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  1. Default Help with our trip-LAX-SD-PS-GC-DV Please, any ideas welcome.

    Hi Everyone,

    First of all what a fab website, have spent the last couple of hours reading through some of the posts and have to say there's some great information on here, so here goes for my 1st post.

    Were arriving at lax from the UK in september, at the moment we have only 2 accomodations booked as we like to just stop if we like the look of somewhere.

    The route were (me & hubby late 40'S) thinking of goes like this.

    Lax staying over somewhere between Lax - San Diego maybe Newport Beach ?

    San Diego - Palm Springs or Dessert Springs heard Dessert Springs is nicer ?

    from there head to Grand Canyon staying at Yavaipia lodge for 1 night (booked) hoping to stay for 2 but only 1 night available at the moment, will keep checking if not stay in Tusayan, is this a good choice.

    from GC head towards Death Valley not that bothered about staying in LV as we done this part of the route a few years ago (opposite way round DV-LV-GC) maybe take a detour to some where else.

    On to Death Valley staying 2 night's at Stovepipe Wells (booked) i just love this place its basic but clean and if your going to stay in the dessert under a roof it should be here not somewhere 4-5* with green grass around it (IMHO) ;-) last time we were here it was just after the flood's so didnt get to see some of the sights of DV

    from here were not sure of our route open to suggestions for more outstanding views, NP's, Lakes, etc before heading back to Lax for our flight home.

    would love to here any ideas on things to do & see in any of the places were staying.

    anyone done this route

    Where did you go, and the best views in GC and DV

    Any detours you may have, would like to see some of the big trees were do you think we could fit this in.

    Looking forward to reading your replys
    Thanks to you all in advance

  2. Default Some random comments..

    Hello max44, and welcome to the Roadtrip America Forum!

    If I may offer a few comments..

    >Arriving at LAX in September...

    In September things are starting to cool down a bit, and families are back in school, so things aren't going to be quite as crowded, nor the deserts as warm. But it can still be quite warm in the southwest, particularly compared to the UK.

    >Lax staying over somewhere between Lax - San Diego maybe Newport Beach ?

    What time are you arriving at LAX? The issue is I think going to be how tired you are, and what time of the day it is that you arrive. In general, the Huntington Beach to Newport Beach section of the coast is starting to set you up for a fairly leisurely drive to Palms Springs, although I wouldn't stay farther down the coast that Newport Beach area -- just since you have to head back north to catch the main superhighways to go to Palm Springs. From LAX to Newport Beach will be about 40 minutes with no traffic, or up to 90 minutes with traffic. There is a carpool lane along the 405 freeway which will speed you along (you need 2 passengers or more to use this lane). There are a number of good hotels in the area, ranging from the South Coast Plaza area in Irvine/ Newport Beach (somewhat inland) to the Fashion Island complex (in Newport Beach), or along the beach itself (from Huntington Beach , and south to Newport).

    If you're heading next to San Diego (I'm not sure from message), there are very good quality hotels along the beach from Huntington Beach down to Laguna Beach. There have been quite a spate of recent hotels/ resorts built along the "gold coast" of Orange County in the last few years.

    If you're arriving and will be very tired, you have the alternative of the many hotels around LAX to catch up on your jet lag, before heading out on the 2-3 hours drive to Palm Springs.

    And as another option you can head east from LAX directly, instead of heading south towards the HB to Newport Beach coast -- For example, the Mission Inn in Riverside is about an hour's drive east from LAX and is a unique and historic hotel, built around a hotel errected around 1900. Their web site is here From Riverside to Palm Springs is about 90 minutes or so.

    >San Diego - Palm Springs or Dessert Springs heard Dessert Springs is nicer ?

    There are number of nice places in the generic Palms Springs area, including in Indio, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, and several other communities. I'm not sure where Dessert Springs is.

    > from there head to Grand Canyon staying at Yavaipia lodge for 1 night (booked) hoping to stay for 2 but only 1 night available at the moment, will keep checking if not stay in Tusayan, is this a good choice.

    Tusayan is the closest town outside the National Park and within 20-30 minutes of Grand Canyon Village, on the South Rim. There are numerous hotels here, and unless you want a longer drive (like 45+ minutes), Tusayan is about your only other choice. It'll be a goodly day's drive from Palm Springs area to Grand Canyon.

    >from GC head towards Death Valley not that bothered about staying in LV as we done this part of the route a few years ago (opposite way round DV-LV-GC) maybe take a detour to some where else.

    If you're not concerned about passing through Las Vegas, you can continue west from Kingman Arizona to potential visit Laughlin (a resort/ gambling community along the Colorado River), tend south to Lake Havasu, or come north through the Mojave National Preserve to Death Valley.


    > On to Death Valley staying 2 night's at Stovepipe Wells (booked) [ ... ]

    >from here were not sure of our route open to suggestions for more outstanding views, NP's, Lakes, etc before heading back to Lax for our flight home. would love to here any ideas on things to do & see in any of the places were staying.

    From Death Valley, you have a couple of options for places to visit. If you'll come west out of Death Valley, you'll be on the steep eastern face of the Sierras. Mammoth Lakes north of Bishop is a very good ski area, with lots of places to fish and hike in the off season and can give you a nice tastes of the Sierras. If you go a bit farther north to Lee Vining, you can take the Tioga Pass west over the Sierras to come down just north of Yosemite National Park. It's very possible to drive from Death Valley to Yosemite in a longish day.

    Or you can continue west from Death Valley, skirting or cutting through the soutern tail of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, possibly visiting Lake Isabella and heading towards Bakersfield and the Central Valley of California.

