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Road Trip suggestions starting from LA


Apr 28th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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Road Trip suggestions starting from LA

In November last year we spent a few days in LA, Anaheim and then NYC. We had a fantastic time and are starting to plan our next trip.

We are hoping to get 4-6 weeks this time, and want to try a road trip this time. Our daughter will be around 8 by the time we get organised.

We will need to start in LA, and also want to go to San Francisco.

Any suggestions for an itinerary that is doable in this time?
One place we are keen to go is Georgia.

Time of year? Not summer as I don't like the heat, however, husband doesn't like the cold!

Would we need to book accommodation or is it easy to find motels along the way?

KathrynJH is offline  
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Apr 28th, 2012, 05:37 AM
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To start,I'm assuming you won't repeat the sites in LA, so the trip from LA to San Francisco up the coast on hwy 1 is beautiful. You might spend a few days in that area and might visit Muir Woods, just a bit north of there. You could head to Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs from there if the weather cooperates. You would go through wine country but I wouldn't spend much time there with an 8 yo.

I would then head for Death Valley and on to Grand Canyon. Then it becomes a matter of how the elements treat you. If it is November again, I would head south, through Sedona, and down to Tucson then back to LA via San Diego. If it is fall or spring, I would head to Page AZ, and either Bryce and Zion or Arches and Canyonlands before heading back to LA.

This kind of trip would take 4 to 8 weeks for me depending on how much time was spent in each area. If Georgia is going to be part of the trip you should FLY to Atlanta from LA and look for a flight home from there. Driving to Georgia would not be lots of fun for an 8 yo.

Have a wonderful trip!!
emalloy is offline  
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Apr 28th, 2012, 06:17 AM
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Check the other posts in here on the LA to SF via the very scenic coastal drive, especially in the dramatic Big Sur area.

And dont'forget that many think San Diego is the best place to vacation. We're only two hours south of LA, and less congested/much easier to get from one site to another.

FYi - driving cross country - to Georgia - is a looooooooooooooooong way. From LA to Atlanta is over 2,100 miles, or over 3,500 km's if you are more familiar with that.

Tomsd is offline  
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Apr 28th, 2012, 06:19 AM
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As for the time of year, and to avoid the busy tourist season, if you can go in say late April/May - or September/early October - it would be beautiful.

Hope you can bring along the homework for your daughter.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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You might also consider visiting the wonder known as Yosemite http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm (4 hours from SF), and beautiful deep blue Lake Tahoe is also a site to behold, and it's 3 plus hours from SF. http://www.visitinglaketahoe.com/
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Apr 28th, 2012, 08:12 AM
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I would include Las Vegas as it is en route from San Francisco to I-10.

New Orleans is worth at least a day.

November is often the best weather month in Florida. From New Orleans, you can catch a couple of beautiful pan handle beaches from I-10, if you have an appetite for more, you can journey as far down I-75 as your heart desires.

I would book hotels in major cities where you will spend multiple nights in advance and take your chances on highway one-nighters to improve your flexibility. You will save money booking in advance and be able to select better hotels.

I agree that booking your return flight from Atlanta is logical. Lots of international service. Often you are not penalized with a higher fare to have different arrival and departure destinations with the same airline.

However, you will have to shop rental car deals carefully. Most companies now have very expensive drop fees on one way rentals. Be sure you understand mileage charges and drop fees on your rental reservation.

Fodor's San Francisco expert StuDudley has a posting on the forums that you will want to access prior to your San Francisco plans.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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My style of travel is arriving in a city by whichever means and then renting a car and making a loop returning the car where I rented it. I then travel to another city by train or flying and repeat.
After LA take Amtrak to Oakland or San Francisco. Rent a car for the places you can't see by public transit (Napa?).
Take the CA Zephyr out of Emeryville with stops in any place you want to see between Sacramento and Chicago. Take the Capitol Limited from Chicago to Washington DC. Take the Crescent from Washington to Atlanta where you rent a car to see whatever you want to see in Georgia. Leaving Atlanta, you can continue on the Crescent to New Orleans.
Do you intend to return to LA for anything other than to return the rental car? Agree that Yosemite is a must see.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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I'm going to suggest getting a general guidebook to look at possible itineraries for a 4-6 week road trip.

I like Lonely Planet USA guide, as it is geared towards long driving trips, gives suggested itineraries, and has an eye towards budget traveling for foreigners.

As the USA is so large, and Los Angeles and Georgia are many days' driving apart, it is generally a better idea to do a series of round trips based out of one hub city, then fly to another, rather than waste precious time and money doing fairly boring and tedious long-distance driving, especially if the weather is an issue during the time you chose.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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October is beautiful up the coast of Calfornia, but September can be very hot.

I would suggest that you visit San Diego, Laguna, LA, Santa Barbara, Carmel/Monterey, San Francisco, Mendocino, Napa....and then fly to Georgia and do a trip up the east coast.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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I agree with September after Labor Day or very early October. The drive up Highway 1 is gorgeous and you can take your time. You would need advance reservations in Yosemite so start looking as soon as you book your flights. Las Vegas with an 8 year old might not be much fun as they will not be allowed on the floor of the casino other than to walk through to get to the elevators to go to your room.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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I'll second the Amtrak suggestions. Have ridden all those trains and, if you are not in a hurry, is a much better way to cross the country than flying. With a youngster if you take the long haul trains you should consider a sleeper, which will add a great deal to the otherwise reasonable cost.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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I'm curious. What do you want to see or do in Georgia?

Really from California on there isn't much to see, beside the Grand Canyon. I live in Oklahoma(right in the middle). I've driven that drive many times--boring boring boring.
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Apr 28th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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We didn't actually spend much time in California - had a few days in Anaheim then drove to Santa Monica where we spent 2 days.

Will add Lake Tahoe & Yosemite to the list.

Spirobulldog - Georgia. Home of the US masters. Given we drove from London to Scotland specifically to look at St Andrews. I also want to go to Savannah.
Just realised that we also wish to go to Virginia to visit friends (Virginia Beach, specifically).

Keen to see New Orleans.
Florida, not so much (I've lived in North Queensland - seen one beach, you've seen them all as far as I'm concerned...contentious issue.)

I live in Australia, driving for long distances means nothing, so we are (at this stage) fairly keen to go by car. Can you define boring? Don't forget that what you may consider boring as you've seen or done many times, can be considered beautiful or interesting to fresh eyes.
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