San Diego to San Francisco

Feb 23rd, 2013, 11:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2012
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San Diego to San Francisco

Hi, I am looking for suggestions for a road trip. Not sure which one to fly into? I am hoping to see San Diego, Joshua tree, Yosemite, mono lake, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. The trip would be 7 days in August.
irishbelle30 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 01:21 PM
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I personally do not think 7 days is enought to "see" all those sites, sure you could drive to them all in 7 days but each visit will be fleeting any chance you could add more days?
Smeagol is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 01:38 PM
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Agree with Smeagol, too many destinations, too little time.

We need more imformation: why those particular destimations? What attracts them to you?

If you have only 7 days, I would immediately cut out Joshua Tree and Mono Lake and at least one other.
easytraveler is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:02 PM
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The Sequoias in Yosemite are much more impressive than Joshua trees.
Fly to SFO (or Oakland). See San Francisco then rent a car and drive to Lake Tahoe. From Carson City drive south on US395 to Mono Lake near Lee Vining. Take the road over Tioga Pass into Yosemite. You might have a day to drive from Yosemite over to Monterey and up the coast on US 101 back to San Francisco.
There are many places to see Joshua trees in CA, NV and AZ without ever going to Joshua Tree NP. Fill your gas tank in Carson City and not in Lee Vining or Yosemite.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 09:57 PM
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IMO - busy - but no problemo. I consider something like this more of a survey trip - for future reference and returning to where you want to spend more time.

See San Diego for a couple days - and get up early - and forget Joshua Tree - and drive up 395 to Yosemite, but keep on going a couple more hours - past Mono Lake to Lake Tahoe. A long day's driving - but the most of your trip - and as you get north of Riverside - it becomes more scenic as you parallel the Sierras.

From Tahoe come back past Mono Lake and up the Tioga pass into Yosemite for a day or two - and then on to San Francisco.

You should probably start checking on your Yosemite reservations now - and don't rule out Curry Village - as the tent cabins have decent beds.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 24th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Thinking about this a bit more - and here is how I would do it. Fly into anywhere from LA south - and be in San Diego in time for a wonderful/bay front dinner at Island Prime/C Level - or enjoy the great deals during the happy hour 3:30 to 5:30.

If you still have some energy left - check out the Gaslamp area downtown. Or maybe go to Sea World and catch Shamu under the lights.

The next day - bright and early - maybe go for a walk along the bay/Embarcadero - - checking out the USS Midway - and/or visiting the world renowned San Diego Zoo a few hours. After that - head over the beautiful Coronado Bridge - and check out the Hotel Del (where they filmed a number of movies - including the old classic - "Some Like it Hot."

Maybe have a Mexican dinner in Old Town (our favorite is Casa Guadalajara - or fresh fish at the Fish Market - next to the USS Midway Museum.

Bright and early the 3rd morning - say 5 AM to beat the traffic in/around Riverside - head on up to Lake Tahoe - a 10 hour drive -and maybe drive the June Lake loop on the way.,

For Tahoe - drive on around to the North Shore (using the East side) and get a room if you can with a lake view - or have breakfast the next morning looking at the lake.

Drive down the West side - and if you don't stop at Vikingsholm - at least pull off a mile or so past it - at the great overlook for Carnelian Bay.

From there - on back down 395 (past Mono Lake again) - and up the Tioga Pass - maybe having lunch in Tuolumne Meadows - and then on to the main event - the Valley Floor in Yosemite.

Check out the Ranger Talks and/or evening slide shows at Curry Village - and the next day - explore the valley - riding their good bus system. Stop at El Cap and if you have binoculars with you - you can see some of the climbers making their way up the sheer face.

From Yosemite - head on in to SF and finish your last couple of days there.

Also - check out the many other posts in here under California for what to do in San Francisco and other places.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 24th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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Actually, there is a BIG 'problemo'. What you want to cover is a 2 week trip - not 7 days.

What you VERY FIRST must do is book accommodations in Yosemite Valley. Like today. Once you are booked into the Valley (Preferably at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls), and only once you've nailed that down, can you then plan the rest of your itinerary including where to fly in/out of.

(Fair warning - don't let anyone dominate/drown out everyone else who tries to help you.)
janisj is offline  
Feb 24th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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I agree, not enough time in 7 days for the average traveler, I would pick either Yosemite and San Francisco, or else SF to LA via Hwy 1 (or SD), leaving out Yosemite, Tahoe, etc. Sorry.
At my age, I cannot handle the shared baths at Curry but you sound young and might be OK with it.

Hope you have a great trip.

PS - If you are from Ireland, look into booking your rental with as they will include all the insurance you need and often can get oneway dropoff fees waived.
jamie99 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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If you are young and have energy and want to see a lot this trip = go for it.

