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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> what to see in california/ west coast
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06/19/2016 03:10:38 PM · #1
planning another road trip to the west coast this time july and early august for me, my better half and my 8yr old lad

planning a slower pace than last time where we did 1900 miles in 10 days and pretty much saw a lot from the car did get to meet mr and mrs bear though :)

this time we are planning 15-16 days probably flying into LA then out of San francisco etc

we are still deciding between hiring an RV or hiring a car and staying in motels/hampton inns

basically the cost of two weeks in a villa in spain during school holidays means we'd rather go for a bigger adventure for not much more money

so on my list are

yosemite 2-3 days
redwoods
san francisco 2 days
big sur area

but can anyone suggest places to go see etc I've been to LA but mrs and lad haven't obviously going camera heavy so good photo spots appreciated

Cheers

06/19/2016 03:41:04 PM · #2
If you are driving up the coast highway (California Hwy 1) through the Big Sur area, Point Lobos a ways north of there (just south of Monterey/Carmel) is one of the most-photographed pieces of coastline in the world.

You have a choice of redwoods, in the southern Sierras or northern coastal mountains ("Avenue of the Giants"), as well as Muir Woods just north of San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, if anyone is interested in science stuff, check out the La Brea Tar Pits; ongoing paleontology right downtown.
06/19/2016 08:49:21 PM · #3
We were just there a few weeks ago. Your son will enjoy Santa Cruz very touristy though but there are a lot of things for kids to do.
The Medicono region up north is beautiful, the coastline is sensational. We stayed on the beach in particular at Irish beach it was gorgeous although the sand was brown but you might be used to that living in England :-) In that same region you have a choice of visiting the 'redwoods' we went two national parks I can't remember their names but they are pretty close by.

If you go to San Francisco you have to go to Fishermans wharf. And also walk up Lombard Street or drive down whatever.

Have fun.

Message edited by author 2016-06-19 20:50:33.
06/19/2016 08:49:37 PM · #4
Well FIRST, you have to get together with the L.A. gang, and then we'll give you some secret places to go :)

Some things off the top of my head to see in the southern part of the state, in no particular order:

Salton Sea
Wild Animal Park (you get to feed the giraffes)
San Diego Zoo
Santa Barbara - actually, visit all the missions along the Camino Real
Devil's Punchbowl
Mojave National Park and/or Death Valley

How long will you be in L.A.? There are a bunch of things to see and do here as well.
06/19/2016 09:30:23 PM · #5
Originally posted by tanguera:

...or Death Valley ...

If you go there on a clear day you can be standing in the lowest point in the 48 contiguous states and see (take a picture of) the highest point, the summit of Mt. Whitney.
06/19/2016 10:25:33 PM · #6
If you did get to Death valley you should follow it up by taking 395 North to Mono Lake (beautiful tufa formations) then the next morning go to Bodie (the most amazing ghost town). Go back to Lee Vining (Mono Lake) since it is at the East entrance to Yosemite so the next morning you can start through Yosemite and come out the West side on your way back towards the coast and SF. There are lots of good photographs of Death Valley, Mono Lake and Bodie on line. It will be too hot to do much in Death Valley that time of year (120 to 130) so dangerous if you have car trouble. You have to carry ice, water and stay on main roads only. Bodie would be cooler since it is a higher elevation and it really is the most amazing ghost town but the rest of this route could be pretty hot in July and August. The coastal weather is usually much more pleasant at that time.
06/20/2016 12:19:28 AM · #7
This is something of a cop out, but if you only have two days in San Francisco, I would suggest a city tour. there are many tour companies in town. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend any of them due to lack of experience with the individual companies. Having said that, Gray Line is a long-established business.

San Francisco is a small, compact city, with many one-way streets, and if you try to drive around you will likely get lost and probably frustrated. It's one town where it's best to let the experts help.

Of course, if it happens to be foggy while you are in town, maybe a Bay Cruise would be the way to go.

Other than that, all the advice you have been given in this thread is just wonderful. No matter what you select, it will be splendid. Yes, including the Tar Pits.
06/20/2016 01:23:09 PM · #8
In-N-Out Burger
06/20/2016 01:30:12 PM · #9
Just planning at mo nothing booked still deciding between car or rv

Yosemite seems all booked up hotels and rv park

Not sure what we'll do in LA maybe a say see the main sights etc got a few mates who live out there now from a certain Sheffield band but more eager to get out the cities,

I've driven up through the Mojave from la to mammoth mountain skiing a decade ago

Excited though love an adventure

Seen a 21 day one taking in the Pacific Northwest as well but might be asking too much in 16 days
06/20/2016 01:43:48 PM · #10
oh my gosh!! Go see the Salton Sea! It was the most bizarre place. It's absolutely incredible:

