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roadtrip california end of March/early April

roadtrip california end of March/early April

Old Jan 5, 16, 9:53 am
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roadtrip california end of March/early April

Dear all,

We travel to California at Easter for about 2 weeks.
I'm struggling a bit in setting up the road trip.
We are a family of 4 (2 kids: 8 and 10 years old)

All suggestions are welcome! thx

Herewith what we have planned sofar:

26/03/2016 Arrival SFO
27/03/2016 San francisco
28/03/2016 Monterey
29/03/2016 Morro bay
30/03/2016 Santa barbara
31/03/2016 Santa monica
1/04/2016 santa monica (visit universal studios)
2/04/2016 Palm springs (Joshua tree visit)
3/04/2016 Palm Springs
4/04/2016 via anza berrogo desert to San diego
5/04/2016 San diego
6/04/2016 flight to LAS
7/04/2016 LAS
8/04/2016 flight to SFO
9/04/2016 San francisco
10/04/2016 departure to Belgium
11/04/2016 home
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Old Jan 5, 16, 10:04 am
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Oh my. Do you have more than one day in any spot? There's far more to do in San Diego, for example, or San Francisco, than can be accomplished in one day.

My advice, for starters- cut Vegas. The kids will have more fun in the CA locations and it adds way too much flying around/logistics. Arrive in SFO, head south, take a flight back to SFO at the end.
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Old Jan 5, 16, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
Oh my. Do you have more than one day in any spot? There's far more to do in San Diego, for example, or San Francisco, than can be accomplished in one day.

My advice, for starters- cut Vegas. The kids will have more fun in the CA locations and it adds way too much flying around/logistics. Arrive in SFO, head south, take a flight back to SFO at the end.
+1

The Los Angeles area also deserves more than one day (not counting Universal Studios). Then there are Disneyland and the Orange County beach cities.

It looks as if the OP will have at least a day and a half in SFO upon arrival and another day and a half to two days there before flying back to Belgium. I would not have split SFO up into two short stays; I'd look into the possibility of flying into SFO and back to Europe on the same day.

The flights from SAN to LAS and from LAS to SFO only about an hour and a half long, so the OP will end up with two full days in LAS.

Taking the length of the trip and all the places that the OP wants to visit into consideration, I'm not sure whether Palm Springs deserves a full day on top of the day reserved to visiting Joshua Tree.
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Old Jan 5, 16, 9:29 pm
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In US culture we have a joke, "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium." It refers to old movie of the same name whose plot was based on the mistake many Americans have made in visiting Europe: attempting to tick as many boxes for visiting different countries as possible on one whirlwind trip, only to find they spend more time at rail stations and on minibuses than actually enjoying the attractions of any location they're visiting. In this thread we have a Belgian struggling with a whirlwind US itinerary. It seems the proverbial shoe is on the other foot!

Here are a few suggestions:

1) I agree with those upthread suggesting you cut Las Vegas from the schedule. It will make your itinerary less hectic. And, as others have said, there is nothing in Vegas for kids you can't do at least as well in the parts of California you've visiting.

2) I am intrigued by your choice to include visiting Anza Borrego State Park in your plans. AB is a fascinating place. It's off the beaten track, which makes it a pleasure to visit but also a bit tougher to get to. I urge to anyone interested in visiting to spend a night there and not try to loop through it on a day-trip between Palm Springs and San Diego.

3) In the San Diego area, set aside a day to visit the Wild Animal Park. It's part of the San Diego Zoo, but it's up in the hills in an expansive setting where animals are able to roam or fly around. The kids especially should enjoy it compared to conventional zoos. Also consider setting aside a day to visit Lego Land in Carlsbad (45 min drive north of San Diego) for the kids.
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Old Jan 5, 16, 9:44 pm
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I'm not sure Palm Springs has all that much that is interesting to kids, either, though the aerial tramway is fun, with great views. Check on whether it's open that time of year.

Driving from Monterey to Morro Bay, make sure to check road conditions on the Pacific Coast Highway, as we're having a lot of rain this year and there are sometimes road closures. You can always drive highway 101 on that route instead if you have to.
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Old Jan 5, 16, 9:46 pm
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
In US culture we have a joke, "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium." It refers to old movie of the same name whose plot was based on the mistake many Americans have made in visiting Europe: attempting to tick as many boxes for visiting different countries as possible on one whirlwind trip, only to find they spend more time at rail stations and on minibuses than actually enjoying the attractions of any location they're visiting.
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Old Jan 5, 16, 10:00 pm
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Here are my thoughts... I would:
  • spend more time in Santa Monica and less in Santa Barbara
  • consider staying near Universal Studios instead of Santa Monica when you go there, which is at least 45 minutes without traffic, much longer with traffic (and you're going on a weekday).
  • cut Palms Springs in favor of Disneyland, Legoland, or more time in LA or SD. Joshua Tree, while nice, is really just a desert with scraggly-looking things that don't look like trees. Plus, Palm Springs takes you FAR east.
  • cut Vegas as suggested above, spend more time in SD, and fly back to SFO from SAN.
  • for an "out of the way" place to visit, how about the town of Julian, outside of SD? Apple pies, apple cider, and apple picking (maybe, not sure of the seasons). You could also visit a campground called agua caliente that has a thermal pool.

