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Old 04-13-2012, 10:13 PM   #31
tessieg
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About car rentals, I think the clue is to book early. We are traveling in June, with a minivan from SFO TO SAN. We booked it for $950 about 5 months ago. I thought I would continue to look and find a better rate. However, prices have only gone up and up. The cheapest I have seen since is $1500. I am very grateful I booked when I did!!!! You have nothing to lose as almost all reservations can be canceled without penalty.

As for CA itineraries, here is ours:
Day 1 - San Francisco: flying in early and then Muir Woods, Fisherman's Wharf
Day 2-San Fran: Alcatraz, Lombard St, Alamo Square, Chinatown, cable car museum
Day 3-am: Golden Gate Park( Japanese Tea Gardens, botanical gardens), then drive to Yosemite and spending afternoon/evening on valley floor
Day 4- Yosemite
Day 5- Monterey. Arrive by noon and see Monterey Aquarium, evening and dinner on Cannery Row
Day 6- 17 mile drive along Pebble Beach. Then drive to San Simeon for Hearst Castle tour. Stay overnight nearby.
Day 7- Elephant Seal Rookery near Cambria. Then spending rest of day/ night at Jalama State Park in a cabin within the park--beach day.
Day 8- Santa Barbara(mission, courthouse, etc) and drive into Hollywood.
Day 9- La Brea Tar Pits, Grauman's, Walk of Fame, El Capitan,maybe Cirque Du Soleil "Iris," etc.
Day 10- Head to Anaheim. Downtown Disney. Character dinner. Early to bed!
Day 11, 12, 13- Disneyland and DCA
Day 14- San Diego: USS Midway, Cabrillo Monument/tide pools.
Day 15- San Diego Zoo
Day 16- Sea World
Day 17- Old Town San Diego and then fly home late in day

It will be busy and we will be exhausted when it is all done, but we have never been to CA and we are excited to get a taste of so many beautiful spots!

Good luck with the trip planning! This has taken a lot of time to research so many spots and make all the plans/reservations!

Tessie
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:39 AM   #32
Neil_UK
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Sounds like an action packed trip, someone's gonna need a rest when they get home! I inagine mine will be the same.

The first part of my trip to San Francisco is looking good..
2 days spending time visiting Alcatraz, Disney Museum, Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge.
Then will catch a flight down to Los Angeles.

Need a little help on my time in LA/Hollywood now..
Not sure how much time I need in each place.
For definate, looking on visiting the following:

- Santa Monica Pier/Venice Beach
(I noticed these are near to each other, can we combine in one day?)
- Universal Studios
- Chinese Theatre/LA/Hollywood sign/area etc
(Really unsure how much time here?!)
- Six Flags Magic Mountain.. just thinking day trip here.

Any ideas anyone?
Any other landmarks that could be squeezed in that are close by?
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:47 PM   #33
msheriffm
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Yosemite would be at the top of my northern California list. I camp there every year. If you want to stay in the Valley of Yosemite (where most of the sightseeing is located) you will need to book reservations the minute literally that they are posted. Check the website for information. If you do not stay on the floor be careful because many places advertise -- miles to Yosemite but that is just to the gates and the floor is about an hour longer drive. If you are in SF you might see what kind of day trip to Yosemite a bus company offers. It is about a 5 hour drive.

Also I would recommend Muir Woods (redwood forest park) near SF.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:14 PM   #34
AliciaG
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We should definitely keep this thread up to use for our trip planning, etc! We are doing the trip mid July 2013. I'm originally from SoCal, but we moved to the Pacific Northwest before I was a teenager. I'm a true cali girl in my heart though! Did the road trip from here (Portland, OR) to Disneyland in summer 2010. Disneyland/Universal Studios/Huntington Beach for 7 days. Jelly belly factory and the Redwoods on the way back up. This year for spring break, we did Disney World for the first time. Spent 12 amazing days in Florida exploring. So fun.

