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Brian Deakin
01-03-2016, 3:20 PM
We will be travelling from the United Kingdom to the USA for 3 weeks in July 2016 for a family holiday

The family is mom dad and two children, daughter age 20 son age 16

We plan to fly into San Francisco ,travel clockwise towards Yoesmite National park then down to Las Vegas We will then travel to Los Angeles where we will get our return flight to the United Kingdom

Any advise would be greatly appreciated

regards Brian

Bert Kemp
01-03-2016, 11:05 PM
The Grand Canyon is a Must See!:)

Rich Riddle
01-03-2016, 11:27 PM
Well you won't stay outside much in Vegas that time of year.

In San Francisco, there is a US Park that was a military base called the Presidio. It has reasonable rates for rooms and still has a small military contingent on it. It's much quieter than most of San Francisco, is close to the bridge, has a great park and its own bus system. I highly recommend staying there if possible. The number one tourist attraction is Alcatraz. Explore the city of San Francisco if you want. There are tons of great restaurants.

Visit King's Canyon if you can; it's on the path to Vegas. There are giant redwoods and the "land of 100 giants" there. You can also see the General Grant and Sherman trees. Your itinerary duplicates what we did this summer sans Vegas. The drought really limited what we could see. Some lakes evaporated, literally. I typically stay in government quarters (park, military, etc.) when possible and use vrbo.com when that isn't possible.

We need a few more details about long you plan to stay in each location and how frequently you want to move around.

Jamie Buxton
01-04-2016, 2:11 AM
Yosemite is fabulous. There's very little like it anyplace else in the entire world.
Vegas is worthless, IMHO.
While you're in San Francisco, you might consider a half-day trip to a piece of old-growth redwood forest. For a wood guy, a bunch of thousand-year-old, 30-story-tall redwood trees is pretty amazing. There is Muir Woods National Monument, close to San Francisco. You should be able to get a tour bus from your hotel that will take you there and back. As a bonus, the bus will go over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chris Padilla
01-04-2016, 2:08 PM
Winter in SF is the perfect time to visit. I've always just loved walking around 'getting lost' in SF. You do literally HIKE around it. The standard haunts of Pier 39, Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street, Cable Car museum and such are all cool to visit ON FOOT. Go there, hike around, get really tired, sleep well. :) Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is cool, too. You can't beat any of the National Parks as already mentioned. The giant sequoias are something everyone should see before they die. The size of these trees is incredible so go to Yosemite for sure.

Zion National Park in Utah is worth a drive through if you're on your way to the Grand Canyon. Death Valley is also cool to drive through and likely more pleasant in the winter than in the summer. I still remember stepping out of the car in Death Valley and feeling all the moisture instantly leaving my body! Pretty interesting.

John Stankus
01-04-2016, 3:35 PM
When I was in graduate school in the SF Bay area, I had plenty of relatives visit and want the grand tour. Here is what I put together. Some items may be a little dated since I have been out of the area for about 20 years, so you may want to double check on the items.

(Pasted from my Word file)

Johnís Tour of the Bay Area
John Stankus
South Coming North

Carmel
17 mile drive (a scenic drive along coast)
Carmel mission (restored mission)

Monterey
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Cannery Row
Fisherman's wharf

Gilroy
"Garlic Capital of the World"
Pinnacles State Park which is supposed to be very nice

Morgan Hill
Model Airplane Restaurant ("the Flying Lady" I believe) (Back off Tenant Ave overlooking golf course)

Coast North of Santa Cruz
Ano Nuevo State Reserve (this is where elephant seals live)

Santa Cruz
Beach Boardwalk - Roller coasters etc.

Capitola (south of Santa Cruz)
Some nice beaches

San Jose
Winchester Mystery House (Winchester Blvd & I-280)
The Garage High tech museum (now is called something different) This has changed I donít believe this is there anymore and now is the computer museum off of Shoreline Blvd in Mountain View (off 101 on the side closer to the bay)

Mountain View
Nasa Ames Research Center (Northside of Moffett Field) (Home of the worlds largest wind tunnel)
On the south side of Moffett field is Onizuka AFB. Better knwon as the "Blue Cube" This is where all the US spy satellites are controlled from.
Tied House Microbrewery one block North of Castro 1 or 2 blocks west of RR tracks

Palo Alto
Stanford
Page Mill Road nice drive up to Skyline drive view over Stanford area and Moffitt and bay
old La Honda road windy road through woods nice drive meets with 92 (I think) then you can drive to the ocean.

