Yosemite or not for Australian family

Old Jan 16th, 2011, 01:38 AM
  #1  
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Yosemite or not for Australian family

Hello, we are going to be spending 3 nights in San Francisco and at this point are considering doing two nights in Yosemite, then heading to the coast for two more nights before flying out of LAX back home.

But, today I discovered it's a 4-5 hour drive to Yosemite from SF, and then 4-5 hours back to the coast. I am now thinking that's a lot of driving for just two nights.

So, here's the question?
- Do we do the trip as planned, ie 3 nights SF, 2 nights Yosemite, 2 nights coast and make our way to LAX?
- Do we skip Yosemite?
- Do we skip the coast between SF and LA?

Your advice will be appreciated.
gertyinoz is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2011, 06:10 AM
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Did this journey kind of as a road trip last year

www.yosemite.com magical with the redwood goves vistas

wildlife waterfalls and www.carmelcalifornia.com

Big Sur area also magical especially the scenic coast drive.

A couple of nights in each area were great for me.

So I think you are fine and I would skip neither.

Happy Journey,
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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What month are you going? If you are the type of person who just want to see the highlights, then you'll be fine at Yosemite. You will probably have time to see The Valley and then perhaps a drive to Maripossa Grove of giant sequoias. If you are like me and really like to hike and see a lot of it while you are there, then you really need a week to do Yosemite.

I like the coast and I like San Fran, but I would still rank Yosemite as one of the very best places in the world. Truly amazing.
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on Earth in my book. Do not miss it! The sequoia grove (Mariposa) is also a must see. I agree with Quovadis, do it all, you'll be glad you did!
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 07:47 AM
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cd
 
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I agree to do it all! The drive is worth it to see Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove, they are awesome!
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 08:12 AM
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When is your trip scheduled? You can customize your Yosemite visit for the season but no matter when you come, it's a place worth seeing! In the words of John Muir, "Wander here, a whole Summer if you can, for the time will not be taken from the sum of your life."
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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> I am now thinking that's a lot of driving for just two nights.

Four or five hours of driving is NOT too much in order to see Yosemite. I've been to 42 national parks in the U.S., and Yosemite is near the top of those I would never hesitate to visit.

Trust me -- you DO want to go there.
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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I have been to Yosemite twice for a couple of days each time and haven't scratched the surface of the beautiful areas and vistas. Go to the park, you will never regret going. ps when we visited SF we stayed in a town a little south called Pacifica in a hotel named seabreeze. Its not fancy but it is very cheap and has a millon dollar location.
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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4 hours one day-- and 4 hours 2+ days later -- I personally don't see an issue. You are from Oz-- aren't you pretty much used to some longer drives even w/o the "WOW" factor of Yosemite at the other end?

But yes -- when is the trip. That does make abit of difference re YNP.
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Hi everyone, we will be in SF in early-mid July. I think from ALL of your feedback we'd be crazy to miss out on Yosemite. Thanks so so much for all your suggestions. We'll do 3 days in SF, two days in Yosemite and then spend another two nights on the coast, before driving to LA airport.

If any of you have any suggestions for which two locations we could do an overnight stop at along the coast from SF to LA, we will be very appreciative. We need to be on the plane on July 19, and have July 17 and 18 to play around with.

Monterey and Santa Barbara?

Thanks so much again.
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 08:32 PM
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Popular stopping points between SF and LA on the coast:
Monterey/Carmel
Big Sur
Cambria (Hearst Castle)/Paso Robles
Santa Barbara

If your flight is early to mid-day on the 19th you probably will want to stay the 18th in Santa Barbara or further south like Santa Monica so as to avoid the vagaries of traffic and missing the flight. You could schedule a stop at the Getty Villa as you travel through Malibu. Make a parking reservation in advance.

As to which of the above depends on what you want to do - do you want hiking, vistas, beach strolls, quaint towns for shopping, an oddly fascinating castle, fine dining, wine tasting (Paso Robles and Santa Ynez). Pacific Coast Highway is a gorgeous drive, but long and winding so plan longer than average driving times. I rather like the idea of a last night's stay in one of the LA beach communities (like Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach) with an early morning beach stroll or bike ride and oceanfront breakfast.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 12:29 AM
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Thank you for those great suggestions. Our plane leaves at 10pm but we would like to be at the airport 3 hours earlier to get through all the security etc. At least that's what we keep getting told is needed for LA airport.

