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Thread: Top 10 Places to see out west???

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    My fiance and I are planning to take our honeymoon out west (we live in North Carolina) in July. I know it is going to be hot, but I don't get to take a week and half off of work any other time. We were thinking about going to Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon, Hoover dam, and possibly even Mount Rushmore but that may be too much driving. Am I missing somewhere that is a must stop place to see?

    Thanks for the help!
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    Jackson Hole is on your way. Nice place to visit. (A lot of Elk)
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    Mount Rushmore was a big let down for me. It was no where near as big as you think it would be. Devils Tower a litte west of Rushmore is pretty cool. There are tons of things just east of Yellowstone that are cool to see. Many battle sites and westen history sites from the Cattle war to real Cowboy and Indian stuff.
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    If you go to the Grand Canyon, do yourself a BIG FAVOR and go to the north rim instead of the overcrowded, noisey, toursit trap that is the south rim. Not only will it be 5-10 degrees cooler, they crowds will be a fraction of the south rim and you will drive right through the heart of the Kaibab Plateu. Go through there in the morning and you will see alot of mule deer and turkey with the chance at seeing a buffalo or a truley big muley buck. You won't see elk on the north rim however.

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    Yosemite and Yellowstone get crowded in the summer, but you gotta go when you have the chance.
    Think of it as a quick scouting trip to look for places you would like to return to check out in more detail later.

    Don't forget to give the Big Pond (Pacific Ocean) a look.
    People from out of town seem to get a kick out of SanFrancisco.

    Seems as though Vegas is a must visit too.

    Enjoy your trip.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
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    tradman is offline Member Allowed To Sit On The 1st Rung tradman is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Close enough to Rushmore is Crazyhorse Monument. It's definitely worth a look. A lot more dramatic, and there's a really cool museum/interpretive center at the base.

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    A week and a half will go by quick. And I am assuming that you don’t wish to wear yourself out driving (it being your honeymoon and all). As such, you may want to narrow down your choices a bit (Southern part of the Western attractions versus Rushmore and Yellowstone). Here are some suggestions:

    Drive West with your first stop being Little Rock, so you can visit the Clinton Library (just kidding). Your second stop, although a bit long, could be Taos, which is north of Albuquerque. Good mountain scenery, and there are lots of artsy-fartsy things to do there. From Taos you are well positioned for a trip to the Grand Canyon. Vegas will be close by (and Hoover damn). However, if you do the Vegas thing, then you should stay a couple of nights. If you are more into an “outdoor” vacation, I suggest you bypass Sin City and the Hoover damn (you can go online to see this thing).

    Next on to California. If Cities are your thing, then LA can keep you busy with lots of touristy things. However, I lived there for several years and would suggest you bypass that monstrosity of a place (no offense to my LA-based JHO colleagues). If you want beaches, head to San Diego – much nicer. If you desire natural scenery, then definitely head north to Yosemite and the giant Sequoias (online views do not do justice for these masterpieces). It will be crowded in the summer, so plan very early (like now).

    If you bypassed the Southern Cal beaches and headed directly for Yosemite, but still want to see the left coast, then head over to the Big Sur-Monterey-Pebble Beach area. Lots of good “honeymoon places” around there. Moreover, If you have liberal tendencies, then you can go north to Santa Cruz and/or San Francisco (lots of freaks to “people watch,” maybe even join in on a protest). If you have conservative tendencies, then immediately head back east. Just kidding of course on those last two comments. I consider the entire SF Bay area pretty darn nice from a scenery/natural beauty perspective (I am a good ole boy from the south). If you would like to spend 3 or 4 days around the SF Bay area, let me know and I can dial you in on some activities.

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    Bryce Canyon and Zion are incredible, as is Hwy 12 that goes from Boulder, Utah to Escalante. Grand Canyon to me was ho-hum to Bryce and Zion....

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    The California Redwood forests are very awesome to see, along with the coast line. The Oregon/Washington coasts are truely beautiful and romantic.
    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

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    We made the mistake of doing too much on our honeymoon. Went to Cancun and did all the tours and went snorkeling and all that and had very little time or energy left to enjoy our (very nice & expensive) ocean view room. So I'd strongly suggest that you build in some days of rest to enjoy one another. You may not see as much, but you'll have more fun.

    Maybe add a day of wine tasting in the central coast (Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo). Great wines without the attitude and price of Napa/Sonoma. You can stay at a B&B on the beach and take a break from all the driving.

    Sequoias are awesome and not as crowded as Yoesemite. Not too hit either due to the altitude and shade in the grove.

    Nothing worth seeing in LA. Don't fall for all that Hollywood & Vine crap unless you want a hooker or some scag.

    Palm Springs is a good place to relax at a pool. They have a cool aerial tram that takes you from the desert floor (probably around 110 in July) up 8,500' to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park where it's a whole nother world and 30-40 degrees cooler.

    Good luck and congratulations on the upcoming marriage!
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    Honeymoon?

    What sights are there that is outside of the honeymoon suite that would be more interesting than the one inside?

