Is this California trip doable?

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Aug 8th, 2003, 09:26 PM
  #1
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Is this California trip doable?

Message: Traveling with teenagers so they don't want to be gone a long time.
1st day, arrive LA late
2nd Day LA area-Hollywood?, leave late afternoon, drive to San Luis Obisco
3rd Day, Hearst Castle in morning, drive RT1
along coast. maybe stop at Santa Cruz for roller coaster or Big Basin Redwoods. Arrive SFO (hotel near Airport)
4th and 5th day, SFO(alcatraz at noon). Golden gate park?, leave late 5th day
Arrive Mariposa(outside Yosemite)
6th day Yosemite, leave at dinner time, arrive Bakersfield
7th day LA again, maybe a beach day, redeye flight at night

Most of the heavy duty travel will be in the evening hours;


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Aug 8th, 2003, 10:28 PM
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There is way too much on your trip itinerary for just 7 days. The trip would require 1,000 miles of driving.

I would recommend the following itineray for 7 days:

Day 1 and 2: Los Angeles

Day 3: Drive to San Luis Obispo

Day 4: Take Hearst Castle morning tour, drive up highway 1 through Big Sur and up to Monterey and stay the night. Reservations are a must for Hearst Castle.

http://hearst-castle.org/

Day 5 and 6: Yosemite. Preferably try to stay in a place in the Valley to save a 40 minute drive each way to the Valley Floor from outside the park. The places in the Valley are Yosemite Lodge, Ahwahnee, and Curry Village. Make reservations ASAP

http://yosemitepark.com/

Day 7: Los Angeles

I am not sure why you have Bakersfield on your itinerary, unless you ae visiting family or friends, there is not much to see there.

With your time constraints, I would save Santa Cruz, Big Basin, San Jose, SF, etc. for another trip.

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Aug 8th, 2003, 11:01 PM
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BAKERSFIELD IS THERE ONLY AS A PLACE TO STAY AFTER YOSEMITE ON THE WAY BACK TO LA
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Aug 8th, 2003, 11:18 PM
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The drive from Yosemite to LA is 300 miles, about 5.5 hours. If your up to it, I would go ahead and drive to LA from Yosemite without stopping. Otherwise, Bakersfield would be a logical point to overnight on the way.
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Aug 9th, 2003, 09:09 AM
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I love to pack a lot into a roadtrip, but even I would have to admit that I think you have too much planned. To have anytime to enjoy the area, I think you're going to have to make a choice between San Francisco or Yosemite.

You'll have to decide if you're looking for a city based stop or a few days enjoying nature. You can't lose with either choice. Yosemite is beautiful, but San Francisco is a great city. I guess you just need to decide what your family enjoys most.

If you go the Yosemite route, I think Hammond has mapped out a good itinerary.

If you can hit San Luis Obispo on a Thursday evening, be sure to wander around Farmer's Market - great bbq choices for dinner! While SLO has a nice downtown area and you might enjoy making a stop to wander around, I'd suggest that you head up the coast a little for your evening stay. Morro Bay, Cayucos and Cambria are all good choices for beach community lodging.

Make your reservations for the Hearst Castle, since the tours sell out.
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Aug 9th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Just some random thoughts
2nd Day - Do you have definite ideas as to what you want to see in LA? There isn't much to see in Hollywood, and because of rush hour starts at 3 p.m., you may want to head north before "late afternoon". There is plenty of traffic until past Santa Barbara.

5th day - leave early (noon?)..again, traffic.

7th day - a beach day near the airport would be convenient. Or, on the I-5 south of Castaic (Valencia) is Six Flags Magic Mountain. Teenagers might like the thrill rides. Check for hours, the earlier arrival, the better - The coke cans have buy one ticket, get one free. The cans also have $5 off on Hurricane Harbor water park which is adjacent to Magic Mountain. Bakersfield to Valencia would be about 1 1/2 hours. Again, leave on time for traffic and your flight.

Teenagers can be a bit restless, but I think your itinerary will eliminate that.

Have a great trip!
 
