Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

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Pursuitofquality
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Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Pursuitofquality » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:21 pm

My family of five (kids ages 18,15,12) are currently planning a trip to San Francisco for end of May/early June 2019. I've only been to Southern Cal areas so my knowledge is limited. We will be flying into San Francisco and will have about 10-12 days to visit. Obviously we'll do several days in the city, but our family loves hiking and photography so we definitely want to visit Yosemite and Kings Canyon. Some travel forums have suggested Big Sur/ Monterey as well. We live in the southeast so visits to the west coast are limited and we're trying to figure out the sweet spot on how much to bite off. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Last edited by Pursuitofquality on Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

banhbao
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by banhbao » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:29 pm

Yosemite is a very beautiful place, but it is also very remote. I would recommend finding lodging nearby to stay at least 1 night or more.
Mount Tamalpais State Park is a really cool place just over the Golden Gate Bridge. There's a lodge in the park with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean (on a clear day, haha):
https://www.westpointinn.com/
You can only access this lodge by hike or bike.

livesoft
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:33 pm

I have flown into SFO and SJC to go to these places. Perhaps you already have and made the decision for SFO, but I prefer San Jose. While it's a personal decision, it could be a financial one, too.

Or even fly into SFO and back from SJC.

At the present time, you won't know the fire situation nor the snow situation for next year. For 2018, I didn't know until 2 days before I went.
Last edited by livesoft on Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Pursuitofquality
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Pursuitofquality » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:34 pm

We definitely plan to stay overnight in different locations during the trip. Probably 3 nights around Yosemite, but not sure about the rest.

bubbadog
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by bubbadog » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:35 pm

I did the San Fran/Yosemite trip with my family of four (wife and 2 teens) 2 years ago. It was a great trip and I would recommend 5-6 days at each. We started in San Fran and drove to a rental cottage near Yosemite. Came back to San Fran to fly home.

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:38 pm

Pursuitofquality wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:21 pm
My family of five (kids ages 18,15,12) are currently planning a trip to San Francisco for end of May/early June 2019. I've only been to Southern Cal areas so my knowledge is limited. We will be flying into San Francisco and will have about 10-12 days to visit. Obviously we'll do several days in the city, but our family loves hiking and photography so we definitely want to visit Yosemite and Kings Canyon. Some travel forums have suggested Big Sur/ Monterey as well. We live in the southeast so visits to the west coast are limited and we're trying to figure out the sweet spot on how much to bite off. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
We (wife and young son) made a two different trips in October (in the 1980's) to Yosemite and Sequoia (among other places). It will be cool in Yosemite - but should be OK. Consider staying in the park at Yosemite - even the "tent cabins".

There are some of the "big trees" in/near Yosemite, but the ones at Sequoia/Kings Canyon are much better.

However, in/out of San Francisco might be a bit too far from Sequoia/Kings Canyon - so maybe the ones at Yosemite might be a better tradeoff.

I would also spend a day or two along the coast and see the Coastal Redwoods. We were glad we did.

Pursuitofquality
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Pursuitofquality » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:43 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:33 pm
I have flown into SFO and SJC to go to these places. Perhaps you already have and made the decision for SFO, but I prefer San Jose. While it's a personal decision, it could be a financial one, too.

Or even fly into SFO and back from SJC.

At the present time, you won't know the fire situation nor the snow situation for next year. For 2018, I didn't know until 2 days before I went.
Thanks for the idea. We have also considered flying back out of Fresno. I plan on using Southwest points so that may have an impact on airports as well.

banhbao
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by banhbao » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:33 pm
I have flown into SFO and SJC to go to these places. Perhaps you already have and made the decision for SFO, but I prefer San Jose. While it's a personal decision, it could be a financial one, too.

Or even fly into SFO and back from SJC.
This is a great point, I've noticed that SJC is normally ~10% cheaper (just my experience), but occasionally I get a good deal at SFO.
There's also Oakland but I've never used that airport.

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:47 pm

banhbao wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 pm
livesoft wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:33 pm
I have flown into SFO and SJC to go to these places. Perhaps you already have and made the decision for SFO, but I prefer San Jose. While it's a personal decision, it could be a financial one, too.

Or even fly into SFO and back from SJC.
This is a great point, I've noticed that SJC is normally ~10% cheaper (just my experience), but occasionally I get a good deal at SFO.
There's also Oakland but I've never used that airport.
Yes - compare prices and schedules for those three airports. Over several years and multiple (some on business) trips to that area - there is no clear airport that is always the best price.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Rob5TCP » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:54 pm

If time doesn't permit -- go to the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite which has some beautiful
Sequoia trees. It was closed for several years to make it more natural and less commercial.

http://redwoodhikes.com/YosemiteNP/Mariposa.html

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:56 pm

Or have some extra fun and split the family into 2 groups that will meet at the top of Kearsarge Pass on their way to the other car.
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Raybo
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Raybo » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:06 pm

Book your hotel(s) in Yosemite as soon as you can. Things fill up quickly, even in May. If you stay in the Park, your food choices will be limited. Limited restaurant selections there. My preference is to stay either in a private home (there are private homes for rent in/near the park), or at the Yosemite View Lodge with a kitchen. The Yosemite View Lodge is outside the park so a 20/30 minute drive in and out each day.

Without question, the best all-day hike I’ve taken in Yosemite is the Panorama Trail that starts at Glacier Point (take the bus up) and ends at Happy Isles on the valley floor. Also, be sure to plan a hike up in Tuolumne Meadows. I also liked hiking around Hetch Hetchy (Maybe bring a ball and play catch at hetch hetchy 😀) I ‘d think 3/4 days at Yosemite (not counting travel to/from) would be a good visit. In May, assuming some rainfall this winter, the amazing waterfalls are at their peak.

Sequoia and King’s Canyon are much more like wilderness and backpacking destinations versus family vacationing spots.

Depending on your time length, Lake Tahoe is reasonably close to Yosemite and it is another place full of pretty vistas and interesting hiking trails. It also has casinos, water sports (cold water in May), and mountains. It is a several hour drive from SF. Much closer to Sacramento as a place where Southwest flies.

As for San Francisco, be aware that depending on what you want to see, you might not need more than a few days there. Of course, there is Alcatraz (PM me if you are going to visit), a fabulous Museum of Modern Art, biking over the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, and a few other well known sites. Depending on what your family likes to do, you might schedule less time in SF and more time elsewhere. Note that you now have to reserve parking or shuttle space at Muir Woods.
Last edited by Raybo on Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:06 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:54 pm
If time doesn't permit -- go to the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite which has some beautiful
Sequoia trees. It was closed for several years to make it more natural and less commercial.

http://redwoodhikes.com/YosemiteNP/Mariposa.html
Yes - very nice

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:08 pm

Raybo wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:06 pm
Book your hotel(s) in Yosemite as soon as you can. Things fill up quickly, even in May. If you stay in the Park, your food choices will be limited. Limited restaurant selections there. My preference is to stay either in a private home (there are private homes for rent in/near the park, or at the Yosemite View Lodge with a kitchen. The Yosemite View Lodge is outside the park so a 20/30 minute drive in and out each day.
Without question, the best all-day hike I’ve taken in Yosemite is the Panorama Trail that starts at Glacier Point (take the bus up) and ends at Happy Isles on the valley floor. Also, be sure to plan a hike up in Tuolumne Meadows. I also liked hiking around Hetch Hetchy (Maybe bring a ball and play catch at hetch hetchy 😀) I ‘d think 3/4 days at Yosemite (not counting travel to/from) would be a good visit. In May, assuming some rainfall this winter, the amazing waterfalls are at their peak.
Sequoia and Kong’s Canyon are much more like wilderness and backpacking destinations versus family vacationing spots.
Depending on your time length, Lake Tahoe family close to Yosemite and it another place full of pretty vistas and interesting hiking trails. It also has casinos, water sports (cold water in May). It is a several hour drive from SF. Much closer to Sacramento as a place where Southwest flies.
As for San Francisco, be aware that depending on what you want to see, you might not need more than a few days there. Of course, there is Alcatraz (PM me if you are going to visit), a fabulous Museum of Modern Art, biking over the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, and a few other well known sites. Depending on what your family likes to do, you might schedule less time in SF and more time elsewhere. Note that you now have to reserve parking or shuttle space at Muir Woods.
As I recall from several stays - years ago - the food place near the tent cabins was very satisfactory to us.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Silver Bullet » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:38 pm

Have any friends that work at Google?
https://www.tripsavvy.com/googleplex-th ... ew-2993763

My daughter (14) just took a class trip this spring that mirrored yours, but they added a day tour at Google. Yosemite and Google we’re the highlights of their 10 days.

mrb09
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by mrb09 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:58 pm

Flying in SFO/SJC/OAK and flying out of Fresno is an interesting idea.

If you do that, you could go south along the coast first. Monterey is worth a trip, you can head down Highway 1 from SFO/SJC/OAK. Consider a stop at "Phil's Fish Market" in Moss Landing (seriously, google it). Recommend the Aquarium in Monterey. Stop at Point Lobos just south of Carmel and see more Sea Lions then you can imagine.

You can head east from Monterey to Yosemite via 156/152/99/140 (not the most scenic drive, but probably as good as any for crossing the central valley).

if you want to see Redwoods, some good Sequoia Sempervirens (tall trees) are in Big Basin and Henry Cowell parks when you cross over to highway 1, and Sequoia Giganteum (fat trees) in Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.

May/June is generally pre-fire season.

If you're in the Bay Area (SFO/SJC/OAK) plan for heavy commute traffic and beach traffic into Santa Cruz/Monterey on the weekend.

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:01 pm

mrb09 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:58 pm
Flying in SFO/SJC/OAK and flying out of Fresno is an interesting idea.
If you do that, you could go south along the coast first. Monterey is worth a trip, you can head down Highway 1 from SFO/SJC/OAK. Consider a stop at "Phil's Fish Market" in Moss Landing (seriously, google it). Recommend the Aquarium in Monterey. Stop at Point Lobos just south of Carmel and see more Sea Lions then you can imagine.
You can head east from Monterey to Yosemite via 156/152/99/140 (not the most scenic drive, but probably as good as any for crossing the central valley).
if you want to see Redwoods, some good Sequoia Sempervirens (tall trees) are in Big Basin and Henry Cowell parks when you cross over to highway 1, and Sequoia Giganteum (fat trees) in Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.
May/June is generally pre-fire season.
If you're in the Bay Area (SFO/SJC/OAK) plan for heavy commute traffic and beach traffic into Santa Cruz/Monterey on the weekend.
When renting a car - after flying into one airport, our experience was that it was much more expensive to return the rental car at a different airport. Maybe there are exceptions or things different today - but on several occasions we made such trips to and from the same airport because of the increased costs of a different airport.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by acp03 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:07 pm

I would highly recommend adding Yosemite to the trip! If you prefer not hiking through the many trails, cars can go up till most of the good viewpoints and you can spend time picnic-ing and drinking the wine you buy from Napa/Sonoma.

Me and 4 other friends got an Airbnb which was very secluded, peaceful and very beautiful. Highly recommend it: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4386217?el ... 1c830a9a53

Enjoy!

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:21 pm

acp03 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:07 pm
I would highly recommend adding Yosemite to the trip! If you prefer not hiking through the many trails, cars can go up till most of the good viewpoints and you can spend time picnic-ing and drinking the wine you buy from Napa/Sonoma.

Me and 4 other friends got an Airbnb which was very secluded, peaceful and very beautiful. Highly recommend it: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4386217?el ... 1c830a9a53

Enjoy!
Yes, again. Have been there three times. First time was with wife and young son for one day + on a one week trip around California from LA along the coast to SF, inland to Yosemite, down through the valley to Kings Canyon/Sequoia and back to LA.

Second time just a few years later, again with wife and son - in and out of SF, rented car and carried some camping gear - spend almost the week in the housekeeping cabins in Yosemite Valley.

The third time was just me - on 2 week business trip to Silicon Valley. Had rental car and drove to Yosemite for the weekend and stayed in tent cabins.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by atlnuke » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:00 pm

A lot of the advice for the national parks in California depends on how much snow they get this season. We won't really know until April/May which roads/hikes will be open when. Google california snowpack periodically February through April and you will get an idea of what might happen. There is a webpage on the park service website that tells you the historic tioga and glacier point road opening dates.

Bring clothes for warm and freezing weather. I'd say you need at least four days in Yosemite and three days in Sequoia/Kings Canyon to really experience the front-country. Yosemite Valley, Roads End (Cedar Grove) in Kings Canyon and Giant Forest in Sequoia are a must. Book lodging inside the parks and book it now. Half Dome (Curry) Village is best for families in Yosemite IMO. Food in Yosemite is decent, while food in Sequoia/Kings Canyon is terrible. As for any national park, getting up early and hiking a medium distance eliminates 99% of the crowds.

I would only do a couple days in San Francisco and maximize your time in the mountains. Muir Woods, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge. Living in the southeast, you can find some nice beaches. You can't find anything like the Sierra Nevada.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:05 pm

We did a day trip to Yosemite during a visit 14 months ago, and were astonished at how crowded it was. Every road had cars parked on both sides. Took us over an hour to find a space. Buses to popular spots were packed, and each spot we went to had hundreds of people, took something away from it.

Muir Woods on the other hand was great, especially if you have seen the new Planet of the Apes movies, partly filmed there.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:16 pm

We don't know if OP is coming from Miami, Fla or from just outside the Great Smioky Mountaions NP. :)
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:21 pm

banhbao wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:44 pm
livesoft wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:33 pm
I have flown into SFO and SJC to go to these places. Perhaps you already have and made the decision for SFO, but I prefer San Jose. While it's a personal decision, it could be a financial one, too.

