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OT - Vacation Ideas for California

We have always wanted to see the Giant Redwoods and the Sequoias. Give me your opinion on which you prefer and why!

Thinking about flying into Vegas, stay 2 nights, rent a car and drive into California. Would like to see Yosemite and maybe spend two or three nights nights in San Francisco. Would like to see Napa and do some winery tours. Would like to drive up the PCH.

What do you think? Let's hear some opinions.
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Comments

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 7,481
    Um.... Yes?

    Do it.  We've done all of that enjoyed it all.  We find that we like doing things near San Francisco significantly more than we like doing things in San Francisco.  We haven't explicitly compared redwoods to sequoias.  They are both amazing species of trees that create incredible environments.  Yosemite rocks.  As does Napa/Sonoma (we're gong for our 3rd winetasting trip there in a few weeks as an add-on to a work trip).  If you like art, a visit to Sausalito is time wall spent.  The Monterey/Carmel area is also great.  As is the whitewater rafting near Yosemite if you are into that.

    If you decide to visit the wine country there are a number of us here that have some favorite vineyards - so we can give you more recommendations than you can possibly visit.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • If flying into Vegas you need to time your trip for road closures during the winter to get from the eastern sierras to the west side (some roads close for the season).  

    Consider flying into Reno if during winter months and doing a Tahoe trip for a few days then head down 395 to Mammoth or go to San Fran from there for that leg of the trip mixed with wine country.  You can head down PCH to the Monterey Bay Area and hit up the aquarium there then see some redwoods in Big Sur.  Tons of options, really depends on your timeframe and willingness to drive.

    if you do end up in the Big Sur area I have an awesome off-road route I can share that even a basic rental 4x4 can handle.
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 6,049
    I’m 30 miles from the sequoias , Love SF and Monterey , Central coast is my favorite as I like the small coastal towns .....Yosemite is great....it’s all good
    Visalia, Ca
  • Honestly, unless you have good reason, skip Vegas and spend more time here.  A couple places we like for big trees:

    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=450
    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546
    https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm


    Mountain View, CA
  • rlewrlew Posts: 56
    Thanks Foghorn, Believe it or not we have never been to California and we are in our 50's/60's! My wife wants to see San Francisco something awful but I am not a big city person. I love getting out and seeing the sights.

    My brother in law and sister in law took a Napa trip this past May and loved it. They did quite a few but their favorites were Rombauer and I believe they said Hess. The experiences they had at those sounded amazing. And, the wine they brought back was phenomenal.

    Took my wife to Vegas for the first time last fall and she loved it.
  • rlewrlew Posts: 56
    Thanks for the info guys. We would be looking at sometime in 202 in the non water months. Wish I had enough  time to drive my Jeep out, we live in Alabama and it is a pretty good drive! Rubicon Trail is on my Jeeping bucket list Cornholio.
  • rlewrlew Posts: 56
    Hartford was the other winery, not Hess.
  • 55Kevy55Kevy Posts: 197
    Rather than Napa/Sonoma consider the wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.  Santa Ynez Valley and the area around Paso Robles have wineries that are every bit as good as those in Napa but without all the crowds and uppityness.  And we're near the PCH - HWY 101 runs right through the SYV.

    Kevin

    Beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, CA
    XL BGE, Woo2, AR


  • BotchBotch Posts: 9,076
    Foghorn said:
    We find that we like doing things near San Francisco significantly more than we like doing things in San Francisco.  We haven't explicitly compared redwoods to sequoias.  They are both amazing species of trees that create incredible environments.  Yosemite rocks.  As does Napa/Sonoma (we're gong for our 3rd winetasting trip there in a few weeks as an add-on to a work trip).  If you like art, a visit to Sausalito is time wall spent.  The Monterey/Carmel area is also great.  
    During my ten years in USAF Ejection systems (explosive components) I was on a business trip to this area at least once a month, and really fell in love with the area.  Did a lot of wine tours in Napa/Sonoma (the bus/train ones allow you to not worry about driving).  And I could easily live in Monterey/Carmel the rest of my days, if I could afford it.  So many great places to eat!  And I will be hitting the area on my motorcycle soon after I retire, the roads are curved, smooth, and beautiful!  
    @55Kevy mentioned the wineries of Santa Barbara, I can't remember the name of my favorite winery of all, I'll check my notes and repost, they had a Carignon variety that was, to this day, the best wine I've ever had.  
    I'm jealous about your vacation, post on it!  
    _____________________________________________
     