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Aug 9th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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We did a very similar trip two years ago. You should look into flying out of San Francisco instead of driving back to LA. When we did the trip the rental car rate and the flights were same price as flying into and out of the same airport.

We flew into SFO. Spent two nights in SF, two nights in Mariposa with a full day in Yosemite, drove down Route 1 with a night in San Simeon (skipped the castle), and two nights & three days in LA. We flew back out of Orange County airport.

A trip like this will only hit the highlights, although we saw everything we wanted in SF, Yosemite and LA. The drive along the coast will take a long time. Let me know if you want any more details or tips.

Rich
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Aug 9th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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I am already committed to flying in and out of LA(we get $200 tickets) and a 200 weekly car rental(mini-van). I have to judge whether the castle is worth while for the 20yr olds twins and 10 yr old.

How long does it take to do the Route 1 trip from Hearst to Monterey and on to SFO. Any particular places to stop in route. For the kids, was thinking of stopping in Santa Cruz for the famous roller coaster instead of using a whole day at a theme park. A lot of the driving for the trip is done in the evening hours.(except the Rt 1 part).
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Aug 9th, 2003, 03:03 PM
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If Hollywood isn't worth while, what are some suggestions for our 1.5-2 days in SFO and LA. We already have reservations for Alcatraz?
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Aug 9th, 2003, 03:30 PM
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I'd stick with the southern half of the state, and skip all the driving around. You'll spend so much time driving from one place to the next you're not going to be able to enjoy the places you do want to stop. In LA, there's LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits; the Getty; Disney, Knott's and Six Flags, Universal Studios; shopping and restaurants; beaches and just plain ol' looking around. Go south to San Diego and see Sea World and/or the Zoo or just explore. Depending on what time of year you are going, catch a Dodger or Padre game. Take the boat out to Catalina to fill a day. Go south of the border and see Mexico. Go out to the desert Lots of nice beach communities between LA and SLO (Malibu, Santa Barbara) and on to San Simeon. Hearst Castle really doesn't take that long to tour, so I wouldn't plan on doing much else right around there. I wouldn't go any further north on that trip though -it's too much driving to get from place to place without enjoying each place. Save the northern half for the time when you find cheap tickets into SFO.
Just the thoughts of a California girl...
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Aug 9th, 2003, 04:03 PM
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It took us 7 hours to drive from Monterey to San Simeon with a detour on the 17 mile drive. The scenery is spectacular and you will want to pull over often. This is arguably the most scenic drive in America.
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Aug 9th, 2003, 04:26 PM
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I agree you have a full itinerary, and you probably have your mind set on seeing it all.

2nd day - Hollywood/Highland Complex. Manns Chinese Theater is there with the footprints (lots of fun to check out the foot and hand prints, and the "characters that are walking around"; the Walk of Stars/Fame is there; on the 4th level of shopping complex (next door to Mann's) you can see the Hollywood sign (or part of it - forgot). That can take most of the morning.

On your way to SLO, you can get off the freeway (the exit is on the left and says Beaches) at Santa Barbara - walk along the beach, walk out on Stern's Wharf, eat lunch, etc. Lovely spot. Then head to SLO.

Day 5 - if that's your Alcatraz trip day, leave after that for Mariposa as planned, and get an early start into Yosemite on Day 6.

For an informative trip, you may want to take the guided 2 hour tram in the Valley. You can also make reservations ahead of time. The waterfalls at this time of year are pretty lame. The Visitors Center has plenty of information, and a short video that is excellent and gives you a greater appreciation of this area.

Day 7 - You may need this extra day, so be flexible about this one. Many suggestions have been already given.
 
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Aug 9th, 2003, 05:19 PM
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If your kids are restless travelers they will be more so after seeing all those parts of California from the back seat of your car. Because - you have left yourselves very little time to get out of the car.

1000 miles doesn't sound like too much for 7 days - but it is if half of it is on Hwy 1 and another bit is in Yosemite and the Sierras.

Unfortunately, if the airport is set in stone, the car is set in stone, alcatraz booking is set in stone, and so on - you don't have much wiggle room here to change things.

