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California road trip

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Ghent, Belgium
posts: 71
reviews: 6
California road trip

hello, we are planning a trip to California in september and oktober (17 days). This will be our third trip to the USA ( from Belgium), after Utah/ Arizona and Washington/ Oregon/Northern California...We like food, pubs, scenery (without the crowds if possible), weird stuff.... (last time we didn't like Las Vegas and Sedona, we loved Flagstaff and Moab....just to give you an idea). For the moment our itinerary looks like this:

16 arrive SF, drive to Santa Cruz

17 whale watching, sleep pfeiffer Big Sur (maybe point Lobos, or the next day)

18 drive to San Luis Obispo (sleep Montana de oro)

19SLO (thursday farmers market)

20SLO-Kings Canyon

21Kings canyon


23Sequioa-Yosimite (south)

24yosimite (early to avoid the crowds as much as possible), sleep east (Lee Vining area?)

25-29 Mammoth lakes area, relax...looking for.nice campground (Bodie etc.)

30 drive to SF

1,2 SF (staying with friends)

3 flight to Brussels

Does this make sense? Thanks

Edited: 11:23 am, March 09, 2013
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 43,436
reviews: 75
1. Re: California road trip

Hi pauliwalnut

Yes, it mostly makes sense. The puzzling thing is why you chose to post in the Bakersfield forum.

It's likely that folks will see your thread here, but if you don't get many replies, try reposting in the California state forum. The CA state forum also has some excellent Top Questions in the upper right with info about your coastal drive.

Are you intending to tent camp for much of this trip?

Do you plan to be well rested when you arrive at SFO? Driving to Santa Cruz right away would be too much for some travelers.

I assume you have a good reason for choosing Kings Canyon NP first, then south to Sequoia NP, then north to Yosemite NP. Here is a map with those Parks: nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/upload/region.pdf

Why so little time in Yosemite? One night only? With a 4 hr morning drive from Sequoia NP, you'll have time for Glacier Point views and maybe one or two stops in Yosemite Valley. I assume you're staying in Yosemite Valley. Then the next day you get another peek at Valley beauty before heading up to lovely Tuolumne Meadows and departing. That's a fast visit, but you'll see the highlights.

For your drive from Mammoth Lakes area to San Francisco, maybe try Sonora Pass or Ebbetts Pass. Info: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c158581

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,586
reviews: 6
2. Re: California road trip

On the 17th. Whale watching would come first, as it is in Monterey, then Point Lobos, which is just 3 miles south of Carmel, THEN Big Sur. It would not make sense to drive back to Point Lobos after your night in Big Sur.

If you feel Ok with driving to Santa Cruz after your flight, it is about an hour and a quarter from the airport after you get on the road. You will want to take Hwy 380 up to Hwy 280. Turn south towards San Jose. (this will be a pretty drive on a fast freeway. Take the exit for Gilroy, Hwy 85, then watch for the Hwy 17 exit to Santa Cruz. It is 20 miles over the coast range from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz.

Are your plans to spend the night here? If so, go to the Santa Cruz forum, when you are ready to plan for help on where to stay. Monterey is just 45 minutes south of Santa Cruz.

Ghent, Belgium
posts: 71
reviews: 6
3. Re: California road trip

Thanks Pacificnwf. and Puter....We have made a reservation at Henry cowell, near SC.... I think we will be fine driving for an hour or so with a jetlag, we did it before.... How is the traffic from the airport to SC (around 5pm)?

The plan is to do mostly tent camping, except for a night or two....Pacifinwf, you are right, we will visit sequioa first, then kings canyon, Yosimite etc.

Posting in the Bakersfield forum was a simple mistake....

Thank you

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,586
reviews: 6
4. Re: California road trip

If you are coming on a weekday, there is a possibility of running into some traffic over Hwy 17 from people who are coming home from work....they commute from SC to the Silicon Valley.....but I think you will miss it, And the slow section of the road is only about 8 miles of curves. Follow the speed limit signs. The road is four lane divided with cement barriers.

When you come down from the hill and it becomes freeway again, take the second exit, marked Mt. Hermon Road, over to Felton. Turn left when you come to the main street. This is Hwy 9. Henry Cowell is after the city limits on your left.

(Coincidence,....we will be in Belgium later this month.)

Have a good trip.

Edited: 6:28 am, March 10, 2013
Ghent, Belgium
posts: 71
reviews: 6
5. Re: California road trip

Thanks Puter. Do you need any tips?We live in Ghent...

6. Re: California road trip

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