Notices

West Coast Trip

Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:00 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
West Coast Trip

I am planning a spring break vacation (8 days) with my wife and 4 of our children (16,17,18, and 21). I'd like to start in Seattle and work our way down to San Diego. Is this too much to do in that time period. What do you recommend that everyone would enjoy?
seedless is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
yes that is too much for eight days. I would recommend flying into San Francisco and doing the city plus some of the beautiful coastal areas of northern California -- redwood forests and the like. Four days in SF and four in the surrounds -- or three and five days if you are more into nature. Alternatively, you could do San Diego and Los Angeles (which we did last Christmas and worked wonderfully). Distances on the West coast are long and there is so much to do on the West Coast, you'll need to focus more on a specific area.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:38 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree - that is way too much distance to cover in 8 days and actually see anything along the way.

I would do something like:

* SF, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.
* LA and San Diego.
* SF, Monterey, coastal drive through Big Sur, San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach, LA.
* SF, Yosemite, Monterey.

All of those choices have plenty of things that teenagers, young adults, and parents would enjoy.
J_Correa is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 02:07 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Totally agree. I'd focus on somewhere in California at that time of year, as it may be overcast in the northwest. If you've never been on route 1 up the California coast, I'd recommend that. Maybe Santa Barbara to San Francisco, via the Big Sur, Hirst Castle, Monterey, with a few days in SF.
Orcas is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:01 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will agree with all the others that you are trying to do way to much in such a short time. You don't want to spend all your time in a vehicle!

What did you hope to see on this trip? Big cities, the coast, scenery, parks, history?

A good variation would be San Franciso, the coast either north or south of SF and a couple days in Yosemite.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2004, 04:18 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the help. You've narrowed my focus and limited my mileage. I think we'll concentrate on the Bay Area and Yosemite. Thanks again.
seedless is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2004, 05:12 PM
  #7  
lovingheart
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Seedless, I think a better trip would be sticking to Highway 1--San Francisco to Santa Monica.
 
Old Dec 28th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We decided to base our trip from San Francisco. Thanks for the input. Are the following trips possible in a day or do we need to reserve lodging for a day or two? Yosemite? Hearst Castle? Where are the most impressive stands of redwoods? Is Muir Woods or the redwoods in Yosemite as impressive as going north. If we make one or more of these sidetrips where do you recommend we stay? Any hotel suggestions in San Francisco?
seedless is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:21 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yosemite can be done as a day trip, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's about a 4 hour drive from SF, so that would make for a very long day without much time to see Yosemite. I'd stay at least one night there.

Hearts Castle is the same story. Could be done in one day, but it would make for a long day.

Monterey/Carmel is a reasonable day trip.

As for redwoods, the coastal redwoods and the ones in the Sierras are quite different. Both type of trees are impressive. Muir Woods is a good location, although it can be quite crowded. If you want a quick trip to see the trees from SF, it is good. If you have more time, head down to the Santa Cruz mountains and go to Big Basin SP near Boulder Creek or Henry Cowell SP near Felton. I've heard that the north coast redwoods are quite impressive, with more old growth groves, but they are quite a drive.
J_Correa is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:30 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree that Yosemite can be done as a day trip, but it's one long day and you don't get much time at all in the park and I don't recommend it. I know this from personal experience and I live 45 miles closer to Yosemite than you would be from SF!!! It's at least a 4 - 4 1/2 hour drive from the Bay Area to Yosemite Valley.

I highly recommend at least one night in the park. Two would be better if your children like to hike.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:51 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you could stay 2 nights in Yosemite, so much the better. You could stay at somewhere like Groveland which has two historic hotels (The Groveland and The Charlotte) 45 minutes nearer SF. An early start and you could have a full day in Yosemite and less far to drive back the following day.

If you stayed an extra night you could investigate some of the gold towns such as Columbia and see some redwoods at a state park close to Murphys (can't recall the name - sorry).

For day trips stick to Highway One and head down to Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel. Don't miss the aquarium.

