We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need help for trip!

Which California hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Gretna, Virginia
posts: 145
reviews: 35
Need help for trip!

My husband and I are planning a trip to California, but we need to know the BEST month to be there. We also need to know where is the best area to stay..we've been told San Francisco. We will have only 7 days, including flying time from Virginia. So..if we stay in S.F., what are the highlights to see around that specific area?? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!!

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 28,464
reviews: 136
1. Re: Need help for trip!

Oh Oh. Welcome to TA Forums. I think you may want to spend time reading the Top Questions about our State and you can then decide where you want to go and what you want to see. If you are interested in SF, then please go to the San Francisco Forum and then you can read the top questions there in about 30 minutes including the one WHAT TO DO IN SF ?

With a week in NorCal, you can do SF in 3-4 days and then either see Yosemite or Napa/Sonoma Valleys or the Monterey Carmel area

Best time - Well perhaps late April May or October. Early November but really anytime is a great time to visit CA

Here is the San Francisco Forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60713-i30-San_Fra…

If you do want to go to SoCal, please go to the Los Angeles Forum

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 43,944
reviews: 80
2. Re: Need help for trip!

San Francisco is the 'best' destination for some folks, but others prefer Los Angeles or Monterey or even ... Yosemite National Park!

If you know you want to visit SF, ask folks on the SF forum. Let them know what kinds of things you like to do.

Gretna, Virginia
posts: 145
reviews: 35
3. Re: Need help for trip!

Thank you for your response. --Quite honestly, we are not sure what city we want to stay. We were just told today that San Francisco is a BEAUTIFUL area and much to see there. --It seems we may have to make several trips out West to see all that we would like to see! I need some kind of 'plan' or idea for this particular trip, since it will be just 7 days. --We would like to hit Vegas, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, but also would love to see the wonderful California beaches, and the many attractions there. (sort of leaning more towards CA for this trip...just not sure what parts and what spots to see!??!

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,791
reviews: 6
4. Re: Need help for trip!

>>-We would like to hit Vegas, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, but also would love to see the wonderful California beaches, and the many attractions there.<<

I you must have meant "Yosemite" and not "Yellowstone" because Yellowstone National Park is a two day drive from California. It is in Wyoming.

Even so, if you try to do Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Yosemite and beaches in 7 days, you will spend most of your time traveling between them, rather than visiting them.

I would get a good map and then read the forums here for your destinations to make a sensible decision about what is possible. Perhaps you are not aware that we are in the vast West, where things are not as close to each other as they are in the East.

I hope the seven days does not include travel time from your home, or the situation is even less possible.

Los Angeles...
posts: 950
reviews: 84
5. Re: Need help for trip!

California is a huge state filled with a varied array of natural beauty and several major cities. Please do a bit of research and then come back. Here is a good place to start:

http://www.visitcalifornia.com/

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,751
reviews: 22
6. Re: Need help for trip!

Best month depends on where you will be visiting. September and October are best in SF or on the coast but May and June are best for Yosemite Valley. August for the higher elevations in Yosemite. And, early Spring for the deserts.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 7,848
reviews: 60
7. Re: Need help for trip!

The best place to start is with what you want to do when you get here. Yosemite is beautiful for natural scenery, SF is a great city for culture, restaurants, attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, and interesting neighborhoods, but if you want to do beaches (swimming, sunning, etc.), then that is NOT Northern California at all and San Diego or Orange County would be better.

Overall, September and October are great in most parts of the state, but Yosemite's waterfalls are better in late spring, and Death Valley's wildflowers are better in late winter/early spring.

So close your eyes, and picture yourself on vacation -- are you relaxing on the beach? Hiking in the mountains? Wandering a museum? Eating Chinese food? Tell us what your dreams are, and we can tell you where!

Gretna, Virginia
posts: 145
reviews: 35
8. Re: Need help for trip!

Thank you for your welcome...yes, I'm totally new with this, as we haven't done very much traveling and haven't EVER been out West at all! --I will def. ck. out the links you gave me. -Tks. again!

Gretna, Virginia
posts: 145
reviews: 35
9. Re: Need help for trip!

No, the 7 nights does NOT include travel time....so, wherever we are, we will have 7 days there alone. I just want to make the best of our time, meaning I want to hit the best attractions that are within a reasonable drive from where we stay. --Thank you for your help.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 43,944
reviews: 80
10. Re: Need help for trip!

Hi again Hope6482

For some folks, choosing 2 or 3 destinations is an ideal way to spend a week. Some folks would enjoy a leisurely drive to the next destination every day. Some rent a home/apartment/condo and live like a local for a week.

No one knows what is the best use of your time nor the best attractions for you. We are all so different. Ten people visiting San Francisco for the first time might not have itineraries that are very similar yet each one could have a wonderful trip.

I really like SFSusanW's idea. Picture yourself in your vacation destination.

Are you in a hotel? A rental apartment?

Is this a city? Is the ocean nearby? Are there mountains?

Do you dine out each night from a vast array of restaurants? Do you pick up something at the grocery store and have a picnic or dine in?

Are you active during the day? Is someone giving you a tour? Are you visiting museums? Are you taking lots of pictures?

There are so many options!