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Nancy Sep 29th, 2001 05:52 AM

What not to miss on 11 day visit to So. Calif.
We will be flying into San Diego in mid-December and spending 11 days in southern California area. Would like to hear opinions as to what the must-sees are. Considering staying a few days in San Diego, possibly a couple days in L.A., driving up U.S. 1 to Monterey, then over to Vegas for a few days, and possibly to the Grand Canyon and then back to San Diego. We enjoy museums, entertainment/amusement parks, shopping and great vistas. Also, how much is gasoline running these days in southern California? All input in greatly appreciated.

Brian Kilgore Sep 29th, 2001 06:19 AM

An argument could be made that your plan involves too much driving, and you'll never see anything because you'll be on highways. <BR> <BR>I'd revise the plan, to either a north-south route, or a giant circle. <BR> <BR>Either drive from San Diego east to Tucson and north to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and then west to Los angeles and back to San Diego, or just head up the coast, all the way to San Francisco, and back down again. <BR> <BR>For instance, just the drive from Loa Angeles to Monteray, and then back south takes two days from your 11 day total, without stopping long enough to really see anything. <BR> <BR>BAK <BR>

jen Sep 29th, 2001 08:00 AM

Do not miss the Getty Museum...if you are not into "art", the architecture tour is fascinating. Plus the views, the gardens, and the magnificent structures themselves are amazing.

annie Sep 29th, 2001 08:10 AM

Hi Nancy--I agree with Brian that you should skip Monterey. Instead maybe add Palm Springs on the way to Vegas--go up the Tram for a great view--stay at one of many beautiful resorts. Huge outlet on the edge of town, also nice mall in Palm Desert. Your trip sounds great!!

Cheryl Z. Sep 29th, 2001 09:31 AM

<BR>I also think your itinerary has too much driving, plus trying to squeeze too much in. Save Vegas for another trip. Same with the Grand Canyon. I'd recommend the Calif. coast itself - incredible. Last summer we spent long weekend (don't remember gas prices, sorry) and especially enjoyed the central coast areas, driving from Malibu up to Shell Beach. Santa Barbara area beautiful. So I'd say San Diego up to San Fran. (and yes, include Monterey!)

Robin Sep 29th, 2001 11:40 AM

Another vote for reducing the driving, and maybe this will help: gas is about $1.40 to $1.70 per gallon (seems to vary a lot lately). But more importantly, I agree with the others pointing out that you risk not seeing anything for real. Also, as I'm sure you know, traffic through much of these areas can be pretty hairy, and getting stuck in a lot of it is a sure way to spoil your trip. I would suggest either eliminating the non-California sites as suggested, or cut off the northernmost or southernmost stops. <BR> <BR>Flying isn't really an answer either, since parking, check in etc. now take longer. Just plan to hit your high priorities this trip, and save some others for the next one.

Barbara Sep 29th, 2001 02:36 PM

I also agree that you're trying to cover too much in 11 days. Your options would seem to be either 1. stay in California going from San Diego to San Francisco-almost everywhere you drive will have fabulous scenery, with many interesting places, museums, etc. to visit en route or 2. eliminate anything north of Los Angeles and focus on S. California, Vegas and possibly the Grand Canyon. This way you will find yourself driving over vast and very boring areas of desert to reach Vegas and the Grand Canyon, then back to San Diego. Personally, I would go for the all-California option. Gas in San Diego tends to be a little more expensive than other parts of the state and does range from about $1.50 to $1.70 a gallon.

