I followed the 2013 California discussion threads with great interest and they were SO helpful when I started to plan our trip for next summer. I've finally booked the tickets and pretty much planned itinerary. Wondered if any of you seasoned Californians can advise / suggest things we should fit in on our way. We are family of 5 with 3 kids who will be 15, 14 and 11 when we travel.
Here's the plan:
Fly to San Fran - 3 nights - I've booked us into Marina Motel family room. They had the option of family room with extra bed which was much cheaper than booking 2 rooms and free parking. It's a bit out of town but we're cool with taking public transport.
2 nights - Santa Cruz (booked us into Dream Inn),
2 nights Big Sur (booked us a cabin a Big Sur Camp-ground)
Drive to LA and spend 5 nights in LA. We're looking at either house swap or renting an apartment / house in Santa Monica.
Then fly to Phoenix - one night in Sedona, one night in Grand Canyon and 3 nights in Las Vegas. Then fly home from Vegas.
Would love some recommendations of what we should/Shouldn't do at these places.
Thanks for your advice and would love to hear from others planning a trip to California for next summer.
I would actually make this into a two centre e.g SF and LA and fly back from LA instead.
You really do not want to spend all your holiday time either on a plane or behind a steering wheel.
Phoenix is going to be unbearably hot in August and there is nothing much for teens to do in Sedona (its very much a new age town). Las Vegas is also extremely hot in August as well (best time to visit Arizona and Nevada during the year is before the end of April).
Internal flights within the US are not as reasonably priced as they once were, it is something to also bear in mind.
Sounds great....one night in Sedona is perfect just to see all the red rock stuff....we liked it..it will be hot.
So you have got to take the kids to the Santa Cruz mystery spot...it will be right up their street and is very surreal....super cheap like 5 bucks for the tour....teens will love it. In big sur you want to find pffeifer beach......stunning but tricky to find so google directions and print them out. Deetjens for breakfast...delicious. Nepenthe for pre sunset drinks.....view is out if this world, food ok but food at big sur bakery better quality and value so drink at nepenthe and eat at big sur bakery. Do not miss the waterfall...you can park on the road and avoid the parking fee as it only takes 30 mins but it is stunning little walk to the view point. Canyon is amazing too...stay outside park and drive in as you will save loads...we paid maybe 50 bucks a night in big family room in the town to the south west of the park...perfectly fine. You will love it. Enjoy
Sounds brilliant. I lived in Santa Cruz for 6 months when Californian DH was finishing his masters there (2 mins from the Dream Inn!). It's the perfect place for surf school, if your DC are interested - I would plan to do that for the two days, and spend the evenings at the Boardwalk (http://www.beachboardwalk.com/) - see if your dates coincide with any of the concerts, they're brilliant. You will prob have a hire car, but you won't need it, everything is walkable, so take a break from the steering wheel.