Have a great trip,

Adam C
adamhornets is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2004, 08:04 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Isn't the the State Park near Murphy's called Columbia State Park?
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is it advisable to stay near the airport and use BART to get around?
seedless is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2004, 05:05 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello seeddless, I am not sure BART would do you much good for your trip but here is there website. www.bart.gov

Check it out and see what you think.

Happy New Years to all of you and have fun planning your spring vacation!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2004, 06:20 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are two state parks near Murphys, CA

Columbia State Historic Park is about 25 miles away on Hwy 49. This is an old Gold Rush-era town and the business district has been preserved.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=552

Calaveras Big Trees State Park is about 15 miles away from Murphy's on Hwy 4. This is one of my favorite places to walk among the giant sequoias.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=551

I don't recommend staying in Groveland to visit Yosemite. It's just to far. It's only 45 miles but will take about an hour and 20 minutes to get to Yosemite Valley. I highly recommend making reservations now to stay in Yosemite valley. In spring the high country will be closed so most of your activities will center around the waterfalls and hikes in Yosemite valley.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So much to do, so little time. I'm down to three side trips. Monterey, Yosemite, and Point Reyes. I can already see that these combined with San Francisco are too much. At this time the only sure one is Yosemite. Any thoughts? Our flight arrives Saturday (3/19) around noon and we leave Saturday (3/26) evening. In Yosemite, has anyone stayed at The Redwoods in Yosemite?
seedless is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:12 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I definitely recommend Yosemite for a side trip. If you can get reservations at the Yosemite lodge (you may have to keep checking in hopes of cancellations), I definitely recommend it. The rooms are very reasonably priced (in contrast to the Ahwanee), spacious, and the location is perfect.

In terms of San Francisco:
If you are staying in the city, avoid driving as much as possible. Bart is very convenient for getting around (you can by pre-bought tickets slightly cheaper).

Are your children boys or girls? I'm 18, and when I'm not at school, live in the SF area, so I could recommend some things to do.

A trip to Alcatraz (you will need to buy tickets in advance) is really interesting. Also recommended are shopping (Union Square and the Nordstrom's mall on Powell street), Chinatown (go there for lunch), Fisherman's wharf (Ghiradelli square is right nearby) and the cable car (if you go on the weekend (maybe the sunday after you get there) you can get on in the business district, there will be no wait, and you can hang off if you so desire.
lagirl33 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:56 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,124
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm getting in on this late, but as someone who lives in Seattle but grew up in Southern California... I say stick to California. San Fran to San Diego would be great. That's PLENTY to do in an 8 day car trip. Seattle's a fabulous place to live but I wouldn't be particularly interested in vacationing here.
suze is online now  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:04 PM
  #19  
lovingheart
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I would definitely stick to the coast. You'll have a great time and plenty to do with San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria (Hearst Castle), Santa Barbara, and the towns between Santa Barbara and Santa Monica.
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:50 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 520
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It sounds as though you've already decided on your trip, but we've done the coastal trip both ways from San Francisco in about the time frame you have.

For our first honeymoon, we flew into San Fran, stayed a day or two, then began our way down the coast with stopovers in Monterrey/Carmel, Morro Bay, LA and San Diego/La Jolla. We later flew home from San Diego.

Two years ago, we flew into San Francisco again and did the coastal drive north up California, Oregon and into Washington and even ferried over to Victoria for two nights. Then flew home out of Seattle.

I can't tell you which trip was more beautiful, because both ways are spectacular and completely awesome coastal drives. The northbound drive was the most recent and it stands out more in my memory because of that...the windy coastline of California and the breathtaking shoreline of Oregon are spectacular.

Just a side note, on the last trip, since we had stayed in SF before, after flying in, we picked up our rental car and headed northbound. Upon crossing the Golden Gate bridge, there were three lanes of traffic moving, and a small pick-up truck in the middle lane jammed on his breaks all of a sudden. The driver jumped out of the pick-up and kind of tugging up his pants as he went around the front of the vehicle, but he made a pointed dash to the side of the bridge, placed both hands on top of the rail and flung himself over. I was nauseous for hours afterwards! What a way to start a vacation!
hugglynn is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO