Much to my excitement I've just discovered this website and think it's fantastic. I'm planning a three week road trip next June taking in the following places:
I'm looking for any advice on the following questions:
1) Rather than stay in L.A, does anyone know of a good B&B/Hotel in Santa Monica?
2) What's a good place to stop over night from LA to the Grand Canyon?
3)Any recommendations on places to stay in Death Valley/Yosemite
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
This is quite cool, as I've just done almost the exact same trip! 3 Weeks: LA,SF,Yosemite,Death Valley,Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Diego.
It all depends on your budget, but what I found invaluable was the motel directories you can pick up in your room (Motel6, Super8 etc). It makes planning the driving nice and easy and you won't be left looking for somewhere to stay at 3am!
I don't really know about Santa Monica because I didn't stay there, although I did visit and it's a cool place.
I recommend camping in Yosemite if you can (and it's warm enough) it's a great experience. The sites are well developed with lots of facilities. Some people don't like that, but I certainly appreciated it .
From Death Valley to Las Vegas, there's only one place you can really stop. A place called "Beatty", there's a motel there.
Also, if you're in that region, I recommend going to Bodie ghost town. It's amazing, and not far from Death Valley.
Hope that helps!
Well, I have to ask--did you want a place between LA and the Grand Canyon or between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon?. Between LA and the Grand Canyon you can stop at Needles, California or Blythe, California (both extremely hot in the summer--like 115 degrees Farenheit for the highs); Prescott, Arizona; Sedona, Arizona (a beautiful tourist town--but higher priced); or Flagstaff,Arizona. This presumes you are visiting the south rim--which is much closer to Los Angeles.
If you are traveling from Las Vegas you can either go to the north or south rim. On the way to/from the south rim is Kingman, Arizona; or Flagstaff, Arizona. I would suggest however that you go to the north rim instead via Mesquite, Nevada; or St. George, Utah--and then take the time to also go to the southern edge of Lake Powell--this is a bit better than Death Valley in my humble opinion (although Scotty's Castle and Dunes Oasis are interesting). Also if you do this you can stay either at Paige, Arizona--or at the Lake Powell Lodge right on the lake (see this website http://www.utah.com/multimedia/phototour/ for a tour of the sites). They also have a boat outing that takes you to the Rainbow Bridge--see http://www.lakepowell.com/ if you are interested. This whole SE area of Utah is full of scenic country--and most of it is right on the borderline with Arizona--like Monument Valley--(it's also on the link above).
As far as Death Valley, I believe the only place there you can stay is Furnice Creek Resort http://www.furnacecreekresort.com/index.asp
It's an absolutely beautiful resort in the middle of nowhere. If you want cheaper lodging you have to stay 90 miles south at Baker, California or 70 miles west at Lone Pine, California.
As far as Yosemite, the only place you can stay in the park is either at a campground or at Ahwahnee Hotel http://www.webportal.com/ahwahnee/
The restaurant and hotel are very impressive, but expensive and you have to book early to stay there. There are lots of places to stay in either Bishop, California (east of Yosemite), or Modesto, California (west of Yosemite).
A final note: Be aware that Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet. Since you are going in June instead of July or August, the temperature will only be 110 degrees instead of 127 degrees or so--but that's still very hot. Get a car in good condition and carry water with you. It is beautiful, though, and worth a visit. Also be aware that Flagstaff is high up in the mountains. I remember one day when I was young I went through Blythe in the afternoon where it was 120 degrees and got into Flagstaff that evening (about 110 miles away) and it was snowing!!!
Culver City is convenient to Santa Monica and LA. I stayed at the Ramada.
I found Hermosa Beach just outside of LA excellent
Yosemite - a place about 25 miles out of the park called the Bug lodge, very clean and useful for getting into the park without camping
If you want to stay within the park but don't want to do camping since traveling w/ camping gears is a pain. I would recommend Curry Village. You can check out the various options at the site: http://www.yosemitepark.com/content2hdr.cfm?SectionID=26&PageID=54. To keep it cheap, I would recomment the canvas tent cabins. I stayed there one year and it is not bad. It's basic logding. Downside of this place is that you'll be with lots of other people, esp. in June, but it's about location. You are going to be central to a lot of great hiking trails. Also, there are a few restaurants there so you don't have to worry about food. Curry Village is very popular so if you do decide to go this route, I would recommend getting reservation as soon as possible. Have fun! Yosemite is beautiful.
I'm thinking of going to california for two weeks at the end of january.
I want to go to SF and LA, but I don't know where to go first....LA--SF or SF---LA. How may hours driving from one place to the other?? and what about the wine county? how far is it from SF?
What towns are worth to stop between SF and LA?
Don't think it really matters whether you start LA first or SF first. If you drive direct, it takes approximately 6.5 hours assuming you are on I-5. The more scenic drive would be along Highway 1, where you would drive along the California coast. Never done it myself because I don't like windy road but many of friends & family have. They all love it. Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel, San Simeon for Hearst Castle might be possible stops if you do Highway 1. You can also consider Santa Barbara - nice little beach town, but is a 2 hr? detour. Napa is approximately 1 hr from SF.