Two of us (both guys) are flying into LA in early May and hiring a car to drive from LA to Seattle in 3 weeks. The normal travel guides have given us a list of the standard things to do but can anyone help me narrow these down into the must sees and the most feasible in such a time period?
We're both mid-twenties, looking to stay in hostels or cheap hotels (good suggestions welcome!) with a budget to match. Nothing outlandish but if something is unmissable then we can stretch!
We're looking for a combination of outdoors activities and scenery and other more cultural stops. We want to go to Yosemite and do some hiking and stop off in wine country as well. We'd also be up for some decent night life that can be recommended!
If anyone has any advice on the best amount of time to spend in LA, SF, Yosemite, Oregon and Washington and places to see that would brilliant!
That's one huge area to condense into one posting. It will still be pretty cool in Oregon and Washington, and Yosemite will still have snow on the ground (the waterfalls will just be melting and should be spectacular but you should check with www.nps.gov/yose/).
First off, don't waste much time in LA - it's just one vast freeway connecting shopping malls! I would concentrate on the coastline while driving north (Highway 101 is far more scenic than Interstate 5), and don't miss Route #1 along the Central California coast (Big Sur/Monterey Peninsula). North of SF, you'll want to hug the Sonoma coast, and then get back on 101 to Oregon. You can rent dune buggies along the S. Oregon coast - huge sand dunes. This is volcano country, so you might want to see these snow capped areas (Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier).
I would not stop at Seattle, as much of the beauty in Washington State is in Puget Sound (ferry to San Juan Islands and Victoria, British Columbia).
In Oregon we have many many waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge (40 miles east of Portland) but they require a fair amount of hiking.
Seafood should be great along the coast (oysters, crab and salmon), and especially good in Seattle. Here in Portland, it's all about beer (many many craft breweries in this town).
[ Edit: Edited on 30-Mar-2009, at 23:29 by Daawgon ]
If you stay in Seattle, the http://www.greentortoise.net/ is a good hostel with fair prices and a fabulous location. If you are looking for theater or boat tours check out the Ticket Ticket kiosk (no online booking) right across the street for day of show 1/2 price tickets. http://www.machiavellis.com/ has great Italian fare. I'm not much into the bar scene so cant help you much there but if you have other questions, feel free to ask!! Have fun! It's a great trip....
Do what you'd like to do around Los Angeles. Recommend the Getty Museum. Spectacular. All you need is a parking reservation.
Upon departing LA to the north, Take US 101 to Santa Barbara and visit the Mission. You will be on the El Camino Real, or Royal Road of the missionary friars. This is California's Mediterranean coast. Expect great weather.
Leaving Santa Barbara on 101, take a quick 6-mile detour (Buellton exit) to the quaint town of Solvang, a Danish-themed zone. Good places to eat and recommend the Solvang Bakery for a treat. There is a free parking lot adjacent. Behind this lot is the Mission Santa Ynez, just walk through.
Back on 101 North, stop at Pismo Beach and take a walk out onto the pier. Free. Further north is San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Recommend a hidden jewel, Montana de Oro State Park, for views of unspoiled coastline vistas.
At this point, you can start to divert over to Yosemite. Go north on 101 to Atascadero. Take Highway 41 east towards Fresno then straight up to Yosemite National Park.
Thanks guys! All really helpful, has definitely helped us get some ideas for route and sites to drop by.
Does anyone have any idea if we will still need snow chains to drive in to Yosemite midway through May?
Thanks for your comments again!