    "There are pre-grated cheeses, and there are great cheeses, but there are no great grated cheeses."    - Chef John 
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 1,710
    @rlew  It's a big state brother. You're not going to see the whole thing. You might want to fly out of Vegas to San Francisco. SF has good public transportation so you wouldn't have to drive until you leave and head south. All the places everyone else mentioned are wonderful they're just far apart. If you end up driving the coast look up Hearst Castle. 
    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, SMALL, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 13,387
    Don’t know if this is your thing, but we rented a camper van from Escape Campervans a couple of years ago, and drove down PCH. It was a wonderful trip. 

    This was our stop in Big Sur. 


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • caliking said:
    Don’t know if this is your thing, but we rented a camper van from Escape Campervans a couple of years ago, and drove down PCH. It was a wonderful trip. 

    This was our stop in Big Sur. 

    Hinduhippy adventures 
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. My wings either. 
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 13,387
    edited September 2019
    caliking said:
    Don’t know if this is your thing, but we rented a camper van from Escape Campervans a couple of years ago, and drove down PCH. It was a wonderful trip. 

    This was our stop in Big Sur. 

    Hinduhippy adventures 
    There was a time when a brown guy could call up Avis in Hawaii and book a minivan with the back seats removed, so he and SWBO could drive around and camp. Not so much these days. Much more legit in a wildly painted campervan =)

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • 55Kevy said:
    Rather than Napa/Sonoma consider the wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.  Santa Ynez Valley and the area around Paso Robles have wineries that are every bit as good as those in Napa but without all the crowds and uppityness.  And we're near the PCH - HWY 101 runs right through the SYV.
    Excellent idea. That area is what Napa/Sonoma was like before it got overrun by tourists. Tablas Creek Vineyard is a "must visit", IMHO.

    Also, stop at Nepenthe (Big Sur) for lunch:


    Somewhere in Colorado
    LBGE, PGS A40 Gasser and too much Griswold cast iron cookware.
  • KayakKayak Posts: 207
    Something we found while visiting the Napa area - most of the wineries were appointment only. Did manage to walk-in on Beaulieu vineyards, and that was excellent. Hopefully the area won't be on fire while you're there!

    Bob

    New Cumberland, PA
    XL with the usual accessories

  • MattBTIMattBTI Posts: 417
    My wife and I did California and Oregon last year. Napa was about the only thing I enjoyed about California. The rest of the state was dirty and full of litter. Sequoia's would have been nice to see and I did want to hit Yosemite, but it wasn't in the cards that trip. 

    Honestly I'd say skip Cali and head to Oregon and Washington. I was amazed at how clean Oregon was. Cool culture there too. Lots of vineyards, big trees and breweries out the ass. We spend our time around Bend, OR and Crater Lake. 
    Pratt, KS
  • BattlebornBattleborn Posts: 1,342
    Yosemite is one of my all time favorite places. San Diego is always on the top of our vacation spots. Although we live in Vegas, we haven't been to the Sequoia's yet, but it is on the list in the near future.
    Las Vegas, NV
    LG BGE, off-set smoker & various Weber's 
  • rlewrlew Posts: 56
    Thank you for all the good recommendations. I am going to look into the other areas mentioned for the wineries. That sounds nice for sure. I do like the more laid back aspect.

    1Voyager, what a great pic.
  • +1 On Nepenthe.. we ate there after a little off-roading adventure a few years back.  Where the Bixby bridge is you take the dirt road that many tourists pull over on to park for the bridge and just keep going while they all gawk at you like you are crazy (pretty steep drop off on the side but a wide fire road).  It goes back into some forest roads then finally some big meadows with cows grazing and finally spits you back out on PCH (north to south direction).  

    I can can provide more details later if you wish.


  • MattBTI said:
    My wife and I did California and Oregon last year. Napa was about the only thing I enjoyed about California. The rest of the state was dirty and full of litter. Sequoia's would have been nice to see and I did want to hit Yosemite, but it wasn't in the cards that trip. 

    Honestly I'd say skip Cali and head to Oregon and Washington. I was amazed at how clean Oregon was. Cool culture there too. Lots of vineyards, big trees and breweries out the ass. We spend our time around Bend, OR and Crater Lake. 
    You’re from Kansas, right? You’ve seen “the rest of the state” of California?  Please list all the places you visited to gain such a clear perspective of the entire state.  

