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Craving California! Will I enjoy if I go alone?

Travel Forums North America Craving California! Will I enjoy if I go alone?

1. Posted by allisonc (Budding Member, 7 posts) 13 May '10 09:57

Hi everyone,

Im an Irish 23 yr old female. Im living in NYC a year in June and I want to see California so badly.... But I have no one to go with. I have pretty much decided that I will go in August of this year, but thought I would check- will I enjoy doing this all alone?? My plan is to fly into San Fran, rent a car, drive the Pacific Coast and then take a different route back to San Fran where I fly out of.. (I want to go all the way south to San Diego!).

Is that crazy? Should I go alone and if I do, where can people reccommend I visit/avoid? Any ideas for a route back to San Fran... only catch is that Rent A Wreck say I have to stay within the Californian border.... Thank you!

2. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member, 414 posts) 13 May '10 11:10

The only downside to going alone is that you'll have no one to share the experience with which may be a blessing in disguise as i've traveled with some people who have totally destroyed the trip,going alone you get to go where you want when you want and if you get a little naughty its going to stay in CA, As you cant leave CA i'd drive north up the coast then south back through the mountains,information centers will give you a plethora of brochures advertising various points of interest. I'd highly recommend renting a convertible like a Miata,Mustang or Sebring..

Goes something like this -

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=US-101+N&daddr=Skillman+Ln+to:CA-1+N%2FCoast+Hwy+to:CA-1+N%2FShoreline+Hwy+to:Pacific+Ave+to:Indian+Creek+Rd+to:Dry+Creek+Rd%2FUS-97+N+to:W+12th+St+to:US-395+S+to:Co+Route+S860%2FSmithneck+Rd+to:CA-89+S%2FW+River+Rd+to:CA-89+S%2FEmerald+Bay+Rd+to:US-395+S+to:CA-49+N+to:CA-1+S+to:37.741616,-122.432556&geocode=FdftQAIdNiWz-A%3BFdq9RwIdwu-v-A%3BFU4TTAIdTtam-A%3BFRo8XAIdMDOf-A%3BFSAufQId_L2Y-A%3BFV6UfgIdKj2l-A%3BFboXfAId_pq5-A%3BFQIoeQIdCI7Q-A%3BFa74YAIdIL7Y-A%3BFarZWwId1ozW-A%3BFXykVQIdRrjW-A%3BFYo6UgId5L7X-A%3BFcwvQwId0F_m-A%3BFUwlPAIdNj7Z-A%3BFYimLgId5qC8-A%3B&hl=en&mra=mi&mrcr=6&mrsp=15&sz=8&via=1,2,3,5,6,9,10,11&sll=37.182202,-121.195679&sspn=2.161937,3.532104&ie=UTF8&z=8

[ Edit: Edited on 13-May-2010, at 11:20 by jambo101 ]

3. Posted by allisonc (Budding Member, 7 posts) 13 May '10 11:51

That looks like a cool trip- but it totally avoids the part of the coast I want to see!!... San Fran-San Diego....

Any ideas of the same sort of trip only heading south?? Is there anything to see inland of the coast between San Fran and LA??

4. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member, 414 posts) 14 May '10 00:53

Extending the trip south on rt 395 gets you into the desert and Death Valley area 'I'd start heading west when you reach I-15 Heading for Ventura and the trip north on Rt 1 not 101. Be prepared for lots of LA commuter traffic on that westbound leg back to the coast.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-May-2010, at 00:55 by jambo101 ]

5. Posted by Buffalo (Full Member, 120 posts) 14 May '10 06:19

Hi Allison,
I did a trip down the west coast of America two summers ago for 4 weeks on my own. I hit San Fran, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obisbo, Santa Barbara, L.A, San Dieo and Las Vegas. I had a great time, but I have to admit that I found travelling the west coast of USA solo was not as easy to meet other people as other solo trips I've done in Asia and Europe. To be honest it mostly depends on where you stay...ie. when I stayed in lively hostels I met shitloads of people and had a great laugh but staying in motels/hotels was a bit of a pain in the ass!! You'll be grand though, lots of surfer dudes to look after you How long are you planning on going for??

6. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1940 posts) 14 May '10 10:36

I really think that someone so young would have a great deal more fun if you had company on that trip. I suggest you look into the group bus tour - Green Tortoise, since they specialize in California with people your age. I also suggest that you consider another time of year - Fall would be much less crowded and more enjoyable, IMHO!

Have fun

[ Edit: Edited on 14-May-2010, at 10:41 by Daawgon ]

7. Posted by allisonc (Budding Member, 7 posts) 14 May '10 11:23

Thanks so much for all the replies everyone...

@Daawagon: I would love to do it in the Fall (as it is a little cooler also and not so much need for AC!!) but I am returning to Ireland on September 1st. My visa I am working with in NYC is finished on Aug 13th so I have to stay within American borders for up to 30 days. Hence I am taking 2 weeks when i finish work to travel California... If I am honest with myself I really do want to share it with someone... its very hard to find someone however. My closest friends are all back home In Ireland/UK... And I dont want to pass up the opportunity to see California as I have been thinking about it for so long. Maybe over the summer I will meet another person who is interested in doing the trip, or even part of it with me :-)

@Buffalo: Thanks for your reply- I certainly look forward to meeting some surfer dudes (and maybe learning to surf so I can use the UNUSED surfboard I have at home, terrible I know, what an impulse buy two years ago!). I am heading for two weeks hopefully, 16-30th August, so I know its the height of the summer and heat but I am thoroughly looking forward to it... especially after you said you did it and I agree-I am def a hostel girl, not so much into the dodgey motels although they fill a void when you have no where else to stay! Being Irish and travelling all over Europe at different times, hostels are just so much fun and the place to meet people!

@Jambo101: Thanks for the route, I had a look but couldnt find route 1, found 101 alright and I like the look of that, the coast road...

8. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member, 414 posts) 15 May '10 03:26

Quoting allisonc

@Jambo101: Thanks for the route, I had a look but couldnt find route 1, found 101 alright and I like the look of that, the coast road...

Gotta zoom in a bit more
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=US-101+N&daddr=34.488448,-120.344238+to:CA-1+N%2FCabrillo+Hwy+to:CA-1+N%2FCabrillo+Hwy+S+to:Skyline+Blvd&geocode=FbYyCwIdoizj-A%3B%3BFS53KwIdHNC7-A%3BFVaVOgIdWCO0-A%3BFZL1PgIdiPSy-A&hl=en&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=9&via=1,2,3&sll=34.770948,-120.635376&sspn=1.114528,1.766052&ie=UTF8&z=9

9. Posted by allisonc (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 May '10 07:45

Ah Ok I found it! Yes route 1 looks amazing, its right on the coast- definitely will take that! :-)

10. Posted by TravlScott (Budding Member, 14 posts) 17 May '10 15:13

Ah allisonc, you are very right wanting to visit California. It's an amazing place with as much diversity in the geography as in the population. Traveling alone is not something I personally enjoy, but it's not any worse out here than it is any other place. The nice thing about the route you want to take is that there are some nice stretches of highway where it's peaceful, without the crowding of concrete. I think I already saw it suggested but you can drive Interstate 5 back north. That will take you inland a bit so you can see some of Centeral California. The best way to combat the solitude would be to book yourself some group activites. My favorite memory of my last trip to San Diego was a bike tour of Coronado Island. It was easy going, the guides were a lot of fun, and the group was friendly. Although August tends to be one of the hottest times of year (well, that's true in Sacramento, but it might not be as bad elsewhere...I'm mainly referring to the Northern Coast) the trip will be a worthwhile experience! Check out Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara: they are some of the most laid back places on the coast (in my opinion). Well, happy trails!