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Road trips make for perfect family holidays. Not only can you run to your own schedule (working around kids rest times, play times and eating times) but they save you big dollars on transportation too! Having your own hire car also means you don't have to lug your suitcases to far and you have flexibility to add a night here or there to any itinerary. California in the USA has some of the most amazing National Parks you'll find anywhere on the planet. This self drive itinerary can be comfortably completed in 4 days however stretching it out to 6 or 7 days with kids will allow you plenty of time for some hiking, biking, rafting or just resting. The toughest part will be driving on the other side of the road for us Aussies but it really is easier than you think!
Day 1 Day: San Fransisco - Yosemite National Park (195mi/314km)
The drive takes just 4 hours from San Francisco to Yosemite. Take the I-580 east to I-205 and then Highway 120 into Yosemite National Park. The journey is breathtaking once you reach Big Oak Flat.
Day 2: Yosemite National Park
Yosemite’s pristine landscape is filled with rushing waterfalls, imposing cliffs and colossal monoliths. Popular sites within the park include the vast granite cliffs of El Capitan, Half Dome and Tuolumne Meadows. The valley floor has been carefully laid out to manage the large amount of visitors and offers free shuttle buses between the main attractions on the valley floor. Make sure to plan in advance as Yosemite hosts 3.5 million visitors annually and it is necessary to book ahead if you plan to stay in or around the park. If you have time, venture up to Glacier Point for breathtaking views across the valley.
Day 3 and 4: Yosemite National Park to Big Sur (250mi/402km)
Travel south to Kings Canyon in Sequoia National Park, home to the gargantuan Redwood and Sequoia trees. Park and follow foot trails leading high into the alpine wilderness.
Next, head west toward the Pacific Ocean to Big Sur, frequently noted as the best view along the Pacific Coast Highway. There’s plenty of space to camp in Big Sur State Park or a selection of hotels in the town of Big Sur for those seeking a more luxurious option.
Day 5: Big Sur to San Francisco (140mi/225km)
As you head north along the coast, in less than an hour you’ll reach Point Lobos State Preserve, hailed “the crown jewel of the State Park System”. Here you can partake in a range of activities from scuba diving to photography to nature study. Point Lobos is home to a variety of unique and endangered flora and fauna so enjoy these rare finds before heading off to Monterey Bay, where you can relax in the towns of Carmel and play golf and one of the world’s most prestigious golf resorts - Pebble Beach. The final two stops are Ano Nuevo State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Check out the Northern Elephant Seal at Ano Nuevo, home to the largest breeding colony. Last but not least, travel to California’s oldest state park, Big Basin, home to the largest continuous habitation of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. Conclude this drive in San Francisco.
This suggested itinerary is courtesy of Driveaway holidays. More information can be found in their very comprehensive driving guide to California. Download it free here http://bit.ly/driveholidayscaliforniaYour BYOkids travel consultant can arrange flights, car hire, accommodation, sightseeing and more in the USA. Call us now 1300 296 543 or message us via Facebook
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