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West Coast Road Trip

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Dec 17th, 2013, 07:02 PM
  #1
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West Coast Road Trip

My family is looking to take a road trip out west to visit landmarks and national parks this summer in the month of July or August. Our general plan is to fly from New York and rent a car once there. I have 3 children ranging from 3-8 along with a 68 year old mother that will be joining us on the trip.

I am looking for some recommendations on places to see and how to break up a trip in 10-12 days. I would like to definitely hit up one of the two - Yosemite or Yellowstone as a main focal point of the trip. I would appreciate any and ALL suggestions!
rooskihughes is offline  
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Dec 18th, 2013, 04:20 AM
  #2
 
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You don't have enough time to cover what you are trying to do.

Pick just California, just Washington, just Yellowstone. Utah is to hot to even consider for July/August, in my opinion.

You need 2-3 day in Yosemite at a minimum. You need 3-4 days in Yellowstone and 1-3 days in the Grand Tetons(which is right by Yellowstone. If you do Yellowstone, you could go North and do Glacier National Park or another option to the east would be Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills area(lots do there). Either of those spot would need 2-4 days. The problem with Yosemite and Yellowstone is you have to book your lodging 12-13 months in advance. They are already full.
I like Yosemite and Yellowstone about the 2nd week of June as it isn't as crowded and the waterfalls are going full tilt.


Now, Washington in late July or August would be great. See Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks. See San Juan Islands and then Seattle itself. You could easily spend 10-12 days right there.

If California is still sounding good, then consider flying into San Francisco. Go either north or south. Going south you could do the coast. Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Channel Islands, then perhaps Disneyland. If you go North you could do Point Reyes, Redwoods National Park. And the Lassen Volcano. Lassen is a combo mini-yellowstone/yosemite and is an undiscovered gem in America. You could spend 2-4 days there.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 11:29 AM
  #3
 
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I agree with spiro, not enough time, fly into SFO, visit there for a couple of days, then rent your car and visit Yosemite, Monterey, Cambria or Pismo Beach (Pismo might be better for families) and LA, stopping in Santa Barbara for lunch. You can also add Disneyland if you like, it is in Anaheim, not LA, but plenty of budget lodging in Anaheim.
People cancel at Yosemite all the time, so once you have your dates keep calling everyday to try and get a reservation.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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It might be easy to get one room as a cancellation, but I don't know about 2 rooms
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Dec 19th, 2013, 05:14 AM
  #5
 
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Wind up down here in San Diego (2 hours driving/south of LA) - and take the kids to the Zoo, Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park) and Sea World.

You can also take them up to Julian and explore an old mining cave and have some great applie pie.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 11:30 AM
  #6
 
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Suggest you pick 1 of those areas and explore in the time you have. I'm a hard core road trip person and think you are trying to do do much with the original idea. I'd also agree that Utah, other the mountain areas is not a good idea in July/August.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Am I missing something here? All I see is the OP wants to make either Yosemite or Yellowstone the focal point of a road trip, but everyone is saying they are trying to do too much?

Granted, they tagged 4 different states but that's presumably because they were looking for suggestions and ideas, not because they planned to drive to all of those states in 10-12 days.

For the OP: what do you all like to see and do? The younger children aren't going to remember a whole lot of the scenery so what do the adults like?

My initial thought is to base the trip around Yellowstone, because you can see a lot as you're driving around. And there's a good number of geysers, etc. that are pretty easily accessible, so I think that park would be a bit easier than Yosemite with little kids. And if you combine it with the Black Hills there's a ton of touristy stuff there for kids...but the problem is the nearest major airport is Denver. That's an 8 hour drive to Yellowstone, or 6 hours to the Black Hills. There are closer airports but you're going to pay more, and with 6(?) people on this trip the airfare really starts to add up.