Kate Sep 29th, 2001 02:38 PM

Nancy, <BR> I don't know your age range or if you have kids, but here's my opinions. In San Diego don't miss the zoo. We were glad we went, and we probably should have passed on Sea World because it was a dissapointment. Also it was fun to see Coronado island with it's famous hotel and going over the bridge..was amazing. Also we stayed in La Jolla on the cove it is so pretty and there are lots of shops and restaurants. We've stayed in Santa Monica (L.A. on the beach) there are so many things to do. The Pier has amusement rides, third street promenade has shops, movie theaters and lots of restaurants. Well hope that helps

russ i Sep 29th, 2001 03:13 PM

Nancy, <BR> <BR>As an LA native, this is what I would do in your situation: <BR> <BR>San Diego 3 nights <BR>SD to Laguna Beach (optional) <BR>LB to LA <BR>LA 3 nights <BR>LA to Santa Barbara (for lunch) <BR>SB to Cambria <BR>Cambria 1 night <BR>Cambria to Carmel via route 1 – Big Sur <BR>Carmel 1 night <BR>Carmel to San Jose Airport <BR>Drop off car at San Jose airport and fly to Las Vegas (tickets are cheap and you won’t need a car in LV). <BR>LV 2 nights <BR>Fly to SD to complete circle and fly home <BR> <BR>Highlights: <BR> <BR>San Diego – World famous zoo, the beach, La Jolla <BR>Laguna – attractive seaside town (as option, skip this and go to Disneyland which is on the way from SD to LA). <BR>LA – Stay in Santa Monica. Go to the pier, Venice Beach, don’t miss the Getty Center, Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip. (Option - stay in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood)If you want more museums, there is LACMA, the Japanese Museum and the La Brea Tar pits all in a row on Wilshire Bl. Downtown there is MOCA and the Geffen. In Pasadena there is the Norton Simon, and old town Pasadena is a nice place to grab lunch. The Huntington Gardens are also nearby. <BR>Santa Barbara – The mission will give you a little bit of old CA history. <BR>Cambria is a quaint seaside town near the Hearst Castle (don't miss) and San Luis Obisbo. <BR>Big Sur is the scenic highlight of the trip. Get a good guidebook and take all day for this 60 mile trip. Be sure to stop to see waterfalls and beaches along the way. <BR>Carmel is another quaint town, great for walking, with a gorgeous white sand beach. It is right next to Monterey, if you want to drive there for a look around and to see the famous aquarium. <BR> <BR>The advantage of this itinerary is that you won’t be driving for more than 2 hours or so between stops, with plenty of time to look around. If you want to add Palm Springs, borrow a night each from SD and LA and do it in between, but that is too much moving around for me, and you will get a feel for the desert in LV. Have fun! <BR>

xxx Sep 29th, 2001 09:46 PM

Russ' schedule is very well thought out. As a native Californian, even I would like to do the outlined trip. I may spend a day in Santa Barbara though. There's a lot of pretty areas there. Since you like shopping, don't miss South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. My favorite shopping mall in California.

Barbara Sep 30th, 2001 06:59 AM

My family loves Sea World, we prefer it over the San Diego Zoo.

Nancy Oct 2nd, 2001 06:16 AM

Thanks so much to everyone for their great ideas and opinions! This has helped us tremendously in planning our vacation. I am even more excited about visiting California now!

joe Oct 10th, 2001 10:56 PM

<BR>You can fly INTO San Diego and OUT OF Las Vegas, and from most cities you will still qualify for the "round trip" airfare sales. You could also rent a car one way from San Diego to Las Vegas, Avis Budget and National usually have no drop charges. <BR> <BR>My cities of choice would be Del Mar north of San Diego, Laguna Beach, L.A. (Holiday Inn Brentwood just off the 405 freeway, near the Getty museum, convenient to Malibu and Beverly Hills touring), Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, and DEFINITELY VEGAS, especially since most Vegas dates in December are very inexpensive, especially weeknights.

Mary Oct 11th, 2001 12:27 PM

I prefer Fashion Island Shopping Center in Corona Del Mar (near Newport Beach). <BR>It is outdoors and has many beautiful shops and restaurants and the California spirit. Upscale but friendly, with wonderful ocean breezes. I visit in winter too.

Shadow Oct 12th, 2001 01:39 AM

I agree with Mary about Fashion Island! <BR>Shadow

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