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Vegas then on to California- recommendations on beaches, nature, food

Vegas then on to California- recommendations on beaches, nature, food

Old Apr 21st, 2021, 12:26 PM
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Vegas then on to California- recommendations on beaches, nature, food

Hello,

We are beginning to plan a potential trip to visit friends in Vegas at maybe the end of June for a few days. We would get a rental car then go to California. We like nature, birdwatching, quiet beaches and really good food. Iím guessing we would have about 10 nights after leaving Vegas. What beaches in California are the most beautiful and potentially quiet? What nature spots are not to be missed? Obviously I havenít done much research yet. We are more into renting Airbnbís. We are greatly missing our European trips, so if anywhere in California could be considered feeling European in nature, let me know. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 12:56 PM
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I'm just dashing out . . . but one quick question: Where are you flying out of . . . from somewhere in CA or do you have to get back to Las Vegas? That will help us recommend specific places.

And a note re airbnb's - in many of the scenic beach areas short term rentals are illegal or strictly controlled/limited. In June the beaches and 'European-ish' towns - i.e. Carmel, Capitola, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach, etc. will likely be very crowded in June. (and June weather on the coast can be foggy/cool -- still lovely but not the best month for the Pacific coast)
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 02:30 PM
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We lived in Laguna Beach for 5 years. The main beaches were a little crowded - except for Victoria Beach just a 5 min walk from where we lived. It is at the south end of Laguna Beach. Google "Victoria Beach Laguna Beach". We lived there in the early 70s, and if you are over 60 you probably remember some of our neighbors who had summer homes on Victoria Beach. Ozzie & Harriet Nelson, Ricky Nelson (had different house than Ozzie & Harriet did), Tom Harmon (Heisman Trophy winner and LA celeb), son Mark Harmon (actor), daughter Chris Harmon (Mrs Ricky Nelson).

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 03:51 PM
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We will be coming from nyc, Iím thinking flying in Vegas but out California. Lacuna was already on my radar. Thanks for the mentions of the towns that may be of interest.
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 04:42 PM
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From my experience, rental cars are cheap in Las Vegas but not if you return them in California. I encourage you to return to Las Vegas for your last night before flying out.
My suggested route leaving Las Vegas: I-15 south to Barstow. Have lunch in one of the places along Main St. which was the original US Rt. 66. Continue on National Trails Highway all the way to Victorville. Get back on I-15 to Rt. 210 which connects to I-210 west to connect to US 101 near Beverly Hills. Continue on US 101 north to Santa Barbara. If Santa Barbara is too expensive, you can find cheaper places in Carpenteria and Goleta. Attractions in Santa Barbara are the mission on the hill, the zoo, the pier with restaurants and a white sand public beach (Leadbetter).
There are several good attractions going north up the coast on CA Rt. 1. There is a great aquarium in Monterey. Within your 10 days, you could at least drive through Yosemite and maybe Death Valley on the way back to Las Vegas.
Note for anyone who doesn't know, all of the casinos and most of the other businesses in Primm Nevada are closed at exit 1. Baker has the worlds tallest thermometer (It doesn't work) and not much else.
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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 05:56 PM
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Tomfuller, Baker has had a new, digital thermometer for some years now and it works. Also tall!


I also thought Santa Barbara would be a good place. Not giant-sized, nice beach, Mission, close to a lot of vineyards, and other places of interest.

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Old Apr 21st, 2021, 07:29 PM
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Beaches in Southern California won't be quiet at the end of June, esp. starting July 1st for the holiday weekend. July 4th is a Sunday.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 06:54 AM
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In case you think that the ocean water will be warm enough at Santa Barbara for swimming, think again. You will see surfers wearing wet suits even in July. There are a couple of good restaurants out on the pier.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 09:45 AM
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There are no beach areas in CA that will be quiet in late June as long 4th of July holiday approaches. Especially this year, the freeways around the beach towns were congested already at Easter time.

Reserve a rental car asap as there will be a severe shortage of rentals this summer.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 12:04 PM
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Just south of LA is San Juan Capistrano. About 20-30 miles south is Carlsbad Beach which is nice, Sunset Beach and Oceanside Beach. There is San Diego Zoo, and their safari park which is near Escondido, which is worth a visit, if you want to go that far south.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 01:09 PM
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Santa Barbara is lovely, and has a nice Mediterranean feel but pretty sure they have restrictions on short term rentals. There is a lovely Mission and nearby wine tasting.
For a short term rental, Newport Beach is one of the few that does allow short term rentals.
Bolsa Chica just north of Huntington Beach has good bird watching.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2021, 05:03 PM
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i'm glad people are pointing out that NOWHERE on the California Coast is going to be "quiet" this year.

However I'd recommend Morro Bay as a good central spot for nature and birdwatching. If all else fails, there's always Lompoc.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 06:45 AM
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I'm guessing that there are some quiet beaches on week days between Bodega Bay and the Oregon border - especially if it is foggy.

