We are off to California!!

(222 Posts)
shesariver Mon 05-Nov-12 09:26:01

After many hours research and lots of help from fellow Mumsnetters on my previous thread now cant quite believe that we are all booked up (through Trailfinders) so thanks again!

Final Itinerary worked out - we fly out from Glasgow next August 31st and spend 2 nights in New York, and then fly onto California.

4 nights San Francisco, then pick up a car - 1 night Monterey - 1 night in Santa Barbara (at a lovely hotel right across from the beach) - 4 nights Los Angeles - and last but not least 4 nights in an ocean front room in a hotel on Laguna Beach!

Now we can start planning all we want to do!

sweetestcup Mon 22-Jul-13 21:04:23

Ruby have a great holiday! We have 2 nights booked in NY before we fly to SF, it will be a bit mad and very tiring, only really works out at 1 day and a bit but plan to make the most of it!

mrswobblebottom Sat 27-Jul-13 06:09:21

We are in SF now, just word of advice it's quite cool here. Had to buy trousers as had only packed shorts and skirt! Definitely bring fleeces/hoodies, haven't seen top of GG bridge yet after 3 days! The fog rolls in and hangs there, but over in Sausalito it's sunny and warm as you would expect. Would recommend the bus tours, one of which takes you over the GG to Sausalito, an upmarket attractive place with amazing houses all over the hills. All the locals say July is always chilly, the best months are in the autumn! DS's cycled bridge today - busy but good fun. Alcatraz tomorrow!

rubyrubyruby Sat 27-Jul-13 06:17:49

I must have been lucky as we cycled the bridge on Tues and it was clear. I was fine in a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts smile

DalekInAFestiveJumper Sat 27-Jul-13 06:18:36

Yeah, it can be brisk! I went to a baseball game in SF the other day, and there's something weirdly wrong about needing a coat and scarf in July.

zanz1bar Sun 28-Jul-13 16:37:01

Back from USA and a few top recommendations
the best hotel of the whole trip and by far the best price. Love, love loved it.

something worth booking at the Monterey bay Aquarium.

Who ever does the driving on the coastal highway will get to see non of the amazing views as they grip the steering wheel and clench their teeth on mile after mile of hair pin bends ( scary but fun drive, but didn't see a thing)

Death Valley is worth the visit, some roads closed due to of all things flooding when we went! ( hope you all enjoyed the heat wave in UK, we took the rain with us)

San Fransisco is COLD in July
Sunny and warmish during the day but Cold, cold cold by 6pm that's why everyone returns with 'California' sweatshirts. They all had to buy something to keep warm, I bought a brilliant pacamac style down coat from uniqlo just of union square that I love.

The distances are huge, get a really good hire car and one big enough to split the kids up when the bickering gets too intense. We got a suburban Chevrolet 3 kids in the back could be split into different rows and stretch out without the constant ' he's taking up my space' whines. It's worth the extra expense believe me.

It's an exhausting trip but to see the Grand Canyon just once in a lifetime us worth it.

sweetestcup Sun 28-Jul-13 20:19:56

What was your itinerary Zanz1bar?

rubyrubyruby Mon 29-Jul-13 03:59:04

We're staying in that hotel Zanz1bar smile

zanz1bar Mon 29-Jul-13 11:05:07

Ruby you will love it, an oasis in the heat. Didnt get to see much of Palm Springs as only stayed one night, wanted to take the cable car up the mountain and hike to the water fall, oh well necxt time.

WE stayed at The Saguaro on a tuesday night, tuesday tacos happy hour in the tequila bar may explain our lack of energy to explore the next day. The breakfast is yummy, eggs benedict with truffle.
Really lovely staff, say hi from me.

We started and ended in Las Vegas, best hotel was The Mandalay for the pools alone. also stayed at the Mirage.

Then Williams to see the Grand Canyon, take your pick from a line of motels. Great BBQ on the main street.

The wonderful Saguaro at Palm Springs.

Santa Barbara, stylish, expensive and colder.

Cambria, moonstone beach again take your pick from motels along the beach. Very rugged coasrline with seals on the beach.

Monterey, stayed on Cannery row as only had one day. The Aquarium is fantastic. Booked the scuba diving for the kids as a surprise, well worth it.
Also went whale watching on the Monterey Princess as it had a heated cabin, essential when the fog comes in as its really cold out at sea in a summer t shirt.

Stayed at an Airbnb house in San Fransisco for a week near filmore and geary. Really great to have some time to unpack and relax.

Yosemite Bug a hostel about an hour outside the park. Simple accomadation, friendly and really great fresh food. By this stage I couldnt eat another burger or pancake.

Furnace Creek Ranch, in Death Valley was great, the Inn would be fantastic but it was fully booked.

Back to Vegas, exhausted.

rubyrubyruby Mon 29-Jul-13 16:51:01

Thanks Zanz.
We are there Thursday.
Leaving our Carmel/Big Sur house today and moving down to Avila Beach and then onto Santa Barbara.

sweetestcup Mon 29-Jul-13 21:18:41

Oh this is all getting too exciting now! What's the weather like just now ruby?��

sweetestcup Mon 29-Jul-13 21:19:40

Oops that was a smiley face on my phone!

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 02:36:52

I'm in Santa Barbara atm. It's 18.35 and people are still sunbathing. It's been overcast in the am but not cold then sun burns cloud off about 12 noonish then it's beautiful.

Have fun everyone coming out here!

