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Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

by jimkpa Online Now Mar 6, 2007 at 6:36 AM

I know it may be a late start but I am trying to plan a trip to your part of our country. I am thinking about Late July 2007. I saw that it is only about 3 hours drive accross the state from San Francisco to Tahoe which we want to see. It wold be a memory to see the Golden Gate Bridge. We are a family of 6, two teen girls and two 5 yr old boys (both adopted sons from Africa).
We like National Parks and must see sights type of things. We will rent a van and don't mind driving a lot to cover a lot of area and schedule our nights hotels to accommodate seeing different things instead of staying in one place.
If we want to see San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, what airport would you fly into? Any rough ideas of itinerary for a Saturday to Saturday trip? I see Sacramento is in between SF and Tahoe. Is there good things to do and see there? from all the posts here it sounds like there is a lot to see
I appreciate any ideas and do value everyones comments and thank you in advance for your time.
Also what is the difference between Lake Tahoe NV and South Tahoe CA or is it the same just different sides of the Lake?
Jim

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  • Jamesr3939's Profile Photo

    RE: Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

    by Jamesr3939 Online Now Mar 6, 2007 at 8:32 AM

    Your observations are correct. Sacramento (SMF) airport would be a good central point for you to fly in/out of. Plus the airport is very easy to get around and more vistor friendly than San Francisco or Oakland.

    Depending on traffic you could be at the Golden Gate bridge from SMF in 90 minutes. As for South Lake and north Lake and CA vs. NV, not much except a walk across the street. South Lake Tahoe or Stateline as it is called has all the big major hotels and casinos. Casinos are on the NV side but again it is just a few steps if you stay in a CA hotel.

    The other area of Lake Tahoe is north lake or Incline Village. The northeast and northwest side of the lake is a little more laid back and not as congested. You will want to drive around the lake with stop at Emerald Bay. You will also want to take the tram to the top of Heavenly Valley ski resort for an awsome view of the entire lake.

    If you can work it into your schedule you might want to see Yosemite National Park which is south of Lake Tahoe. There is also a California State Park at Bodie, which is a true preserved ghost town. You also might want to see Mono Lake. If you do read up or find a movie about the "Owens Valley Water Wars" I think it was Chinatown with Jack Nicholson that was about it. Mono Lake and the water rights of Owens Valley were secretly bought up to feed the City of Los Angeles water.

    In San Francisco take the kids up to the UC Berkeley Campus' Lawrence Hall of Science. Check their www site for activities and on a clear day it is the best view of the entire San Francisco Bay area. Stop and pick up a lunch and eat on the patio. If you can get a reservation take the ferry out to Alcatraz. You might want to book that one in advance as the ferry can sell out weeks in advance.

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  • DSwede's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

    by DSwede Online Now Mar 6, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    James hit the nail on the head. And what can I say, he even complimented my hometown :)

    There are numerous places to stop and enjoy the forests. If you only visit Lake Tahoe and SFO, then I suggest you take US50 from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe for one-way, make a circle of the lake and then take old US40 from Truckee over the Donner Pass until I-80 on your return trip.

    If you head south to Bodie or Yosemite, I really can not tell you which drive is best. They all have their unique qualities, you'll just have to flip a coin.

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  • jimkpa's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

    by jimkpa Online Now Mar 9, 2007 at 5:23 AM

    Thank you guys for your tips. I really appreciate it. I like that you gave me road travel suggestions too. I will investigate further all your suggestions. Now I hope I can find afordable airline tickets.
    Jim

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  • Re: Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

    by woodneckbeach Online Now May 12, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    We (also a family of 6) flew in & out of San Jose.
    Drove down Big Sur coastline, visiting Monterey Aquarium & 17 mile drive. (two days)
    Then across to Sequoia National Park,(1day) north to Yosemite(2 days), then Truckee area (NW side) of Tahoe with rafting on the river and a day at the beach (2 days).
    Finally we traveled back across the state and went to San Franscisco. We took our kids to the Six Flags Marine World at the end as a carrot for all the scenic drives.
    It was a loop, so pick an airport on the route with good rates and connections. Two thousand miles in 10 days!! It was awesome!

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  • jimkpa's Profile Photo

    Re: Pennsylvania family planning west coast trip

    by jimkpa Online Now Jun 2, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    Great advice, thanks for sharing your itinerary. Hopefully we can do this someday.

    Jim

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