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California flights/itinerary question?

(18 Posts)
RosieLig Tue 16-Jul-13 16:37:39

This is for next summer as I am going to use up air miles so need to book a year in advance.

Should we fly into SF and out of LA or in and out of SF?

We're not going to go to Disney as we went to Florida last year. We would like to see SF, the Big Sur and Yosemite and anything else that anyone recommends?

We've got 3 boys who will be 12, 9 and 7.

Any thoughts would be brilliant. I'm reading up on it but there seems so much information it's hard to know where to start. We'll probably have about 18 days.


AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Jul-13 17:43:10

I would fly into and out of SF if you want to see Yosemite NP in particular. Accommodation for this park fills up very quickly; you will need to book very soon if you wish to stay there next summer.

What do you as a family like doing?. What would your children like to do ideally?.

LA is a real dump of an airport; would avoid at all costs!.

Stressedtothehilt Tue 16-Jul-13 18:22:18

I flew into and out of lax and had no probs whatsoever but depends what you want to do me where you are going more

lljkk Tue 16-Jul-13 18:31:43

Shorter flights, Less jetlag going to & from SF, that alone would sell me.

mrswobblebottom Tue 16-Jul-13 18:44:34

We are doing this trip next week! Into SF out of LA, visiting Yosemite and big Sur inbetween. Will let you know if it works ok!

BreakfastCricket Tue 16-Jul-13 21:23:37

Another vote to avoid LAX. I don't think there's anything wrong with the airport it's just that the roads surrounding it are often in gridlock. We were in California from June 19 - July 5 so our experience is very recent. We travelled in and out of SNA but via Chicago outbound and Dallas inbound. Passed LAX about six times and each time the ten lane freeway traffic jam took upwards of 30mins to clear. (Personally we found the worst airport to be Heathrow where security staff were fractious and rude.) When we save up enough to go again we will go in and out of SF and if there isnT too big a premium we will use either Air New Zealand, KLM or Virgin. Also vote for short flights... We had three! it didn't add hugely to our overall time and it broke up the journey.

Just as an aside my friend thought she would use up her air miles this summer to fly to SF but was horrified at all the tax she needed to pay... so she's currently in Spain. We used air miles for our car hire.

sweetestcup Wed 17-Jul-13 00:11:32

We are flying into San Francisco and out of LA, because we are driving down the Pacific coast highway and leaving the car at LAX. It all depends I think on where you want to go and what you want to do. I agree with Attila you should be booking Yosemite accommodation very quickly and regarding the flights we booked ours last year soon after they were available, think this was about 10 or 11 months before we go.

RedNats5 Wed 17-Jul-13 07:48:27

We go in two weeks. Flying into SF and out of LA doing Yosemite and pacific coast highway in between

RosieLig Wed 17-Jul-13 13:27:22

Thanks all, very helpful.

We are into nature rather than big cities. I would love to see SF though. The boys love swimming so we'll try and get accommodation with pools along the way. Possibly thinking about a motorhome at some point.

I'm just not sure how far down the coastal road to LA we should go? If we do Monterey and the Big Sur are those the bet bits?


RobotBananas Wed 17-Jul-13 13:33:08

What about Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park
You could start in SF, work across to Yosemite, do Kings/Sequoia, and then across to San Luis Obispo, or Monterey, then back up the coast to SF.

IIRC there's a coastal railway that goes from SLO, but haven't been on it, so don't know much about it.

RobotBananas Wed 17-Jul-13 13:34:03

A Motorhome is a great idea as well, means you can just go where you feel and aren't tied down to expensive hotels. Make sure you know your route well though.

RosieLig Wed 17-Jul-13 13:45:39

Robotbananas, that looks like a great idea. How long would you allow for that? Assuming say 3/4 nights in SF?

My only worry about the motorhome is feeling a bit cramped, our boys are very energetic and messy. I might want to murder them after a couple of days!!

I've read that Santa Barbara is beautiful. Is it worth the trip or would you stick to SLO and north?

Thanks so much- v helpful!

RobotBananas Wed 17-Jul-13 14:00:07

Hmm we did 3 days in SF, 3 days in Yosemite, 2 days in Kings/Sequioa.. hmm.. (it was a while ago). Then it was a day or two here and there up the coast (I can't remember how long, we just took off when we felt we wanted to move on).

I don't know about Santa Barbara tbh, I don't know what's there, hopefully someone will be along in a bit that knows that area.

I'd stay in a hotel in SF, but pick up the motorhome and drive over to Yosemite and through the national parks, then back to the coast. There may well be a point you can drop it off in Santa Barbara or somewhere up the interstate (not sure, like I said it's been a while)... and then hotel from there.

RosieLig Wed 17-Jul-13 16:03:52

Thanks that's great. Maybe 4 nights SF, 3 nights yosemite, 2 nights kings/sequoia, 5-7 nights working back up the coast.

Getting exited now! Annoyingly we have to book the outward flights before the inward become available, hopefully there will be availability.

RB - where did you stay in the parks?

RobotBananas Wed 17-Jul-13 16:56:18


Sorry, I can't remember where we stayed in the parks, it was a looong time ago. Just a campsite in the main area I think.

clam Wed 17-Jul-13 17:10:58

We flew into SF, drove to Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes, then back to Monterey and down the PCH to LA. Used airmiles for flights back to SF and home from there. I seem to remember it was cheaper to fly in and out of the same airport long-haul, but that might not necessarily be the case.
We stayed at Evergreen Lodge in Yosemite. Check it out (has a pool) and good for energetic boys.
It was hot, hot, HOT in Yosemite. We left the park with temps in the 40s (115F) and arrived at Monterey at 13C/56F. Be prepared for cold, damp fog in the mornings until you get a fair way down PCH.

Sally14 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:37:07

Hi. If you don't want to see LA, avoid LAX and go to and from SF. I'm currently backpacking up the west coast with my three year old and writing a blog of tips and findings along the way - hope it helps - were going to SF next week!

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 02:29:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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