On the agenda for Summer 2013: San Diego (3 days), Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Possibly Knott's (I grew up going there), Six Flags, Santa Monica Pier, San Fran (1.5 days), a day (mainly for me, lol) in wine country, probably Sonoma (yes, the kids will be with us, but they will be 11 and 14), and the Oregon coast back up.

As for your trip to Vegas. 3 days at least. So much to do and see. We were married there almost 15 years ago. Been back about 6 times since.But, will never forget the first time. With barely any gambling, we still didn't see everything so went back our first anniversary. Happy to answer any questions!
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:51 PM   #35
skyway
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When you're in Hollywood take the tour at the Kodak Theater. It's not very long, but it's interesting.
At Griffith Park you can visit the observatory. There's good views of the Hollywood sign from there. Also there's Bronson caves which has been used in filming. It was used in the 1960's Batman show & movie as the exterior of the batcave.
To get a good look at aviation history in southern California, go to the Flight Path Learning Center Museum next to LAX.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:53 AM   #36
WiganTony
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Just to say Hi - we are also planning on a West Coast trip in 2013, visiting San Fancisco, taking the Pacific Coast Highway with a stopover for a few days before hitting LA and Disney/Universal, finishing off with San Diego. Have already made note of the suggestions made by others - extremely helpful.
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2014 July/August - RPR and OKW - again!!
2013 July/August - NY, LA and San Diego
2012 August - OKW
2011 August - No Disney NY and Boston
2010 July/August - RPR and OKW
2009 Easter - Springhill Suites LBV & Cruise
2008 August - Marriott Residence Seaworld.
2007 August - CBR/Marriott Clearwater/Springhill Suites LBV
2005 August - Comfort Suites Kissimmee
Longer than I care to remember - 3 lads and their car touring Florida!!
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:09 AM   #37
rtfelt
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I would drive down through CA and fly to Vegas. There are so many things to see on the way from SF to LA and there is NOTHING between DLR and Vegas to see but dessert (a one way flight from LA to Vegas can be as low as $39 on Jetblue--that's what it is right now).

I also add my vote to all the others--SEE YOSEMITE. Coming to CA from the UK and not seeing Yosemite is like a Californian going to the UK and not seeing London.

3 days is just fine for DLR--especially with a hopper. Unless you're really into the expensive Vegas shows, 2 days should be enough here. Treasure Island resort also has an outdoor, nightime, free pirate show.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #38
WiganTony
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Just to add to my previous post, our tentative plans are:

Travel UK to SFO (4 nights) - 3 full days in San Francisco
Drive along PCH to Pismo Beach (4 nights) - fancy a few days rest/chilling. We did similar last year when we stayed at Ogunquit (ME) between our stays in NY and Boston and really enjoyed the quiet pace of life.
Drive to Anaheim area (5 nights) - 3 days DLR, plan to visit Universal at weekend when traffic is hopefully quieter, and possibly a day at one of the beaches or a tour around LA)
Drive to San Diego (3 nights) - planning a day at Seaworld and possibly a day at the Zoo
Return to UK from San Diego or LAX.

Fingers crossed this will give us a nice compromise between sightseeing/theme parks and some chilling time
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2014 July/August - RPR and OKW - again!!
2013 July/August - NY, LA and San Diego
2012 August - OKW
2011 August - No Disney NY and Boston
2010 July/August - RPR and OKW
2009 Easter - Springhill Suites LBV & Cruise
2008 August - Marriott Residence Seaworld.
2007 August - CBR/Marriott Clearwater/Springhill Suites LBV
2005 August - Comfort Suites Kissimmee
Longer than I care to remember - 3 lads and their car touring Florida!!
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:12 AM   #39
kymom99
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For the Vegas part of your trip, may I suggest the Beatles Love show? It is a Cirque du Soliel show and it is FABULOUS! I believe it is in the Mirage.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:45 PM   #40
viaggiamo
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Hi
Great thread, heaps of info here!

We are coming from Australia and have four weeks planned in the West.
We have two small children aged 3 and 5 so we like to travel slower and explore a bit rather than just cross main attractions off a list...