But some things to think about - there really is not much of interest in Hollywood and in 1+ day you won't have much time for other things in LA. So consider driving straight up the coast from LAX. Unless " arrive late" means 11 PM you could get up the coast to Santa Barbara, SLO, Morro Bay or even Cambria that evening. Then the rest of your trip won't be quite so rushed since you are already 1/2 way up the coast.

And if you do land REALLY late, I'd stay near the airport and head up the coast the next morning.

Now - about Bakersfield - there absolutely is no reason for you to stay over night there. Either drive all the way back to LA or if you simply want to stop somewhere, you could stay in the San fernando Valley
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Aug 9th, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Way too much driving. You will need a vacation after the vacation.
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Aug 9th, 2003, 07:55 PM
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Any ideas on whether its worth the stop at Hearst Castle? Its kind of expensive. Where along Rt 1 should we stop? How long will it take from Hearst along Rt.1 to Monterey(not including stops) then how much additional to SFO.
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Aug 10th, 2003, 08:04 PM
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We are now takeing a 6AM flight instead of a 6PM flight the first day(no extra charge) to give us extra time. Believe it or not, my wife wanted us to include Tahoe too. Couple of questions, what are must sees north of Hearst along rt 1. and what temp is it in Yosemite(colder than SFO)?
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Aug 10th, 2003, 08:27 PM
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Day 3 looks tough. If you spend the night in SLO, the morning drive to Hearst Castle will take at least 45 minutes. Most tours take at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours and then the drive from San Simeon to Monterey along Highway 1 will take anywhere from 6 to 7 hours to reach Carmel. Santa Cruz is an hour to the north and SFO a minimum of 2 hours more, depending on traffic and your exact destination. That's 13 hours without accounting for breaks, picture stops, meals or just hanging our looking at the view. (You could drive, if you chose, north from SLo on the 101 instead of the 1 to reach Carmel in three hours, but you would be missing one of the most scenic drives in California! You'll notice that no one, including me, is suggesting this.) The drive on Highway 1 is one that shouldn't be rushed. You'll want to stop for photos and views and for a meal with a view , maybe at Nepenthe, maybe at Rocky Point. Also, just one day in Yosemite is tough, especially if you are staying outside the park. Do try to stay inside and try if you can, to stay for at least 2 days.
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Aug 10th, 2003, 08:54 PM
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you could easily spend an entire week here in socal. i visited the area a few times and then moved here permanently. and i can give you both view points. there's a ton to do. also having driven to san francisco and back several times, i don't see the alure of san luis obisbo. nice town, but between la and san fran you'd have plenty to do and see. the drive up isn't that bad: go up the pch for a bit, then hop onto the 101. the whole trip takes about 6hrs (give or take 30 minutes). enjoy the aroma of garlic country.

and it's always windy in san francisco.
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Aug 10th, 2003, 09:03 PM
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forgot to mention, but when u go to sfo, you cross the golden gate bridge and you come back. but before you cross again, there is a turn off that leads into a park. this road leads you up and up until you get to the top which gives you a perfect view of the whole city. don't know the exact name of the place, but i am sure if you describe it like i did i am sure you'll find some help to get to it.
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Aug 13th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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Since you asked about Hearst Castle (here and in another post) I have to say that I would skip it, between all the other options and the excessive amount of driving you seem intent on doing (despite almost everyone on your posts telling you that it is too much driving.) The extra 12 hours you're getting that first day isn't going to help. Hearst Castle was intersting when I was in the fourth grade but not when I was 27 and went back. (I know that's an unpopular opinion, but there it is.) I also don't think there's that much to do in the nearest towns.
I still think you're biting off more than you can chew. Please tell your wife to give up her dreams of Tahoe on this trip. AND my opinion, is still to skip everything north of SLO (why you're going there, I don't know, other than the beach culture/checking out the school) and save the northern half for another trip - you're doing too much. Eat the tickets to ALcatraz and save yourself the extra effort and stay in the southern half of the state this time. California will likely still be in existence the next time you want to plan a trip there.
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