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KCNP & LA trip itinerary help please - July

Old Mar 20th, 2019, 09:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 13
KCNP & LA trip itinerary help please - July

We are excited but still need help! King’s Canyon National Park for 3 nights & the LA area for 3 nights for Mom, Dad, 23 y/o son, 16 y/o son traveling in July. Refining trip plans and need help filling the Los Angeles part please!! Any suggestions appreciated!! Thank you!

Thursday July 4: (Tickets are booked) Fly to Fresno; arrive at 3:30pm, rent car and drive to lodge in King’s Canyon National Park for dinner and the night. (Lodge is booked)

Friday July 5: day in KCNP (not sure yet of activities)

**We like horseback riding, zip lining, fishing, seeing wildlife, stargazing, riding ATVs, and small hikes. We do not like long hikes.

Saturday July 6: day in KCNP (not sure yet of activities)

Sunday July 7: check out and drive to LA area ??? (a friend told me to look at staying somewhere around the West Hollywood area but I haven’t booked anything yet. Budget around $200/nt)

**Thoughts/ideas: leave KC early and arrive in Santa Monica / Venice Beach by lunch and rent bikes and stay until sunset? Beach day. And we want to eat great food!

**Need to get an AirBNB somewhere for 3 nights**

Monday July 8: ???
**Thoughts/ideas: considering the entire day at Universal to keep us in one spot OR maybe try snorkeling or something for a more “California experience” day?? (really don’t know what to do)

**Maybe Drive somewhere north to zip line?? We aren’t all museum lovers so not sure about the Getty. My main goal is to have some type of plan so we don’t spend the entire vacation day stuck in traffic trying to get a couple of places to spend the day. We’ve even considered driving down to San Diego for the day, but it seems maybe too far?? I even looked at Palm Springs...

Tuesday July 9: ???
***maybe do the Hollywood Walk of Fame? See a movie in the Chinese theater and take pic in front of Hollywood sign? Seriously considering Michael Bublé concert at Staples Center that night...

Wednesday July 10: (Tickets Are booked) Flying out of Burbank at 11am
mtolar5 is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2019, 09:24 PM
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Just time for one quick comment -- well, two . . .

>>**Thoughts/ideas: leave KC early and arrive in Santa Monica / Venice Beach by lunch and rent bikes and stay until sunset? Beach day. And we want to eat great food!
janisj is online now  
Old Mar 21st, 2019, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2017
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$200/night for four adults is not going to cover it for you.

Our favorite reasonably-priced hotels in the Marina del Rey/Venice Beach area are: The Inn at Venice Beach, The Jamaica Bay Inn, The Kinney (all Pacifica properties).

Recently, we also stayed at The Elan Hotel, by the Beverly Center, and liked it a lot.

Snorkeling isn't something available from Los Angeles, so far as I know. You could take the kids to a beach to try surfing lessons, like at Zuma beach or Malibu.

For restaurant recommendations in L.A., look for Maitaitom's thread. I'll see if I can link it for you.
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 06:41 AM
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Here are two:

Los Angeles Area Restaurants 2018 - Keep On Eating!

Last edited by MoBro; Mar 21st, 2019 at 06:45 AM.
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 06:59 AM
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>> OR maybe try snorkeling or something for a more “California experience” day??
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 07:23 AM
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A couple of thoughts. You only have two days in LA really (not counting the day you arrive). I would not even consider San Diego or Palm Springs given the number of days you have (either is a 2 to 3 hour drive each way even without much traffic).

For the night you arrive, I'd plan to do something night time-appropriate - like Griffith Observatory.
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 07:24 AM
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Even without the long drive from KCNP to SM, I wouldn't head to the beach on a summer weekend and especially not at the end of a holiday weekend. The traffic in the SM area would be epic, the quest for parking just insane, the bike path a zoo.

Options for snorkeling: Abalone Cove off the Palos Verdes Peninsula in L.A. County (hard to find without a guide), La Jolla Cove near San Diego, Channel Islands National Park (aka the Galapagos of North America), and Catalina Island. Unless you're very "hardy," you'd probably want to wear wetsuits.

At the other end of "hardy," daytime temps in Palm Springs would be 100+. I'm not sure what you'd do there on a day trip from L.A.

