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-   -   Help Needed-CA Itinerary (LA, Coast, Yosemite, San Fran) (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/help-needed-ca-itinerary-la-coast-yosemite-san-fran-1269703/)

abbotta Apr 6th, 2017 03:58 AM

Help Needed-CA Itinerary (LA, Coast, Yosemite, San Fran)
 
My husband and I, along with our teenage kids (2 boys, 14 yrs. old and 2 girls, 17 yrs. old) will be traveling to California for the first time in mid July. We already have airline tickets flying into LA (Burbank) and flying out of San Francisco. We need some help with our itinerary. Do we have time to drive up the coast (we really want to do the Big Sur area) and drive over to Yosemite and really spend some time there, if we do, where should we cut over? What are some "must do" items with teenagers?

Day 1- Fly into Burbank (noon)
Day 2-LA to somewhere on the coast
Day 3-coast to Yosemite?
Day 4-Yosemite
Day 5-Yosemite to coast?
Day 6-San Fran
Day 7-San Fran
Day 8- Fly out of San Fran (early morning)

sludick Apr 6th, 2017 05:17 AM

Are you aware of the situation at Big Sur? http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/2...ong-highway-1/

MmePerdu Apr 6th, 2017 08:16 AM

I'd suggest driving from LA to the coast at Morro Bay or Cambria and San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle, stay in Cambria. Then Hwy 46 & 41 all the way to Yosemite.

Since it appears you have no interest in LA, I'd drive directly to Cambria on arrival at Burbank, about 4 hours. Visit Hearst Castle, if it interests you in the morning, then head out for Yosemite, also about a 4+ hour drive. Stay wherever you can get reservations (do it now) in proximity to the park.

Because you will not have stopped in LA it gives you another day in SF which will be a good thing. If you don't want another day in SF then spend it on your way to SF, north from Yosemite in the Gold Country along Hwy 49.

janisj Apr 6th, 2017 09:54 AM

You cannot drive through Big Sur a bridge is out and it will be at least 9 months before it is rebuilt. Probably longer. But you can see the very southern bits and the very northern bits.

So drive from Bob Hope up the coast (San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Cambria). Use that as a base for San Simeon and maybe a quick exploration along the southern part of Big Sur.

Then head to Yosemite.

Then over to Monterey/Carmel - where you would need to stay 2 nights since it will take half a day to get there from YNP. There you can visit Pt Lobos, the northern part of Big Sur, Monetey, Carmel etc.

Then SF

Book Yosemite immediately - it is probably already too late to get something in the Valley -- so book at Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal or a condo in Yosemite West (no other accommodations are w/i easy driving distance of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite View would likely be better because they have a liberal cancellation policy. Then you can keep trying for a place in Yosemite Valley.

jent103 Apr 6th, 2017 10:07 AM

Yosemite is incredible, but one full day for it with all that driving seems like a WHOLE lot of driving for not much return. Have you already made reservations? I planned a relatively last-minute trip about this time last year for June, and there was no lodging left in the park, which meant we had to stay about an hour and a half outside the Valley entrance. Yosemite is worth the effort, but it's not a quick visit by any stretch.

janisj Apr 6th, 2017 10:20 AM

Oh -- I wouldn't do it for just one night . . . With all the driving (and in July the traffic in to Yosemite can be VERY slow) you would only have a few hours in the Valley. You would want 2 nights there. Dropping the night in LA nets an extra night to use up north

jamie99 Apr 6th, 2017 12:14 PM

I would just drive from LA to Yosemite area (you need to book lodging NOW and may have to call daily to get a cancellation inside the park if possible), then drive to Monterey with a peek at the northern end of Big Sur, then over to SF.
Good luck with getting teens moving early, my parents gave us the choice of an extra hour sleep or breakfast.

abbotta Apr 7th, 2017 03:51 AM

Thank you for the suggestions! I had not heard about the Big Sur area bridge being out until September. I have no interest in the Los Angeles area but our kids want to see the Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame and one of the piers/beaches. Also, if we do a whale watching tour, is the Los Angeles area the best area to do this?

