My Dad is flying into LA in March and has a week to make his way up to San Francisco. What are the sights he should not miss on route? He is not bothered about spending time in LA and has already been to San Francisco so is happy to spend the week visiting places in between. Also would he be best hiring a car, using public transport or booking an organised tour?
Very short on time, must run, but: rent a car and drive the pacific coast highway, absolutely! Big Sur (lots of time around there; the coast is gorgeous; be there around sunset! (accomm in the area is friggin expensive, though)), Monterey, Santa Cruz. And if he really has an entire week, spend three days on that, and then make a beeline for Yosemite National Park (four hours driving away) to spend four days there. (Maybe three, with one in Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs.)
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 23, 2008, at 3:46 PM by Sander ]
In March it will still be winter in Yosemite (quite cold/snowy), so I'd stick to the coast. Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula are the real gems there, and in Cambria there's the Hearst Castle State Park. North of San Francisco, the Sonoma Coast is equally breathtaking, and it's a short drive from there to the Sonoma/Napa vineyards.
Here's another vote for the coast driving route as March in Yosemite is still a weather crapshoot - you may be required to carry tyre (note kiwi spelling ) chains well into April if the weather gets ugly.
On the drive north, Central Coast area near Morro Bay is a gem of a state park called Montana de Oro. This is undeveloped coastline and simply stunning views. Often overlooked, you'll find few crowds here. Very easy access via highways.
Must admit here that I'd overlooked the March date with my Yosemite recommendation. I would still recommend pondering it as an option (since Yosemite in the snow would be gorgeous), but only if your father feels comfortable driving in the snow.
Thanks very much everyone, this is really useful and I have sent my Dad the link to this thread
if your dad doesnt mind waiting about 20 years in LA, he can ride the high speed train from LA to Sacramento. Im sure thatll be exciting, plus a nice short ride :P
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 3, 2008, at 11:55 PM by lakers6902 ]
To avoid the drive all the way to Yosemite and yet see the large redwood trees, take a side trip to Big Basin Redwood State Park just a ways north of Santa Cruz (near the small city of Boulder Creek), and/or visit the Muir Woods just north of San Francisco.
Also, I suggest you stop at a few other nice places between Los Angeles and Monterey--specifically, Malibu, Santa Barbara (go see the old Mission and downtown State Street and the wharf), Solvang (old Dutch village), Los Olivos (great wineries and wonderful small town), Pismo Beach, Cambria, and make a visit to Hearst Castle just north of Cambria (in San Simeon).
Enjoy--I know I do since I live in California and I just visited all these places again over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Oh, and when travelling north from Pismo Beach to Cambria, either stop at Morro Bay, or else go north to Hwy 46 (near Paso Robles) and travel west on this road to Cambria. If you do this second choice, you'll pass about 30 wineries on the way in a beautiful valley--and get fabulous views on the west end on the hill (before you go down to the coast).
Excellent, thanks guys. Sounds like my Dad is going to be spoilt for things to do!
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 5, 2008, at 12:46 PM by bex76 ]