Other than Universal, it doesn't sound like you're terribly interested in L.A. Maybe you should re-think those days.

FWIW, Buble puts on a great show and you could have a fun time, but, if you're picky about sound quality, Staples Center isn't the best venue for music.
Jean is online now  
Old Mar 21st, 2019, 07:59 AM
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One note on the rental car logistics: Since you plan to fly out of Burbank you can take an Amtrak San Joaquin train out of Fresno about 9:30AM arriving in Bakersfield before noon. The bus from Bakersfield (guaranteed connection) leaves at noon and arrives at Burbank about 2:30PM. The Burbank airport is directly across the street from the Amtrak/Metro station. Rent a car at the Burbank airport for the LA and Santa Monica part of your trip.
For some strange reason the combination of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated as SEKI. If the objective is to see a grove of large Giant Sequoias, remember that the Mariposa Grove is in the south end of Yosemite NP.
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 08:20 AM
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Here (link below) is a long list of restaurants I have compiled. DTLA (and surrounding areas) are a hot spot for dining these days. Some of favorites on this list are:

Maccheroni Republic - great fresh pasta at reasonable prices across the street from Grand Central Market

Fashion and Arts District
Factory Kitchen
Brera Ristorante (formerly Officine Brera)

Silver Lake

Santa Monica

Long Beach (or Laguna Beach for Nick's)

The Arbour

Highland Park
Côté Est
Hippo (not yet reviewed by me)

maitaitom is online now  
Old Mar 21st, 2019, 01:36 PM
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Thank you! This is very helpful!
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Old Mar 21st, 2019, 03:14 PM
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Tomfuller, they most definitely do not need to go to Yosemite to see sequoias. There are plenty of groves in SEKI.

mtolar5, you might consider staying in Pismo Beach or Santa Barbara instead of L.A.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 08:27 PM
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Hello again! Used your advice and appreciate your help so much. We are finally getting some plans nailed down for our upcoming trip in July, and I wanted to run this itinerary by you to ask if it looks reasonable?

July 4 Thursday: Arrive airport in Fresno at 3:30pm; rent car; pick up dinner and picnic lunch food & supplies; drive to John Muir Lodge in Kings CanyonNational Park. Stop at Visitor Center in Grant's Grove and picked up some pamphlets on different walks/hikes etc.(either this evening or the next morning)

July 5 Friday: Kings Canyon National Park
- Early Breakfast at JM Lodge restaurant; pack picnic lunch
- Visit Panoramic Point - right next to John Muir Lodge and the General Grant Tree Loop in the Grant Grove area.
- Drive to Kings Canyon and see Kings River.
- Stop at Boyden Cavern to get an ice cream and just sit by the roaring river. Do the Cavern tour maybe.
- Stop at Grizzly Falls (0.1 mi hike)
- Lunch – picnic
- Walk the Zumwalt Meadow Trail and stop at Canyon Overlook and Roaring River Falls
- Drive back and have dinner at the Lodge
9-10pm Stargazing: Wonders of the Night Sky at JM Lodge
Night at John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park

July 6 Saturday: Sequoia National Park
Breakfast at the Lodge; pack picnic lunch
Morning: Horseback Riding in Kings Canyon (make reservations in advance)
Lunch - picnic
Drive to Sequoia NP to the Giant Forest
- Big Trees Trail, Congress Trail, Crescent Meadow/Log Meadow Trail (see Tharp's Log and Chimney tree)
- Stop at Parker's group, tunnel log, auto log and Dead Giant trail (about 0.2 mile) along the road.
- Giant Forest Museum
Dinner at Wuksachi Lodge (make reservations in advance)
Drive back to Kings Canyon NP in the dark??
Night at John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park

July 7 Sunday: Sequoia National Park
Breakfast at the Lodge; check out this morning
Drive to Sequoia NP and park to catch the Gray Line Shuttle to Moro Rock. Also do Hazelwood Nature Trail & Big Trees Trail.
Lunch at Wuksachi Lodge
Tour Crystal Caves (make reservations in advance)
Leave the park around 4pm and begin driving toward Three Rivers
Dinner on the road; Drive at night and get a hotel in Santa Clarita? (not sure we would make it to Oxnard?)

