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San Francisco/Las Vegas extended trip - help needed!

San Francisco/Las Vegas extended trip - help needed!

Feb 4th, 2015, 12:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1
San Francisco/Las Vegas extended trip - help needed!

I'm planning a trip to Las Vegas and San Francisco in April. I will be travelling alone, and plan to spend between 3 and 4 weeks in the US.

I'd like some advice as this is my first time in this part of the US and since I'll be travelling alone I want to plan everything well!

Basically the trip will consist of two parts:

1. Approximatley a week or longer in Las Vegas, with the intention of using Vegas as a base to explore places like Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Death Valley, ect...
2. Fly to San Francisco and spend maybe 10 days there, spend a while just chilling out and getting to know the city - however I'd also like to take some sort of tour down the west coast (pacific coast highway) while I'm there, maybe for 3 days or so.

My questions (in order of importance!) are as follows:

1. Where would you recommend staying in San Francisco? I'm not sure whether San Fran is as prohibitively expensive as somewhere like New York....I was in Manhattan last year and managed to find a great AirBnb room in the Inwood neighborhood right at the top of Manhattan. I loved staying there as it was about a third of the price of a hotel in the 'expensive' parts of Manhatten but was easy to access because of the subway and was safe - are there any equivalent, safe, neighborhoods that I should be considering when staying in San Francisco that are more residential than tourist areas, but still have reasonable access to the tourist areas?

2. I would like to see the West Coast....to drive the Pacific Highway...but I can't drive. So if I can't hire a car what are my options? Is the only option to go with a professional tour company that will have say a 3 or 5 day tour from San Fran, or are there other ways to meet like minded people who want to take this sort of trip? Does anyone have any recommendations for tour companies that do the Pacific Coast over a few days and stop off in a few key locations across the way?

3. Similarly, if anyone can recommend companies that will take me on a tour from Vegas to the surrounding national parks such as Grand Canyon, Zion, Monument Valley, Moab?

Thanks, any help is appreciated!
DavidN is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,235
There are 3 HI Hostels in San Francisco which work OK for a single person that does not mind sharing a dorm room. https://www.hihostels.com/en?linkid=...FatxQgod9TEA1g
Leaving San Francisco without a car, I'd try the Amtrak bus that leaves the Ferry Building in the morning that connects to the Coast Starlight train. amtrak.com Take the Coast Starlight south all the way to Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara train station is right downtown within walking distance of the pier. There are several hotels not too far away.
In Las Vegas, see if you can schedule a tour with Pink Jeep tours. You may not be able to get to the Grand Canyon in April.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,579
>>You may not be able to get to the Grand Canyon in April.<<

Sure you can - The South Rim is not closed in April.

SF is expensive but not "Manhattan expensive". and there are relatively inexpensive options -- and even sites like Priceline which is very good for San Francisco. What is your actual budget for accommodations?
janisj is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,579
Oops - meant to add -- check out the Green Tortoise -- may have something that fits your needs.

janisj is offline  
Feb 5th, 2015, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 976
Take a look at the accommodations offered on airbnb and vrbo in the Noe Valley and Castro neighborhoods of San Francisco. They are both great, safe local neighborhoods with good access to MUNI metro and bus lines that will let you get all around the city.
aprillilacs is offline  
Feb 5th, 2015, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,727
For the west coast part of your trip, south of SF, I don't have any experience with tours, but if you want to do this independently without a car, you can do this pretty easily down as far as Carmel with public transportation, and even down into Big Sur.

From SF to San Jose, you take Caltrain (www.caltrain.com). From there you can take the Hwy 17 express over to Santa Cruz or MST bus 55 down to Monterey.

Once you are in Santa Cruz or Monterey, you can take local public transportation, walk, or ride a bike.

Santa Cruz Metro: http://www.scmtd.com/en/
Monterey-Salinas Transit: http://mst.org/maps-schedules/system-maps/regional/

If you want to visit points further south of Carmel, there isn't any public transportation that goes all the way through Big Sur, but from Monterey you can take Amtrak down to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

november_moon is offline  
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