Or even fly into SFO and back from SJC.
This is a great point, I've noticed that SJC is normally ~10% cheaper (just my experience), but occasionally I get a good deal at SFO.
There's also Oakland but I've never used that airport.
Oakland is smaller and maybe easier to deal with than SFO.

San Jose USED to be small but isn't really anymore. Also, it is best to avoid the valley traffic. These days I think the morning rush hour overlaps the evening rush hour.

As with all the national parks, lodging is a problem as they tend to fill up 13 months in advance. So check early, and if you don't get what you want check later for cancellations.

The drive south to Monterey and Big Sur is very nice but requires going in the opposite direction from Yosemite. You can also go north along the coast which is also quite nice and doesn't require reversing direction.

If you DO go south Pinnacles is a small but curious national park.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Rob5TCP » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:25 pm

If time permits, Big Basin is (IMHO) a much better experience for Redwood trees. It's probably the best
unless you go far north of San Francisco. I was there last Thanksgiving and it was wonderful 2 days. It's
not as crowded as Muir Woods, plus there is another (though not as spectacular Redwood Forrest nearby - Henry Cowell Redwoods.

http://redwoodhikes.com/BigBasin/BigBasin.html

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by coalcracker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:26 pm

I love this part of the country, and have vacationed here 3 times in the past 5 years for about a month total.

While Big Sur is beautiful, it is more of a "drive and walk" than a true hiking destination. If you do go, check out Pfeiffer state park for sunset.

The best hike in Yosemite, IMHO, is Half Dome. I must have done it a year or two before they started requiring permits, because we just drove to the trailhead and hiked up. If you can secure a permit, it's a bucket list hike. Make sure to take plenty of water and check the weather for any chance of storms.

If you are redwood hunting, we got the advice that some of the prettiest groves were in Humboldt State Park, and were not disappointed. I believe some of Return of the Jedi was filmed near this area (i.e. Endor). Mendocino and the "Lost Coast" of California was also beautiful and remote.

And do PM Raybo if you are interested in a private tour of Alcatraz. He is a fantastic private tour guide. We wish we could have spent more time there, but we had a toddler with us at the time. Thanks Raybo!

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by FunnelCakeBob » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:34 am

You've received many fine suggestions from the forum. I second Carmel and Monterey for cultural and historical experience outside the Bay Area. But also consider going north to Pt Reyes and Napa/Sonoma wine country. I'd skip Yosemite unless it's a must. It's become overcrowded and overrun by weekend crowds. Kings Canyon and Sequoia offer lots without the same hassel. If you're willing to go further north, also consider Lassen which is very unique like Yellowstone bc of active volcanism.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by RudyS » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:05 am

Yosemite is a must. Late May early June the crowds will not have peaked, but it will be crowded. Nevertheless, worth it! If you will do some hiking, at least 3 days and better 4 in the park. If at all possible stay in the park to avoid lots of driving just to get where you are going. The redwoods there are the big tree ("fat") variety, often called just sequoia. Those on the coast are the tall ones. Often called coast redwoods. Someone above gave latin names. Mariposa Grove in Yosemite is again open after a 3 year closure for restoration. No more cars or trams in the grove, there's a parking lot not too far. DW and I have been to Yosemite 5 times after leaving California - just love the place! Sequoia/Kings Canyon is different. I'd do both.

Someone mentioned Big Basin. That is a great place to hike and see the coast redwoods. But doesn't have the other aspects of Yosemite.

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:59 am

RudyS wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:05 am
Yosemite is a must. Late May early June the crowds will not have peaked, but it will be crowded. Nevertheless, worth it! If you will do some hiking, at least 3 days and better 4 in the park. If at all possible stay in the park to avoid lots of driving just to get where you are going. The redwoods there are the big tree ("fat") variety, often called just sequoia. Those on the coast are the tall ones. Often called coast redwoods. Someone above gave latin names. Mariposa Grove in Yosemite is again open after a 3 year closure for restoration. No more cars or trams in the grove, there's a parking lot not too far. DW and I have been to Yosemite 5 times after leaving California - just love the place! Sequoia/Kings Canyon is different. I'd do both.

Someone mentioned Big Basin. That is a great place to hike and see the coast redwoods. But doesn't have the other aspects of Yosemite.
Yes -

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by mrsbetsy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:44 am

You are planning a great trip! This is all my stomping grounds, so here are a few thoughts.