    Honeymoon is a s_xfest. Keep your priorities straight.

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    If I had to tell someone from the East what to see in a week and a half I would keep to a central location. If you could concentrate all your efforts around the central part of California and Nevada you can see a ton of differted terrain and culture. Fly into San Francisco and enjoy the City by the bay. Head up north about 1 hour to Napa for wine tasting. Then head east 3 hours to Yosemite where you can see Yosemite Valley and Waterfalls and the Giant Sequias in Yosemite park. Then if you need to have that Vegas feeling head 2 hours north east to Reno or better yet South Lake Tahoe for a little gambling action then fly out of Reno back home, or if you have to drive back to San Fran is is only 5 hours or less from South Lake Tahoe or Reno. If I could I would do that same trip now and I live in So. Calif. Hope that helps, Chap
    Kurt

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    If you want a TOP 10 list then here is my list

    1. Yosemite & Mammoth Mt. Area (Waterfalls, Granite Monoliths, Sequoias, Eastern Sierra Fishing)
    2. Yellowstone/Grand Teton/Jackson Hole (Animals, geyers, Awesome Peaks)
    3. North Rim Grand Canyon (The Hole)
    4. Glacier Nat Park (Animals and Mts)
    5. Bryce Cnayon/Zion Canyon (interesting southwest feel)
    6. Olympic Nat Park (temperate Rainforest and The Northwest feel)
    7. San Francisco to Santa Cruz(The city, the Bridges, Pacific Ocean, and the Coastal Redwoods there)
    8. Las Vegas ("its Vegas Baby")
    9. Lake Tahoe (big beautiful clean lake, fish, swim, hang, gamble, Mt Bike the resorts in the summer)
    10. Tie Death Valley (To say you went there and maybe experience 130 degree heat)
    Lassen Nat Park (to hike on a volcanoe and enjoy Bumpus Hell, fish Hat Creek)
    Kurt

    What is success? "Success is when practice meets opportunity"
    My son Brock's Quote--when he was 6: "Hey, Brock, where are all the deer at," Brock said, " The deer are where you find 'em Dad"

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (KevinZ @ Oct 18 2006, 11:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    then you can go north to Santa Cruz and/or San Francisco (lots of freaks to “people watch,”[/b]


    It is unreal what you will see if you sit on a bench in downtown Santa Cruz for an hour. You will feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: "We&#39;re not in Kansas anymore Toto".
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    I am old enough to remember when this really was the land of the free. CS

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    I&#39;ll cast votes for Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Orcas Island (San Juan islands--Washington)
    Just remember...if the world didn&#39;t suck, we&#39;d all fall off.

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    Lake Tahoe is beautiful in July the weather is in the 80&#39;s if you choose that area and want to see a nice area is the Crystal Basin about 45 minutes west of Lake Tahoe.
    Scott Mc Intyre
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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
    You won&#39;t see elk on the north rim however.[/b]
    Jeff, there are elk on the north rim. Several years ago I watched a cow feed right before the park entrance. AZGF was issuing a couple elk tags there to get rid of those elk, they don&#39;t want them there the locals said.
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    Common Sense is not kidding when he talks about downtown Santa Cruz. I live here in Aptos (about 7 miles away) and the kids and I go down there at least once a week to watch the free show. For an out of town visitor or honeymooner I would highly recommend the Beach Boardwalk and a nice restaurant on the wharf. Another good idea would be Fishernman&#39;s Wharf in San Francisco. Crab cocktail, sourdough bread, and great coffee; it&#39;s all right there along with a view that can&#39;t be beat. There is also some different and strange things to see . You know what they say: San Francisco&#39;s a very strange city, the women are strong and the men are pretty.
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    Yosemite is noted in many posts and probably a must see. It&#39;s tough to get a reservation in the summer, so you might drive through in a day. I recommend starting very early, then drive from the East entrance (off 395, Lee Vining side), through Toulomne Meadows, then down to the Yosemite Valley, tour the valley, and then head west toward the coast. Before you enter Yosemite you could be coming from Lake Tahoe, or from the south (Mammoth).

    If you really want to see the Yosemite valley for a day+ and can afford it you could stay at the Ahwahnee - historic hotel, nice dining, etc -- honeymoon place.

    The majority of population in CA is San Francisco and below, with 2/3 of the pop. in LA/Orange counties in SoCAL (there&#39;s NorCAL and SoCAL).

    San Francisco is also a must see. Do the touristy stuff: cable car, fisherman&#39;s wharf, alcatraz, golden gate park/presidio, the bridges, ... Stay in town, ask locals about resturants - all are great. Lot&#39;s of Italian food.
    Chinatown is worth a drive through. All the chinatown shops are the same - typically junk but interesting.

    Silicon Valley is nothing to see, unless your a real geek and want to drive by Yahoo, Apple, Google, Sun, Cisco, HP, etc ... all the high tech companies. Silicon Valley is otherwise flat, crowded, and boring.