    From my 19th floor ocean view office building in Newport Beach things look pretty good.  Oregon has its fair share of problems like any other state but I am sure you covered every corner of that state too?  
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 32,317
    Wear Nomex.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 15,111
    I have had to work in California frequently throughout my career. It was, without a doubt one of the most cherished destinations on my travel itinerary and a place that holds  some of my dearest friends.

    The one thing everyone hates, beyond measure, are tourists. Even tourists hate tourists. 

    But the other thing about California, we found enriching, is where the tourists are not. You want spectacular wine, head to Lodi. That is the place that has turned out 6 of the top 10 California wines recently.

    You want beautiful mountains and one of the most unique geoligical landscapes on this planet,  go to Death Valley.

    Volcanoes National Park is a phenominal place to experience as wel,l and has virtually no visitors.

    I do recommend seeing the PCH. Worth dealing with tourists, for sure. Hard to imagine a more beautiful drive anywhere.

    My experiences in the last 40 years has allowed me to see much of that beautiful  and amazing state. I have been there during the riots, fires, mudslides, smog, fog and the earthquakes.

    Never have I looked so forward to going anywhere else.

    If you think I could be of assistance let me know. Be honored to help anyway that I can.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,306
    I don't care for travel. Most of what I've done was for business and I dreaded most trips. Until I wound up with a bunch of California projects. A couple of year's worth of fairly frequent trips to the Golden State... San Diego, LA, Santa Ana,  San Francisco, Sonoma area, even San Berdoo and Fresno, prolly more I'm forgetting. I enjoyed every trip - even made it through O'Hare without issue, every single time. Traveled a lot in my career - CA is the ONLY place I looked forward to.

    Yosemite is the most awesome place I have ever been!! Hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls on one trip.
    Image result for top of yosemite falls
    Took me 4 hours to get to get up there... and 2 more to get back down!! When I got back to the valley, I took my boots off and stuck my tired feet in the Merced River. Felt so good, but not for long. Snowmelt... coldest. water. ever!

    Never wanted to go to Vegas. Almost had to go there for a business conference once, but fortunately, my company pulled the plug on that trip! I was sooo relieved!

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • YnoYno Posts: 264
    Ynette and I don't go to Napa much anymore, even though it is only an hour and a half away. There are some great wines in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties much closer to home, or in the Livermore area. One winery that I would recommend if you do go to Napa is Kathryn Hall in Rutherford. Not only is the wine excellent, the cellar is beautiful.

    https://www.hallwines.com/chandelier-room

    It is, however, not at all inexpensive. Worth at least one trip, anyway. Weekdays in Napa off season are bearable. 

    That said, I would rather got to Carmel-by-the-Sea (again on a weekday). You can park the car at your hotel and not move it for three days. It really is a walking town. Then hit up Carmel Valley Village. 

    I will only go to San Francisco under penalty of great bodily harm. 
    XL BGE in San Jose, CA. Also a Pit Barrel Cooker, a Cal Flame P4 gasser, and lots of toys including the first ever Flame Boss 300 in the wild. And a new Flame Boss 500.
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 6,049
    edited September 2019
    If you want a great Dive Bar tour of California, look me up 

    Visalia, Ca
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,306
    One thing I should mention... If you're going to Yosemite, Spring is best. The snowmelt makes for some beautiful waterfalls! Went there in October once. Yosemite Falls (and all the others) looked like this...

    Still glorious either way, but if you have a choice, pick April.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,306
    Trail map and a 10 minute video of the hike to the top of Yosemite Falls...
    https://www.ihikesandiego.com/yosemite-falls/

    Brings back memories!

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 1,710
    edited September 2019
    @lkapigian where do we meet for the dive bar tour?  I'm at Bolsa Chica just south of the 405. I'm good for Blackie's or Joe Jost 

    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, SMALL, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 6,049
    td66snrf said:
    @lkapigian where do we meet for the dive bar tour?  I'm at Bolsa Chica just south of the 405. I'm good for Blackie'a or Joe Jost 

    I'll be in the area in,a couple weeks driving to Cabo, but it the future I know where you are at We will hook up !
    Visalia, Ca
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