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Old 02-05-2013, 10:40 PM   #1
IncredibleboysMom
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Yet another Cali (SF to DL) road trip...opinions wanted

Hi, our family of 5 (including 3 boys ages 7, 9 and 13) have to be in SF for some medical testing on June 24-25. We have decided to make this a family vacation. Please comment on our plan as follows:

June 20 (Thurs)- fly into SFO, spend the night along the way to Yosemite (opinions of where would be appreciated)

June 21 (Friday)-Yosemite, have a reservation at Yosemite Lodge at the falls

June 22 (Saturday)- spend the day in Yosemite, spend the night nearby headed towards SF (again where?)

June 23 (Sunday)- back to SF

June 24-25- SF for appointments, and some sightseeing, leave the evening of the 25th to Monterey

June 26- Monterey aquarium, spend the night here

June 27- drive all day along the coast to outer LA area (how long will this take and where's a good place to stop for the night?)

June 28- to Anaheim, would like to get at least a DL half park day today, check in to HOJO

June 29-30- DLR staying at HOJO

July 1- fly home from LA area


Does this seem reasonable? Comments and suggestions welcome!

Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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What time do you arrive into San Francisco on the 20th? Its a 4 hr drive to Yosemite...so if you arrive in the morning, I'd suggest hitting the road and head straight for Yosemite. If both you and your husband are driving you can spilt the drive 2hrs each.

What day do you plan on driving back to SF, the 22nd or 23rd? I'd drive back the morning of 23rd. And spent the 22nd night in Yosemite on the west entrance of the park.

Make sure to hit the Disney Museum while in SF, ride the cable cars, see the sealions and have ice cream at Ghirardelli's!

I recommend spending at least 2 nights on the coast, one in Monterey, and the other in either Cambria or further south such as San Luis Obispo or even Santa Barbara. Cambria has some really nice dining options, and you can see the Elephant Seals on the beach too, Hearst Castle is close too, but I don't think you'll have time for that.

At Disney, are you planning on only visiting Disneyland, no California Adventure?
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:36 AM   #3
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My fiancee and I are considering a similar trip for our honeymoon in Nov so I'd also love to see feedback on what sounded to me like a fun trip!
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:10 AM   #4
IncredibleboysMom
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Great advice! We will drive most of the way to Yosemite on the 20th. Would Mariposa be a good place to plan to stop? Then we would like to exit the park from the northwest corner and spend the night (night of the 22nd) along the way back to SF. Can you recommend a location for that overnight stop? We would like to be back in SF for at least a half day of sightseeing on the 23rd.

On driving down the coast, how long will it take to drive from Monterey to Santa Barbara? And then from Santa Barbara to DL? I assume that we should wait until after morning traffic to drive that leg of the trip.

We plan to buy 3 day Disney tickets and to visit both parks. That is why we hope to get at least a half day in the parks on the 28th, then two full days the 29th and 30th.

Thanks again for any suggestions.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by IncredibleboysMom View Post
Great advice! We will drive most of the way to Yosemite on the 20th. Would Mariposa be a good place to plan to stop? Then we would like to exit the park from the northwest corner and spend the night (night of the 22nd) along the way back to SF. Can you recommend a location for that overnight stop? We would like to be back in SF for at least a half day of sightseeing on the 23rd.
Mariposa is fine, although there isn't much to see there or many options for lodging (maybe three motels an historic hotel, and a few bed and breakfasts). If you want to get closer, Cedar Lodge and Yosemite View Lodge are near the Arch Rock entrance. If you're on a budget, Merced isn't too bad and would add about 40 minutes compared to Mariposa.

On the way out, if you're looking for a straight shot, maybe Oakdale. Once I took the scenic route home to the Bay Area and passed through Sonora and Angels Camp. Other than that there are lots of options if you're willing to travel 2 hours - Manteca, Tracy, Livermore, Pleasanton, etc.

Also - be careful about food storage in Yosemite. The bears are crazy aggressive there and will break into cars. You're required to remove food and other items from your vehicle at night. I have personally seen bears that managed to get food as well as ones trying unsuccessfully.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IncredibleboysMom View Post
Great advice! We will drive most of the way to Yosemite on the 20th. Would Mariposa be a good place to plan to stop? Then we would like to exit the park from the northwest corner and spend the night (night of the 22nd) along the way back to SF. Can you recommend a location for that overnight stop? We would like to be back in SF for at least a half day of sightseeing on the 23rd.