If you are older and require a slower pace - then adjust as you like.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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Starting in San Deigo, ending in San Francisco, you are looking at 950-1000 miles of driving to see these destinations. Some of this will be on freeways with high speeds, but a fair amount will be mountain driving, so slower speeds. Google maps estimates almost 20 hours of driving, which seems reasonable for this, but if you aren't used to driving on the right hand side, you probably will drive slower and may have to increase the estimate.

Only you can decide if this is a driving trip you want to take in a short amount of time. Personally, I would not. You will have to average almost 3 hours of driving a day to make it work.

Also, check the August temperatures for places like Joshua Tree - this is some serious heat, so be prepared. With an ambitious trip like this, the last thing you need is dehydration or heatstroke.
november_moon is offline  
Feb 27th, 2013, 05:40 PM
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I've done the road trip from San Diego to San Fran. A lot of time in the car; not a lot of time at the destinations. Honestly, I was so tired by the time I arrived at each new city, I just wanted to sleep. IMO, spend a day in San Diego, then, the next day, drive up through Joshua Tree and spend night in Mammoth Lakes (8 hr drive). Drive to Tahoe next day. Yosemite after that. Could you make that two-three days? Then drive over to S.F. from Yosemite or Tahoe. Fly home from there. From the time you've allotted yourself, you're gonna spend a great deal of your time in the car - if you're good with that, then you're gonna have a beautiful drive! Bring good music : )
MrsIglesias7777 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. Which would be the best places to visit in August?
irishbelle30 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 11:32 PM
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That's a lot of driving! I think you'll be exhausted. Plus you'll see all these great places you want to explore and hang out in, but you won't have time and will have to just keep pushing on. You'll get to SF with maybe 1 1/2 days left, but you'll be worn out.

Joshua Tree and inland San Diego county will be very hot in August. I'd limit yourself to just northern California. Yosemite and Tahoe will be nice; temps in the high 70s to low 90s. SF will most likely be cold and foggy; bring a fleece and jeans.

tomfuller's itinerary looks pretty good. I'd probably spend 2 days in SF, 3rd day drive to Tahoe and spend the night, 4th day drive to Yosemite via Mono Lake and Tioga Pass, 5th and 6th days in Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Mariposa Grove (giant sequoias), 7th day drive back to SF and hang (or fly out). And you'll just be scratching the surface. Depending on what you're interested in, there are tons of things to do and see along the way on these routes.
kbob88 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 04:46 AM
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Temp in SD along the Coast is very nice in the summer, and yes it does gets hotter inland.

Also - if you detour to see Joshua Tree - that would add about 4 hours to the drive to Mammouth/Yosemite/Lake Tahoe. Not a big Joshua Tree fan even though my in laws lived in Palm Desert.

And hey - what's the big deal with driving? Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you go. Stop here and there to stretch the legs, have a picnic lunch - no problemo. Dos
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 04:50 AM
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BTW - it's not shared baths in Curry Village. It's shared showers. Just wear a pair of flip flops and you will be fine. It's like going back to camp - if you have ever done that in the Emerald Isle.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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I prefer outdoorsy stuff over cities. Preferably not too hot for too long. I was thinking about staying in Northern California, but then there are a few places like San Diego, so I am just conflicted in where to visit.
irishbelle30 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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In seven nights this would be a good loop: LA, Sequoia NP, Yosemite NP, San Francisco (via Highway 49--Gold Rush area), and back to LA via scenic Highway 1 (Monterey, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Barbara, etc.).

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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In seven nights this would be a good loop: LA, Sequoia NP, Yosemite NP, San Francisco (via Highway 49--Gold Rush area), and back to LA via scenic Highway 1 (Monterey, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Barbara, etc.).

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 10th, 2013, 12:16 AM
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Would fly into wherever you get the best deal, but all things being equal - it might be easier starting in SF.

Rest up a little/get acclimated to being in a different country - see the city for a day or two - then rent a car and drive to Yosemite if you get a place to stay/the weather is good - or alternatively - perhaps to Lake Tahoe - both about 4 hours driving time. Then head over to Carmel/Monterrey - also about 4 hours - maybe a bit longer.

Again, this is if you don't mind driving and enjoy seeing new places, the scenery passing by, and the like.

From Carmmel/Monterrey - you could drive down to Big Sur - and if the drop off fee isn't too much - continue on to LA or San Diego - or drive back to SF and fly to SD for a couple of days and then fly back to SF. Check out the fares on Southwest Airlines (for flying around California) - which normally doesn't come up on some of the Orbitz type web pages.

And if you flew into SD for a couple of days - you could probably get by without a car if you stayed some place close to a Trolley station - such as Old Town, or Little Italy - or downtown/Gas Lamp. If you want to see/visit Coronado - you could take the ferry over from the Embarcadero - by downtown.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 10th, 2013, 12:17 AM
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BTW -it would also help if you could stretch your California visit a bit - to maybe 9 or 10 days?
Tomsd is offline  

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