Fly to LA
have 7 nights in Anaheim see Disney and visit LA shopping outlets one day.

pick up hire car and drive to Santa Barbara (2 nights)
drive to Cambria (2 nights); see Hearst castle and have some beach time
drive to Monterey (2 nights) aquarium, pebble beach and surrounds

drive to San Francisco (8 nights); explore the city

fly to Las Vegas (5 nights); DH has a conference

LA (1 night) not sure here whether to stay in LA and see grove, farmers markets etc or stay in Santa Monica.

C
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:46 AM   #41
kcmom25
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We are just beginning to plan our trip from TX to CA, we will be driving and looking at all of your suggestions is great! Keep them coming!!!
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:35 PM   #42
WiganTony
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How's the planning going?

We're halfway there having managed to book our outbound flights using Avios. We had a slight change of plan so we are visiting NY for four nights, then flying on to San Francisco - just waiting for three seats to become available for our return!!

Revised planned itinerary now:

Travel UK to JFK - 4 nights in NY
Fly JFK to SFO - 3 full days in San Francisco
Drive down to Anaheim, possibly an overnight stop halfway.
Anaheim area (4 or 5 nights) - 3 days DLR, plan to visit Universal at weekend when traffic is hopefully quieter
Move to a beach location to chill out for 4 or 5 nights - fit in a trip to Seaworld
Return to UK from San Diego or LAX.
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2014 July/August - RPR and OKW - again!!
2013 July/August - NY, LA and San Diego
2012 August - OKW
2011 August - No Disney NY and Boston
2010 July/August - RPR and OKW
2009 Easter - Springhill Suites LBV & Cruise
2008 August - Marriott Residence Seaworld.
2007 August - CBR/Marriott Clearwater/Springhill Suites LBV
2005 August - Comfort Suites Kissimmee
Longer than I care to remember - 3 lads and their car touring Florida!!
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:33 AM   #43
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Anyone still reading? Planning? We're doing a week in CA in June. Plan right now is:

Day 1: Fly into Las Vegas, drive to Death Valley, one night Death Valley
Day 2: Drive up eastern Sierras, one night Mammoth Lakes
Day 3: See Mono Lake, enter Yosemite via Tioga Pass, spend the day exploring along Tioga Rd as we make our way to the southern end of the park to check in at Wawona Hotel (sleeping there four nights)
Day 4: Yosemite
Day 5: Yosemite
Day 6: Yosemite
Day 7: check out of Wawona, drive to Monterey, explore, sleep in Monterey
Day 8: Monterey Aquarium, Point Lobos, sleep in Monterey
Day 9: Drive to airport (hoping for SJC but maybe SFO) and fly home
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:58 PM   #44
WiganTony
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Change of plan yet again!!! Now looking at:

Travel UK to NY (4 nights) - no doubt shopping will be on the agenda for the two ladies!
Travel NY to LAX (Business) then drive down to San Diego for 4 nights. Hoping to stay by the coast and fit in a visit to Seaworld and the city.
Drive back to Anaheim for 7 nights with a bit of Disney thrown in
Travel back to NY - Business for the two ladies, economy for myself but hoping to get an upgrade .
Following day NY to UK on the daytime BA flight
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2014 July/August - RPR and OKW - again!!
2013 July/August - NY, LA and San Diego
2012 August - OKW
2011 August - No Disney NY and Boston
2010 July/August - RPR and OKW
2009 Easter - Springhill Suites LBV & Cruise
2008 August - Marriott Residence Seaworld.
2007 August - CBR/Marriott Clearwater/Springhill Suites LBV
2005 August - Comfort Suites Kissimmee
Longer than I care to remember - 3 lads and their car touring Florida!!
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:04 PM   #45
Maleficent59
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Have you considered visiting the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park while in San Diego? You can easily spend a couple of days there.

We have many friends from the UK and shopping is always on the agenda! You can plan visits to several outlet malls (i.e., Ontario Mills, Cabazon, Carlsbad Premium Outlets) just from Anaheim to San Diego. I don't know which part of NY you're visiting, but my favorite outlet there is Woodbury Commons which is about an hour or so north of Manhattan.

Have fun visiting and planning!
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