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Travel Forums North America West Coast

1. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 8y

Really sorry guys, me again, im trying so hard to finish my itinary but man it's hard, thought it was done but strangely not.

Here's my posing question for you all:

My question is to do with the driving down the West Coast and what to miss out and not miss out on.

If i drive:

Sacramento-San Fran-Yosemite National Park-Death valley National Park-Vegas-Grand Canyon and then back towards LA via any such sites as Mojave National Park or Joshua Tree to finally end in San Diego.

My issue with this trip is i'd miss out on Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Cruz and the drive down the coast between San Fran and Santa Barbara.

Trouble is if i tried to do that drive San Fran-Santa Barbara i miss Yosemite and possible Death Valley and have to head from LA to Vegas.

Any thoughts from anyone?

Whats the West Coast drive from Portland to San Fran like?

2. Posted by kathidi (Budding Member 51 posts) 8y

You do have a dilemma as that is a very tough choice! You can, of course, always come back another time to see what you missed the first time. You just have to decide if you want te see the incredible natural wonders of Yosemite and Death Valley or experience the fun, "cool" factor of the California beach towns.

The timing of your visit is important in this choice. In dead summer, Yosemite is crawling with tourists and you have to backpack pretty far to get a feeling of being away from all that. And Death Valley in summer is perhaps not the best time to be there (You know why they call it DEATH Valley, right?) On the other hand, summer is a great time to be at the beach. Do you want to party, or do you want to get away from the crowd? That's your decision, Deadman!

I'm not so familiar with Oregon, but I would not recommend driving down the center of CA on Interstate 5 to Sacramento. I would cut over to the Nor Cal coast for the drive down to San Fransisco (and don't miss the Lost Coast, though it takes half a day! You'll be able to see the giant Sequoia's that way, too.) Hopefully, by then you'll have decided either to go to Yosemite or keep going south down the coast.

Any more ideas, anyone?

3. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

I agree with kathidi, although I should point out that if you head along the northern coast of California, you will go through the Redwood National Park--and if you stop at a place like the "Trees of Mystery", you'll get a feel for what it is like to be in the mountains at least a little bit.

You could do this, and still take the time to cut through Death Valley on the way driving to Las Vegas--although this will extend your trip on that day (going from LA to Las Vegas) from around 5 hours to around 8 hours. Yes, it will be EXTREMELY hot in the summer (120 degrees Farenheit, 49 degrees Celsius)--but just pack some water with you and stay out of the heat for long periods. Fortunately, cars today are able to handle these kinds of temperatures and still allow you to run the air conditioning just as long as you do this for only a short period of time.

I hope you have a great trip.


4. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 8y

Thanks guys.

I shall be on the West Coast from approx 21st July.
And would be around Yosemite, if all goes as planned, around 30th July.

I like to party and have a good time but i'm not on a budget that allows me much partying, it's more about driving, seeing natural sights and taking in big cities like Vegas and LA etc.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Well, Yosemite will be crowded then, but it's still a great spot to visit. I'm thinking of going camping out that way myself sometime in late May.

I hope you enjoy your trip to California.

6. Posted by podgirl (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Just saw this thread . . . hmmm, personally I would avoid Yosemite and Death Valley in July. The coast of far Northern California all the way to Santa Barbara will include giant Sequoias, Mendocino, (and the wine country with a quick detour), Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, etc. Much more comfortable temps in the middle of summer, stupendously beautiful, and more off the beaten path.