We'd probably prefer vistas, quaint towns for shopping and the kids will no doubt enjoy the castle. Which towns would you suggest for the shopping, and where is the castle?

Actually a beach stroll would be great too.

Yes, it sounds like we are trying to pack a lot into our last two days in the US, so any suggestions on what we should do and what we could skip would be fantastic.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 05:55 AM
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Now that we know that you are coming in July, I hate to tell you to skip the coast and spend your 4 days in Yosemite, but that is what I would do. You could spend a day in the Maripossa Grove Giant Sequoias, a day in The Valley, a day in Hetch Hetchy, and a day in the High Country.

The coast is really nice(I am doing Monterey/Big Sur myself in June), but Yosemite is totally amazing. If you are inclined not to hike at all, then two days would be fine in Yosemite. To really enjoy Yosemite, I do suggest doing at least a little hiking while there. A lot of hiking would be even better.

Try to get lodging "in park", but make reservations ASAP. The place fills up a year in advance.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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The "castle" is Hearst Castle near Cambria (4 miles south), built by newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. The Experience Tour #1 is recommended for first time visitors. It is a 90,000 square foot "home" with multiple buildings, pools, grounds, including 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, movie theater and a private zoo (many animals such as zebra still roam the grounds). It is pretty amazing. You can find more information at their website: www.hearstcastle.org .
Cambria is a quaint town and a popular stopping point halfway between SF and LA. I've only driven through but mostly you will find small inns and B&Bs.

I would recommend Carmel for shopping, another quaint town with lots of B&Bs. The kids will prefer Monterey with the aquarium, sea otters and seals to watch frolic in the bay. And the ice-cream shops. They are close together and you can easily do both with an overnight at one or the other (for example, drive into Carmel, wander an hour or two, have a late lunch or an early dinner and drive to Monterey. Wake up to feed the seals, visit the aquarium, see Cannery Row and head south. If you want to see Hearst Castle try to make an afternoon tour that same day, or reserve the first tour the next morning. You should also double check drive times as I usually leave that part of the trip to my husband. Reservations are a must).

You will have plenty of amazing vistas driving Pacific Coast Highway. Just give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport that last day as summer traffic can get congested.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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I should have also said that I think Monterey to Santa Monica with a stop at Hearst is probably not possible in one day. You will definitely need two nights on the coast drive if you plan to see anything along the way. But you might be able to get from Yosemite to Cambria in one day. Tour the Castle in the morning and then drive from Cambria to Santa Barbara or further south to Ventura (which we rather like for beach walks and shopping on main street). On the way down to the airport the last day, you could try to stop at the Getty Villa in Malibu, it seems like you have a enough time, oh, and Gladstone's in Malibu for a late lunch (or the Reel Inn, a roadside fish shack and beach classic).
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Agreed do not miss Yosemite. Take time in this amazing park, nothing I repeat nothing like it in the entire world. A fun thing to do is get a cocktail at the Awahnee hotel, sit outside & enjoy the view. Be sure to get a placeto stay ASAP, this fills up in light speed.
See See See Big Sur & Carmel. Santa Barbara has an airport that will fly you to LAX if your time is limited. Something to consider. This can be a big time saver & allow you to enjoy the north & central coast that much more.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Wow. That is such FANTASTIC advice. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We have already looked into accommodation in Yosemite and most of it is already booked out or way out of our price range. But we will look further just in case there is something still left.

I had no idea Santa Barbara had an airport so I will check out airfares to LAX because it sounds like traffic could be a nightmare and the last thing we want to do is get stuck in traffic and start stressing out.

You guys are the best.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 03:08 PM
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cd
 
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I do want to recommend Yosemite Lodge at the Falls: http://www.nationalparkreservations....FYnd4AodK3UPGw The location is wonderful and the price is reasonable. There are always cancellations so I encourage you to book whatever is available but to keep trying for this Valley floor accomodation.
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 10:55 PM
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Thanks CD. Special thanks to POlson for all that amazing detailed information. I've been researching your suggestions. You are good.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 07:24 AM
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Heading for LAX airport to arrive by 7pm is about the worst possible time traffic-wise. What day of the week is your drive?
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