With Yosemite you would fly into San Francisco and then have a 4 hour drive to the park. Of course, that means a longer flight than going to Denver/Yellowstone so it balances out somewhat.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 04:28 PM
  #8
ltt
 
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you might want to just check on accommodations around yellowstone and yosemite (i'm sure it's too late for that). because, if you can't get your accommodations, it narrows down your options...simplifies things.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 07:03 PM
  #9
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Thank you so much everyone for the information that you have thus far provided!! VERY helpful.

Where You Are is correct that I am looking to do one of the major parks and then explore areas from there. I did tag a lot of states just looking where all the areas that interest me are, however, I am not looking to cover all these areas.

So, after your comments, I think I have narrowed this down to doing a Yosemite trip starting out of San Fransisco and heading to Yosemite and then north OR Yellow Stone, Grand Tetons, and then heading...not too sure.

Yosemite is seeming like the easier route for me at this point. My husband has found some rent by owner properties available this summer right inside the park. I am just not familiar with the park at all. Is it easily seen by car? Day trips?

I went on a 3 week cross country road trip with my family (from NYS) when I was 8 and Mount Rushmore and Yellow Stone were two of my most memorable areas. It just seems like a much wider area to travel with my little children than Yosemite. I am very torn!

The trip is most for my Mom and I though. I love nature, natural wonders, hiking, beautiful landscapes. My littlest however, cannot handle any big hiking trip and I am worried that my Mom may not be able to either. We do vacation in our Adirondack Mountains every summer and hike a few miles up and down if that gives you any idea of our capabilities. So I do need a trip that we can experience a lot by car.

I hope this information helps clarify my needs and desires. I welcome any suggestions on these two ideal vacation routes and thank you all for your posts and thoughts!!

-Rooskihughes
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 04:47 AM
  #10
 
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Life can be about tough choices, but either one sounds fine to me.

If you decide on Yosemite - or one of the deciding factors in my opinion would be staying in the Yosemite Village area - right in the park. There you have any number of walks/hikes/floating the river/renting bicycles - or using the bus system to get around.

There are other threads in here discussing the merits of the most upscale places to stay - ranging "down" to using the tent cabins in Curry Village (and we have enjoyed all the accommodations over the years) - and here is one page for more info: http://www.yosemitepark.com/default....FcuSfgodshoAIg
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 05:18 AM
  #11
 
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We have been to more than half of our 59 National Parks. My wife and daughter would both put Yellowstone as their favorite. I would put Yosemite as mine. Is this a trip you can take anytime? I think it would be much helpful if we knew what month you were planning this for. Yosemite and Yellowstone lodging are probably already full for this next summer. I am guessing the house you mention is really about 45 minutes outside the major area of Yosemite.
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #12
 
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You can always keep calling the park lodging to see about getting rooms, there are usually cancellations but you need to be diligent about calling frequently (like every day).

I would think Yellowstone could be relatively easy, there are a lot of geysers and thermal features that are on pretty flat easy trails. I don't think you would need to hike any difficult trails to see a lot there.

You don't have to go to the Black Hills, if you fly into Denver you could just do Rocky Mountain NP, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Or if you flew into Salt Lake City you could do Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and whatever else fits. Yellowstone and Grand Tetons could easily fill a full week.
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Dec 22nd, 2013, 06:19 AM
  #13
 
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I would suggest doing Yellowstone and the Tetons region over Yosemite. While all of the parks are incredible, there is nothing like the wonders of Yellowstone anywhere. The thermal features, combined with the wildlife and beauty of the area are hard to beat, especially with a group with age range of 3 to 68. Yellowstone provides a ton of opportunities for very short walks on board walks to see some of the most incredible sights you'll ever experience. We saw more wildlife just driving around the different areas of the park - grizzly bears, elk, antelope, wolves, eagles, fox - incredible!

Yosemite is beautiful but there will be less to see and do for the group you are traveling with. If you choose Yellowstone, be sure to book several days in the Tetons as well. Do a little research and come back with more questions - there is a wealth of information available on this forum. Enjoy the planning!
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