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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 09:28 AM
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One way flights in June from Las Vegas to LAX or SFO are around $50, and would save many hours of hot and boring driving, and add the better part of a day that could be spent pursuing your interests.

Having grown up on the beach in southern California I can attest to both the "June gloom" phenomenon as well as the tendency of people to pay no attention to it and mob the beaches regardless.

Reading your OP I have to think that northern California would be a better fit than southern, maybe with something of a loop that includes the Monterey Bay and peninsula areas, and even maybe a visit to the gold rush country along CA Hwy 49 south from Sacramento.

Certainly for the kind of scenery and nature you're seeking I can't think of a better spot than Point Lobos, just south of Carmel, and, while they'll certainly be full of folks, the beaches around Carmel and up around Santa Cruz at the north end of the bay, might hold appeal. Not for swimming, necessarily, unless you pack your wet suits, but for beachy activities. You could include a visit to some redwood groves (Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, for instance) or, if you ventured a few hours east to the gold country, visit the Calaveras Big Trees State Park to see some amazing giant sequoias, then decompress in the lovely old town of Murphys (with its many wineries) while touring the remarkable historic towns in this area. Combined with a couple of days in San Francisco, you could have a terrific time. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/KAaXtGMbKmj5jxgLA

Just a thought, anyway.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 10:48 AM
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Please don't expect ANYWHERE outdoors in California to be uncrowded this year, regardless of the weather. Parks and outdoor places have been mobbed all last year, trails jammed up especially around holiday weekends. I don't know that this year will be any different, it may be worse now that people are vaccinated and ready to fly and no overseas options. While the National Parks now experience lower numbers of Europeans they have been replaced by US residents. Have a look at some of the trip reports over the last year. I've also heard horror stories from those who braved visits to National Parks when they reopened.
In a "normal" year, I would agree that midweek on the coast will be better than weekends.

Last edited by mlgb; Apr 24th, 2021 at 10:51 AM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 11:17 AM
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""gold rush country along CA Hwy 49 south from Sacramento""

The Gold Rush country area is actually east of Sacramento. Running as far southeast (of Sacramento) as Mariposa, and as far northeast as Downieville. We've spent quite a bit of time in this area (last week, most recently) and it is quite scenic and interesting.

If hotel reservations are any indication of "crowds", I made late June hotel reservations at the Gingerbread House in Ferndale on 3/19 , and Geyserville Inn on 4/11 without any problems (I got the specific room I requested). Also in March I reserved at a B&B in Nevada City for 2 nights, Feather Bed Inn in Quincy, and Weaverville Inn for Mid-June stays

Stu Dudley

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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 12:05 PM
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There is already a severe shortage of rental cars in the LA area. It took my sister 3 days to get a rental car 2 weeks ago.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 01:55 PM
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I had to pay an arm and leg for a rental car from Austin Texas April 8 for two weeks, but it was mostly taxes. My outbound flight from LGB to AUS was 100% booked. Admittedly it was on Southwest which has some big airfare sales.

It would have been worse if I had waited. There were virtually no hotel rooms to be had this past weekend around the Southeast Texas coast.

There was a huge line of people waiting to pick up cars at Houston IAH as I was leaving yesterday (Friday) . Had to wait a longer than normal time for a Lyft driver. People are traveling already. I can't even imagine what late June will be like.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
""gold rush country along CA Hwy 49 south from Sacramento""

The Gold Rush country area is actually east of Sacramento. Running as far southeast (of Sacramento) as Mariposa, and as far northeast as Downieville. We've spent quite a bit of time in this area (last week, most recently) and it is quite scenic and interesting.

If hotel reservations are any indication of "crowds", I made late June hotel reservations at the Gingerbread House in Ferndale on 3/19 , and Geyserville Inn on 4/11 without any problems (I got the specific room I requested). Also in March I reserved at a B&B in Nevada City for 2 nights, Feather Bed Inn in Quincy, and Weaverville Inn for Mid-June stays

Stu Dudley
However the last weekend in June might be a different story if you tried to book now.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 02:24 PM
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Last Tuesday, the Jamestown Hotel (Calif - in the Gold Country)) restaurant was only about 20% full - with 25% table capacity allowed inside. This with the (much nicer) Jamestown National Hotel (where we stayed) restaurant closed on Tues. There were 2 tables occupied (1 was us) out of maybe 20 at the Imperial Hotel Restaurant in Amador City (this was the only restaurant in town). In Virginia City, the restaurant we wanted to dine at had a special "party" and was closed to us, so we dined at the Crown Point Restaurant which was about 70% full. They had a "special event" going on, and I don't know how many diners were part of that event. In Truckee it was much more crowded at the restaurant where we dined (Moodys - excellent), but the rather large Truckee Hotel (where we stayed) may have had only 1 party staying there (us).

The Gold Country, Virginia City, and Tahoe were not crowded at all.

Stu Dudley
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