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17 replies
5th trip: SF or LA
sammohanty
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Yosemite, Sequioa, RedWood and Death Valley being the prime focus.
What would be the ideal time to visit ? : I am decided to go for Memorial Day holidays
How many days ? in SF ? Yosemite ? Sequoia ? Redwood ? Death Valley ?
Distance from SF to Yosemite ? to Sequioa ? Redwood ? Deathvalley ?
What are the different things to see ?
Which is the nearest airport ? Landing up at SF International Airport
Ideal airport ?
Any reasonably prices hotels ?
lastly, is it worth it ?
Any feedbacks from travellers from all over the world would be greatly appreciated ?

I am leaving from US and traveling for 11 days
London, Brussels, Basel, Paris, London
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sparks
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if u go to LA..swing across to palm springs
my that was a nice town
go ride the cable car up to the sanjacinta state forest there…my goodness…what a wonderful stay i had in palm springs
love the contrast of the desert with the oasis of the town

Cil
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I’d take SF over LA any day—and twice on Sundays.
Maybe someone else will have more to offer right now—I’ll go into more detail if/when you make your mind up.

sparks
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san francisco is ok ..got its charms but i was there after id been to europe and well, u just cant compare it…so maybe im not the best person to judge.overall it was worth it …almost every place is worth it in some way or another

its kinda like bondi in sydney as far as the old apartments are concerned but thats where the similarity ends
its not as naturally pretty as sydney harbour but there are some lovely cafes ( try chestnut st) and bars
ghiradellis choc factory is over rated but go and get a free sample
maybe there will be a whole bunch of seals hanging off the pontoons in the harbour.when i went there was one lonely one sunning himself..
fishermans wharf is ok ,,,u can also walk down the embarcadio which is the long long street and look at the harbour..pier 39 can be a bit of fun..i did the harbour cruise but didnt go to alcatraz.. no real interest and iwoulda had to wait three days to get a tour
nice fruit stall i remember…great cherries!!!

i like the beaches of california and really ..thats what id recommend
carmel ( !!!!! lovely)..gorgeous little cafe there that served the best breakfasts! looks like a country place with gingham and lace and fantastic coffee and pancakes..then theres pismo beach monterey santa barbara ..some really nice scenery ..big sur was great and the road along the californian is a gorgeous drive …in nsw here in aus u dont get to see much of the coast like u do drving CA

los angeles is a wicked busy place…my goodness the traffic! lanes and lanes of madness
so yeah i agree with Cil ..La isnt a place thats all that great…so see how far u can go south while u base urself in sf…or just stay in a few places along the way
gee there were some goodlooking people in sf..a real eye fest !

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I would choose San Fran in a heart beat! When I was planning my trip to the US, I couldn’t find one person who recommended LA. Even one of my best friends who is from LA suggested that I skip it.
I ended up skipping it and going to San Fran instead and I didn’t regret it. But I can’t really compare the two because I’ve only been to one, so don’t just take my word for it. All I can do is highly recommend SF because I had an absolute blast there.
The best thing about SF is that it is so culturally diverse. It has the best Chinatown I have ever been to, and of course Alcatraz is unbelievable.
Down at Fisherman’s wharf you can get the most amazing clam chowder which is served in SF’s speciality which is sourdough bread. They cut the top of the bun, scoop out some of the bread inside so you’re left with a sourdough bowl and then the steaming clam chowder is poured inside. It tastes amazing.
There is also a multitude of great restaurants and bars, and the architecture of the houses and buildings are fantastic. I love the skyline and of course the Golden Gate bridge. They even have a japan town as well as a chinatown (in fact I saw Robin Williams there…twice!)
So yeah, I had a great time in SF and there are some awesome places surrounding the city too. I’d definitely suggest visiting wine country while you’re there too. Muir Woods was also beautiful.

sammohanty
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Frankly, LA is not my kind of vacation. Have been to LA twice although both the times on business so never really cared for it.

I am 30 minutes away from NY city so I am not very crazy of any other city.
Similarly, I am 30 minutes away in Willesden Green in London from Covent Garden.

I am only planning to spend a day and half in San fransisco just for the Golden Gate, otherwise I don’t see too much of interest. China town cannot be better than NY chinatown and little italy. Is there anything else besides these that is worth mentioning ?

Again my main focus is the national parks. Is it closer to LA or SF.

Sparks bought a interesing point on Palm Springs. Can you please elaborate on the Sanjacinta ?

