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Californian road trip must sees?

(48 Posts)
georgeclooneyfan Sun 07-Jun-15 19:17:34

We are in the process of booking a road trip in July of this year (left it a bit a late maybe for the availability of some things!) from San Franciso down the coast on the PCH stopping off on way not too sure where as yet (carmel,Monterey?) then across to Las Vegas. We will be doing the usual touristy things like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Alcatraz, Hollywood sign etc. Just wondering if anyone else has done a similar trip and if there are tips, ideas of must see things. We are a family of four,with two teenagers, daughter almost 16 and son almost 14. I was trying to think of things you maybe wouldnt get to do in UK, go to one of the big ball games, rodeo ?? Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

Bombinate Sun 07-Jun-15 19:26:11

Monterey bay aquarium is amazing.

MissMuffetisin Sun 07-Jun-15 19:30:57

We went to a ball game in San Francisco. I will never call cricket boring again ! But it was worth it for the setting , and a real glimpse of the culture ! Would also recommend hiring bike to go across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausilito and back on the ferry. And the Alcatraz trip. Can also second the Montery acqaurium .

ssd Sun 07-Jun-15 19:31:33

Hearst castle

can I be very nosey and ask your budget for all this, this is my dream!!

babymouse Sun 07-Jun-15 19:32:00

Go a bit north to Muir Woods?

Cut across a bit further south to take in the beauty that is Big Sur? If you cut across at Monterrey you'll miss it.

MissMuffetisin Sun 07-Jun-15 19:32:49

Venice Beach is a real eye opener too !

sassytheFIRST Sun 07-Jun-15 19:35:21

About 1/2 way along the PCH is Hearst Castle - a fabulous pink folly built and furnished by Randolph Hearst, a newspaper baron in the 1920s. It is astonishing; think Great Gatsby type wealth and beauty. Literally unique pieces plundered from Classical Greek times... Fab.

Just before you get there, look out for lots of cars pulled off the road and have a look at the seal lions, thousands if them sunbathing metres from you.

MissMuffetisin Sun 07-Jun-15 19:36:19

If you get time, do go hiking in Yosemite to. You only have to get a few hundred yards down a trail to lose the crowds. You can get a bus to glacier point then walk down ( four mile trail ) , or go on the mist trail . Amazing views.

slicedfinger Sun 07-Jun-15 19:38:26

Mono Lake, just by Yosemete. Mind boggling tufa (? Sp) formations!

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sun 07-Jun-15 19:40:43

Have you seen roadtrippers.com? You input your destination and it waypoints and it shows you everything on the route, you can then save your trip and access the info on their app. We just did a Texas hill country road trip and it worked brilliantly.

andadietcoke Sun 07-Jun-15 19:43:27

Santa Monica Pier is nice for a little stop and a wander. In n Out burgers on Hollywood in LA would be fun for the kids - there's lots of things on their secret menu that you can find out about on the Internet and order. At 30+ we still enjoyed that! In LA itself we drove up to the Hollywood sign and did the walk of fame with all the stars (it may not actually be called this!) by the Kodak Theater.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 07-Jun-15 19:43:36

Place marking...but Alcatraz, golden gate bridge, cable cars, Pfeiffer parks, Hearst castle.

Looking for the best things to do in LA, Las Vegas, after the above.

Ssd, we've paid £11,000, for 3* and 5* hotels, if that helps. 2 adults, 2 teens, but 2 rooms.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 07-Jun-15 19:43:40

Death Valley
Death Valley
Death Valley

Could not believe we were still on planet Earth.

We cooked an actual egg on the hood of our rental car.

2fedup Sun 07-Jun-15 19:45:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shakey1500 Sun 07-Jun-15 19:48:41

Not much advice but I'd give Huntington beach a miss. It was great being near the ocean an 'all but little to do unless we were at the boring end

grin

cashewnutty Sun 07-Jun-15 19:54:36

We did that exact holiday some years ago with friends and their son. It was fantastic. San luis Obispo is a lovely towm. It had a great market on when we were there. Monterey aquarium is fab. I personally hated LA and Hollywood was tacky and terrifying. The Hollywood sign is small and disappointing. We adored San Diego, the zoo there is great. The Grand Canyon is amazing and Las Vegas is mental but fun. One tip - take a cosy jumper. San Francisco is very very cold in the evening.