We fly in/out of Oakland airport at least once a month. It's smaller and more reliable than SFO, but both would be fine. Don't waste your time flying into SJ even if you save a few dollars. You'll be spending too much time in traffic getting to San Francisco.

A favorite hike in SF is at Lands End.

https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/landsend.htm

Arrive early to secure your FREE parking space and head towards the paved trail. You can climb UP and there is a cool rock labyrinth and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk down and you'll hit a cute little beach area. Take a water break and enjoy the smells and sights and more views of the GGB.

Climb up and continue the trail towards Bakers Beach. Follow the signs for the Golden Gate Bridge. It will take you down to the ocean and you will be walking along the shore. Climb back up to the road (make sure you stay on the shoulder!) and you will eventually get to the bridge. Walk over the bridge! It's really a special treat. On the other side, you arrive at Vista Point. Enjoy the views!!

Grab an Uber XL carpool back to the famous Cliff House (about $15) and enjoy a cocktail/appetizer and more views. Explore the ruins of the Sutro Baths and read up on the history. You are just down the hill from your original parking space. It's a great way to spend half a day! We do this several times a year and it is never old.

Make sure you get tickets to Alcatraz well in advance. It books up quickly. If you can find a night tour, even better and a little creepy but fun! Make sure the kids watch the Birdman of Alcatraz. A fun book is called Al Capone Does My Shirts. The guards and their families lived on the island and the story is about one of the families.

Don't forget Angel Island. It's an easy hike up to Mt. Livermore. There's awesome history. Spoiler alert! It was not the "Ellis Island of the West" as some like to say. In early June, they have a Civil War reenactment.

You must ride a cable car and if anyone has interest, the cable car museum is fascinating. How the wheels and pulleys move all those cars through the streets still amazes me!

Have fun!!

Mrs. Betsy

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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by hightower » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:13 pm

Pursuitofquality wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:21 pm
My family of five (kids ages 18,15,12) are currently planning a trip to San Francisco for end of May/early June 2019. I've only been to Southern Cal areas so my knowledge is limited. We will be flying into San Francisco and will have about 10-12 days to visit. Obviously we'll do several days in the city, but our family loves hiking and photography so we definitely want to visit Yosemite and Kings Canyon. Some travel forums have suggested Big Sur/ Monterey as well. We live in the southeast so visits to the west coast are limited and we're trying to figure out the sweet spot on how much to bite off. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I've done several San Francisco to Yosemite trips so far and it's one of my favorites, so I highly recommend it. But, one thing to keep in mind is that time of year most of Yosemite's high country (and it's trails) will still be covered with snow. The park isn't really fully "open" in terms of trails, roads, and campgrounds until July. Often the roads that lead to Tuolumne and even up to Glacier point aren't even plowed yet at that time of year. It's not that you won't be able to enjoy the park, but your hiking, sight seeing, and camping options will likely be limited with a family. If you're staying in the Valley for the majority of the trip, then there will still be things to see/do, but if you want to hike up into the mountains at all (which is where Yosemite really shines) you might want to consider going a little later in the year if possible. It will of course depend on the snow fall this winter, but if it's been light, you might get lucky towards mid-late June, but late May is likely going to be cold and snow packed. I was there in early July 2017 and they had a particularly high snow pack that year and we were still hiking on snow up in the Tuolumne region.

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dm200
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:47 pm

On one trip to/through San Francisco, we took a half day guided bus trip around the city.

Pursuitofquality
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by Pursuitofquality » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:39 pm

I appreciate all the great responses and ideas. One possibility we're considering is using Tracks and Trails https://tracks-trails.com/ to organize an itinerary and reserve campgrounds for the trip. A friend used them several years ago and said they were very thorough but pricey. I was wondering if anyone else has any experience with them or other RV trips around this part of California? We plan to stay in San Francisco for roughly two days and spend the rest of our time (8-10 days) out seeing the sites and hiking. Renting a condo or house near Yosemite for part of the trip is high on our list as well. Unfortunately we are limited to the end of May/1st of June due to kids sports. Again, thanks for all the great info.

diy60
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Re: Vacation to San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia

Post by diy60 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:04 pm

Last year we completed a similar 12 day trip. San Francisco to Yosemite to Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Death Valley to Las Vegas. Flew into SFO, got a one-way rental (mini-van) and with a return flight out of LAS. The longest stretch was coming out of Kings Canyon/Sequoia area and heading to Death Valley. We ran into fire issues up in the mountains (trip had already been postponed from a previous year). In one area the road literally opened up about 30 mins of us arriving to the area. Heavy soot smell at night when the humidity increased. As someone else said, you're not going to know conditions until you get close to your date, or in our case, 1/2 hour before we arrived at destination. Good luck.

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