I have been told that there is a hot spring overlooking the ocean that is open to the public starting at 1:00am. Does anyone know about this?

janisj Apr 7th, 2017 11:05 AM

>>being out until September.<<

Likely much longer than September - could be up to a year.

>>Also, if we do a whale watching tour, is the Los Angeles area the best area to do this?<<

There are many whale watching tours out of Monterey, San Francisco, etc.

>>one of the piers/beaches.<<

Instead of bogging down in LA -- go to Santa Cruz for beaches, board walk etc.

>>I have been told that there is a hot spring overlooking the ocean that is open to the public starting at 1:00am. Does anyone know about this?<<

You may be thinking of Esalen. I wouldn't -- it is in the southern end of Big Sur and would involve a lot of detouring.

sludick Apr 7th, 2017 11:39 AM

Here's my 2 cents for a whale watching tour out of Monterey. We used Monterey Bay Whale Watch - they also have a marine biologist on board their boat.

http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com/

Patty Apr 7th, 2017 01:52 PM

Whale watching is more reliable along the central coast than in southern CA. July is humpback season in the Monterey Bay with possible blue whale sightings.

I would choose between the southern (north from Cambria) or northern (south from Monterey) portion of Hwy 1 through Big Sur as the bridge closure requires backtracking which will take extra time.

jamie99 Apr 7th, 2017 02:47 PM

You can park at Hollywood and Highland shopping center for low coast with validation for several hours and view the sign from there (or Griffith Park) and you are right next to the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. This should take only 1-2 hours max. I'd take the kids to the Santa Monica Pier.
Esalen's website says they are closed until June 9 when they will reopen for workshops, no word on the spa.

Phototrips Apr 7th, 2017 06:50 PM

Second the suggestion to stay in Morro Bay= lots of lodging- so better chance at affordable prices. Lots of activities- bikes, kayak, just walking and variety of places to eat!

Book Yosemite ASAP- staying the park is preferable but rooms book a year in advance- staying in the park allows you to enjoy ranger activities at night, and other things you might not do if you have to think about driving out each night.

Drop off your car- when you get to San Francisco- expensive to park in the heart of the city and so many public transit options and your feet of course! Love San Francisco- IF you want to see ALCATRAZ book those tickets ahead of time online-
IF you wait they are often sold out for days!

abbotta Apr 12th, 2017 05:04 AM

Thank you all for your input! We have decided on the following:

Day 1- Burbank/Hollywood a few hours (then drive towards Sequoia NP)
Day 2- Sequoia NP (then drive to Oakhurst VBRO, CA at Yosemite)
Day 3- Yosemite all day (Oakhurst VBRO)
Day 4- Yosemite morning (then drive to Monterey VBRO)
Day 5- Monterey VBRO all day
Day 6- Monterey morning (then drive to San Fran)
Day 7- San Fran
Day 8- San Fran
Day 9- Fly out of SFO

Any "must do's" at Sequoia, Yosemite, Monterey or San Fran?

janisj Apr 12th, 2017 07:44 AM

Looks good --

>>Oakhurst VBRO, CA at Yosemite<<

just realize a place in Oakhurst is not IN Yosemite. It is about 90 minutes from Yosemite Valley.

dbdurand Apr 12th, 2017 08:13 AM

One "must do" at both Sequoia and Yosemite is to get your Junior Ranger badges. No upper age limit, really. I fully expect to get mine at the next National Park or National Monument that has the program and i'm 89 years old. They will humor me, I'm sure. At Yellowstone the upper age group is "13 to 113".

Patty Apr 12th, 2017 03:27 PM

Whale watching from Monterey, kayaking either in Monterey Bay or Elkhorn Slough (half way between Monterey and Santa Cruz), hiking in Point Lobos, Garrapata, Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur (hopefully the latter two will have reopened by July).

Underhill Apr 12th, 2017 04:05 PM

Please try to say SF instead of San Fran: it really grates on local ears.

As for must-do in San Francisco, what most interests you? You'll find just about everything.


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