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3-4 day trip in September?

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Bermagui, Australia
posts: 1,747
reviews: 81
3-4 day trip in September?

I am thinking of spending 3-4 days in San Francisco with my Husband in September (first or second week) we are coming from Australia. I visit Orlando yearly and have been to San Diego/anaheim way back in 2003 but have never been to San Francisco. We were going to spend 3-4 days in San Fran, 3-4 days in San Diego and 7 days in Anaheim.

I am wondering if this is enough time? We mainly want to see: Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermans Wharf and a day trip to Yosemite.

What is the best and easiest way to get around to these places? Where is the best area to stay?

Any help is much appreciated.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 30,525
reviews: 26
1. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

That is a pretty busy time in SF.

<<We mainly want to see: Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermans Wharf >.

That's just scratching the surface of what SF has to offer. Read up on the Top Questions about what to see and do. I often wonder why people want to travel for hours and hours and then not expand their horizons outside the most touristy parts of town.

Day trip to Yosemite. Feasible bit not recommended as you'll spend more time on the bus (8 hours) than you will in the park (4-5 hours). But it sounds like you're the "tick the box" sort so it might be right up your alley.

Bermagui, Australia
posts: 1,747
reviews: 81
2. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

It's more that we are coming so far and flights alone to the USA are $2000 so we want to see "the main sights" If it takes 4 hours to get to yosemite then forget it! Last year we went to Las Vegas and didn't do the Grand Canyon because of the wasted time on the bus.

I just thought it would be nice to see the National Park because when we were in Vegas the best thing was going out to Red rock canyon, we like "nature"

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 30,525
reviews: 26
3. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

<<Last year we went to Las Vegas and didn't do the Grand Canyon because of the wasted time on the bus. >>

To be painfully honest, I think you have your priorities misplaced. Spending time in Vegas over the Grand Canyon ... phew.

3-4 days in SF and 7 in Anaheim?? OK, now I get it. Never mind.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 41,060
reviews: 74
4. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

galaga_girl ~ If I spent $2000 to get to a destination, I'd be sure that I'd allow enough time to really enjoy the destination. If you're visiting California and want to focus on some of the San Francisco area & beyond, then do it. SFO - SF (4 nights) - Yosemite (2 nights) - Monterey (2 nights) - SFO is about the fastest I'd suggest anyone visit these world famous destinations.

If you're looking for a driving itinerary that includes some of the destinations you've listed, try SFO - SF (4 n) - Yosemite (1-2 n) - Monterey (1 n) - Cambria or Pismo Beach (1 n) - Anaheim / Orange County (4-7 nights) - San Diego (3 nights) - exit airport

No time for L.A.?

If you want more help creating an itinerary that allows you to visit some of California, go up one level to the California state forum.

If you want to visit San Francisco, this is the right place. The Top Questions can assist your planning. Three full days is a good length of time to get the flavor of the city.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 6,777
reviews: 47
5. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

If you like nature, you definitely want to allow time to go to Yosemite (preferably an overnight stay), as well as spend 2-3 nights traveling along the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those represent some of the most beautiful scenery in the western US.

Sacramento
posts: 20
reviews: 4
6. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

Ok, I may be making some assumptions here, but.....why on earth do you need 7 DAYS in Anaheim? You say you go to Orlando every year so I am assuming (again) that you've been to Disney World. Disneyland is smaller (even taking into account California Adventure) and can be done well in 2-3 days.

<<the best thing was going out to Red rock canyon, we like "nature">>

Well, missing Yosemite is missing a whole lot of nature. It's seriously one of the most beautiful places in the world and well worth planning a trip around it just by itself. To leave it out so you can visit places you've already been to

<<I visit Orlando yearly and have been to San Diego/anaheim way back in 2003 >>

is IMHO a real mistake. Don't get me wrong, I love Disneyland, but I wouldn't trade spectacular natural scenery for man-made fantasy. PacificNWFamily gave you a good driving itinerary. I would highly recommend that for a nice overview of parts of California you haven't seen. Renting a car is really the best way to see Calif. Public transportation is terrible outside the big cities, but the state has so much more to offer. And, I do know what it feels like to spend a lot on airfare. I just spent $4300 to fly my family to the UK. I added time to our visit (and am travelling on a budget) so we could see as much as possible considering I am unlikely to be able to afford a trip like this again.

If you stick with your current plan, Yosemite is too far away to work into your SF plans. Spend your 3-4 days in and around SF. Go to Muir Woods for some nature.

Bermagui, Australia
posts: 1,747
reviews: 81
7. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

Thanks Pacific, I am not going to be hiring a car. The last thing i'm doing whilst on holiday in a foreign country is getting into a traffic accident - you guys drive on the "wrong" side of the road compared to us so i'm not about to mess with that!

I would love to do LA but without a car I have no idea on how to actually get to any of the places that I want to go so have only ever done one of those horrid "day trips" from Anaheim that take you to the Chinese theatre for 20mins then around to the "stars" houses and charge almost $100 for the 5 hour trip.

All I really want to do in San Diego is the Zoo so I can take a day trip from Anaheim to do this, that would give me 7 days in San Francisco and would mean that I could do a 2 day tour of Yosemite.

I am really looking for things that I can do where I can easily get around on public transport, i'm not into constant bus changes etc. When on vacation I like to take it easy and not have too many hassles.

Also I've noticed that accommodation in San Fran is extremely expensive, can you recommend anywhere that is close to the places I want to visit or cheap enough to get to via a taxi.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 6,777
reviews: 47
8. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

>>I am really looking for things that I can do where I can easily get around on public transport, i'm not into constant bus changes etc. <<

If you don't want to drive so that you can set your own pace and itinerary in Yosemite, look into overnight tours through Extranomical Adventures. (You could also visit via public transit, but it's a bus to a train to a bus... it's all timed and ticketed through Amtrak, but you do have to make the changes.)

>>Also I've noticed that accommodation in San Fran is extremely expensive, can you recommend anywhere that is close to the places I want to visit or cheap enough to get to via a taxi.<<

San Francisco is very small, only 7 miles x 7 miles, and many visitor attractions are within an area maybe a third of that. So you can easily walk, take public transportation, or taxi to get anywhere in the city. If you let us know your hotel budget, we can make specific suggestions. Also, check out the Top Questions as there is a newly revised one on just the topic of budget accommodations.

Bermagui, Australia
posts: 1,747
reviews: 81
9. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

Thanks SFSusan, wow 7miles really!! That is only 11km so that is easily walking distance for us. We are used to a lot of walking so that should be no problem so long as there are walkways and signposts.

We are on a budget (who isn't!) so would prefer something less than $130 a night if possible. We want to mainly do Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharft and see the Golden Gate Bridge, i'd also love to see the Disney Museum, so anything close to any of those places would be great.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,341
reviews: 7
10. Re: 3-4 day trip in September?

September in SF is busy with conventions and the America's Cup this year. Lodging rates will be high no matter where you stay. Union Square is the recommended area for visitors, but if that proves too expensive for you, look at the motor lodges on Lombard Street. Like the Coventry, Chelsea, Redwood Inn, Buena Vista and Cow Hollow Inn.