We did the calif trip two years ago and had a ball.We travelled up the 101 and did the H.Castle (must see it),monterray ect. You will be blown away with the scenery on this drive. Makes the coast road from MLB to Mt Gambier look small. Spend at least 1 wk in SFO. Walk over the GG Bridge. Its massive compared to the Syd Hbr Br. Go and visit Yosamite and see their mountains and wildlife. Drive down to Vegas it will only take you about 5 hours and worth the drive. Pre book acc in Vagus well in advance.
We finnished of on a cruise to mexico from L.A. Had a blast. Contact me for any more info.
I'm so glad to see an Aussie visiting my home state! Californians (and most Americans) love Australian accents so you should be very popular. If you're starting in Coachella, consider heading south to Santa Barbara, which is a very charming town with a Spanish mission and great beaches. Hearst Castle is on Highway 1, which is beautiful and goes up and down the coast, is not exactly on the main path but stunning. Being from San Francisco, I would say that LA isn't really worth seeing; there's no real downtown and often the "Hollywood" sign is barely visible because of intense smog. If you want to go farther south, San Diego is a nice city with lots to do, great beaches and a cute little old town. However I would strongly suggest coming to NorCal instead! Yosemite is gorgeous, especially if you can go hiking in the back country. If you go north from there, you will find some awesome mountains--the Sierra Nevadas--and Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border between CA and Nevada. It's kind of located on the crook of California, if that makes any sense. In the winter Tahoe is great for skiing and in the summer for swimming, waterskiing, hiking, etc. Heading west from Tahoe, you will definitely want to visit the Bay Area (San Francisco and Marin County...born and bred). San Francisco has loads of shopping and things to do--the Haight Ashbury, Union Square, then of course the traditional tourist things like Alcatraz and walking across the bridge. West Marin has some really incredibly beautiful coastline--green hills, sandy beaches and great surfing! In Marin you'll also find lots of "soccer moms" driving their SUVs, talking on their cell phones and generally being obnoxious (alas it's not perfect...) but they can be avoided. If you're into wine, Napa is worth a visit--very pretty and some of the finest vineyards in the world, plus a bunch of spas. The northern coast is also very pretty, with lots of cute beach towns and stuff, but it can be a long drive. I also suggest that you avoid Tijuana, which is a genuine dump--tons of loud obnoxious gringos combined with smog and garbage in the streets and desperate Mexicans trying to get across the border. Not so much fun. If you want to do Mexico, go farther south and see the real thing on another trip (Mexico is huge and merits a trip unto itself). Palm Springs is touted as a celebrity resort oasis, but in reality is a senior citizen colony in the middle of the desert. The Central Valley--the "breadbasket"--is novel at first and you can pick up some nice fruit, but a few hours driving through it should be enough. Silicon Valley, the home of Google and south of San Francisco, is often thought to be this sort of amazing mystical place, but it's not that exciting...the Google headquarters are a gray office building with a sign that says "Google" outside.
Good luck with your trip--just remember, it's not Cali, it's California. And it's never Frisco...it's San Francisco, or if you really want to go local, "the city."
Hey there. I am from Southern California and now live in San Francisco so I can give you some good information about it all. I would stay away from TJ it is dirty and nothing special. I would agree with most of the places others have said including: Tahoe, Yosemite, San Diego, but I do have a couple of other favorites.
Napa and Sonoma are both about an hour north of SF and I could give you some ideas about wineries to check out if your interested. Also in Northern California there are some beautiful hikes which include beach views and redwood trees. You don't need to go to the Cali Oregon border, which is actually quite far. My favorite hike is the Matt Davis-Dipsea-Steep Ravine trail and you get views of Stinson beach. This is hike is about an hour north of SF and the drive takes you over the golden gate bridge and over on highway 1 (the coast). If you want any recommendations on clubs, restaurants, or things to do in L.A., orange county or San Francisco let me know.
A cool beach town in Southern Cal is Huntington or Newport Beach. That is where I am from. They are both in Orange county and have a lot of surfing contest and chill bars. Not too exciting though.
Off the coast of So. Cal you can go to Catalina Island. It has some decent snorkling and is a fun get away. You can take a ferry from San Diego or Long Beach and it takes about an hour or so.
Have fun at Coachella. I have been twice before, but haven't gone since I moved up to SF. Indigo, where the concert is held is about 25 minutes from Palm Springs which may or may not interest you.
I use to go to Vegas a lot, but haven't been for awhile. It has gotten very expenisve and too trendy. It is about a five hour drive from San Diego and four hours from L.A.
SF is about a 6 hour drive from L.A. and about 10 hours from Vegas.
Hey Budday! I am an official Coachella Expert! Congrats on going you will LOVE IT.
I've been to coachella every year since 99 and I live in San Diego. If you need a friend, want to party it up at coachella, need a place to stay, let me know!
WOOOOOHOOO for coachella, I CANT WAIT!