So am in need of some help, we r planning a very short trip from San Fran to LA in March and am unsure of best routes and places to see. So we arrive in San fran and have 9 days until we leave from LA. We were thinking of just hiring a car to get around so wanting to know is this the best option?? We were hoping to head to vegas as well so is it worth driving to LA along the coast then across to Vegas?? Any other ideas, suggestions, itineraries or tips would be greatly appreciated. I know there is not a lot of time but want to make the most of the time and we have!!
9 days isn't too bad to see the things between San Fran and LA. You would do yourself a major disservice if you didn't take Highway 1 down the coast toward LA. There is an awesome Youth Hostel (Pidgeon Point Lighthouse) in Pescadero. Reasonable rates and an amazing location. I highly recommend hiring a car. However, gas is expected to be over 4.00 a gallon. There is an Amtrak train from San Fran to LA that would be a nice ride down the coast at minimal cost. It takes about 8 hours. You could then hire a car from LA to Vegas or fly. You can get a round trip flight from LA to Vegas for around 100.00. It is normally a 4-5 hour drive by car. Casino rooms in Vegas are very reasonable in March. Good luck and happy trails.
9 days. Well, you are going to want to spend a few days in San Francisco - a wonderful city. If you can, get up to Muir Woods to see the giant redwood trees - its just an hour north of the city. Renting a car to drive down to LA on the Pacific Coast Highway (highway 1) is a wonderful experience, but could be expensive. Gas will be cheap compared with what you are used to paying anywhere else in the world, and the daily rental car prices are cheap, but they charge you a one way drop off fee in the US. So for example, if you pick up a car in SF and drop off in LA, they charge you hundreds and hundreds of dollars in one way drop off fees. Go on expedia, plug in the trip parameters to see what the charge is. That said, even if it costs you more than taking the train or flying, seriously consider doing the drive - it is really cool. Also, the train does not run along the coast, it goes inland a bit, so the views are not as good. Just south of San Francisco, stop in Pescadero and go to Norm's Market and get a big loaf of fresh garlic/artichoke bread - trust me - (http://www.normsmarket.com/store/). Further south you will hit Santa Cruz, but feel free to skip it if you like (beach town with a college, but no big deal), but be sure to stop in Monterrey (fantastic aquarium), Carmel (John Steinbeck Country) and Big Sur (where the beat poets like Keroac, Ginsberg, and Henry Miller used to hang out) on the way down the coast and have lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur. I am from SF, and went to school in LA, but think Northern California is prettier and more interesting - but that is my bias. Some people like LA better.... As far as Las Vegas is concerned, yeah, you can drive south along the coast, explore LA, then head east through the desert to Las Vegas. Another cool thing to check out on your way down the coast - and you can look this up online - is the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Kind of pricy, but if you budget will allow, take a look. When you get to LA there is alot to do, but on your way out to Las Vegas, if you like donuts, stop in Glendora at the Donut Man (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/05/local/la-me-donut-man-20110705) , their strawberry donuts in the early spring are sublime. Oh, and on your way to Vegas, if you like funky museums, stop in Victorville and check out the Roy Rogers Museum - it is one of a kind (http://www.royrogers.com/museum.html)
Have a terrific trip, and thanks for coming to America for your holiday! I hope you find most people you meet helpful and friendly - most of us usually are! If you have any specific questions, just post on here.
Hi thanks for your help and suggestions have been very useful!!! So looks like we r heading down the coast to LA then across to Vegas. At the moment I think we r still planning on hiring a car, will be interesting driving on the opposite side of the road though, (as im from Australia) but im sure we will manage. I have been to Vegas before so am familiar with what to do and see, just need some tips for san fran and LA. Suggestions of where to stay in LA etc and the best things to do. Maybe not the usual touristy things am keen to see different places and do different things, but your suggestions have been super helpful!!