California and Hawaii itinerary for two weeks at the end of October and beginning of November.
We are almost ready to departure! In two days we have a flight to catch that will take us directly in sunny California, in Los Angeles to be precise.
In this two weeks trip we will visit the cities of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and the Hawaiian island of Oahu. We wish we had more time to explore around, it’d be nice to add a National Park or two and a second or even third island, but given this little time, we had to make choices and we decided to be as relaxed as possible in a semi-on the road trip.
This trip will be my way to celebrate my 30th birthday on Nov. 2nd, and I thought there is no better way than escaping the gloomy northern Italy weather and celebrate on one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. Not a bad idea, uh?
The itinerary is not strict and fixed, with the exception of a couple of things, we decided to not plan everything per minute to give us freedom to stop, get lost, explore and relax ourselves. For this reason a lot of activities may be moved from a day to the other and we planned to have some free time to be filled once there.
LOS ANGELES AND LAS VEGAS
DAY 1 -We will arrive in L.A. around lunch time. We plan to visit Griffith Observatory and Olvera Street for the Día de los Muertos parade.
DAY 2 – We will spend the first part of the day between Hollywood and Downtown LA and we will depart towards Las Vegas in the afternoon in order to reach Nevada and spend the evening around the crazy Strip.
DAY 3 – We will leave Las Vegas and stop along the road to see 7 Magic Mountains and probably Calico Ghost Town.
DAY 4 – We will spend the day between Santa Monica and Venice Beach. If there will be some spare time we will go again to Downtown to see other landmarks such Urban Lights and Farmers Market.
DAY 5 – The whole day will be dedicated to Universal Studios Hollywood. We are still talking if we’d like to see the park also during Hollywood Horror Night.
DAY 6 – We have the first part of the day free to do whatever we want or visit some places we missed during the first days in LA. Our flight to Oahu leaves in late afternoon and lands after dinner in Honolulu.
DAY 7 – I will celebrate my birthday visiting Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden and Lanikai Beach. Still unsure if I’d like to have a celebratory dinner at NOBU Honolulu.
DAY 8 – We will spend pretty much of this day at Polynesian Cultural Center and return to hotel after dinner. Will have a stop on our road to the center at Byodo-In Temple.
DAY 9 – A Hollywood Movie Tour awaits us at Kualoa Ranch. We will then spend the rest of the day in North Shore.
DAY 10 – We are going to pay our respects to those who fell under Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. We plan to spend the evening snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.
DAY 11 – We kept this spare morning to go shopping for some souvenirs before catching the midday flight that will take us to San Francisco in the evening.
DAY 12 – A lot of walking is included this day. We plan to see the Painted Ladies, have a walk around Mission and Castro and perhaps take a tea at the Japanese Garden.
DAY 13 – We will start the day with a tour of Alcatraz Penitentiary, once back we will explore the area of the piers: Fisherman Wharfs, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, Lombard St. and Musée Mécanique.
DAY 14 – We plan to cross the Golden Gate bridge. Still have to decide if we want to continue to Sausalito and perhaps add a quick wine tasting tour in Napa Valley.
DAY 15 – Our flight back home is in the evening so, at this time, this last day is free from demanding activities. We will probably spend the day shopping for Christmas presents and shoot our last photos around town.
WHY THIS ITINERARY
You may notice we haven’t fill our days with a strict program full of places to see and things to do. One of the reasons is that I’ve already been to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and I built this trip around things I liked back in my last visit 5 years ago.
The second reason is that these will be our vacation and as it is 2 years that we haven’t been on a serious long trip, we feel that we need some relaxation. Plus, as already mentioned, we will celebrate my 30th birthday so we don’t want to rush around and run everywhere only to tick places out of an imaginary list of must-see.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE
I will write more detailed posts about the places we will visit and other details, but let me add that we will stay in various different accommodation: we booked a mid-scale hotel in San Francisco and Las Vegas, the fancy 5 starred Kahala hotel in Honolulu, an airbnb flat in Santa Monica and a Motel for our first night in L.A.. We will move via rental cars in Los Angeles and Oahu, while in San Francisco we will take public transportation or Ubers and probably rent a car only if we decide to go to Sausalito and Napa.