San Francisco
Restaurants
Seafood "Waterfront" Pier 7
Italian "Caferetta Ravioli Factory" Columbus and Washington Square (church side) (Ravioli Factory no longer exists)
Henryís Hunan  several locations was pretty good when I went to one Apr 2010


Scenic Spots
Twin peaks - Mtn that overlooks all of SF (head south on Market a fairly long way it will be a right turn) (trident antenna on other peak
Coit Tower Overlooks Fishermans Wharf and Alcatraz

Lombard Street - Crooked street from old SF east side of Russian Hill

Golden Gate Bridge
the best spot to see Golden Gate is the road that returns to SF from the overlook on the Marin side, you cross under the freeway and head south BUT bear to the right. This road will take you up past some historic forts with a fantastic view of the GG and the city. Keep bearing to the left and stopping occasionally for the view. This will eventually lead out to a light house on the ocean.

Golden Gate Park
Steinhart Aquarium (has neat cylindrical (torroidal) fish tank that you can walk in to the middle of.
Art Museum
Japanese Tea Gardens Nice

Alcatraz/Fishermans Wharf/Ghiradeli/Pier 39/ Maritime museum
Touristy but you probably should stop there. Have WWII submarine, several sailing ships on display in this area


East Bay
Berkeley
Univ. of Calif
Telegraph Ave - many great bookstores
hippies



North Bay
Marin Headlands Coastal Park
Napa/Sonoma Wine country Nice area
Sears Point Raceway

Also real nice is the drive from Petaluma out to Bodega Bay (maybe Bodega Ave?) Back up 116 along the Russian River (Charles Krug Champagnery is on this somewhere) Back to Santa Rosa. In Santa Rosa is the Luther Burbank gardens (he was the horticulturist who created the Russett Potato. Used to be on Thursdays they had a neat Farmers market downtown

Stan Calow
01-04-2016, 7:22 PM
yes you have to see Las Vegas, even if you decide its terrible, just so you can say you've been there.

John K Jordan
01-04-2016, 9:31 PM
I tried to never miss a trip to the Exploratorium when I went to San Francisco. http://www.exploratorium.edu/ When I went it was near the Golden Gate bridge but from the web site it looks like it moved. The parks were also fun where you might just see people stranger than in London, as was walking and shopping in Chinatown. (Hold onto your wallet anywhere in this and other bit cities!)

I also loved driving up (or down) the coast for the views and to hike down to the water. A visit to see the giant redwoods is a must. Muir Woods is great and I also found several smaller state parks out in the countryside with "pockets" of redwoods. I very much enjoyed driving down the coast to Monterey.

Yosemite is amazing - go up to Glacier Point and look thousands of feet nearly straight down.

I liked the north side of the Grand Canyon better - less crowded and less commercial. Bryce Canyon and Zion National park rated repeat visits for me.

Las Vegas was ho-hum in my book. I don't enjoy the critical mass of humanity and debauchery. However, it is a great place for cheap lodging and food and shows and an easy ride to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, FAR more interesting than the casinos and lights. We would fly into Las Vegas on discounted flights and rent a car and drive to San Francisco and elsewhere.

I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and enjoyed the area south far more than the city, down to San Diego, the Anza-Borrego desert, and the border with Mexico at the ocean.

JKJ

Andrew Hughes
01-04-2016, 9:41 PM
Trail of 100 giants.In the sequoia national forest.It might be a bit out of your way.There you want too see the biggest oldest trees on earth.Giant Sequoia.

Bob Turkovich
01-04-2016, 10:22 PM
I recall posting to a similar request a while back - checked the archives - and saw you did a similar trip in 2012! (except Las Vegas)

So...what did you see that you don't want to repeat? How do you want to split your 3 weeks up? (i.e., if you're going to stay at Yosemite for 1 week+ the recommendations for lodging might be different than if you were spending only a couple of days)

I've been to SF/Yosemite on vacation four times and would go back in a heartbeat...

dennis davidson
01-04-2016, 11:52 PM
Don't forget Alcatraz Island.

glenn bradley
01-05-2016, 8:43 AM
When in the San Francisco area we always try to have a meal at 'The Stinking Rose'. Skip this one if you don't LOVE garlic. On the wharf just down the hill from Lou's Blues is Scoma's, (1965 Al Scoma Way) great steaks and seafood.

