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Calfornia Road Trip Yosemite Accom Help - Come and give me some advice please!

(28 Posts)
Stylelostinlabour Sun 20-Jan-13 19:11:00


Right I think we have got the holiday nearly sorted but I'm struggling with Yosemite - everything I think I like, I then read review and look at photo's and put myself off so need some recommendations please!

San Francisco - Holiday Inn Express Fishermans Wharf - 3 nts

Yosemite - ???

Monterey - Monterey Marriot 1 night

Santa Monica - DoubleTree for 5 nights (really wanted a house and pool but can't find anything)

What do you think? Good/Bad or better around that I should be looking at


rubyrubyruby Wed 13-Feb-13 11:36:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clam Tue 12-Feb-13 08:41:31

Don't know if you've booked yet, but we stayed 2 nights at the Evergreen Lodge this summer, which is on the West side of the park, just outside the entrance. Lovely, and it now has a pool too.

FuriousRox Tue 12-Feb-13 08:29:38

We stayed in a camper van! Awesome holiday. Loved it tho a bit chilly in Yosemite (in november this was!).
Ate my body weight in pancakes and we were joined by dolphins while surfing near moro bay. What a holiday.

rubyrubyruby Tue 12-Feb-13 07:34:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rubyrubyruby Mon 11-Feb-13 10:21:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pitmountainpony Thu 07-Feb-13 16:29:42

Sounds perfect to do the PCH.
Bluesky is right about the lines however friends have stayed outside during the summer and said it was maybe an hour to get in.
My advice would be get up early so you avoid the big lines that build up after 9ish and get some value for your money.The truth is Yosemite books up a year in advance inside the park and the premium on it is great-so you have to ask yourself- are we prepared to sit in the car and get the best part of a 100 buck discount if not more, each night, for simply sitting in the car.It is not as if the accommodation inside is going to be amazing for your money and the whole of the park is beautiful so you may be sitting in your car but it will be beautiful.
Or you star in a lovely cabin eg
and then also have a place you want to come home to on an evening. Just ask the mile distance to the Valley Floor and Park Entrance before you make a booking-the entrance to the park is where the lines build up as people pay to get in.
The Lodge in the park offers the best value so if you can get a cancellation there- great.Perfectly acceptable non frills hotel rooms at the valley floor.
You will love it, wherever you stay.

bluesky Wed 06-Feb-13 11:02:38

Its def enough stops, 2 nights monterey and 1 night pismo, can recommend Brad's diner/restaurant as the best place to eat, big menu, we ended up having supper there and then went back the next day for lunch!

How old are your children? Its not a fixed tour at alcatraz, its your own headphones and you wander round with them on listening, its really well done. There is outdoor space and lovely views of san fran where you could just walk around and wander, but that might be an expensive option!

National Parks, my view, having gone in August, to stay sane its def worth paying the premium and stay inside the park, get up early and start your walk/trek before the crowds arrive, because oh boy do they arrive en masse, you can then disappear and have a nice lunch/rest somewhere. The queues to get in from outside of the park, through the barrier & payment area are HUGE!

Then its lovely when they all go home again!

AmandaCooper Wed 06-Feb-13 08:18:21

Second vote for Mariposa - that's where we'd stay if we did it again.

RedNats5 Wed 06-Feb-13 07:39:28

Thanks pitmountainpony. Really useful tips there I can see you love it :-)
We have 2 nights in Monterrey and then a 1 night stop in pismo beach en route on the pch before Santa Monica. I hope this is enough stops?

Pitmountainpony Wed 06-Feb-13 05:35:56

Deetjens for breakfast on the big sur.......
Big sur bakery for lunch
Nepenthe for a beer and dinner.....the views are to die for ......right over the cliff and is fine but not amazing but to be honest the view is so sublime......we ate at the bakery and went to nepenthe for beers and dessert......just gorgeous.also on the big sur......
The purple sand beach is amazing....hard to find as it is unsigned but just past the post office on the right down a country of the best beaches I have ever visited.
The waterfall dropping down to the sea is stunning and only a few mins walk from the road.
Ahhhhh California. I love you.

ComradeJing Wed 06-Feb-13 05:17:32

Yay for this thread! Some friends are getting married in Monterey and I need to book our trip.

Pitmountainpony Wed 06-Feb-13 05:11:26

I second the 17 mile drive...amazing.
Also take the pacific coast highway down to is stunning....even if you have booked your accommodation ahead.....just drive it in ten hours if you have to from monterey to LA....unmissable.
If your hotel pool is no good walk up to the annenburg beach house where they have a lovely outdoor are super cheap ona monday gym too.
Very relaxing and nice cafe.good move staying Santa Monica in is so much cooler Than even ten miles eastwards where it can be unpleasantly hot in August.
You will have a wonderful trip I am sure.california is stunning.

Pitmountainpony Wed 06-Feb-13 05:03:47

Just eat at the ahawanee rather than stay....unless you want to blow the budget.i stayed in the mos t lovely 2 bed cabin near mariposa....which is a 40 min drive into the park in winter....the drive is so beautiful.
I think staying in the park is over rated and over priced, aging done both. I preferred out wher you get more bang for your buck.
However I only do out of season so not sure how bad the traffic lines are in summer.
I love the mariposa side as you can drive into the town on an evening for a smooch around.
Search mariposa on vrbo....if self catering appeals.....much better value than hotels.
You will love is amazing.

