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western coast self-drive trip!! honeymoon!

Travel Forums North America western coast self-drive trip!! honeymoon!

1. Posted by guille_uk (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone,

Sorry if this topic has been covered before! we are a spanish/english couple living in Manchester, UK. We're getting married in April and planning to go on honeymoon by July. We've been thinking to go to USA for ages so this was the perfect timing. The plan is flying to SFO and then:

- San Francisco
- Yosemite NP
- Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon
- Mojave
- Los Angeles
- Highway 1 back to San Francisco and stopping at the wineyards from 'sideways' film for a couple of days!!! (

Right. I forgot to mention that we're going for 3 weeks but we're considering a 4th if the money is good. I do acknolewdge that the plan is quite optimistic so could you let me know what to leave in and out? Also, we'd love to hire a RV but considering the high prices we might have to hire a car and sleep at motels, how is the price/quality relation around the area? what kind of places should we heading for?
Also, we love nature, especially green spaces that's why we're heading for Yosemite. Any other NP's that you recommend? At first we thought of going to Yellowstone or Glacier Park but I think the distance is far too long!!! We're not that bother about Vegas neither!!

thanks in advance!

2. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 285 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

July will be very busy in Yosemite NP. It's high tourist season.

Expect Mojave to be quite hot that time of year. But deserts are beautiful no matter when.

On the way north to San Francisco stop by coastal Montana de Oro State Park near Morro Bay-San Luis Obispo area. Stunning undeveloped coastline with azure blue water.

Have fun. And congratulations.

3. Posted by JoyC (Full Member 99 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

To add to the above post: be prepared for BRUTAL, dangerous heat in Mohave in July. Bring a lot of water (at least 1 gallon per person) in case your car breaks down and you have to wait for assistance.

Sequoia National Park is well worth your time and will be a lot less crowded than Yosemite. You might also want to try to fit a drive on highway 49 into your schedule. If you take I-80 East from San Francisco, you'll head south on hwy 49 just east of Sacramento. This is gold-rush country and you can stop at Sutter's Mill (Coloma), where gold was first "discovered" in 1849. It's a beautiful drive from there down to Yosemite. Mark Twain's cabin is just outside Angel's Camp. Jamestown has several charming B&B's and is a good place to stop for the night before heading off to Yosemite in the morning.

Hwy 49 is not a quick way to go, but it is well worth making the time and effort. You're not that far from Tahoe either, so you might want to add that to your itinerary for a day or two. I would stay on the North Shore, say in Incline Village. Stop by Truckee for a couple hours on your way back from Tahoe to hwy 49.

Have a wonderful trip and congratulations!

4. Posted by guille_uk (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi and thanks for your replies,

It's taken me ages to reply as I've been away for Xmas!

Update: we've almost decided to go for the almost 1 month option so that give us a bit more time to explore.

JoyC: I'm aware of the BRUTAL heat in the desert in July that's the reason why we might end up not stopping there. Specially because of my fiancée being the 'English rose' that she is and her whiteness!

As we see it the trip could be split in three parts (will be hiring cars for the driving bits):

1 - SF city and travel to Yosemite, Sequoia, gold rush country and surroundings. Around 10 days.

domestic flight from Fresno to Vegas

2 - Las Vegas city and travel to Grand Canyon and surroundings. Around 5/6 days.

Now, instead of driving through Mojave, domestic flight Vegas to LA

3 - LA, Hollywood, etc.. and travel to --> 'sideways' wine country and then highway 1 to SF - around 9 days

what do you think? can you think of nice places to visit around the areas?

Also, we're gonna be in a bit of budget so we were planning to sleep in motels, campings, etc.... how much would you expect to pay for places like these? anywhere special that you can recommend?

thanks so much in advance!!


5. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I'd stay on your original plan (taking the coastal route for the sideways tour), but just book your hotels/motels early--and also book your tickets for Hearst Castle early also, since all of these are booked solid during the summer months.

Plan to go to the wineries in and around Los Olivos (north of Santa Barbara) or north of there in Paso Robles. Some of my favorites are (in Los Olivos) Firestone, Zaca Mesa, and Fess Parker; and (in Paso Robles) go to Opalo, J. Lohr, Hunt Cellars, Justin, Midnight Cellars, Still Waters, and Wild Horse. If you want, you can actually stay at one of the 3 rooms at the "Just Inn" located right at the Justin Winery for a really romantic time (but at a price I expect).

When in Los Olivos, have dinner at the Los Olivos Cafe and Wine Merchant (you must book this early, since it will be booked solid in summer). They were featured in the movie--and they still offer a "Sideways" meal, where you eat exactly what was served in the movie, if you want (although all of their food is excellent--I was just there back in November and they are as good as ever).

Go to Morro Bay and also north to Moonstone Bay in Cambria (stay here if at all possible, it is extremely romantic), then go to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, then spend a night in Carmel or Monterey, head on north through the unique town of Santa Cruz and maybe take a wine cruise or a whale watching tour, then see the crazy Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, and then take pretty I-280 up to San Francisco (do not take the ugly Highway 101 instead).

Enjoy--and write if you need for info/suggestions

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I was thinking--you could combine the trip to LA, then to Las Vegas, then Joy's trip up through the gold country, and then back from San Francisco to LA all in 3 weeks if you work it right (or take this trip in the opposite order). Places to stay would be as follows:

Day 1- Travel day, arrive in LA and rest
Day 2 to 3 (in LA)-See Disneyland, Huntington Library, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Universal Studios, and/or Getty Museum
Day 4 drive to Las Vegas
Day 5 Relaxation day in Las Vegas at the pool, take in a show
Day 6 drive to Grand Canyon and night there
Day 7 drive back to Las Vegas and night there, taking in a show
Day 8 drive to Fresno
Day 9 drive through Yosemite, night in Sonora
Day 10 drive north to Placerville and Auburn, spend night at Lake Tahoe
Day 11 day in Lake Tahoe
Day 12 drive to Davis for lunch, then on to San Francisco for dinner and spending the night
Days 13 to 14 in San Francisco
Day 15 drive to San Jose, tour Winchester Mystery House, then drive on to Santa Cruz and to Monterey/Carmel
Day 16 Day in Monterey area--see aquarium, 17 mile drive, Cannery Row
Day 17-Drive to San Simeon, tour Hearst Castle, spend night on Moonstone Beach in Cambria
Day 18--Winery tour of Paso Robles, spend night in Morro Bay
Day 19--Winery tour of Los Olivos, dinner there, spend night there, tour city of Solvang
Day 20--Drive through Santa Barbara and on to Los Angeles
Day 21--Fly home arriving in evening (or next day if going to England).