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1098320.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1098321.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1097879.jpg
06/20/2016 01:45:00 PM · #11
The sandhill cranes were at the southern end -- hundreds of them flying in at dusk. The beach was fascinating with the fish skeletons all over the place. Really, really cool, funky weird awesome place.
06/20/2016 01:48:24 PM · #12
Originally posted by bohemka:

In-N-Out Burger


+100
06/20/2016 11:13:41 PM · #13
The Salton Sea & Death Valley mentioned, and would be on my list if it wasn't the middle of the summer. If you go to those places be extremely careful, and take a LOT of water. Temperatures the last few days have been over 120 degrees F. This time of the year, I would stay near the water. It can be 75 degrees at the beach, and 100 degrees twenty miles inland. I lived in San Diego for almost sixty years, and have to say that it is a beautiful place. Of course a drive up hwy 1 is incredible, but be ready to deal with the vacation crowds.
06/20/2016 11:23:45 PM · #14
Both my Salton Sea and Death Valley recommendations might not be the best destinations, weatherwise... It is brutal in both these locations.
06/20/2016 11:29:53 PM · #15
If it were me... I'd go see the port of a cruise... and ... get on it.

Ha!

But... well then... I'm ... uhh... addicted to cruises... and there are SO MANY that leave from there. :D
06/21/2016 05:53:37 PM · #16
California is almost 800 miles from North to South, so my suggestion would be to try to focus on a general area, and stay near what you want to see and do. Otherwise, you can easily spend 3-4 hours a day just driving from one place to another. For example, Los Angeles to San Francisco is roughly 6 hours' drive one-way (yes, I know some claim to do it in 4, but you probably don't want to spend a lot of time and money with the CHPs). Los Angeles to San Diego is 2 3/4 hours.
In the Southern part of the state, I really enjoyed Joshua Tree National Park, San Juan Capistrano, San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park) in Escondido (contrary to its name). The Salton Sea and Palm Springs I don't remember as well - it was summer, and our car with a dark blue interior did not have air conditioning (yes - long time ago).
I also love the Redwoods - Eureka area - up near the Oregon border, plus the coast. But that's a world away from LA / SF.
The Pacific Northwest is well worth seeing, but needs a block of time to concentrate on just it.
Good luck on your trip!
06/21/2016 06:07:44 PM · #17
There's no better place to experience the meeting of sea & land than Big Sur, the 75 or so miles of coastline south of Carmel... This is the cradle of Edward Weston, Morley Baer, Wynn Bullock, etc... And Bear_Music for that matter, though of course I don't rank in that company...
06/21/2016 07:25:13 PM · #18
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

There's no better place to experience the meeting of sea & land than Big Sur, the 75 or so miles of coastline south of Carmel... This is the cradle of Edward Weston, Morley Baer, Wynn Bullock, etc... And Bear_Music for that matter, though of course I don't rank in that company...
Yes, a definite don't miss ...
Near Big Sur: Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_953435.jpg (more pics from that area here).
Point Lobos (a little farther north near Carmel): small.jpg
Along the Avenue of the Giants (US Hwy 101), way north of San Francisco Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1168075.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1168155.jpg
06/21/2016 11:22:16 PM · #19
If you make it to LosAngeles, consider
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Getty
Agua Dulce. 30mins outside LA
EL Matador Beach

A must see for photographers is The Annenberg Space for Photography. You'll leave inspired..... :o)

Have fun!
06/23/2016 04:56:38 AM · #20
The good lady has now thrown Vancouver into the mix haha do we are weighing up pros and cons and maybe save California for October as places like Yosemite are all booked up in July August :(
06/23/2016 09:16:43 AM · #21
Originally posted by Giles:

The good lady has now thrown Vancouver into the mix haha do we are weighing up pros and cons and maybe save California for October as places like Yosemite are all booked up in July August :(

It's absolutely the case that the California Circuit is pretty much at its worst, weather AND crowd-wise, in July and August. On the other hand, if you do the Northwest you're looking at some gorgeous country both in Washington and in British Columbia. And Yosemite in October can be gorgeous, with the caveat that considering the drought conditions California has been suffering through the waterfalls may be non-existent by then. And early snowfall is a possibility, especially in late October. Personally, I absolutely LOVE Yosemite in the snow, but that's a personal evaluation...
06/25/2016 03:45:28 PM · #22
that what i was thinking as well robert, with my fellow countrymen screwing me over and voting out the eu its hit the £ to dollar quite hard as well :( grrr i voted IN but demo-crazy in action for you
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