Bert Kemp
01-06-2016, 2:19 AM
I have to disagree about the North rim, doesn't even come close to the beauty of the south rim. If you can get to Glacier thats awesome Really any of our Natl Parks are worth the trip




I tried to never miss a trip to the Exploratorium when I went to San Francisco. http://www.exploratorium.edu/ When I went it was near the Golden Gate bridge but from the web site it looks like it moved. The parks were also fun where you might just see people stranger than in London, as was walking and shopping in Chinatown. (Hold onto your wallet anywhere in this and other bit cities!)

I also loved driving up (or down) the coast for the views and to hike down to the water. A visit to see the giant redwoods is a must. Muir Woods is great and I also found several smaller state parks out in the countryside with "pockets" of redwoods. I very much enjoyed driving down the coast to Monterey.

Yosemite is amazing - go up to Glacier Point and look thousands of feet nearly straight down.

I liked the north side of the Grand Canyon better - less crowded and less commercial. Bryce Canyon and Zion National park rated repeat visits for me.

Las Vegas was ho-hum in my book. I don't enjoy the critical mass of humanity and debauchery. However, it is a great place for cheap lodging and food and shows and an easy ride to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, FAR more interesting than the casinos and lights. We would fly into Las Vegas on discounted flights and rent a car and drive to San Francisco and elsewhere.

I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and enjoyed the area south far more than the city, down to San Diego, the Anza-Borrego desert, and the border with Mexico at the ocean.

JKJ

John K Jordan
01-08-2016, 2:19 PM
I have to disagree about the North rim,

I'm glad we all don't like the same thing or it would be really, really crowded.

I agree Glacier is worth the trip.

JKJ

Brian Deakin
01-08-2016, 3:40 PM
A huge thank you to everyone for your posts At this point in time we plan to spend 3 days in San Francisco , 3 days in Las Vegas The remaining 11 days are flexible

We will not be visiting the coast between LA. and San Francisco and will miss out the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon

As Bob pointed out we did a similar trip in 2012 and have decided to return to California for a second holiday

John K Jordan
01-08-2016, 3:50 PM
Ok, how about a list of your Must Sees in the United Kingdom, straight from a local?! My favorites were the countrysides in both England and Scotland.

JKJ

Wade Lippman
01-09-2016, 3:29 PM
A huge thank you to everyone for your posts At this point in time we plan to spend 3 days in San Francisco , 3 days in Las Vegas The remaining 11 days are flexible

You'd have to be crazy to waste 3 days in LV. Doubly crazy in the Summer. But its your vacation.

John Goodin
01-09-2016, 5:12 PM
Alacatraz has the best self guided tour I have every been on. It will definitely be a highlight for everyone including the kids.

John K Jordan
01-09-2016, 8:22 PM
And the boat ride is fun.

When I go there by boat I can't help but think of a friend who swims it every year, round trip.

Brian Deakin
01-10-2016, 7:37 AM
Ok, how about a list of your Must Sees in the United Kingdom, straight from a local?! My favorites were the countrysides in both England and Scotland.

JKJ

Let me give it some thought

As a start point I would look at

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

website

(I will post more later)

regards Brian

Gerry Grzadzinski
01-10-2016, 8:23 AM
and will miss out the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon

The Hoover Dam is only a short 40min drive from the strip.

The Grand Canyon, on the other hand, is an all day affair from Las Vegas.

Phil Mueller
01-10-2016, 10:10 AM
I would suggest going from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and then perhaps Reno instead of Vegas, then down to Yosemite. Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful, some ski lifts still run in the summer to get an amazing view, and there's Casinos. Reno is not Las Vegas, but the area offers a number of historic mining sites...a bit commercial, but something to entertain in addition to gambling. Or skip Reno and travel from Tahoe to Yosemite.
I lived in CA for 25 years and Tahoe (in addition to the parks already mentioned) was an absolute favorite in the summer.

Brian Deakin
01-10-2016, 4:11 PM
Turnabout is fair play!


Ok, how about a list of your Must Sees in the United Kingdom, straight from a local?! My favorites were the countrysides in both England and Scotland.

JKJ




London
British museum , National Gallery ,Westminster Abbey ,Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum
On foot or by tube Covent garden Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament in the evening Leicester square
Foyles Bookshop
A theatre performance of your choice
The cities of
Oxford, Bath, Brighton
Any Cathedral ….Do a search of its history before visiting
Gardens
Hidcote Manor Garden Lost gardens of Heligan
Pubs Ask people in the area you are visiting Many also serve good food
Any regional food dependant on where you visit

Also See
National Trust: Home (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/)

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Choose places based on your personal interests

Other Providing you are sensible I would view the United Kingdom as safe place to explore