round trip San Francisco 19 days

Old May 22nd, 2022, 06:18 AM
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round trip San Francisco 19 days

hi, its my first time to US.
i am travelling solo and my main air tic is a round trip Singapore-SF 8 Jun'22- 27 Jun'22 (19 days)
i am not sure what to see or do. i know that Las Vegas and LA are 2hrs flight away from SF.
i like nature and i heard about Yosemite National park, grand canyon and death valley.

i was thinking if it it feasible to spend around 5-6 days in each city; first day head straight to Vegas-LA-SF or should i drop one of the cities?
are or there better sceneries or itineraries I should consider? is it feasible to drive alone on a road trip?

any advise please? thank you.
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Old May 22nd, 2022, 09:41 AM
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Definitely do San Francisco. Things to do in SF include: (1) ride the cable cars and historic streetcars; (2) explore the wonderful Golden Gate Park (including the Japanese Tea Garden) (3) eat seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf; (4) see the fantastic view from Twin Peaks; and (5) explore the amazing artwork in the Palace of Fine Arts. Yosemite is one of the top national parks in the US but apparently numerous key visitor attractions are closed for infrastructure repairs.
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Old May 22nd, 2022, 11:39 AM
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Death Valley will be over 100F all this week, and hotter in June, so forget that.
Yosemite lodging books a year in advance although you might be able to get a cancellation at Camp Curry cabins or tents.
The drive between SF and LA (or vice versa, car rental is sometimes cheaper driving south to north) is one of the most beautiful in the US. You could drive it solo, but you would want 2 overnight stops minimum if driving the scenic coastal Highway 1. It is not a high speed road for the most part, until you get on the part between Cambria, Santa Barbara and LA. But if you do not feel comfortable, just fly between SFO (or OAK) and LAX or another LA area airport like Burbank or Long Beach. Try Southwest Airlines for cheap fares (you have to book on their website).
I don't recommend the bus or train for this trip.
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Old May 22nd, 2022, 01:13 PM
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Zion National Park is another premiere national park and is only 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. I don't think you want to spend more than 2-3 nights in Las Vegas.
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Old May 25th, 2022, 12:40 PM
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Have a look at the different trip reports here on Fodors (you may find them more easily using a desktop rather than a phone).

For Yosemite, first look at the National Park website, https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm There will be links to planning your visit.

You will see that Glacier Point Road is not going to open this year at all. And that if you do not have a booking inside the valley, you will need a reservation.

Try to find lodging inside the park, since it comes with parking. I use the direct booking site, select "All Lodging" and try various dates. There ARE still rooms available, including at the Lodge the second full week of June which might work out for your plan. Curry Village is not necessarily more available than the more expensive lodgings. I would try for 3 nights.

https://www.travelyosemite.com/alerts/guest-updates/ You can see which dates are open for which lodgings by using the drop down menus.

After you fix Yosemite dates, then you can plan the rest of the itinerary.



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Old May 27th, 2022, 08:13 AM
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Thank you everyone for the advice and recommendation for places. i am a half city half nature guy. 3 days in a city is gd enough for me, will like to explore nature in the nearby region.
any tips to find cheap and decent car rental or what should i look out for? is there any way to car pool or hitch a ride?
i am surprised no one recommended grand canyon or antelope canyon?!

thanks for highlighting that yosemite requires reservation. OMG. i will leave SF as my last stop since i am flying back from there, might stand a chance to get a spot at end june.


[Jamie99][You could drive it solo, but you would want 2 overnight stops minimum if driving the scenic coastal Highway 1] any recommendations where to pit stop? is it easy to find a motel or preferable to book online in June?
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Old May 27th, 2022, 08:41 AM
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Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon are wonderful but not at all close to San Francisco. The Grand Canyon is not that far from Las Vegas, if you decide to visit there. I am not a fan of Las Vegas but many people like it.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by frankchoo4678 View Post
Thank you everyone for the advice and recommendation for places. i am a half city half nature guy. 3 days in a city is gd enough for me, will like to explore nature in the nearby region.
any tips to find cheap and decent car rental or what should i look out for? is there any way to car pool or hitch a ride?
i am surprised no one recommended grand canyon or antelope canyon?!

thanks for highlighting that yosemite requires reservation. OMG. i will leave SF as my last stop since i am flying back from there, might stand a chance to get a spot at end june.


