My husband and I are planning a trip to California in Aug 11 and are considering travelling from San Diego to San Fransisco.. How long would it take us to do this journey with stop offs on way. What sights would anyone recommend on way and where would be best places for overnight stop offs. WE are arriving in LAX and were considering driving to San Diego for 2 nights stay before commencing our journey to San Fransisco (total time for complete journey from LAX to SF is 9 days. Is this reasonable timescale to allow us to visit main attractions on route or can anyone give advice on a better way to do this? WE have toured most of East Coast of USA but not familiar with West Coast?
Well theoretically, that drive can be done in a day - if you go the coastal route - it would be about 12 hours if there is no traffic ... going up the 5 fwy, it would be about 10 hours.
But since you want stop offs, I would recommend the following:
Day 1 & 2: San Diego.
Day 3: SD to Anahiem, (I would suggest you make the 2 hour drive to Anahiem from SD the evening before - this allowing you an early start at Disneyland). Hit Disneyland and DCA, if you arrive in the early morning, you can see most of the two parks in a day (seeing the highlights only - otherwise, you will need 2 days here). Since you have only 9 days - try the highlights route. (If you do this, go to DCA when it opens to get a Fastpass for World of Color (by the Grizzley River Run Attraction first thing in the morning).
Day 4: Anahiem to LA - Get up early (and get a head start up to LA, like 6 am due to the traffic on the 5 fwy). Go to Olveria Street in the AM, over to the Music Center and the Disney Concert Hall, by noon hit Hollywood Blvd. and the Walk of Stars and the Kodak Theatre. By around 7 pm, you should leave LA and head up the 2 hour drive to Santa Barbara. Spend the night there.
Day 5: In the morning see downtown Santa Barbara - and the Mission there. I would then suggest making the 2 hour drive up to San Luis Obispo Hit a winery or two in the early evening and then stay the night there and hit Solvang in the morning for breakfast.
Day 6: Next day, drive up to San Simone - Heart's Castle. Get there early as the tours fill up in the AM very quickly - they might do reservations in the summer. After that, do the coastal drive along Hwy 1 to Carmel/Monterey Have a nice dinner (if you like Italian, I can't recommend LIttle Nappoli enough to you - it is in Carmel. Have their house salad for sure - this place is excellent and not really pricey at all.)
Day 7: Do the coastal drive from Carmel to Monterey - a must! In Monterey go to the Aquarium. Stay the night here.
Day 8 & 9: Leave early in the AM for the remaining drive up to San Francisco. There are a few things along the way, but nothing I would say is a must and take away from time in SF. If you leave in the early AM, you should be in SF in about 2.5-3 hours.
This would hit the highlights for you - a bit rushed in a way, but these are the "must do's" if you ask me.
Hope this helps.
- a must! Then go to the Monterey Aquirium. Stay the night in Moneterey.
[ Edit: Edited on 12-May-2011, at 10:56 by Showoffca ]
Just a note--the Coastal drive from San Simeon (Hearst Castle area) up to Carmel/Monterey is currently closed due to a mudslide (from earlier when we had lots of heavy rains), but is expected to re-open in 3 to 7 weeks (between mid-June and mid-July 2011)--meaning before your planned trip in August.
For current conditions, check this website:
P.S. Excellent suggestions for your trip from Dan above.
[ Edit: Edited on 13-May-2011, at 20:18 by Calcruzer ]
thanks dan and calcruzer for this information and advice. Sounds like a lot to see and do on route and willl need another holiday to recover at end of it. Will note this for my travels.