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Our California Road Trip Plan | Don't Ever Look Back

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Our California Road Trip Plan

Our California Road Trip Plan

Already on this round-the-world adventure we’ve experienced Hawaii, we’ve visited Seattle and we’re currently in beautiful San Francisco, California. Our plans have changed slightly from our proposed West Coast itinerary due to time restrictions but we’ve got no regrets and still have plenty to look forward to!

We leave the Bay Area on Sunday morning and the next part of this journey is a 12-day road trip through California ending in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To make this journey possible, the awesome folks over at Fox Rent A Car are providing us with the wheels. We’re not sure which vehicle we’ll be driving yet but we’ll put a photo up on our Facebook and Twitter pages when the keys are in our hands.

The Road Trip Plan

Road Trip Map

The first 8 days of our road trip are confirmed, however the time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas still may change. Here is the current plan:

Day 1 – San Francisco to South Lake Tahoe. We’re picking up our Fox Rent A Car from the San Francisco International Airport and driving the 200 miles northeast to South Lake Tahoe via Sacramento. We’ll be staying at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa and checking out their pool party on the first night of our road trip to celebrate the beginning of our journey.

Day 2 – South Lake Tahoe. The second day of our trip is action-packed in South Lake Tahoe. We’ll be getting straight onto the water with a stand-up paddleboarding excursion in the morning followed by a scenic Emerald Bay Cruise in the afternoon. The two of us will then check out the casinos in Stateline that night before getting some well-earned rest.

Day 3 – South Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park. After two nights in Lake Tahoe, it’s time to get back on the road and we’re making our way down to Yosemite National Park for two nights in a tent cabin. Since our check-in isn’t until 5pm, we’ll stop over in Bodie on the way, a ghost town 75 miles southeast of Tahoe.

Day 4 – Yosemite National Park. A full day of hiking at Yosemite National Park. We’re not sure which hike(s) we’re doing yet but we’re very much looking forward to it!

Day 5 – Yosemite National Park to Bakersfield. A big day of driving today! After leaving Yosemite we’re going into the Sequioa & Kings Canyon National Park to visit the General Sherman Tree. We’ll then get back in the car and drive to Bakersfield for a good night’s sleep and a long, hot shower.

Day 6 – Bakersfield to Los Angeles. Our first day in Los Angeles will likely be spent in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. Some partying with Sheryll of The Wanderlust Project is also on the cards!

Spiderman Hollywood Walk of Fame

Another stop on Hollywood Boulevard is a must for us!

Day 7 – Los Angeles. The secondday in Los Angeles will be spent at the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Plenty to do around here so this should be a lot of fun.

Day 8 – Los Angeles. Amy has secured a pit ticket to the MTV Video Music Awards so we’re staying an extra night in the Los Angeles area so she can attend the VMA’s. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at one of the hottest events of the year!

Day 9 – Los Angeles to San Diego. We’ll probably do a bit more exploring of Los Angeles in the morning before getting on the Pacific Coast Highway and heading south. We’ve already got some great recommendations of places to stop on the way to San Diego and look forward to stopping at a few beachside towns along the way.

Day 10 – San Diego. As our itinerary isn’t 100% finalized, we haven’t really got a set plan for San Diego as yet. But we know there’s plenty to do and we could always do a quick trip across the border if we have the time to spare. Hrmm…

Day 11 – San Diego to Palm Springs. Mid-morning we’ll get back on the road for the last Californian destination on this trip – the resort city of Palm Springs.

Day 12 – Palm Springs to Las Vegas. Our Road Trip concludes with a drive through the desert to the Sin City just in time for the Labor Day Long Weekend! No more car, let the partying begin!

This itinerary will see us driving approximately 1,500 miles over the 12 days which we think is just about the right pace for a road trip.

We’ve made sure to allow ourselves plenty of time to stop and enjoy the cities along the way and are really looking forward to blogging about all of our adventures and sharing them with you over the next couple of weeks!

Do you have any last minute tips for us? Is there anything we should be doing in the cities we’ve listed? Let us know!


  1. Posted August 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    yeah, this is a pretty darn solid plan guys. My only suggestions would be to try to swing by some wine country. Some of the best wines in the world are made in California. That VMA’s thing is amazing! I got rid of my cable to save for my trip, but I will look for you on YouTube!

    • Posted August 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      We were hoping to spend a night or two in Napa/Sonoma but decided to go straight to Lake Tahoe instead. Gotta hate being restricted by time – still trying to squeeze it in somewhere but finding it hard!

      And I’m sure the Youtube links will be everywhere if Amy does get herself on TV next Sunday!

  2. Chelsea
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    San Diego is a great city to wing it in, we had 2 days there a few years ago unexpected and look back on them as one of the highlights (and also one of the ones with the fuzziest memories, but it is not my fault they asked if I wanted to upsize my cocktails).

