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  1. Default Las Vegas to Santa Ana, Ca

    Hi, just found this forum and am excited. We are leaving in a couple of weeks flying into Las Vegas and out of Santa Ana, Ca. Trip to last 12 days. Don't have any reservations, etc. (short notice kind of thing) Need major help! This is some of the things we would like to see: LV for 1 or 2 nights, a couple of the things closest to LV (rock formations), Death Valley, Yosemite, and some of the coast of Ca, before flying out of Santa Ana, Ca. Mostly want to see things of nature, with a little time in LV and maybe around LA. Any suggestions as to where to stay, what to see, how long to stay in an area, or anything I might have missed on the best route. Thanks a bunch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Broad Brush

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As you've probably noticed, there are thousands of discussions of trips here on RTA. You may not have noticed that the general trip you plan to make (Las Vegas, Yosemite, and the California coast) is easily the most discussed RoadTrip here. So I think I might be doing you a bigger favor by first pointing you to a couple of posts (post 1 and post 2) that give plenty of details of what's available in that area. Once you've had a look through those we can be of more specific help to you.

    AZBuck

  3. Default 12 days?

    Hello jean107,

    If you're got 12 days then you've got plenty of time for this trip. But when are you planning on it? The reason for asking for the time of year is that some routes (such as Tioga Pass over the Sierras) get closed due to snow in the late fall and through the winter. Other places can be more or less crowded, depending upon what time of the year.

    I'm also assuming you're flying out of John Wayne Airport (SNA)? It's usually called Orange County or John Wayne -- you hardly ever hear of it as Santa Ana airport.

    For a rough trip route, one of the most popular trips that people talk about is a rough loop trip from Las Vegas through Yosemite to SF, and then down the coast back to LA. One way to put this together might be (over 12 days)

    Days 1-2 Las Vegas & vicinity
    Day 3 -- through Death Valley to about Lone Pine
    Day 4 -- over the Sierras via Tioga Pass to Yosemite
    Day 5 -- at Yosemite
    Day 6 -- Yosemite to San Francisco
    Day 7-- San Francisco
    Day 8 -- SF via Santa Cruz to Monterey and Carmel
    Day 9 -- Down the coast highway through Big Sur to Hearst Castle near Morro Bay, spending the night near San Luis Obispo
    Day 10 -- SLO through Santa Barbara to LA area beaches (the OC)
    Day 11 -- OC Beaches (a day to relax....)
    Day 12 -- OC to John Wayne Airport (Orange County Airport)

    There are a million variations on this route, and lots of places which have been left off.. The one optional thing I did was assume you might want a day on the beach to relax, and I put that down as the closest beach area to John Wayne airport.

  4. Default LV to Santa Ana

    Thanks, will check out those threads closer tomorrow. Leaving Sept. 12. Couple of things: We have been to SF, so don't have to go there again, unless its "right on the way". Love that city! Can we work in Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon. Also, is it to early for the Monarch butterflies and how close would be be to them? Things we possibly want to explore when we left LV are: Valley of Fire State Park, Red Rock Canyon and Nojave National Preserve. May not be possible to do Mojave, since Red Rock and Valley of Fire are north/northwest? Also good places to stay along the way. And yes, we would want one day "at the beach" so which one would give us a true Ca. experience. So Santa Ana and John Wayne are one in the same? I could not pull it up when I put in JW airport. Thanks for all the help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A little early for the Monarch migration

    Quote Originally Posted by jean107 View Post
    Can we work in Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon.
    You can if you use the southern route around the end of Sierra Nevada mountains (not go via Tioga Pass as per Larrison's suggestion above) and then diagonal over to the coast and Monterey.
    Also, is it to early for the Monarch butterflies and how close would be be to them?
    They start arriving on the west coast in Mid-October and my favorite place to see them is Natural Bridges State Park. How close? They land in your hair, in your mouth, on your shoulders.... Awesome!
    Things we possibly want to explore when we left LV are: Valley of Fire State Park, Red Rock Canyon and Nojave National Preserve. May not be possible to do Mojave, since Red Rock and Valley of Fire are north/northwest?
    Valley of Fire is northwest of Las Vegas about 45 minutes. Red Rock is west of Las Vegas about 15 minutes. Mojave National Preserve is southwest of Las Vegas about an hour

    Here are some very nice beaches between SF and LA that you might wish to check out. And as far as a LA beach -- I really like Newport or Laguna.

    Speaking of checking out -- look at this photo and make a point to stop as you head south!

    Also, Larrison has written the definitive description for touring LA -- check it out here.

    Mark

  6. Default Tioga Pass or Southern route

    Which of these two routes would be the more scenic route? Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Take Tioga

    Hi,

    Driving through a national park,especially Yosemite, is almost always the prefered route. It could take 5+ hours longer, but if you've got the time, take it.

    I hate to contradict our esteemed Editor, but Valley of Fire State Park is NorthEAST of Las Vegas - the opposite direction from your general route of travel, but worth it.

    One of our favorite towns to stay in is Carmel. Monterey is nice, but Carmel is more "chic." Lots of interesting art galleries to stroll thorough and some wonderful breakfast/lunch spots, too. Reservations are probably recommended before you leave home. This town is always popular.

    By cutting San Francisco out of the loop you definately save some time to spend elsewhere.

    Have fun,

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of America's Living History-The Early Years

  8. Default After Valley of Fire to Death Valley

    We will be leaving LV around lunch on a Friday - want to see the Red Rock Park that is right outside of LV then see Valley of Fire then head towards/to Death Valley. Question will these two parks take most of the afternoon with seeing/driving and where should we plan on spending the night? Will we have enough time to get to Death Valley, see part of it, or should we stay outside of Death Valley? Leaving soon. Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by jean107; 09-08-2007 at 07:48 AM. Reason: quick reply - leaving soon

  9. Default Ca coast from Santa Barbara to Laguna Beach

    How would it be like driving Hwy 1 from Santa Barbara all the way to Laguna Beach? Is this a crazy thought? If we did that, how would it be driving thru Los Angeles going this route?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Switch the order!

    Quote Originally Posted by jean107 View Post
    We will be leaving LV around lunch on a Friday - want to see the Red Rock Park that is right outside of LV then see Valley of Fire then head towards/to Death Valley.
    Of the two, I would spend the time in Valley of Fire. Valley of fire is 40 minutes northeast of Las Vegas (easiest access from I-15) and then you can drive the locals route back along the lake down to Lake Mead and jump on I-215 -- Go south on I-15 to NV-16- (Blue Diamond Rd) and head to Pahrump -- one of the most gorgeous views of Red Rock can be seen from NV-160 just before you reach the grade climbing over the Spring Mountains. I would spend the night at Death Valley --either Furnace Creek Ranch or Panamint Springs. But you will be hard pressed to reach Death Valley before dark with this plan.

    Make sure that if you do nothing else in Valley of Fire that you drive to the end of Mouses Tank road. Some of the best scenery in the west is there. If you saw the movie Transformers you will recognize much of it!

    Mark

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