Seven days on PCH

Old Apr 15th, 2018, 04:35 PM
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Seven days on PCH

Hi all,
i am planning on bringing my five young adult children to California this June. Arriving in San Francisco June 10th and have a motel booked until the 14th. We fly out of San Diego the morning of the 21st. My thoughts are renting a van in SF and taking the week to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through LA to SD. Id like at least one full day and night in SD. I am planning a day trip from SF to Yosemite so that is covered. Any suggestions for an itinerary? Theyd like some time in Hollywood; daughter wants Disneyland but I dont think well do it. Im thinking Big Sur, Santa Monica, anywhere else?
TIA
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 05:23 PM
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Are you OK with a drop fee on the van in San Diego? Yosemite is more than a day trip from San Francisco. Plan on going to Yosemite and spending the night at El Portal if you can't get lodging in Yosemite.
Leaving Yosemite, head for the coast no farther north than Monterey. After seeing Big Sur I would head back to San Francisco and return the van where I rented it and either fly or take the Coast Starlight south to Santa Barbara or Burbank. Rent another vehicle for the southern California part of your trip. San Diego is easy to get to on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner if you didn't want to to drive any more in the LA traffic.
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 05:53 PM
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The drop off fee isn't likely to cost more than SIX airfares or train tickets.

I agree that a day trip to Yosemite makes no sense -- and even more so for that large a group. Are you taking a commercial tour or driving yourselves? On one you will spend HOURS on the bus - more time on the bus than in the Valley. On the other, you will spend HOURS in the van. From downtown SF to Yosemite Valley is a minimum 4.5 hour drive each way. Longer if you are in morning commute traffic in the Bay area.

Sad as it is, skip YNP unless you can stay overnight.

(just an FYI . . . 'PCH' is a southern California thing. We don't call it that up north. Just Hwy 1 - or if you must name it -- the Cabrillo Hwy)

Last edited by janisj; Apr 15th, 2018 at 06:04 PM.
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 07:21 PM
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Thanks and my apologizes for misnaming the highway. There appear to be many small group tours leaving SF around 6am and returning 10pm. I am considering one of those. Not optimal but weve never seen the giant trees so its better than nothing. I agree train or air fare for six will be a lot more money. Also the thought of driving is very exciting. Do you think six days is long enough to do the drive and see enough? Any suggestions of sights, hotels, etc?
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 08:46 PM
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I assume you know that you can not drive all the way along Hwy 1 from Carmel/Monterey to Cambria/Hearst Castle. There was a huge mud slide south of Big Sur last year that blocked Hwy 1. You'll have to go back to Carmel & take the inland Hwy 101 south to where you can pick up Hwy 1.

IMO, Hwy 1 from San Francisco to Cambria is an A+. Hwy 1 from Cambria to Oxnard is a B. Hwy 1 from Oxnard to San Diego is a C (with very few exceptions).

Yosemite is not a day trip. You need at least 2 nights in Yosemite Valley to get any enjoyment out of the "wonder" of Yosemite. Rent a video instead and save yourself a wasted and expensive day on a bus or van. Whoever is offering a day trip to Yosemite that starts at 6 & ends at 10 pm is taking advantage of naive tourists, IMO.

Here are some things to do & see in the San Francisco Bay Area:
https://www.fodors.com/community/uni...ations-356478/

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by david_p View Post
...weve never seen the giant trees so its better than nothing...
If it's really the big trees that interest you, you can see old growth coastal redwoods not very far south of San Francisco and not far off your Hwy 1 drive in the following state parks:

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546
Big Basin Redwoods SP

I'm ashamed to say that though I live in Northern California it's been many decades since I visited those parks so others here will be better informed about the particulars as it relates to your drive. However, I think one or the other will be a good compromise, to see big trees and not have to go all the way to Yosemite.
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Old Apr 15th, 2018, 10:10 PM
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>>Not optimal but we’ve never seen the giant trees>so it’s better than nothing.>Do you think six days is long enough to do the drive and see enough?

Last edited by janisj; Apr 15th, 2018 at 10:14 PM.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 07:59 AM
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What giant trees does the tour visit? Mariposa Grove is closed until June 15th. There are two smaller groves (Merced and Tuolumne) that requires hikes so I doubt the tour would stop there. I'm guessing your time will be spent in the valley.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 08:43 AM
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>>What giant trees does the tour visit? Mariposa Grove is closed until June 15th. There are two smaller groves (Merced and Tuolumne) that requires hikes so I doubt the tour would stop there. I'm guessing your time will be spent in the valley
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 10:09 AM
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I second the Big Basin suggestion. Although it's been years since I was last able to go there, it embodied everything I would want to see with those ancient giants and the environment they live in. The climate can be cool, damp, somewhat ghostly, with the redwoods rising up to the heavens and making you feel absolutely tiny. Muir Woods is very close to SF and unfortunately is overrun with people these days as a result. If you do go to Yosemite, I doubt you would see anything that meets your expectations regarding seeing the giant trees, from a day tour.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 10:19 AM
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>>I second the Big Basin suggestion
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 11:20 AM
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[QUOTE=janisj;16713425]>>I second the Big Basin suggestion
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sf7307 View Post
Well, true, but they were willing to go on a day trip to Yosemite
True that

In comparison Big Basin is easy peasy
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
If it's really the big trees that interest you, you can see old growth coastal redwoods not very far south of San Francisco and not far off your Hwy 1 drive in the following state parks:

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546
Big Basin Redwoods SP

I'm ashamed to say that though I live in Northern California it's been many decades since I visited those parks so others here will be better informed about the particulars as it relates to your drive. However, I think one or the other will be a good compromise, to see big trees and not have to go all the way to Yosemite.
Henry Cowell State Park also has big redwoods and is closer to CA1 than Big Basin. But coastal redwoods are not like the sequoias in the Sierra.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 04:28 PM
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>>But coastal redwoods are not like the sequoias in the Sierra.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Hey David, call it anything you'd like. I think it is great your taking your adult kids on a road trip. My husband lived in SF and SD and just asked him what he called that road. PCH. I always wanted to see Hearst Castle.
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Old Apr 16th, 2018, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
...My husband lived in SF and SD and just asked him what he called that road. PCH.
I think the only northern Californians that call it PCH are the ones who've lived in Southern CA. In these parts, north, among ourselves it's just "one". But really, who cares and anyway most of us up here speak southern when we have to.
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Old Apr 17th, 2018, 05:51 AM
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MmePerdu, he was stationed there and San Diego. We went back and looked at Mare Island many years ago. Big change. I just can't get him to drive north of SD or south from Carmel.
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