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Cil
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The San Jacinto State Forest looks breathtaking.[url=‘http://gorp.away.com/gorp/publishers/westcliffe/ca_jacin.htm’]link[/url]
Agree with Sparks about Carmel.
Actually the Central Coast can be quite nice.
I’m thinking any time in the early fall would be glorious. No doubt you’ve heard about the notorious "June Gloom."

rpepin
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Hi there,
Being from Southern Cali, I have spent many summers exploring the Sierra Nevadas and can say that although the San Jacinto mountains are nice, you’ll enjoy spending your time more in Yosemite (the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in CA)and Sequoia NP. It really depends on how much time you have and what you’re looking to do. Both parks are very crowded and have their advantages depending on the season. Yosemite in May-June is amazing as the water levels are high and therefore all the waterfalls are in full flow and are breathtaking. Of course, it will be very crowded but will be worth it… especially if you have time to hike into the back country. If you have time and are in the valley, you can take the road up to Tuolomne Meadows and over Tioga Pass (Check for road closures) to get a feel for the eastern sloping Sierras and views down to the desert floor. Its a short drive North on 395 to Mammoth Mountain (great world class ski resort town with excellent year round activities… or a longer drive up to Lake Tahoe)or a long drive South on 395 that gives you a rare experience of driving along the high desert floor passing the somewhat charming towns of Bishop and Lone Pine with the Eastern Sierras shooting directly up on your right, passing Mt. Whitney at 14,400ft or so with Death Valley a short detour to your left. 395 joins back to 15 and brings you back to LA… or North to Vegas Smile
Driving through Sequoia NP is a great experience as well, passing the most massive living things on Earth. You can make the trip a couple days, hiking in the Lodgepole area, seeing General Sherman (the biggest) and the rest of the trees in Giant Forest, and making a mandatory hike up Moro Rock (amazing views 360 degrees).

Palm Springs and the tram up to Mt San Jacinto is a great trip as well but more suited to the traveller looking for pure relaxation (lots of retired people wind up in Palm Springs). Great golf courses, resorts, shopping, etc.

I’m from San Diego, and miss it as I’m living out of the country currently. If you’re looking for great beaches, there are plenty in the Santa Barbara area (great wine tasting areas) to the LA area and San Diego as well (These are the long stretches of huge sandy beaches with TONS of beautiful people). The beaches north are of a different beauty with rocky cliffs and outcroppings dropping down to thin stretches of sand (a great drive along the 101 throug Big Sur up or down to/from Monterrey.

So much to do, so little time.

sammohanty
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Nice input pepin !!!

I have allocated 10 days for this although I can stay longer. Is 10 days enough to SF, Sequuioa, Yosemite and SanJacinto ? Or do I need to make it shorter ?

You mention May June as the best months, however I am now being flexible and open to anything till the end of September as the prices now seem very unreasonable.
Is it ok to go in Sept ? or am I going to miss something ?

My limitation is that I have a 10 month old infant so hiking long distances is out for me. Is the places you mentioned infant friendly ?

I am leaving from US and traveling for 11 days
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sparks
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go to sanjacinto..definitely if u can get across to palm springs
its easy walking..no problem at all with a baby ..just an easy trail but great views
they have these trees that smell like butterscotch..makes the forest smell so yum

yosemite is awesome..easy to do again with a baby cos they have the little tour buses …no problems ..and so gorgeous

sammohanty
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I have written the same comments earlier. How is the baby going to take the amount of hours in the outdoors ? I will be leaving my hotel in the morning and probably not returned till midnight.

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sparks
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depends on ur baby lol
my 20 yr old..we coulda taken anywhere anytime and hed eat and sleep and coo
my daughter… not so easy but she is great now at 12
but boy oh boy.my nine yearold…he was a tough little toddler and still a handful

everett
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I would definitely take San Fran any day— has such a cool vibe there.. I used to live in LA and personally am not a big fan, if you’re in San Fran though, definitely try to hit up Monterey, only a few hours from there, it’s beautiful!

sammohanty
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Whats in Monterey ?

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tomM
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Just one quick thing regarding sammohanty’s 2nd post: Having lived in both NYC and SF, I can say with 100% certainty that the Little Italy in SF is much, much better than the one in NYC. In NYC, it’s been crowded by Chinatown on all sides, to the point that it’s basically just for a few blocks on Mulberry Street. In SF, there are people in Little Italy who actually speak Italian on the street — meaning that it’s more authentic, and probably has the best Italian food in the US.

This is all just my opinion, of course.

Cil
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quote:
Whats in Monterey ?

Have you read any John Steinbeck?
The Aquarium there is incredible—very impressive indeed, and I’m picky about that kind of stuff.

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Fall is beautiful when going to those places. My buddy just got back from Sequioa, Redwood and Death Valley 2 months ago and he said it was awesome. I think winter is not so great since their might be closures in the roads due to snow.

SF is ok a bit crowded for me and I dont like the hills and the cold. I do love going to Napa which is only 1 hour and 30 min away. Im a LA person who was raised here and I love it. But you do need a local to show you around to have fun, enjoy the scenary and the crazy and wild nitelife. Some key places to see in LA is Hungtington Library, Ghetty museum, Griffith park observatory, the different beaches, and sunset/melrose at nite. Also LA is very diverse so you can taste foods from all over the world.

sammohanty
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I am back again and SF is back now for travel in May. My main questions now would be
1) is 7 days enough for SF with visits to Sequoia, Yosemite, Redwood forest and death valley.
This time I cannot cover for over 5-7 days.
2) What would be the driving distance between SF to the rest of the parks?
3) How can I cover all the parks in 7 days?
4) If I have to skip one of them, which one would it be?
5) Is death valley closer to LA or SF?

I am leaving from US and traveling for 11 days
London, Brussels, Basel, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Sights