July 8 Monday
Leave 8am for Point Mugu and the 27 miles scenic drive to Malibu (stop along the way)
Rent bikes and have lunch at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier. Ride the ferris wheel.
Mid-afternoon go to The Grove / Original Farmers Market
Visit La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
Dinner in Koreatown
Night in Glendale Airbnb -- (I know it's a little drive, but we just chose Glendale bc it's close to BUR airport for when we fly home. Also, we just couldn't land on one place closer to the coast with our budget and stay for 2 nights in a row. Any other suggestions are appreciated!)

July 9 Tuesday
Breakfast somewhere awesome?
Whale Watching Tour? (where?? Newport Beach??)
Lunch somewhere awesome? (we LOVE Mexican food - both authentic & "Tex-Mex")
Hollywood Walk of Fame and pic with the Hollywood sign. Chinese Theater?
Visit Griffith Observatory after dinner
Night in Glendale Airbnb

July 10 Wednesday: Fly out of Burbank at 11am
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 09:14 PM
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Just a quick comment -- I think your whole LA/OC section (Monday/Tuesday) is close to impossible. You are driving all over heck and gone crossing the LA basin multiple times, and not allowing any time for traffic.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 07:34 AM
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If you can stay at Wuksachi Lodge on July 6 you'll be better positioned for the Sequoia activities. And avoid the long hour drive two times between there and John Muir Lodge.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 07:44 AM
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I agree with janisj about your L.A. plans. I don't think you have a sense of how long it takes to get around. L.A. is huge.

An Airbnb farther west would be more convenient. Burbank, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys...

Forget renting bikes in Venice/SM. You don't have time to actually ride them anywhere unless you skip other things. Like, the Grove... Why the Grove? It's just a shopping center, albeit attractive but still just a shopping center. If you're staying in Glendale, you could visit the Americana shopping center which was built by the same developer.

IMO, the Farmers Market is also skippable if you're running out of time. If your sons are more into cars than shopping, they'd probably rather go to the nearby Petersen Automotive Museum.

I'd think twice (or three times) about the whale watching idea. If you're staying in Glendale, you'd first have to get to a place where the boat tours start. That's at least an hour in morning traffic. Newport Beach would be two hours. And there's no guarantee you'll see whales. If you do go, be sure everyone takes meds to deal with seasickness.

You can find great Mexican food all over L.A., sometimes in places that don't look impressive from the outside, sometimes from food trucks. It all depends on where you'll be at lunch time.
Jean is online now  
Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 01:02 PM
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July 8 is too busy, you need a better grasp of SoCal geography, you can spend most of a day visiting Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice. Venice has a very strong drug scene these days.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 03:32 PM
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It doesn't make sense to stay in Santa Clarita and then drive to Malibu next morning. Santa Clarita down to Glendale/Burbank/ Hollywood makes a lot more sense. Do Malibu on your beach day, it's just up the road from Santa monica.

In fact I would not stay in Santa Clarita, too much traffic leaving Santa Clarita in the morning. Keep driving that night 30 more minutes to Burbank or Hollywood for the night.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 04:19 PM
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I would say Venice has a bigger homeless problem than drug problem, although the two issues are not mutually exclusive. Homeless numbers have just exploded in the last couple of years, and the effects are much more visible and smellable.

If you stay in Santa Clarita, the next morning you could backtrack north on the 5 Freeway a couple of miles and then take Hwy. 126 west to reach Hwy. 1. You'd miss the traffic heading to the San Fernando Valley and L.A., although there will be some traffic going to Ventura and Oxnard.
Jean is online now  
Old Apr 6th, 2019, 04:18 PM
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You're getting some good advice here.

Not really a fan of staying in Glendale. Your preference for Airbnb is limiting your options. Consider studying up on and getting a hotel room for 4 on Hotwire, or two hotel rooms on Priceline.

You might check if there are still whale watching tours from Long Beach. We did one years ago and that would be closer than Newport.
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 05:11 PM
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sure hope mtolar and/or mtolar5 returns - their plan needs work. (not sure why he/they has two screen names - maybe they are two halves of a couple?? )
janisj is online now  

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