On driving down the coast, how long will it take to drive from Monterey to Santa Barbara? And then from Santa Barbara to DL? I assume that we should wait until after morning traffic to drive that leg of the trip.

We plan to buy 3 day Disney tickets and to visit both parks. That is why we hope to get at least a half day in the parks on the 28th, then two full days the 29th and 30th.

Thanks again for any suggestions.
I don't understand stopping at Mariposa- Mariposa is the camping area where people going into the park often stay- it is just 1 hour from the Valley floor- so why would you stop an hour away? If it is because it is really late (like after 8pm) and you just need a place to sleep- much cheaper to stay in a motel off the highway in Merced.

If you are staying in the Valley till evening on the 22nd then I guess you need a place part way- but I would just make the drive back to SF. There are a lot of places near the Hwy 580 and HWY 680 interchange in Pleasanton, along with restaurants.

Monterey to SB- going 101, which is inland and much less windy if you have any kids with motion sickness issues is just over 3 hours with no stops. Going down 1 is just over 4 hours. There are lots of places you can go from 1 to 101- so say you start down the coast and someone's tummy can't handle it- you can go over to 101 to finish the drive.

SB to DL is 2-3 hours depending on traffic (it isn't very far, but you could hit traffic any time of day in the LA area). You would get almost a full's day use of your ticket- even without leaving early

The Exploratorium in SF should be re-open by your trip- they are moving into a bigger building near the piers- check them out as a family fun activity!

The trip from Yosemite to SF is just about 4 hours, so you may not need to stop half way both to and from- you may wish you had a little more time in SF- it is such a great city for families- so much to see and do- ride a cable car!
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:30 PM   #7
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I don't understand stopping at Mariposa- Mariposa is the camping area where people going into the park often stay- it is just 1 hour from the Valley floor- so why would you stop an hour away? If it is because it is really late (like after 8pm) and you just need a place to sleep- much cheaper to stay in a motel off the highway in Merced.
Mariposa doesn't really have any camping other than the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. For whatever reason, Mariposa is the place. They have full-service motels that are cheaper than Yosemite Lodge (which is motel style anyways). Those motels actually have air conditioning, free breakfast, phones, and TVs. They're popular with people who couldn't book inside Yosemite. I've stayed in Mariposa, and frankly it's not bad. Yosemite Lodge can be fully booked almost a year in advance when reservations can be made for the summer months.

It's not likely that they'll be able to reserve another night at Yosemite Lodge. Mariposa actually makes a lot of sense.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Mariposa doesn't really have any camping other than the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. For whatever reason, Mariposa is the place. They have full-service motels that are cheaper than Yosemite Lodge (which is motel style anyways). Those motels actually have air conditioning, free breakfast, phones, and TVs. They're popular with people who couldn't book inside Yosemite. I've stayed in Mariposa, and frankly it's not bad. Yosemite Lodge can be fully booked almost a year in advance when reservations can be made for the summer months.

It's not likely that they'll be able to reserve another night at Yosemite Lodge. Mariposa actually makes a lot of sense.
Wrong. We always camp at the Mariposa KOA. If the point is OP thinks it is too far- then I was just pointing out it is only 1 more hour. If the point is a clean bed to sleep in that night, cheaper alternatives can be found in Merced. Mariposa has quite a few cute little places- but they are mostly about being just an hour from the Valley for folks who can't stay in the park- and they are usually expensive. The Comfort Inn in Merced is about $85 while the one in Mariposa is nearly double that. ($160)
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #9
bcla
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Wrong. We always camp at the Mariposa KOA. If the point is OP thinks it is too far- then I was just pointing out it is only 1 more hour. If the point is a clean bed to sleep in that night, cheaper alternatives can be found in Merced. Mariposa has quite a few cute little places- but they are mostly about being just an hour from the Valley for folks who can't stay in the park- and they are usually expensive. The Comfort Inn in Merced is about $85 while the one in Mariposa is nearly double that. ($160)
The KOA is in Midpines. I guess they have "Mariposa" in their name (I've seen hotels in the East Bay have "San Francisco" in their names), but it's still Midpines. Maybe they mean Mariposa County. There's also Yosemite Bug (also in Midpines). All the Forest Service campgrounds are way off of 140.

I've stayed for under $100 at the Best Western in Mariposa on a summer weekday. Right now I'm getting $134 with AAA rates for June 20. Whether or not the extra 40 minutes is worth it is an individual decision. Frankly I'd rather stay in Mariposa than Merced. It feels like you're on your way to Yosemite, while Merced feels like you're in the Central Valley.
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