    Depends upon how much time you have, and what your interests are.
    anyone done this route

    If you want to see some of the "big trees" there's a grove in Yosemite National Park, of you can try to fit in a visit to Sequoia National Park where the vast majority of the trees are. (It's on the west side of the Sierras, south of Yosemite, and north of Bakersfield -- about a day's drive west of Death Valley, or several hours drive south of Yosemite.)

  3. Default

    Hi Larrison,

    Thankyou so much for your reply,

    We think September is just the perfect month to tour around California as you say its much less crowded with the kids being back at school, so much easier to just stop off somewhere and book an overnight stop, and the weather has never let us down yet.

    We arrive into Lax at 3.00pm so by the time we pick up our hire car could be any time around 4.30 - 5.30 just in time for rush hr funnily enough on the 5-6 times weve been to the US weve never been hit with jet lag i think its the excitement of it all that keeps us going (although it seems to last for days when we arrive back in the UK, funny that,)

    dont really want to stay overnight by the airport as we think thats a waste of precious time and would rather move further down the coast towards San Diego thats why we thought Newport Beach area would be a good choice were we can walk around the beach area pop into a few shops, have a nice meal, before moving onto San Diego, not really sure as which area to stay in as theres so many choices (little italy, gaslamp etc) thought we might stay in La Jolla as that seems a nice area and maybe drive into SD from there ?

    when mentioning Palm Springs i think the other area i ment was Dessert Hot Springs do you know this area and do you think it would be a good choice? not sure if we should stay 1 or 2 nights or maybe move a little further towards the GC for the 2nd night any ideas on a good place to stay between the two ( PS- GC)

    Now you say Palm Springs to Grand Canyon is a good days drive how many Hrs do you think that would be with a couple of stop off's and somwhere good for lunch ?
    whats the scenery like around that part of the drive ? scenic, or just highway ?

    last time we were in that area we drove from Yosemite across the tioga pass and stayed in Bishop Have to say the scenery all around Yosemite and the surrounding area is just fantastic, and as you make your way towards Bishop it looks just like a little green oasis in the distance.
    And how quick does the weather change up there, we were there on a beautiful hot September day and within a couple of week of coming home i read that they had to pluck climbers off the mountains up there because of a heavy snow fall and close some of the roads.

    Thanks again
    Max44

  4. Default Rush hour.. and beyond...

    Hello max44,

    One of the things you can help get through rush hour traffic in the LA is to use the carpool or "diamond" lanes on the freeways. If you're heading from LAX towards Newport Beach, you can use these down the 405 freeway. That should help.

    If you're interested walking around the beach or a few shops before fading out for the first night, I'd recommend a couple of choices. Seal Beach is the closest place along the 405 where you can really walk through main street, have dinner down at the end of the pier (or on main street), and visit some beach type shops. But there aren't a lot of hotels in the area (I'm thinking withing walking distance of the pier and beach and main street). Huntington Beach has a couple of big hotels right along the beach (Hilton and Marriot, if memory serves), and you can walk from the hotels to Main street which has a lot of small shops and restaurants, or walk out on the pier there for dinner, or have dinner along Main Street. Newport doesn't have quite the same availability of hotels right on the water, although the Fashion island complex a bit inland is very very nice -- higher end stores and shops, and some very very good restaurants. But not within walking distance of the beach. Lastly, Laguna Beach has to be one of the best places to walk and look in stores and small restaurants and is known as an artist's colony. And while there are a couple of hotels within an easy walk of the main street in town, most are somewhat south of the town -- but there are several very good hotels along the beach there. Seal Beach is the closest to the airport (about 45 minutes or so), then Huntington Beach (15 minutes farther south on PCH), then Newport Beach (another 15-20 minutes), and then Laguna beach (another 20-30 minutes farther along PCH).

    La Jolla is a very nice area near San Diego, although its perhaps 30 minutes out of the downtown area.

    I can't say I know the Desert Hot Springs area -- I've not heard anything much about it, although I know there are a couple of hot springs-oriented small 'resorts' out there. It's maybe 20 minutes north of the Palm Springs downtown area. Most folks target the 111 cooridor, which includes Palm Springs itself, down to about Indio, as that's pretty much the core of the desert comunities there. As for staying in the area -- depends upon what you want. If you want to enjoy the sunshine and the desert area, a full day would be nice. If you want to head on towards the Grand Canyon, you have the option of heading north-east via a couple of routes.

    From Desert Hot Springs you're set up to head up and drive through Joshua Tree National Park and then head up via Amboy on old Route 66 for either Needles or Laughlin. You could also head east, coming into Joshua Tree National Park via the southern entrance, and then heading east on 62 towards Vidal Junction to cross the Colorado River at Parker and spend the night at Lake Havasu.. Either of those 2 routes will take you through areas with good roads, but somewhat off the beaten tracks through the desert so you can see something that's not commonly visited.

    As for the weather in September -- well, you're into the change period from Summer to Fall. You won't see snow anywhere on this route, unless its near the Grand Canyon. In September (or October!) I've seen temperatures of over 100 F, or some light rain, or very very nice during the day, with cold (near freezing) at night (you can see temperature swings of +/- 30 F or more on a clear day to clear night in the desert). Your specific weather will be dependent upon what storm fronts or weather pattern comes ashore from the Pacific while you're there.

  5. Default

    Hi,

    thanks once again for your reply you have been a great help and given us a lot of ideas to think through for our route, so it's out with the map once again..

    Thankyou

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