I'll be arriving in L.A. next Wednesday 15 Sep, departing Monday Sep 20 .. yup short trip but the aim really was just to catch up with friends .. unfortunately those morons cldnt make the same effort to take time off from work to accomodate my trip .. so i'm only gonna end up spending Wed, Thu evengs and full days Fri-Sun with them .. dreadful indeed but still gotta try to make the best of it .. and conveniently they've left the planning to me ..
So here's the thing .. I cant decide what to do with those 3 full days Fri-Sun .. we're tentatively planning to check out the Pasadena flea market & then ride ourselves silly at Magic Mountains on Sun. I need to decide whether to go to Yosemite or Big Sur and then need more ideas on what to do Fri. Newport beach? Catalina? Any ideas/feedback would be greatly appreciated...
Yosemite is quite a way - certainly too much for a day trip, but you could make a weekend of it and hire an RV for all of you!
San Diego isn't far south. Never been myself, but I know some people head there.
Or just head for Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Malibu and have some time on the beach.
Personally, I found yosemite a lot more spectacular than big sur but the distance is a bit long for a quick trip like that.... we did take a bit of a detour though, so perhaps there is a highway that cuts straight there but either way, you'll still be driving most of the day and not really seeing much of the park when you're there.
How about one of the smaller ones closer to LA? Like Seqouia (sp?)?
We had to choose between Yosemite and the Big Sur when we were in California earlier this year. We chose Big Sur and quite enjoyed it. Bear in mind that the Big Sur drive is a good 4 or 5 hours, although it seems short on the map. It's a very windy road and you can't go very fast at all. Plan at least a day just to do the drive and take in all the scenery. After that you could spend a day in the Monterey Peninsula, before heading back the next day.
I'm not sure how manageable Yosemite would be in that time.. probably ok though, just a long drive. I'm guessing you would have to drive up on Friday, stay two nights and drive back on Sunday. We didn't do it and I do kind of regret seeing it. Something to do another day though
Big Sur is definitely a closer drive than Yosemite and I
think there is much to do in that area also.
If you are looking for state parks: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State
Park at Big Sur and Pinnacles National Monument on the Central Coast
You can go a little further north ( about 26 miles)
and be in Monterey and Carmel by the Sea and Pacific Grove;
filled with something for everyone.
Point Lobos State Reserve is in Carmel and a
terrific place to visit.
I agree that I would head to Venice Beach in the
Los Angeles area.