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Fly Drive the West Coast of USA

Seetal Udeshi
 


Visitors: 1,318
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Fly Drive is becoming increasingly popular these days, with people wanting to explore more and more places in a short period of time. An easy way to describe a fly drive, is booking a plane ticket to some where, picking up a car at the airport and off you go. Staying at hotels on the way because you can't drive for a whole week or two non-stop!

There are many different types of fly drives. You can stay in one city and drive to other cities that are close, or you can start at one city and end at another. This would be particularly good if you are planning on going to the USA, as you can see many more cities on your holiday, rather than stay in one.

A really wonderful fly-drive is the West Coast in the USA. Drive to places starting at San Diego, California and finishing at Portland, Oregon. Before you set off, I advise reading guides about the different areas within this trip and getting hold of some maps and studying them, finding the best routes to take. The guide below is a rough guide, so to get the most out of your trip, do some studying!

Start at San Diego, pick up your hire car and off you go! I recommend you watch the sunset over this city, there are not too many huge skyscrapers, but just enough to give a wonderful view. There are many places to stay here too, which is where your guides will come in handy as they give information on different types of places to stay from budget to luxury. Some of the attractions in San Diego are the variety of museums such as San Diego Museum of Art, The Natural History Museum and The Columbia district which has a variety of historic ship exhibits. There is also SeaWorld, Legoland and San Diego Zoo to go and visit.

Your next stop is a wonderful 2 - 3 hour drive along the coast on the No.5 Freeway to Los Angeles. Before going into the city, if you fancy relaxing along Long beach then there are some wonderful stretches of beaches along this strip. This is a must-see city. You will definitely want to spend a few days here as there is so much to see. Go to Disneyland and Universal Studios for a family fueled park packed full of fun. Or go to Beverly Hills and Hollywood Boulevard and see the star filled paths, look inside the Kodak theatre where the famous Oscars are held and indulge in some luxury shopping. Just make sure you have enough space in your suitcase for your next destination!

Next we are going on a slight detour of the coast, 4 - 5 hours in fact, up to Las Vegas, Nevada. Now you will have to cross states, California to Nevada so have all your documents from your car hire company, driving license and insurance documents in case you get stopped and checked. It is also wise to have your passport handy. Now Las Vegas is a sight to see in itself. The beautiful lights of the city at night time are something to see. Also wine and dine in fine restaurants and stay in some very classy hotels such as the Bellagio, or Ceaser's Palace. Enjoy some of the many stage shows such as the Blue Man Group or you may get a chance to see performances from the Pussycat Dolls. Las Vegas is a wonderful city and you can even drive to the outskirts and see the Hoover Dam.

Once your ready to leave Vegas, head up Route 95 for about 2 - 3 hours, again, crossing the border back into sunny California and you will find yourself in Death Valley National Park. Here you can enjoy some hiking and trekking. Be warned, it can get really hot so take lots of water with you! You are also able to camp in some of the may campsites and enjoy some inspiring views! It's definitely worth staying over night, if you can hack the heat.

The next destination is about 5 and half hours away in a lovely city called Fresno. Here there are some wonderful things to do. If you go in season then you can enjoy Fresno Country Blossom Trail which houses some of the finest blossoming peach, nectarine, plum, orange, and almond trees in full bloom. Also a must see is the Forestiere Underground Gardens which was built over 40 years and has some mind boggling trees that grow underground. There are also a selection of hotels to stay, after a 5 hour drive I think you'll need it!

Now we are going to be heading back towards the coast to San Jose. It should take about 3 hours or so. In San Jose there are many parks to relax and have some coffee and there are also many trails around the city to enjoy. You must visit Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, which is the oldest parish in California and also Raging Waters, the largest water park in Northern California with 23 acres and millions of gallons of water.

Now a nice short drive to San Francisco, you should be there in under an hour traffic permitting, and there are many things to do here. Play a round of golf if you are on your trip with the lads then head to the River Rock casino or see Fishermans Bay and go to the Aquarium. A must see is the Golden Gate Bridge and a tour of the Jelly Bean Factory! There are many more attractions to see in San Francisco but those I'll leave you to find, it's part of the fun of a Fly-Drive holiday.

Hit the roads again for an hour or 2 up to Sacramento, the capital of California. There are many things to see and do in Sacramento, some of these in include wining and dining in some fabulous restaurants, visit the many art galleries and museums or simply just have a tour of the city. A must see is the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay which is a sundial but only 100% accurate on the summer solstice on June 21st or 22nd. Also Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which has 300 acres of peaceful gardens.

Another 2 hours straight up, passing the border into Oregon you'll stop off into the city of Medford. Here it's time to relax with Alba Park, the oldest in Medford and also head to Vogel Plaza to see if you catch one of the many events hosted here.

On the road again, you'll be driving for another 3 hours or so until you reach the city of Eugene. It is host to a number of cultural organisations so you will have many different shows that you can enjoy here. From dancing to concerts to the opera, it will cater for everyone. Here you will be able to meet some outdoor enthusiasts as well!

Off you go again! We are getting closer to our destination. Drive for just over an hour up to Salem. Bush's Pasture Park, a 90.5 acre urban public park and botanical garden located just south of the downtown area, or the Enchanted Forest, A land of Fairy Tales where you visit Medieval Castles, walk down wooden sidewalks in the wild, wild West, or maybe bump into a ghost in the Haunted Mansion. This is small theme park and has rides for the kids and adults with an Alpine Roller coaster, bumper cars, trains and more. In one of their many restaurants is a gorgeous water show with colorful lights bouncing off streams of water. Next door is another attraction, Thrillville.

It's only an hour to Portland, which is full of wonderful parks and open spaces. Visit Mt Tabor Park which lies on an extinct Volcano, Forest Park which is the largest wilderness park span over 5000 acres, and also Mill End Park which is the smallest park at 2 ft in diameter. AS well as this, Portland has many cultural attractions. Visit the Portland Art Museum and the Museum of Science and History. Also go and see the Opera or Ballet.

Finally, a wonderful 3 hour drive up to Seattle and you have reached your destination. Here is the birth place of Grunge Music mostly famous from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, also from the heavy coffee drinkers, Starbucks was born. Seattle is a regional destination for performing arts. So it is worth going to 5th Avenue to enjoy some of the musicals. Go and see the Jimi Hendrix statue! Here you can lay your head down to rest before you finally fly home from such a wonderful fly drive of the entire West-Coast.

I recommend that you spend a few days in each city if you can so you can absorb everything and see as much as you can see, if not then you will be about 7 - 10 days spending a few hours in each city and in a few cities overnight.

It is also a good idea to have more than one driver so then you can all alternate between cities. This way, one person isn't driving the whole way.

Total Distance: 1933 miles (3111 km)
Total Non-Stop Driving Distance Time: 1 Day 9 Hours.

I Advise you plan your trip thoroughly, making sure you have enough stop offs for rest, food and petrol (which is very important otherwise you will get no where!), and plan any overnight stays in advance. Also, as I have said before, Learn the routes! Make sure you know exactly where you are going, know of any petrol stops and all border crossing lines.

Auto Europe offer a great hire car service for driving the USA , and allow you to pick up your car from one destination and drop off at another.

Auto Europe Worldwide Car Hire Provider

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