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  1. Default New member: NY, SF and Vegas?

    Hello, I am a European willing to travel to the US for my first time with my girlfriend.

    I have a quite ambitious plan, and I would like to ask you if you believe it is a sensible program:

    the overall travel would be around 15 days, between mid march and beginning of april. We would travel to NY, spend a few days there, and the fly to San Francisco. Spend a couple of days there and rent a car towards Las Vegas, visiting if possible Yosemite, Sequoia Park and the Death Valley, and then towards Las Vegas. One day in the Grand Canyon. Then, flight back to NY and to Europe again.

    Ideally, we would fly back from Las Vegas to Europe, but I think it is not possible or cheap.

    What do you suggest us? Go ahead or cut part of the trip?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I was a bit concerned until I saw that you were going to fly from NYC to SFO - that makes sense when given this time constraint.

    We have a recent article about trips in the Las Vegas area that would be right up your alley. As far as visiting those other places in between San Francisco and Las Vegas, you do have a good amount of time to do so. However, if you are planning on going from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back in a day by car, you will be disappointed. This wouldn't leave you any time to actually explore the park itself.

    You could head out from Las Vegas, set up base in Flagstaff and head up to the Grand Canyon, and then when you are ready to return to New York, head to Phoenix, as any flights from Flagstaff to NYC seem to layover in Phoenix anyway.

  3. Default

    Thank you for your reply. I had heard that there are helicopter trips to Grand Canyon from Vegas, and they last one day alltogether. Would this make sense? Could I then fly from Vegas to NY directly, without going to Phoenix?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-22-2008 at 05:52 PM. Reason: navigation

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Al£ Thing$ are Possibl€

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, you can take a one-way flight from New York to San Francisco, rent a car one-way from San Francisco to Las Vegas, take an all day helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, and take a one-way flight back to New York from Las Vegas, but that is probably the most expensive way to see the American Southwest. As you noted in your original post, you did not think that this would be cheap. If you have the funds and the trip, as planned, meets your desires then go ahead with it. But if money is a consideration, then you should really be looking at getting round-trip tickets from New York to either San Francisco or Las Vegas, renting a car there and returning it to the same place, taking a loop drive that goes back and forth between those two cities (there is plenty enough to do to keep you occupied on both legs), and driving to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, spending the night and returning the next day. You have 15 days, enough that you can trade time for money, keep the cost of this trip down a bit, and still do most if not all of what you have in mind.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The Netherlands


    I'm sorry, but there are no heliflights from Las Vegas to GCNP. There are fixed wing flights though. Heliflights go as far as a place called Grand Canyon West with the Skywalk but it's not the NP you know from the pictures. The real GC is wider, deeper and more colorful.
    If you want to see GCNP stay overnight and see sunset/sunrise. It's 5 hours one way between LV and GCNP. You can make a heliflight from Tusayan, GC a/p over the canyon. Not into it.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-22-2008 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  6. Default

    Perfect, thank you.

    Now we already have the return tickets to NY. We will stay in the US for 15 days. We want to visit the south-west, either flying to one single city, or picking a flight to SF, and then renting a car to LV, and then returning by flight to NY. How many days would you spend in NY, and how many in the south-west?

    What would you do then? Would you go to LV with a round-trip ticket, or to SF? (with the idea to rent a car in any of both places)

    After reading some of the posts you all have suggested me, I see that it makes not much sense to go to Yosemite at the end of March, because the road that crosses it (I check google earth) is closed.

    In that sense, even though I hate the idea of it, what would you think that instead of going to SF, going only to LV, and try one-two day trips to the Grand Canyon and to the Death Valley? Since I was a child I thought I would like to see sequoias, but it is a bit far away. Is it feasible to go to DV and to see the sequoias in a couple of days?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-21-2008 at 10:15 AM. Reason: Merged several posts together - readability

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default All Vacations Involve Choices

    In your case, you must choose between a number of very good options. I would start by limiting the time I spend in New York on this trip. It is not the Southwest, and whenever you again get the chance to come to the U.S., you will probably again be using New York as your gateway city. With that, I might also drop any drive to northern California to see the redwoods and sequoias. Now I could concentrate on seeing Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the National Parks of southern Utah, and if I had time, San Francisco. But, of course, this is your vacation and your decision.


  8. Default

    Thank you with your suggestion. How should I organize the 1/2 day trips for Las Vegas? Is it better just to rent a car and go there? or is it better to go with an organized trip (I am assuming that in the hotels in Vegas there will be ads about companies organizing trips)?
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-22-2008 at 08:00 AM. Reason: It is not necessary to quote the entire previous post each time

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It's Up to You

    Given that this is a RoadTrip site and that such an activity presumes a good bit of independence by and for its practitioners, I doubt that anyone here would recommend anything other than that you skip the packaged tours and instead rent a car and hit the road, taking two or three 2-day trips to the Utah National Parks, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and the like. But at bottom, you're now getting down to point where you have to start making the decisions based on your preferences and what you want to accomplish.


  10. Default

    Yes, of course. I am simply a bit lost, because it will be my first trip to the US. Originally, I wanted to cover NY, SF and LV, but after reading the forum, I start to think that with 16 days, probably it would be best to skip SF and the west from las Sierras and concentrate on the east side.

    Taking this decision, where would you put the ranking for visits, if the base camp is Las Vegas?

    Let me take a tentative ranking, just based on what I think I have understood after reading:

    1. Grand Canyon (for sure)
    2. Death Valley
    3. Zion
    4. Valley of Fire

    Would this make sense?

    A final question is if it would make sense to go and see the sequoias when in Death Valley. Looking in google maps, it does not look a big deal, but from the comments, it seems that the Sierras impose a big burden, and the roads are not very accessible. Is it feasible to visit Death Valley and the sequoias in a 2-day trip from Vegas?
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-24-2008 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Full quote of last post removed - again.

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