruit Trail (recently featured on the Huell Howser show).

http://www.gofresnocounty.com/Fruit%...itTrailMap.htm
dbdurand is online now  
Aug 16th, 2010, 04:01 PM
  #7  
 
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Places worth stopping for.

Any of the following missions. All 4th graders in California study the 21 missions and usually visit one. A good way to appreciate the history of California while it was a Spanish and then Mexican Colony until 1848.

San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, San Fernando. These are all near the I-5. No accident as you will find if you study up a bit.

http://www.californiamissions.com/cahistory/index.html
dbdurand is online now  
Aug 16th, 2010, 04:10 PM
  #8  
 
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More places in the LA area worth stopping for.

Too many to list without knowing what amount of time you want to spend. If the situation is that you're just driving through, then all I can say is that you're missing a lot, but sometimes circumstances rule. See:

http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/l...city-guide.htm
dbdurand is online now  
Aug 16th, 2010, 05:25 PM
  #9  
 
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If you are driving it in one day -- you won't have time to see many/any of the sites dbdurand recommends - maybe San Fernando Mission - but nothing else really. It is just about a full days drive if you stop to eat.
janisj is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 05:44 PM
  #10  
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Wow, great tips and replies everyone, thanks for those!

I´ll try to answer to everybody and clarify a little about my plans

first of all, the trip is a 20 day california trip.

We´re going to San Diego after spending 7 days in Anahein and doing all the theme park stuff.

Then we´re gonna spend 4 days in San Diego and go to the Zoo, Sea World and Legoland.

After that we´re going north to both Sequoia and Yosemite.

Then San Francisco and down the coast to Santa Barbara and back to LA to return to Brazil.

@krgystn we´re thinking of going trhu I15 to avoid LA. Is that a mistake?

@cferrb is that near LA or another city?

@janisj I didn´t think it would take so long to get from Fresno to the Parks. What do you recommend as a sleeping base? We thought of Fresno because it´s a big city with hotel options and other amenities.

@Suzie So you think it´s best for us to stay in El Portal for one night, see the park the next day, stay one more night and the next day exit thru the south gate to sequoia and stay near the park? Maybe the other way around since we´re going to San Francisco after the parks.

@dbdurand Great tips! We´ll visit the mission near Santa Barbara, so I think we´re covered in that area. I am writing down the outlet tips! My wife is going to love it


thanks again for all the feedback!
bernardolmendes is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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I just drove from Fresno (Bullard and 99 area) to Sequoia last weekend and it takes exactly one and a half hours... not two or more. The 180 goes all the way from Highway 41 straight through now but its a gorgeous drive and much faster than "the old days."

That being said, you really need to look at a map. From the south, there is no reason to drive as far as Fresno before going to Sequoia... you can access through the Reedley/Dunlap area.

Then you can drive on the 180 to go through Fresno (spending a night if you wish) on your way up 41 to Yosemitee. Id try to stay closer to or in Oakhurst, Bass Lake or Yosemite Valley.

You don't say when you're coming or how many nights you have to spend so if you want more help, please be more specific.

Have a wonderful trip!
onemoneygirl is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 06:06 PM
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@onemoneygirl I am looking at a map, I just thought that getting from SD to Fresno first and settling in would be a good idea. Then, on the next day, wake up early and head to one of the parks.

So your suggestion is to sleep in one place for each park?

Oh, about the dates, we´re going to California on October 12 and leave San Diego on a Sunday, 24th. We want to go to both parks, so we´ll get from San Diego and sleep on the 24. Then go to one of the parks on the 25 (monday) and get back to the hotel. Then on the 26 go to the next park and back to the hotel. Then finally on the 27 head to San Francisco and stay there for a couple of days...
bernardolmendes is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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You simply DO NOT want to stay in Fresno IMO -- no reason at all.

Trust us on that . . .
janisj is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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bernard, I didn't think about the 15 (I have never taken that route), but it looks like you would still have to cut over to the 5/99... at 101 I guess. So you would still hit the tail end of LA. But it still may be better. Maybe someone else can weigh in on this one.