AmandaCooper Tue 05-Feb-13 19:00:03

We stayed at the Ahawanee and thought it was a rip off, the least impressive of all the places we stayed on our road trip with the possibke exception of the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon - but at least that didnt set us back £600 for one night! When I was booking the trip it was hard to imagine what the national parks would be like and I got the impression we absolutely had to stay inside rather than outside the park. If we had the time again, we'd definitely book accommodation outside the park because it was practically no distance at all and the scenery was very much the same. There's some lovely places just outside the park boundary.

RedNats5 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:52:52

I know I wasn't happy at all especially as it had wasted a week of booking. There was very little available that would take 5 so had to book the holiday inn.
I'm not sure whether Alcatraz is suitable for the kids. If we all went over is it possible for husband and son to do the tour and me and the girls wait around or is there nothing else we can do?

bluesky Tue 05-Feb-13 18:31:11

RedNats5, what a shame about the Argonaut, especially as they are so family friendly, I can recommend their restaurant, my two enjoyed their suppers there.

It really is alot cooler in San Fran than everywhere else, do take a warm fleece for the few days that you are there. My little cardy that I took, didn't really do the trick!

Buy your alcatraz tickets online before you go.

RedNats5 Mon 04-Feb-13 21:12:08

I've had to join this forum just to post here, this post has just come up on a search.
I have just finished booking hotels for our first california road trip
We have the holiday inn fishermans wharf, yosemite lodge at the falls, monterey Marriott, and doubletree suites in Santa Monica too.
We are so excited for this trip, we go in August.

Blue sky - we had booked the argonaut but a week after booking they came back to say they couldnt accommodate 5 in a oom, I was gutted it looked fab.

bluesky Sat 26-Jan-13 15:01:38

Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, was good, right in the centre, they have buses that go round the park on a loop, but it was close enough to have a stroll into the Village Centre, that had the deli (they make up great sandwiches and salads) post office, shop etc.

Depends which month you are going. We went in the height of summer, so paid extra to be in the park so that we weren't in the mega queue trying to get in each morning. We got up early and went for great walks before it got busy. Really good breakfast, you get a voucher for x amount, and then you basically fill everyone's tray with breakfast, fruit, muffins etc, things to keep you going whilst on the walk. There was a pool but we didn't use it.

San Francisco, we loved the Argonaut Hotel, just on the edge of the bustle of Fisherman's Wharf, next to the cable car stop, great restaurant attached, and also the bike hire place was next door. Fab views of Golden Gate Bridge, but I didn't pay the premium for water view! My 2 loved the room, big telly, fast wi-fi. Great staff, really helpful concierge - restaurant recommendations etc, and they love kids! It was also a good morning walk down to the Pier for the Alacatraz boat trip. Top tip, pre-book and get the first boat out, much quieter and calmer.

Monterey Bay Inn was great, right at the end of Cannery Row, parking underneath the hotel. Fantastic big bathrooms, comfy bed, balcony. This was our only hotel that we didn't have as a family room with all 4 of us in. The Aquarium was great, pricey but we just took our time there and had a great time. The jellyfish exhibition is incredible. We had a good supper at Bubba Gumps and another great meal at a Mexican restaurant, El Torito. (There was also a useful launderette within walking distance!)

Definitely worth doing the 17mile drive around Carmel/Monterey, we got some of the best photos of our holiday from there, the sea, colours, views were stunningly stunning!!

Feel free to message me if I can help anymore

VariousBartimaeus Fri 25-Jan-13 13:35:12

We also stayed in Yosemite View Lodge. Lovely room, huge bed, jaccuzzi! (much to our surprise). Don't go to the main restaurant though - absolutely revolting sad The takeaway piza was nice though.

Didnt feel like we were far from the park (as PP only 20mins) and it's still in a park-like setting.

homebythesea Fri 25-Jan-13 13:30:30

The Lodge is only a 20 min drive to the nearest gate by the way

homebythesea Fri 25-Jan-13 13:29:46

We stayed at Yosemite View Lodge just outside the park but with the massive benefit of swimming pools to placate the children who were deeply unimpressed by the staggering views wink

TwinTum Fri 25-Jan-13 09:41:28

The place to stay is the Awahnee which is right in the centre but it books up quickly and is very expensive. We tried to stay there but it was booked up. We ended up staying at a place called Tenaya Lodge just outside which was fine (decent pool, couple of restaurants etc, family rooms) but we hardly spent any time there. it was an hour drive in and out which meant 2 hours of driving each day which would have been nice to avoid. I think a drive of that length is unavoidable if you are in a hotel outside the park (or the hotels by the gates). we did not look into cabins and camping etc.

mummytime Fri 25-Jan-13 09:32:00

We stayed in a cabin on a farm just outside the park. There is also a Best Western just outside I think, they have better availability and are very close.

Pedallleur Fri 25-Jan-13 09:20:07

Staying in the park is limited in that the hotels/dining are franchised. The main place is/was the Awahnee (not sure about spelling) and I had a lovely dinner there as the food otherwise was US chain food (pizza etc). I stayed outside the Park in a lovely guest house that was much cheaper. See what accom. is in the park and then look outside the perimeter. Note you are at altitude so that might be an issue. I was looking at El Capitan and we were above 10000ft (3000m). The climb out of Sacramento was a bit scary as well, long climb, big drop.

Overberries Sun 20-Jan-13 19:34:37

Yeah, good if I remember. We were there on thier BBQ day (sat I guess and that was awesome - fantastic ribs. Ate in the restaurant the other couple of nights and I think it was like really good home cooked food, some great fish dishes etc and as usual in the states epic portions. I hope you can get something sorted for your accommodation, such a wonderful place to go.

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