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San Francisco to LA and back again - road trip

Travel Forums North America San Francisco to LA and back again - road trip

1. Posted by Linspea (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y


We are going to SF this sept and are planning to drive down to LA and back again in 16 days. We will ba staying in SF for three nights and then taking the PCH down. Obviously we will try to come back a different route and would love to get in Yosemite. I am a little worried about accomadation as we don't plan on booking in advance - do you think this is a problem? I have never been to California so would really appreciate any advice for this trip!!
Thanks very much x

2. Posted by frimann85 (Budding Member 16 posts) 7y

I don't think you'll need to book in advance... Would've recommended it for august, but not september.

3. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

Well, if you cant go to Vegas, I would reccommend taking highway 395. Its near the Nevada border and goes through the mountains. Its a beautiful highway and alot to do along the way. Its NOT a twisty road. Also reccomend on the way is to go to Lake Arrowhead near San Bernardino. I think its called rim of the world Highway. Lots of little town in the mountains.

4. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

Hi. I have driven LA to SF and back a few times and it is so easy. It is less half a day on the highway from one to the other and is only about 330 miles or so. I would recommend Yosemite and Death Valley national parks. Very contrasting and quite close to each other.
I hated Las Vegas, but got the tshirt so dont need to go back. Horrid place for me but millions of people love it.
Dont worry about booking rooms or restaurants in advance. There are thousands of places available on the routes and you wont be far from one that has a table and vacancies.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Aug-2009, at 07:30 by BedouinLeo ]

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 7y

The fun trip is to take some time when travelling along the coast route, and then go quickly through the central valley (Yosemite, etc.) when the weather is really hot, which is from late June through mid-September.

As far as how crowded the roads will be, that depends upon when you go. From June 15 to September 10th or so, all the motels get crowded. This is because the school kids and the teachers are out at that time, so people take vacations and travel. After that time (or before), the motels are much less crowded--same with restaurants and all the tourist spots.


6. Posted by MaxineK (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y

Is it still possible and worthwhile to go to Yosemite in Winter?


7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 7y

You can go, but only the western part of the National park is open in winter. (Only about 20% of the park). The rest will all be snowed in--and the roads to those areas will be closed for this reason.

If you do go, consider staying at the Ahwahnee resort:


8. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 7y

Personally, I'd consider going to Lake Tahoe instead of Yosemite in the winter. It's a famous ski and casino resort spot with beautiful scenic views. It's about the same distance from San Francisco as Yosemite, but the drive is easier because it is motorway (freeway) most of the way (as long as you take I-80).

Here's a picture:


9. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 7y

For those who do want to go to the Yosemite area, but who are not staying in the park, I suggest staying either in the town of Murphys, where there are 30 wineries that do wine tasting right on the main street--or else staying in the historic town of Angels Camp.