As outlined above, it's basically a straight-shot from SF to SD.

I'm one of those who "ticked the boxes" on my last Europe trip (10 cities, 8 countries, 13 days), and I think there's a lot of complexity in the trip you have in place. More power to you if you want to go that way, but it's definitely not maximizing the time you have.

Originally Posted by freddyfingers View Post

26/03/2016 Arrival SFO
27/03/2016 San francisco
28/03/2016 Monterey
29/03/2016 Morro bay
30/03/2016 Santa barbara
31/03/2016 Santa monica
1/04/2016 santa monica (visit universal studios)
2/04/2016 Palm springs (Joshua tree visit)
3/04/2016 Palm Springs
4/04/2016 via anza berrogo desert to San diego
5/04/2016 San diego
6/04/2016 flight to LAS
7/04/2016 LAS
8/04/2016 flight to SFO
9/04/2016 San francisco
10/04/2016 departure to Belgium
11/04/2016 home
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Old Jan 6, 16, 10:31 am
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At 8/10 my kids were much more in to Disneyland or Knott's than Universal.

Beach is probably not worth much time that time of year.

Palm Springs tram is cool, and open every day, but not terribly impressive if you've been on European trams. Other than that, not a whole lot going on for kids in Palm Springs that can't be better done elsewhere- for example, their zoo is neat, but San Diego's are so much better.
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Old Jan 6, 16, 11:03 am
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thx for the feedback. If you ever are in Belgium I can help you tick some boxes over here... :-)
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Old Jan 6, 16, 11:23 am
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The long stay at Palm Springs is kind of odd. U2 fan? If you rent a car from LA and drive to LAS, you will get to see plenty of desert. The tram was okay, but I don't think it is worth the trip.

I would spend extra days at the coast, LA, or Vegas.
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Old Jan 6, 16, 11:36 am
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An extra day or two in and around Monterey would be well used. There is much to see and do.
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Old Jan 6, 16, 4:39 pm
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I would do:

26/03/2016 Arrival SFO
27/03/2016 San francisco
28/03/2016 San francisco
29/03/2016 San francisco
30/03/2016 Monterey
31/03/2016 Morro bay
1/04/2016 Santa barbara
2/04/2016 santa monica
3/04/2016 santa monica
4/04/2016 OC
5/04/2016 OC
6/04/2016 Palm springs (Joshua tree visit)
7/04/2016 via anza berrogo desert to San diego
8/04/2016 San diego
9/04/2016 San diego
10/04/2016 departure to Belgium
11/04/2016 home
VickiSoCal is offline  
Old Jan 6, 16, 4:58 pm
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I'll wave to you as I pass you somewhere heading from LAX to SFO
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Old Jan 6, 16, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
I would do:

26/03/2016 Arrival SFO
27/03/2016 San francisco
28/03/2016 San francisco
29/03/2016 San francisco
30/03/2016 Monterey
31/03/2016 Morro bay
1/04/2016 Santa barbara
2/04/2016 santa monica
3/04/2016 santa monica
4/04/2016 OC
5/04/2016 OC
6/04/2016 Palm springs (Joshua tree visit)
7/04/2016 via anza berrogo desert to San diego
8/04/2016 San diego
9/04/2016 San diego
10/04/2016 departure to Belgium
11/04/2016 home
That's a good itinerary, especially since OP really seems to want to go via Anza Berrogo.

If OP is looking for a good shopping opportunity, perhaps a few-hours stop in Gilroy on the way from SF to Monterey would be good.
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Old Jan 7, 16, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by IceTrojan View Post
That's a good itinerary, especially since OP really seems to want to go via Anza Berrogo.

If OP is looking for a good shopping opportunity, perhaps a few-hours stop in Gilroy on the way from SF to Monterey would be good.
Or on the way to Palm Springs, those ones are nice.

OP- make sure your LA or OR drive to Palm Springs is in the morning. I would leave early, enter Joshua tree through the west entrance, drive through to the south entrance, this is a full day, spend the night, then drive down to AB.

DO NOT do the LA or OC drive to the desert in the afternoon on a weekday.
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