And agree with what everyone else is saying about Fresno. To put it bluntly: it sux.
krgystn is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:17 PM
  #15  
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but what other city in between both parks would you recommend?

take in mind that we´re a party of 5 people ( 1 kid included ) with lots of baggage...
bernardolmendes is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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How many nights do you have in this area? If coming from LA... I would drive on 99 as far as Visalia, perhaps at the Raddison which is within walking distance from their charming downtown and spend one night before driving to Sequoia.

Are you staying at one of the lodges there overnight? If so, enjoy... if not... you are going to have a very long day. After your time there, drive from Sequoia east on the 180 through Fresno to the 41 and head north to Yosemite. You could stay at one of the places I mentioned before before getting to the park itself and hopefully you are booking at the Yosemite Lodge or Ahwahnee or somewhere within the park.

You could stay in Fresno on the one night but its not as scenic and its a two hour drive from the park, perhaps more with the ongoing construction that others have mentioned.

There is no way you would want to use Fresno as a base to drive back and forth each day to either of the parks, if that is what you had in mind originally.

I loved in Fresno for many years. If you decide that you HAVE to stay there, I can give you restaurants and shopping that will keep your wife very happy but it is not the most desirable city and there are no nice hotels. There is simply no reason to stay there when you are surrounded with beauty like the national parks.

Hope this helps.
onemoneygirl is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:40 PM
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"but what other city in between both parks would you recommend?"

There are NO cities between the two -- they are in the mountains and there are only small towns/villages and hamlets - but lots of places to stay.

For Yosemite try Yosemite West, El Portal, Fishcamp, or Wawona -- or maybe Oakhurst or Mariposa (though the last two are a bit of a drive). And of course always look for cancellations in Yosemite Valley itself.

Driving from Yosemite Valley to Sequoia NP takes at least 4 hours - and often more so you want to stay at two different bases if you want to see both.

For SNP- try Three Rivers.
janisj is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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So drive from San Diego all the way to Sequoia at the lodge there or even at one of the lodges at Hume Lake... spend the day in the area and then stay another night...leaving early for your drive on the 180 to the 41 to yosemite... let;s say four hours... so if you eave at 6 Am... it wil be light and you will get there at 10 Am and have the entire day to explore and stay the night at the lodge or in El Portal and exit on the 140 through merced, back to the 99 and on to San Francisco.

I am trying to give you times and suggestions so that you are doing these drives during daylight hours. The drive to Sequoia is spectacular... and the same for the drive to Yosemite... its part of the wonder of it all and if you drive at night... you will miss SO much of the trip!

Simply put, if you choose to stay in Fresno... you will see each park for a few hours and you would be better off narrowing it down to one park. Is it too late to steal a day from LA or San Diego? lol
onemoneygirl is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:56 PM
  #19  
SEW
 
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If you are not looking at hotel hopping, then Fresno would be a good choice. I used to live there, and can say it's not as horrible as most people make it out to be. It isn't the best city in the world, but neither are San Francisco or Los Angeles.

I would suggest the River Park area near Highway 41 and Nees. There is a large commercial shopping area and lots of restaurant choices. I would also say that if the option to stay in Coarsegold or Oakhurst fit into your plans, you could visit Yosemite for a couple of days without the traffic of traveling back to the valley. You can probably thank the Indian casino for the traffic. It used to be manageable before it was built.

I'm not as familiar with Sequoia, except when we used to camp there as a kid.

I hope you enjoy those parks, they are worthy of the visit.
SEW is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 08:00 PM
  #20  
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the thing about using one hotel for both parks is that we won´t have to visit the parks with all the luggage. Imagine that we´ll have about 5 large luggages and 5 smaller ones.

That´s the reason why I thought of staying in Fresno, but I didnt know it was so bad...

I prefer doing one of the parks right than both of them badly.

Maybe Sequoia is a little more exotic in terms of vegetation and different scenery from what I´m used to in Brazil.

Maybe it´s best if I get from San Diego to a town near Sequoia, sleep there that night, enjoy the Park on the next day and sleep another night in that town and leave early in the morning to drive to San Francisco.
bernardolmendes is offline  

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