California help needed

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by Maddie2, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Maddie2

    Maddie2 DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2004
    Ever since seeing the Gnome-mobile as a child, I've always wanted to see the California Redwoods. Upon more research, I'm thinking what I actually want to see is the California Sequioas. You know, the huge, big-around trees. Does anyone have experience seeing either? If so, what is the difference and what is closest to DL?

    Would it be best to fly back out of LAX or is there another major airport closer to the forest? :confused3

    We are looking at possibly visiting DL in Jan or Feb 2011 and would love to plan a couple of days to go see the trees. Planning to fly into LAX. From what I've found, I "think" the closets big trees are in the Visalia area at the Sequioa National Park. According to mapquest, that's only about 3.5 hours away. Does that seem right? I thought it would be much, much further away. Of course, it can depend on traffic and time of day, we would try to stay away from rush hours and weekends.

    TIA for any advice! :goodvibes
  2. RedSoxFan64

    RedSoxFan64 Earning My Ears

    Sep 5, 2010
    My family just got back from a trip to SoCal including DL and Seqouia NP (and also Grand Canyon)

    First, I doubt you can drive from Anaheim to Visalia in 3.5 hours as mapquest suggests. However, the drive is absolutely beautiful once you get past Bakersfield.

    Second, the drive from Visalia to Sequoia might be short as the crow flies but it will take you at least 2 hours to drive. It is a twisty mountain road where the max speed limit is 20 MPH. You do not want to drive this at night because 1) you might drive off the cliff 2) you don't want to miss the scenery!

    Also note that this summer there was construction on this mountain road where traffic was literally blocked for 1 hour in each direction. We went up on a weekend when the work was not being done so the delay was only 20 minutes.

    In the summer time at least, there are daily shuttles that leave from Visalia and tour the SNP.

    SNP is very high up in the mountains and it snows quite a bit even though it is in SoCal. You want to research this to make sure the roads are open in February.

    If you are concerned about the twisty mountain road, the secondary access is thru Fresno and Kings Canyon which is a much less twisty road but is also quite beautiful (we exited the park that way).

    The closest airport is Fresno. There are no flights from Boston to Fresno but I am sure that you can fly there from LA.

    The trees are really amazing to see and the scenery around there is spectacular. It is worth seeing in my opinion. However, unless you are going to climb Moro rock or explore the caves, one day is enough time to see everything.

    I believe these trees also live in Yosemite NP which is a couple of hours farther north. These trees can only live on the western side of the sierra nevada mountains and at a certain elevation.

    The closely related California redwoods are taller but not as wide. If I remember correctly, these trees can only live on the sea coast of Northern CA because they require the salty fog of NoCal to germinate.
  3. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

    Mar 12, 2010
    I would really plan on this being an overnight trip. To the sequoias would make for a really long day.

    You can find redwoods south of SF. I have to them a few times near Monterey. But this is not a up and back trip from LA in a day. There is much to see along the way.
  4. Katems

    Katems Mouseketeer

    May 30, 2005
    My family would like to tour Disneyland and the Grand Canyon next summer. We'd be coming in from NY. Would it be best to fly to the GC, and drive to Disney? Or fly into Disney and drive to the GC? How far are they from each other?

    I hadn't thought of the trees or national parks, but they sound like a good idea, too! Any info you have or advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!
  5. RedSoxFan64

    RedSoxFan64 Earning My Ears

    Sep 5, 2010
    We went to the grand canyon first, then sequoia, then Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, LA, DL, and SD. We traveled for 14 days. The last 4 days in SD we were very tired (maybe DL did us in) so maybe 10 days is enough for next years trip.

    The lowest cost way for our family of 5 to do this trip was to fly into Los Vegas (not very family friendly regardless of what the ads say) and drove 5+ hours to the Grand Canyon. Phoenix is a bit closer to the South Rim of the GC but rental cars were significantly more money out of Pheonix, especially if you are going to drop it off in a different city.

    The journey from Vegas to the GC takes you thru Hoover Dam which is pretty amazing to see.

    The journey from Pheonix to the GC takes you near/thru Sedona AZ which is supposed to be really great on it's own.

    We flew home from SD.

    Flying mid week saved us some money. We planned our trip so that we would be at the GC and DL midweek to avoid huge crowds.

    We took a cooler with as a check-in luggage. After arriving in LV, we stopped at a walmart and picked up some food including milk, ice and cereal, PB&J, fruits and veggies, bread, plastic bowls and plastic utensils and saved significant $$ by eating several of our meals in our car or hotel room. The kids actually thought it was really cool. Over the 2 week journey we saved several hundred dollars doing this and probably ate a bit healthier than if we ate all meals at restaurants.

    You have to cross the desert for a few hundred miles when driving from GC to LA. Although the road is heavily trafficed, it is recommended that you carry lots of water in case your car breaks down.

    We stayed at several Best Westerns and Hampton Inns. They were not fancy but they were clean, inexpensive and usually had free breakfast for the whole family. We usually opt for higher end hotels when travelling but these were perfect for just a place to sleep.

    Best Western seems to have a nice little rewards program where so many stays will get you discounted/free stays at your next BW destination. We did not take advantage of this but maybe we will next year.

    If you have WDW tickets that are not expired, they will accept them at DL. Just bring them to the DL ticket gate and a manager will subtract 1 day from your passes for one day park hopper DL tickets.

    At DL, Fantasmic seems to be the closing show and the performance stage is on tom sawyer island. Across the river from TS island, people were laying out blankets on the walkway for a front row view by mid afternoon. It is a much smaller area than WDW so I suspect that it can be tough to get a great seat. We did not stay for the show.

    Have your camera ready and fully charged during the drive because there is an endless series of amazing views to take a photograph (at least to these east coast eyes).

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