[Jamie99][[i]You could drive it solo, but you would want 2 overnight stops minimum if driving the scenic coastal Highway 1] any recommendations where to pit stop? is it easy to find a motel or preferable to book online in June?
You need to book ANY reservations for Yosemite NOW. Do not try seat of your pants reservations on the fly.

The end of June will be even more difficult due to the national holiday on 4 of July, and schools being out by then.

If you want to book some motels as backups try the chain Motel6.com, they have very liberal cancellation policy and usually do not require more than one night's stay. Very basic but usually clean motels with no elevators and no included breakfast other than lobby coffee. They are now mostly better with decent wifi. A few have refrigerators and room microwaves, but it varies so check if that is important.

A location that has a lot of independent hotels on the Central Coast is Morro Bay. You can scan via websites such as booking.com for availability.
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Old May 29th, 2022, 10:29 AM
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I have done some research. Couldnt get a spot to Yosemite at all. thank you everyone for the advice, now i will check for any reservations needed for any national park. like red woods, muirs etc.

Since I touch down to SF on the 1st day at 11.35am, might as well take a later flight to Vegas after I touch down to SF. Booking air tic tmr after work.

Spending 2 days in Vegas city and 4 days to explore canyon. if cannot get accom or car for canyon trip, will consider tour. Currently reserve one accom for 11 and 12 Jun near Valle airport, 30mins away from Grand Canyon entrance.

Spend 1 day to drive or fly from Vegas to LA. 3 days in LA.

Spend 4 days to drive from LA to SF via Pacific west coast highway.
Havenít decided what to do at SF.

Any advice to amend my itinerary?

Day Stay
8-Jun wed SF-Vegas Vegas

9-Jun thu Vegas Vegas

10-Jun fri Vegas Vegas

11-Jun sat Drive to Canyon Canyon park

12-Jun sun Canyon Canyon park

13-Jun mon Drive to Page Page

14-Jun tue Drive to Antelope Vegas

15-Jun wed Drive/fly LA LA

16-Jun thu LA LA

17-Jun fri LA LA

18-Jun sat LA LA

19-Jun sun LA Cambria

20-Jun mon Cambria Paso Robles

21-Jun tue Cambria Monterey

22-Jun wed Monterey SF

23-Jun thu SF SF

24-Jun fri SF SF

25-Jun sat SF SF

26-Jun sun SF SF

27-Jun mon 13:40 flight Home
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Old May 29th, 2022, 10:50 AM
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Redwood National Park is too far from SF for a day trip, so stop at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park just outside of Santa Cruz (south of SF).
Antelope Canyon is not a national park, it belongs to the Navajo Indians and you will need to book a tour with them in advance. But you can drive yourself there and park, just not allowed to tour on your own.
Personally I would do 2 nights Monterey and 1 night Cambria, since Monterey has a lot more stuff to do like visit the famous Aquarium, go kayaking or whale watching, visit Carmel and the mission there, etc. However since you mention Paso Robles, maybe you are interested in wine tasting in Paso? They have excellent wines. Also Hearst Castle has reopened, if interested (you need to book a tour ahead of time).
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Old May 29th, 2022, 08:46 PM
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I second spending another day (or two) in Big Sur and Carmel. Four full days in SF would be too much for me and SF used to be one of my favorite destinations. That is unless there are must see and do’s for you while there.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 04:20 AM
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Redwood National Park is south of SF, thats great. i will check it out.
i just took reference from a 4D3N drive guide. i havent dive deep into the pitstops.
if 4days for SF is too much, i may use that 1 day to do a day trip to death valley?
is vegas to SF a 1 day-ride? which route is recommended?
thanks.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 05:21 AM
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i have 3 nights and 2 days in vegas before renting a car to head for canyon. i touch down at around 17:15, planning to stay in hostels n taking bus from airport.
where should i stay to explore the city, fremont street or the strip?
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Old May 30th, 2022, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by frankchoo4678 View Post
Redwood National Park is south of SF, thats great. i will check it out.
i just took reference from a 4D3N drive guide. i havent dive deep into the pitstops.
if 4days for SF is too much, i may use that 1 day to do a day trip to death valley?
is vegas to SF a 1 day-ride? which route is recommended?
thanks.
You are confusing Redwood with Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It's Henry Cowell you want to visit. It's going to be HOT in the desert and you seem to think you can do all of this with public transportation or "hitching" a ride. That is unrealistic. And you can't do a day trip to Death Valley from San Francisco. Sorry, but you really need to rethink this whole trip.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 07:55 AM
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Have you found any hostels in Las Vegas? Seems like a city that would not have many.
Hotels can be really cheap there, so take a look at them. Try hotels.com or booking.com.
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Old May 30th, 2022, 09:21 AM
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Strange that you can not find any lodging in Yosemite since I can still find some now. If you have a lodging reservation you do not need a park entry reservation.

