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Driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas in May over 4 nights

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11. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1992 posts) 5y

You don't need (and don't want) a car in downtown SF - but you will want a car for outlying areas. SF is so tiny that parking rates are sky high. Careful what SF hotel you choose - several in the Tenderloin that I recommend you avoid. I like the small places on Bush Street or a B&B. Do take the light rail out to the beach or rent a bike in Golden Gate Park - you can also bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and take the ferry back to town.

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

Well, Groveland was on the original route, but not on the revised route I gave you. To go to Groveland and stay there (instead of in Mariposa), modify the Day 2 itinerary as follows:

Day 2--Head out on Hwy 1 back north towards San Francisco, then get off on Hwy 156 through Hollister and connect to Hwy 152. Just east of where these two roads meet is a place called "Casa de Fruta" that is worth a stop. If you go through here on a weekend, they might have already started the "Renaissance Faire" that is held in the springtime here. You can stop and visit it if you arrive during a weekend. Then head east on 156 until you pass the reservoir (lake), then get on 33 going north to 140 going east. Go only about 20 miles on this road, then get on 165 north and take this through Turlock and up to the city of Oakdale, where you get on Hwy 120 east. Take this to Groveland, where you will spend the night.

Then Day 3 should change as follows:

Day 3--Take 120 into Yosemite and visit the valley by getting onto 140. If the mountain pass is open (unlikely as Ultrecht has correctly pointed out already), then go over the pass (get back on highway 120) and stay at Mammoth Lakes off off highway 395), then on Day 4 go through Death Valley to Las Vegas via California Hwy 190 and Nevada Hwy 160) . If the pass is not open (more likely), then take 41 south to Fresno, get on 99 to Bakersfield and spend the night there or else drive an additional 1/2 hour into the mountains of Tehachapi and spend the night there (it will be cooler).

Hope this helps

Be sure to take my route, rather than trying to go east to Mariposa and then north to Groveland. The reason I say this is that you can go fast when you are in the Central Valley (on Hwy 165), but if you go to Mariposa and then try to take Hwy 49 through the mountains, it will take at least twice as long to get up to Groveland.

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

Also, I should point out that if you have 5 days (4 nights), you could go on to Paso Robles and Cambria on Day 2, then on Day 3 take this new, revised itinerary:

Day 3 then becomes:

Day 3--Head out on Hwy 46 east from Paso Robles, then get off on Hwy 41 north towards Fresno. At Fresno, get on 99 north and take it to Turlock. At Turlock get on 165 north up to the city of Oakdale, where you get on Hwy 120 east. Take this to Groveland, where you will spend the night.

The Day 3 itinerary listed in my last post now becomes Day 4 and the previous Day 4 itinerary then becomes Day 5's itinerary.

This route allows you to do both trips (coastal and Yosemite) in total. Its a bit of driving on Day 3, but nothing that should take you more than 4-5 hours.

14. Posted by Hilary Gandy (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

Wow!! how do you remember all this? Who needs a Sat Nav with you around? Thank you so much

Hilary

15. Posted by vanari11 (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

I read on your post that the road (Hwy 1) south past Big Sur is now closed and so I have to modify my itinerary. In effect I thought to leave San Francisco in the morning, visit Big Sur until Julia Pfeiffer State Park, then come back reaching Oakhurst when I already have made a reservation in Hotel.
Now, before reaching Carmel what can I visit near San Francisco?
Excuse me for my bad and poor english!!!!
Vane

Quoting Calcruzer

You would have time to drive to Carmel, and also Yosemite, but not Carmel, Hearst Castle and also Yosemite. (and Ultrecht is correct that the pass is probably going to be closed this May, since there is over 90 inches of snow still on the ground in Yosemite--which is more snow that they've gotten in 9 out of the past 10 years).

To take this combined route (Carmel and Yosemite) that you requested, do the following:

Day 1--South to Monterey, visit Cannery Row and the Monterey Aquarium, then take the 17 mile drive past Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, Spend the night in Carmel. I personally think the 17 mile drive (at least the 8 miles along the coast) is much more beautiful than even the Big Sur area and is worth the $8.50 price tag to drive, but its probably a personal preference). However, you need to know that the road (Hwy 1) south past Big Sur is now closed due to landslides and will be shut down for about the next 1 month at least--so going that way is not an option anyway.

Day 2--Head out on Hwy 1 back north towards San Francisco, then get off on Hwy 156 through Hollister and connect to Hwy 152. Just east of where these two roads meet is a place called "Casa de Fruta" that is worth a stop. If you go through here on a weekend, they might have already started the "Renaissance Faire" that is held in the springtime here. You can stop and visit it if you arrive during a weekend. Then head east on 156 until you pass the reservoir (lake), then get on 33 going north to 140 going east. Take this to the city of Mariposa, where you will spend the night. Be sure to book hotels in Mariposa before leaving your home, because these fill up quickly in the spring and summer months (lots of tourists want to see Yosemite).

Day 3--Take 140 into Yosemite and visit the valley. If the mountain pass is open (unlikely as Ultrecht has correctly pointed out already), then go over the pass (get on highway 120) and stay at Mammoth Lakes off off highway 395), then on Day 4 go through Death Valley to Las Vegas via California Hwy 190 and Nevada Hwy 160) . If the pass is not open (more likely), then take 41 south to Fresno, get on 99 to Bakersfield and spend the night there or else drive an additional 1/2 hour into the mountains of Tehachapi and spend the night there (it will be cooler).

Day 4--Stay on 58 east and drive to Barstow, then get on the Interstate (15) and drive the remaining 3 hours through the desert to Las Vegas. Try to get there before 7 PM if you want to go to a 8 PM show (although you may just want to walk the sites at night, like the volcano at the Mirage or the fountains at Bellagio, or the gondolas inside the Venetian).

Enjoy

16. Posted by klz (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

I've have been there in the last September. 4 nights is enough to visit the following places:
1) Rhyolite - ghost city
2) Death Valley, Scott's rancho, Ubehabe crater (the best place there as for me)
3) Yosemite
4) Mono Lake
5) Sequoia national park

17. Posted by aussiejussie (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y

Hey guys, Im doing the San Fran to LA Drive but in a day.. Were used to LONG drives and happy to leave early and finish late!! But would it be worth it?

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