Thesunalwayshinesontv Tue 30-Jul-13 02:58:20

Got back from SF and Big Sur two weeks ago. Absolutely awesome trip, but you may be interested in the following:

- driving into, out of and around SF can be a NIGHTMARE. What should have been a two hour trip took 6 hours, and we learned afterwards that this is normal commuter/ rush hour stuff. Our other SF-based drive was easy and quick, but that's because it was at 10.30am.

- the PCH is absolutely stunning, it really pays to take it easy and go slow. You will want to stop many times

- Big Sur itself is just gorgeous, mind-alteringly so.

Finally, the whole vibe of this part of California is to chill out, relax and not take anything too seriously. And we found that it really pays to travel with that frame of mind.

Can't wait to go back for more!

mrswobblebottom Tue 30-Jul-13 03:22:46

We are at yosemite now, had v hot day there, valley floor tour great as an overview. Tunnel view incredible. Temp went up from 57 f leaving SF to 100 f arriving 2 hours later here at yosemite. Monterey tomorrow for 2 nights and back to chilly!

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 03:44:46

Sun I agree about PCH. We kept stopping every ten minutes to jump out and ' omigod ' and take photo's. It really is gorgeous.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Tue 30-Jul-13 04:30:43

The PCH is brilliant. I love to stop at the Taco Bell in Pacifica, to watch the surfers. On Sundays, there's an awesome oceanside place near Half Moon Bay that does all you can drink mimosas for brunch (Miramar Beach Restaurant).

For family beach fun, the municipal beach in Monterey is a winner. Follow the signs to Fisherman's wharf, that gets you to the beach parking.

And of course from Monterey to Big Sur is just jaw droppingly gorgeous. There's tons of places to pull off and take pictures, and to take a break from the slightly intimidating drive.

It's lovely south of Big Sur too, but if I want to get back home before dark, that's usually where I turn around.

For best results, rent a convertible, wear lots of sunscreen, and drive with the windows up and the seat warmers on. grin Oh, and in summer, play the 'Spot the Rental RV' game. I sometimes find the road a bit intimidating in my teeny tiny city car. These people are doing it in 25 feet of rental vehicle. I can't imagine how scary that must be!

williaminajetfighter Tue 30-Jul-13 04:39:15

Marking spot to read on plane to LA tmrw!

LillianGish Tue 30-Jul-13 21:28:48

Just back from our trip so very jealous of those of you yet to go. Wanted to thanks everyone for their tips - especially about cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge - that was the highlight of our three and a bit week stay. We spent lots of time in LA as we were staying with friends who have a house in the Hollywood Hills. Someone was asking about Griffith park, we walked up there from their house - great view of the Hollywood sign and views over the city, kids also really enjoyed visiting the Observatory which is free. If I was visiting LA and didn't have friends to stay with I would definitely stay somehere in Santa Monica - absolutely LOVED it (and Venice Beach which is just a short stroll or cycle ride away). Hated the Hollywood walk of fame - worst bit of LA, so many nicer things to do if you are short of time (Getty Villa, Universal, Beverley Hills). We did the ariel tramway in Palm Springs which was amazing and also essential as the temperature on the ground was 126 degrees when we there, completely intolerable, but obviously much cooler at altitude. The following day we visited Joshua Tree which totally blew me away. Yosemite was awesome (in the true meaning of the word!) - we had two nights there, but wish we'd had more. San Francisco was fabulous, but echo what other posters have said - it was freezing (I have the sweatshirt to prove it!). Fog on the first day PCH - make sure you allow a few days in case it is foggy. Only disappointment was Monterey which I found surprisingly corporate - the sort of place you might go for a business conference. We ended up watching the Pirate of Penzance in a theatre on the Fishermans Wharf after falling into conversation with the 91-year-old owner (completely surreal).Cambria, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara all lovely. Loved it all - will continue to follow this thread with interest to hear what you all get up to. Never mind going back on holiday - I want to move there!

rubyrubyruby Tue 30-Jul-13 22:31:08

Thanks Lillian
We are on Pismo Beach atm and were just debating visiting Joshia Tree NP and your comments have confirmed that we do need to go

LillianGish Tue 30-Jul-13 22:44:12

You absolutely must. We stayed at the Joshua Tree Best Western - we did the Palm Springs ariel tramway the day before, had an evening visit to the Joshua Tree then an early morning start in the park - it is extremely hot in the middle of the day so good to go for sunset and before the sun is at its height the next day. So jealous of you at Pismo Beach - we loved it!

rubyrubyruby Wed 31-Jul-13 02:22:49

We're at the Ventana Grill right now! grin

We plan to set off early from Palm Springs and stop en route to Las Vegas

RedNats5 Fri 02-Aug-13 08:30:25

Wow so glad I had a final check in in this thread before we go in 2 days time. Some great advice.

Packing day today. First stop is SF so hoodies will be at the top of the case lol

Have a great rest of trip those that are still there

everlong Fri 02-Aug-13 15:39:39

Yes to hoodies and fleeces Red!

We were in SF last year in July and it was freezing but we caught sunburn too on our noses!

Have a great time.

mrswobblebottom Fri 02-Aug-13 16:53:26

We all had red noses too, despite being cold on open top double deckers, we must have been catching some sun! Go to Sausalito for warmth!

At pismo for one full day, any recommendations? Dunes? It's cloudy now so not beach weather unless it clears later. LA tomorrow, nothing planned have 3 nights in vrbo home, then need to book last night somewhere maybe away from busy city?

Have fun Red, try some Ghiradelli free samples! My lot into their deep cookies!

LillianGish Fri 02-Aug-13 19:40:02

If too cloudy for beach I''d visit nearby San Luis Obispo - we didn't but wish we had! Just got home and neighbour told me it's his fave place! (Oh well . Just have to go back now!)

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