    Monterey/Carmel (the aquarium in Monterey is very nice), rugged beaches, 17-mile drive, see Pebble Beach golf courses (you&#39;re from North Carolina. The Pebble Beach courses make Pinehurst look like a starter course). I&#39;ve seen more deer in Carmel (in the city) than anywhere else.

    You could take the drive on the coast highway from Monterey to Morro Bay (near San Luis Obispo). Curvy roads, great views, but very long drive, especially if you&#39;re short on time and want to see NorCAL and SoCAL)

    Highway 101 or Interstate 5 are north south and quickest ways to travel. You&#39;ll drive through agriculture where 80% of the nation&#39;s crops are grown. North of Sacramento on I-5 you drive through miles of rice - where the waterfowl and pheasants are.

    Santa Barbara is pretty nice: harbor, beaches, resturants/shopping, ... UCSB

    LA? 20 million people, traffic you&#39;ve only heard of, but interesting beaches (Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan, Redondo, ... then south to the OC (Orange Country): Huntington, Newport beach, ...
    Hollywood is nothing.

    San Diego? zoo, Sea World, best weather in CA (coast -may- be 80 in july, with low humidity - nothing like NC in the summer).

    CA is very big, and has mountains, deserts, beaches, small communities (NorCAL) and giant cities (LA, etc).

    A couple of comparisons:
    - Beech Mt - 6000 feet. vs. Mt Whitney 13,000 feet. Lot&#39;s of mountains
    - Nags Head - surf when hurricanes hit, no people. So CA - surf can happen year around, zillions of people
    - RTP - tech businesses surrounded by UNC, Duke, NC state - Silicon Valley area - giant, Stanford, Berkeley, etc.
    - Raleigh and Sacramento, the state capitols - both 3 hrs drive from the ocean.
    - NC - major crop tabacco. CA: citris, vegetables, nuts, ...no tabacco
    - NC - major Nascar site. CA: one race at Fontana, next nearest Phoenix (don&#39;t even think of Phoenix in July).

    Enjoy.

    Can&#39;t remember my honeymoon. It was 33 years ago.
    --eric

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    There is actually a NASCAR race in Sonoma (road course - does that count).

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    One other item to toss in the mix is Catalina Island off of the Los Angeles coastline. Good for an overnight stay.

    Neil

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (CA_pheasant @ Oct 18 2006, 08:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    LA? 20 million people, traffic you&#39;ve only heard of, but interesting beaches (Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan, Redondo, ... then south to the OC (Orange Country): Huntington, Newport beach, ...
    Hollywood is nothing.[/b]
    Don&#39;t forget our own little LA freak show at Venice Beach!
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    There are 2 NASCAR races at Fontana. One in Feb and one in Sep. and yes Sonoma is in June. So 3 for Calif. isn&#39;t bad.
    Kurt

    What is success? "Success is when practice meets opportunity"
    My son Brock's Quote--when he was 6: "Hey, Brock, where are all the deer at," Brock said, " The deer are where you find 'em Dad"

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    henriksson is offline Member Allowed To Sit On The 1st Rung henriksson
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    And when you have followed all the advice here, take another week off and find a nice quiet place where you and your wife can recuperate after the honeymoon. Seriously, pace yourself and don&#39;t pack in too much.
    Thomas Henriksson
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    Here&#39;s another idea:
    Skip all this stuff and go to the real west - Hawaii!
    If you're not confused, you've been mis-informed!

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    WATTS!!!!
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    I Love It!!!

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    One other item to toss in the mix is Catalina Island off of the Los Angeles coastline. Good for an overnight stay.

    Neil,

    I&#39;m sorry but Catalina closes in July & August due to unseasonably moderate weather. The fishing is so-so; our Kawasaki Mule barely makes the island tour; the poor markets are short on supplies except for the Saturday boat run; gas is over $5.00/gallon and the Buffalo Nickle restaurant is too noisey with all of the helicopter landings. We can hardly stay a week or so - thank goodness the dove opener forces me to leave.

    A man's footprints in life are only as deep as the ones that follow in his steps.


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    Being from the Dakota&#39;s..I would say,yes,Mount rushmore is a huge letdown...............But alot of other nice stuff in the Badland&#39;s to check out.....
    Deadwood worth the stop
    I love my country-but fear my government!!

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    Wow. I didn&#39;t expect so many responses. I will attempt to clarify and address some of the questions. We are conservative and I could care less about seeing two men hold hands and kiss like it is "normal". My plans were to find a cheap place to fly into and then travel to see some of the places you guys have recommened. After that we would fly out of that location and come on back to God&#39;s country here in NC :^)

    With that in mind, if you guys have some more suggestions I would appreciate it. I think I will print all of this off and get with my fiance and narrow down the places we will visit. After that I will ask for me insider information such as visiting the north rim instead of the south.

    I really appreicate all the responses, Thanks!
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    fishhead is offline Member Moving Up In The World fishhead is an unknown quantity at this point
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    check your email.
    Charles Sharp

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