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West Coast flydrive

England
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West Coast flydrive

Hi Everyone,

We are a couple in our 30's that enjoys exploring :) we are planning to fly in and out of SFO and want to spend 10-12 days and in this time we want to drive the pacific road down to LA then Vegas and try and squeeze in Yosemite.... we are hoping to travel late April/May.. we dont have a big budget but I would like to know whether this is possible to do? Husband enjoys driving hence the pacific road but I would like to know how how long I should cater for? 3 or 4 days? are there cheap motels along this route? are there any hidden gems? Is May a good time of year?

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: West Coast flydrive

In 10-12 days, you barely have time to spend the night in a destination. Which places on your wish list are at the top and which can be saved for another visit?

A: SFO - SF (3-4 nights) - {pick up rental car and drive to} Yosemite Valley (1-2 n) - {long drive to} L.A. (3 n) - Pismo Beach (1 n) - Monterey (1 n) - SFO

B: SFO - SF (3-4 n) - Yosemite Valley (1-2 n) - Monterey (1 n) - Pismo Beach (1 n) - L.A. (3-4 n) - Las Vegas (3-4 n) - LAS {internal flight to SFO} Note that the reverse direction would work fine. Fly to LAS first thing, then head over to California and end in San Francisco.

C: (your idea) SFO - SF (3-4 n) - Monterey (1-2 n) - Pismo Beach (1 n) - L.A. (3-4 n) - Las Vegas (3-4 n) - {all day drive to} Yosemite Valley (at least two nights so you can spend a day here, 2-3 n) - {4 hr drive to SFO} I prefer suggesting the reverse direction for two reasons - 1. head north on Hwy 1 so the views get better & better and 2. end in Monterey only 2 hrs from SFO.

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Time of year: yes, late April / early May is fine. Las Vegas (and Death Valley which you don't have time to visit!) won't yet be too hot. The waterfalls in Yosemite will be building volume. But Tioga Road from Hwy 395 to Yosemite NP will be closed.

Tips for the trip: the Top Questions on the right side of the page is loaded with great ideas for visitors.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: West Coast flydrive

Aren't the flights set yet? Maybe consider to make this a one way trip starting SF and ending in Las Vegas. If you rent with an European broker there will be no drop off charges between Ca and NV (and AZ for that matter).

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: West Coast flydrive

>> are there cheap motels along this route? <<

What do you consider cheap? If you state your lodging budget, in US dollars, it makes it easier to suggest lodging for you.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: West Coast flydrive

Also try to avoid Las Vegas in the weekend because prices will be much higher then.

England
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5. Re: West Coast flydrive

hey all... thought I was trying to squeeze too much in a little time period!! I was thinking along the lines of -

SF (2 nights, Alcatraz & pier 39, golden gate bridge) - Yosemite Valley (2 nights) - drive on the pacific road thinking 3 nights not sure where to stop yet - L.A. (2 nights hollywood) - Las Vegas (3 nights Canyon, strip) fly back to SFO (1night) then back to the UK.

So this is a rough idea would this feel too rushed? I was thinking picking up a car from SF then drop of at Las Vegas. Budgets for motels along the pacific road would be about 80-90USD is this possible? We are not into gambling so Vegas is more of seeing whats it all about the lights and the casinos/hotels and for LA not really sure what there is apart from famous people and disneyland?

We enjoy nature and exploring so hence there is little content on LA or SF but I would appreaite your comments whether i should cut anything out as this trip to westcoast will be our first and our last for a while as the last time we in the US it was 6 years ago so i want to get as many landmarks in possible but try not to feel like i am just ticking boxes thx!!

England
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6. Re: West Coast flydrive

also if I did the above route could you let me know how many miles or km driving in total this would be approx? thx

Uden, The...
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7. Re: West Coast flydrive

It will be tough to find lodging at that price and almost impossible if you want oceanview. Suggest to stay Monterey and Cambria/Morro Bay/Pismo Beach between Yosemite and Los Angeles. Head over to the Los Angeles forum for things to do in LA. SF-Yosemite-Monterey-Pismo Beach-LA-Las Vegas certainly will be possible in 12 days. Disneyland is in Anaheim app 1 hour south of LA.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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8. Re: West Coast flydrive

Google Maps will show you the miles and give you suggested drive times. Note that the drive time does not include stopping for fuel or food.

You have to do some more research about the destinations. Each city/destination has its own page with Top Questions (on the right) and things to do (above.) They're also described in guidebooks that you can buy or borrow from your local library.

SF (2 nights, Alcatraz & pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge) -> This means only one night. Pier 39 is a touristy shopping opportunity and is not the real San Francisco. You need at least two days, even if you're nature lovers.

Yosemite Valley (2 nights) -> It's 4 hrs / 200 miles to Yosemite Valley from SF. The cheapest lodging here is over $100 per night. Do you "spend" your time driving back and forth from someplace cheaper (and spend gas money) or spend more money staying in the heart of the beauty? Plan to exit via the South Entrance so you can visit Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias ~ more miles to drive.

drive on the pacific road thinking 3 nights not sure where to stop yet -> As mentioned, Monterey and Pismo Beach are the two most commonly suggestions overnight stops. The Top Questions is loaded with info about Hwy 1. Remember that the first day is a 4 hr drive from Yosemite.

L.A. (2 nights Hollywood) -> Again, just one full day. Will you drive another hour to Anaheim for Disneyland? Will you try to see something of this vast area in a few hours? L.A. has shopping, nature, adventures, architecture, museums, and more.

Las Vegas (3 nights, Grand Canyon, Strip) -> Are you planning to drive yourselves to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon or to take a bus tour? If you're driving yourselves, just drive there from L.A. And why 3 nights in the place that pretends to be other things and only 2 nights in the big cities that actually are what they seem to be?

fly back to SFO (1night) then back to the UK -> Don't spend a night at an airport motel. Just fly to SFO and transfer to your flight home.

Uden, The...
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9. Re: West Coast flydrive

Don't confuse Grand Canyon NP to a place called Grand Canyon West. The National Park is where you want to be and know from the famous movies and pictures and is much wider, deeper and more colorful than Grand Canyon West . it's a 5 hours drive between Las Vegas and GCNP south rim. If you make this a one way trip you also can fly from Phoenix back to UK.

LA
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10. Re: West Coast flydrive

Your route is very commonly planned here. Look at the FAQ on the right hand column for information.

I also always recommend actually getting a guidebook and reading it because it will always have much more information than a posting board can provide.

Lonely Planet USA or Lonely Planet California (whichever is newer edition) have good itinerary suggestions and good information for foreign travelers. Start there.