2fedup Sun 07-Jun-15 19:58:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

georgeclooneyfan Sun 07-Jun-15 19:59:43

Wow! thanks everyone for all your great ideas and tips so quickly.Like I said we have left it late,and I am hoping not to leave anything out as we now feel a bit rushed to try and think of things to do we,although we have a fair idea. we have been saving a while for this once in a lifetime trip so am hoping we get it right. We were going to do it last year but both my parents passed away within a year of each other so things have been a bit hectic to say the least.So we thought lets stop wasting time and just do it before kids are too old and dont want to go on holidays with us. ssd as for the price, as we have left it late the flights seem to be more expensive (we stay in north of scoltand) and we are looking at almost £4,000 (gulp) and a travel agent is looking into cost of hotels etc so we are thinking around £8,500 (yikes). I thought we all deserved a bit of cheering up,although its an expensive way to cheer ourselves up hmm.Away to google these ideas from all of you and thanks again.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jun-15 20:00:08

Santa Monica

We went in April and struggled to find parking at some of the Big Sur national parks so ended up having to skip them.

Slightly off your proposed route but we really liked Bryce Canyon

Napa and Sonoma, North of SF are nice too.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jun-15 20:01:27

Double check hotel prices yourself. You can get a reasonable room with two double beds for about £60 if you avoid tourist hotspots.

HellRunner Sun 07-Jun-15 20:06:46

Book Alcatraz well before you travel or you might not be able to go as it books up really fast. Napa Valley (if you like wine), You may as well take in Sequoia and Kings canyon if you're going to Yosemite. and if you fancy something quirky the Winchester Mystery house in San Jose (just outside SF)

2fedup Sun 07-Jun-15 20:07:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bombinate Sun 07-Jun-15 23:04:18

Lake Tahoe is beautiful

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 08-Jun-15 00:45:10

Vrbo.com is the U.S. arm of holidaylettings .... Few American owners think to market their property outside the USA....

3nationsfamily Mon 08-Jun-15 10:18:30

We are doing a very similar trip with our teens (almost 14+16) in July but have 18 nights which allows us to add in two nights at Huntington beach for a bit of luxury and surf culture, and two nights on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

In San Francisco planning to do a Segway tour in the golden gate park (sign up to www.Goldstar.com for great discounts- like groupon here). Hope to do the night time Alcatraz tour, and explore Chinatown.

We managed to book one of the rock rooms the Madonna Inn after hearing about it here on Mumsnet and hope to go to Pismo beach and do a half day kayaking on the ocean to explore caves www.centralcoastkayaks.com and see the seals on Cambria beach.

In LA plan to go to the Dodgers to see a baseball game and spend a day at Universal Studios and do a tour of Warner Brothers (lure of the Friends and Big Bang Theory studios in particular)

Then from Huntington beach planning to go on a Whale/Dolphin watching trip. www.newportwhales.com

Long day drive from there to the South Rim (7 hours) where we are staying in a National park lodge right on the rim of the canyon itself. DD will celebrate her 16th birthday with sunrise over the Grand Canyon which should be pretty special. Then stop at Hoover Dam on the way to Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas again managed to get discounted tickets for a Cirque show via Goldstar or one of the many other discount websites for LV as for 4 of us it is big $$$ for any of the shows. ww.earlyvegas.com Planning to spend the second night just watching the fountains/ lights/ madness in general of the strip! www.lasvegas-entertainment-guide.com/free-las-vegas-shows.html

We have also looked at the outlet malls in LA and Vegas as my two are determined to stock up with Nike, Vans, Abercrombie in particular.

We booked in October and have been stupidly excited ever since.

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