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      Great to know! We might just leave that part of the trip unplanned and see what happens. 🙂

  3. Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Any recommendations needed anywhere along the way, let me know.

    Honestly, for wine tasting as Scott alluded to, I would recommend going up in the hills northeast of Sacramento that you will be passing through on the way to Tahoe. There are vineyards in Placerville, CA (literally less than 1 mile off state route 50 which you will take from Sacramento to Tahoe) – There is a ton of vineyards and even a microbrewery in there too. I would recommend Lava Cap winery if you get a chance – http://www.lavacap.com/

    When you drive through Cameron Park on RT 50, wave to the north of the road for me, thats where my aunt and uncle live. 🙂

    In Tahoe, MontBleu is a really nice resort, I think it used to be Caesars, but it was just revamped and redone less than 5 years ago.

    Glad you are having fun guys!

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      Thanks again Justin! Placerville looks like a great place to stop if we have time and can still enjoy some California wine without going out of our way – thanks for the tip.

  4. Posted August 19, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    That sounds like an awesome trip! I’m very jealous you guys are currently in my hometown and spending the next couple weeks all over my home state – you’re going to have a blast.

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      California is definitely one of our favorite places in the world!

  5. Posted August 19, 2011 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    What? Nary a single mot on your visit to the Emerald City??? Shoot, here we give you (rare) sunshine, postcard views of Mt. Rainier (not to mention fish tossed to ‘n fro at Pike’s Place Market), and… say what? Nada a word about your stay here in Seattle? 😉

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      Haha we’ve still got plenty of posts to come about our time in Hawaii and Seattle – thought we might mix it up a bit. You’re right though, the weather during our time there was just perfect!

  6. Posted August 19, 2011 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with Scott, I live in Sonoma County and the wine tasting is spectacular! Hopefully you can fit it in!

  7. Posted August 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Sounds great guys – have a fantastic time. Will you get to Santa Barbara? Santa Barbara & Laguna Beach were my favourite places on the Cali coast. Here’s what I got up to if it helps: http://su.pr/1jlAV7 – Enjoy!

    • Posted August 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Nah we’re not gonna make it to Santa Barbara – we stopped there on our last California road trip when we did Highway 1.

      Thanks for sharing the link, looks like you had a great road trip!

  8. Posted August 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!!!! I hope you are both ready for margaritas and dancing!!!! Can’t wait to meet you!!!

  9. Posted August 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    We spent two years in San Diego, so we have lots of suggestions if you’re interested!

    1. Coronado Beach is the prettiest/cleanest (recommend renting bikes to explore the island)
    2. Ocean Beach is hippie and laid-back (eat a burger at Hodad’s – hugely popular)
    3. Pacific Beach is party-central and has tons of nightlife
    4. Mission Beach is touristy and has the boardwalk thang going on. Also an old rollercoaster and wave machine.
    5. Blacks Beach is a nude beach in La Jolla area (a little further north) – great scenery, popular with locals, but can be hard to get to (weird cliff trails and such).

    • Posted August 20, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      These are all fantastic tips – thanks so much for sharing them with us!

  10. Posted August 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    This is soo exciting! As bummed as I am that I have officially missed you guys by just days in a few different locations, I’m so excited for you guys!

    I’m in LA at the moment and I know you guys have been around before but I can give you guys some of the places that we stopped between here and San Diego and a couple of cool things that we did if you wants. We only had 2 days in San Diego so our tips are limited!

    Have fun!!!!

    • Posted August 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      We missed you by just a few hours in San Francisco, very disappointing!

      Would love to know where you stopped on the way to San Diego and the must-sees… we still haven’t booked accommodation but if you could tell us the places to go and things to do then it might just tip us over the edge to go and do it. 🙂

  11. Posted August 21, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    This is a lot of awesome! California is such a great state for road trips! I’m planning on hitting Yosemite in about a week and a half myself 🙂

    • Posted August 21, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Very nice! Are you going to Yosemite for the long weekend? Hopefully we’ll be able to give you some tips but not sure how much we’ll achieve in less than 48 hours!

  12. Austin
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    How did this trip turn out you two? Me and my boyfriend are planning a very similar road trip this spring but we want to rent an RV to do the trip. Let me know if you have any suggestions or insight. Very inspiring!

    • Posted October 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      This trip was great – we did change our plans slightly, opting for Newport Beach and Anaheim instead of San Diego and Palm Springs (didn’t feel like visiting when it was 120 degrees). Our best advice would be to make sure you use a GPS – it was a lifesaver and ran through our smartphone.

      You can read about our trip at http://www.donteverlookback.com/tag/road-trip

      Feel free to drop us a line if you have any more questions! 🙂

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