https://reservations.ahlsmsworld.com/Yosemite/

Enter All Lodging and try dates that are not blanked out. I entered June 9 to June 11 just now (2 nights) and Stoneman (a motel) is available. I would not recommend trying to do a long drive on your arrival day. But maybe that is too expensive for you.
I also entered 6/14 to 6/17 just now, and Camp Curry Tent Cabins were available. Availability varies from minute to minute though.

There are inexpensive hotels in Las Vegas, I would NOT stay in any hostel if such a thing exists. Just be aware that most charge a hefty day fee and parking fee. I recommend using Expedia for research instead of booking or hotels dot com, since Expedia shows TOTAL price. Hotels around Fremont tend to be less expensive. Try Boulder Station.

If you cannot find affordable lodging in the Grand Canyon itself, try Williams Motel6 (about $85 a night, less if you book online). You need to lock in some bookings right now.
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Old May 31st, 2022, 09:56 AM
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"Redwood National Park is south of SF, thats great."

As Austin Traveler mentioned, Henry Cowell is a California State Park There are several CA State Parks with redwoods -- and most are far superior to Redwoods National Park which is in the far NW corner of the state. The state parks were set aside and opened years before the National Park was designated so they cornered some of the best bits of old growth redwoods. Henry Cowell is not 'quite' as good as some of the state parks much farther north but IME is as good or better than Redwoods National Park. Even if it wasn't, it is so much more convenient for the rest of you itinerary.

As for Yosemite -- if you cannot find accommodations in Yosemite Valley, there are a couple of motels in the tiny town of El Portal just outside the west gate to the park and one can almost always find openings there. Yosemite View Lodge and Cedar Lodge.

https://www.yosemiteresorts.com

Do not stay in a hostel in Las Vegas. Set your itinerary so you are in Vegas on weekdays and not weekends. Hotels - even pretty upscale ones - almost give rooms away summer weekdays in Las Vegas, whereas Fri/Sat nights can cost a fortune.



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Old Jun 6th, 2022, 12:25 AM
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thank you guys for the recommendations for the alternative national park and lodging.


i managed to get lodging at williams, one hour away from grand canyon.

i am renting car from 11 jun to 14 jun.
i am kind of frustrated comparing the car rental price. the third party website like, carngo or renta-car.com seems cheap and they are getting the car from Hertz. but doesnt cover roadside assistance and though include GPS but before tax.

when i look at Hertz website, the cost is almost doubled, and certain coverage has to be bought over the counter. no GPS mentioned.

enterprise only includes base rate, all insurance coverage and equipment is to be purchased at the counter.

i have also checked from budget, sixt and advantage. seemed to me some dont mention if they cover 0 excess damage.

should i pay and reserve the cheapest from direct car company website and pay all the coverage when i am there or should i
go there to look for one?
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:10 PM
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The CDW insurance is not the only expense, what about liability if you hit another car or person? Do you have any insurance cover on your credit card or your personal auto insurance for overseas rentals?
I have had good rates using Priceline in the past and they do offer CDW for less than the rental agent will charge at the counter. (but no liability cover). I always get the free cancellation booking. By the way, often a 5 to 7 day rental only little more than a 4-day. Rentals are by 24 hours (eg 12 noon to 12 noon).
I'm not sure why you can't find the daily insurance charges on the car rental websites if you book direct. Try to make a sample booking to see if they show up (but don't finalize).

Last edited by mlgb; Jun 9th, 2022 at 02:17 PM.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:56 PM
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Liability insurance is mandatory and included in the basic rental contract. It's all the other coverages one needs to consider (Collision, theft, CDW/deductible, etc.)
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