You really need to narrow it down on what you want to see and do. You did mention San Fransisco, so stop in at Fisherman Wharffor a day visit, there are many thing to wander though such as the SS Jeremiah O'Brienjust name one.
I highly recommend getting "The Wharf Pass" for things to see and do around fishermans wharf!!!! Took my daughter and 2 nieces to S.F. for spring break and saved a BUNCH of money with the warf pass....The SS Jeremiah O'Brien is free with the pass and it has a diorama(sp?)of the invasion of Normandy that brought tears to my eyes!!!!!!! Also, catch the #39 bus from pier 39 up to Coit Tower for a 360 degree view of the city, BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
I don't like to brag, but I can still fit into the same pair of ear rings that I wore in high school!!!!
I have been reading a great new book "California Camping" by Tom Stienstra that was recently updated (17th edition). It is excellent and covers hundreds of camping areas and includes information on the space limitations and services available at each location. It is far better than any other RV guide I have come across a super value for the price. Most sites in CA (other than KOA) are not for unlimited length RV and many top out at 27' which means your Thor would fit.
I was born and grew up in the LA area and I give it as wide a berth as possible. When traveling through that part of the state I usually go through Barstow and out to Needles and avoid the entire LA basin which is a giant parking lot much of the time. You want to have a good GPS unit before you even think of navigating the LA freeways with a RV and there are areas like Hwy 405 and Interstate 10 that can be terrible even at 2:00 AM.
Coming into California from the east you have a choice of entering near Lake Tahoe or Needles and I prefer the southern route as you can travel through Utah (Bryce, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, etc.) instead of going across northern Nevada.
If you want to have a great time and minimize competing with other tourists there are places I would recommend such as Mineral King and Sequoia National Parks instead of Yosemite or the northern CA redwoods, Paso Robles wine country (starts around Santa Barbara and extends up to Monterey on Hwy 101) instead of Napa/Sonoma area. Good places to see elephant seals, bird refuges, redwoods in the section from Morro Bay to Monterey on Hwy 1. This some of the best scenery in the world go up Hwy 1 from Santa Barbara up through San Simeon (with detour through the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles wine area cutting over from SLO or Cambria) and up to Monterey. From Monterey I would continue up the coast highway 1 to San Francisco.
In San Francisco I would find a place to park and then use the excellent public transportation and your feet to explore the city. SF is one of very few US cities with a good public transportation system.
Easy to do a loop from Needles to Santa Barbara to San Francisco to Lake Tahoe to Mono Lake to Kings Canyon NP to Sequoia NP to Death Valley NP to Mojave NR and then to Needles and into Arizona on Hwy 40. With this approach you miss the worst of the traffic nightmares in Los Angeles area, San Francisco Bay area, and the Napa Sonoma wine country traffic snarls and you will have missed very little and had more time and less stress to enjoy what you do see.
By the way I bought the 2012 edition of the Woodall's Western Campground Directory and it was truly a complete waste of money unless you need a directory of Campingworld locations. All the areas are listed alphabetically and not be region and the descriptions are so brief as to be worthless for the most part in deciding where to stay.
Rving to Cali.will go by San Fransisco. Which are the must see sites and parks in California? Is there camping in these recommended parks for a 24ft Thor class B? Difficult to get a site? Where to eat GOOD sushi in San Fran? Is Los Angeles worth seeing with all the traffic? Should I just forget LA? I know there is Sequoia Park, any others?
LA is definitely worth seeing but it can be intimidating for those who don't know the freeway system. There are thousands of us who live in the LA basin with RV's and TT's who get wround just fine. Plan your routes and have a GPS available in case you miss a turn. You should have no problem. There are great attractions like Santa Monica Pier & 3rd Street Prominade, Venice Beach, LA Live, Staples Center, Universal City Walk, Hollywood, Burbank Studios, Griffith Observatory, Dodger Stadium, Disneyland (you can camp there), the beaches of Orange County (the OC), La Brea Tar Pits, LA Zoo, the list goes on and on. Ton's of great restaurants and things to see.
We traveled down the Oregon coast last summer into California.
We stayed at Petaluma KOA and took a tour into San Francisco from the KOA. I would not drive in SanFrancisco. It was worth the price to be chauffered. To see the sites and eat at the fisherman's wharf.
From their we headed to Yosemite. We stayed at the Mariposa KOA in Midpines. We had a toad so we drove in daily to see the sites.
They have shuttles in Yosemite Valley that take you around in the valley, but you need to drive yourself around also. Back to the coast of northern california you have 101 the Redwood Highway. Don't miss the Redwood NP which is also a state park.
Make your reservations because campgrounds fill up. Have a great trip.
08BowTie's comments about LA are very insightful -- I live here, and usually I can't wait to get away. But sometimes (like when I am at the beach) we will run into tourists from out of town, and they almost always are having a wonderful time. Usually, these are people from more rural areas or other countries. To me, LA is just another big city -- not a wonderful place.
So I guess it depends on what you like to do -- restaurants, shows, and theme parks? Or forests and mountains and waterfalls? To each his own!
Why would you go to California and not visit Los Angeles? To me, it's the place to visit. I've lived in California and I've been to LA, SF, and SD. LA, by far would be the best place to see the most. Traffic will be no worse than Miami, I would imagine.
We were in Los Angeles last August for a week. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
The places in LA area where I would take people would be the Getty museum, Huntington library, and the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. These are the only places I can think of where there are not better alternatives in other parts of the state.
The places I loved to spend time at when growing up in California like Laguna Beach when the artists outnumbered the lawyers living there, and Malibu when there was a cafe, market, and one gas station, are now sadly paved over and it is hard to even see the Pacific Ocean while driving along the coast highway.
If someone is going to spend a week in Italy would you send them to Rome or to Florence and Venice instead? Same applies to time in California where I have spent 4 hours just getting through the city of Santa Ana in the heart of the LA area and that was on the "freeway". Why spend days stuck in traffic or trying to find a place to park when the alternative is to take the route along the northern edge of the San Bernardino mountains through the high desert and across to Santa Barbara and the middle of the state where you have Big Sur, Monterey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Sequoia, Mineral King, Mammoth, and so many other incredibly beautiful areas that have not been paved over?
Paso Robles wineries are much like the wineries in Napa and Sonoma were in the 1970's before they became part of a giant tourist trap with $500 a night resort hotels. There are more than 200 campgrounds around Yosemite and Sequoia and Mineral King that will be less crowded during the summer months. The beaches from San Luis Obispo all the way to San Francisco are mostly "wild" beaches with no condos or private beach front and where you can sit on the sand and watch the sun set and the have the entire beach to yourself, even on Labor Day. Contrast that with any beach in southern California on any summer's day where it can take half an hour to find an open spot large enough to put down a beach towel.
With San Francisco I would find a RV park within walking distance of BART and then take the train into the city and explore by foot and cable car and electric bus. I would take the ferry to Angel Island and even do the tour of Alcatraz in part because of the great views of Frisco and the bay from these areas. Golden Gate park and the aquarium and museums and gardens are well worth a day in themselves. Add in Chinatown, the waterfront, the fort, beaches, and other sites and the totality is greater than for all of the LA area and you can see it all without having to drive a car anywhere.