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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip in November - any advice?


    We're heading to the US from London in late October/early November for a girls' holiday. Our basic plan at the moment is:

    27 Oct - 2 Nov - Las Vegas
    2 Nov - drive to Santa Barbara for 2 nights
    4 Nov - drive to San Francisco for 3 nights
    7 Nov - return to UK

    We did something similar last year (LA - San Diego - Las Vegas/Grand Canyon) so know the score for what to do in Vegas : ) ! However we would really appreciate some advice in terms of the onward journey - good hotels/hostels, timings (i.e. if we're being completely over optimistic in getting from LV to Santa Barbara in a day??) and also the route to take - the more scenic the better!

    Any help with this would be gratefully received, as well as ideas for things to do in Santa Barbara & SF - if it helps there'll be four of us, all in our early/mid-twenties.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts - thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Point of a Cream Filled Biscuit is What's in the Middle

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And welcome back to the US. My main pieces of advice have to do with the drives between your destinations rather than the places you'll be spending your nights. It is certainly possible to get from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in a day, it's only 371 miles by the most direct route, I-15 to the Los Angeles area and I-210 across the northern L.A. basin. But I-210 can become a 50 mile long parking lot in the evening rush hour, so here's what I'd do. For all of another mile (372 total) you can avoid L.A. altogether. At Barstow, CA, leave I-15 and take CA-58 west to Mojave, then follow CA-14 down through Lancaster to Santa Clarita. As you enter Santa Clarita pick up CA-126 west which will take you all the way to the coast and US-101 in Ventura, about 20 miles southeast of Santa Barbara. I think you'll find that much more relaxing and scenic than driving through one big city after another.

    Secondly, on your drive from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, again quite easily done in a day if you were to just get on the motorway (I-5 in this case), see if you and your friends cant 'borrow' a half day to a day from either Santa Barbara or San Francisco and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH: CA-1) through Cambria, Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey. This is one of the most spectacular drives in the world, but will take a good day and a half to two days both because it is a two-lane road, and has any number of places to stop and enjoy the views, the animal life, and the history.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default enroute

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It certainly is possible to make it from Vegas to SB in one day, although you'd have to do the trip fairly direct. However, instead of trying to do the trip in one day, I might look at adding a day or two and spending some time going through Death Valley, Yosemite, and/or Sequoia on your way there.

    Otherwise, I'd recommend checking out the recommendations in these threads.

  4. #4


    Thanks guys, that's all great advice! The plan is to pack as much in as we can so we've got a lot to think about.

    As we have flights and rooms in vegas booked we are fairly restricted in terms of available days to get places, so from what you've suggested it may be that we have to decide between using one of our planned days on either going the scenic route to SB or alternatively driving the PCH TO San Fran.

    If we did have to make the choice, is there option you'd recommend more highly than the other?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Try to Get the Flavor of Both

    It's possible to at least sample both the options that Michael and I laid out for you. Although not as well known as Death Valley, the Mojave National Preserve offers a fascinating look into the geology and wildlife of the desert southwest and is right on your way, just south of I-15 between Las Vegas and Barstow. If you leave Las Vegas at a reasonable hour in the morning, you should have time for a drive through the Preserve to the Kelso Depot Visitor Center and still be able to get to Santa Barbara by the route I mentioned earlier. If push came to shove, I'd probably make sure I did the PCH and just enjoy as much of the desert as I could on the drive between Las Vegas and Santa Barbara.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default assumptions

    I mistakenly assumed that if you were talking about scenic routes you were already planning to drive from SB to SF via the PCH.

    Simply because it already fits in with your current plans, I'd make that the top priority.

    However, I would also say that there is usually some flexability in hotel reservations. Personally, I think it would be a pretty big shame to go all the way out to California and skip some things you want to see simply because of something like a hotel reservation.

  7. #7

    Default Thanks

    Absolutely - I'm sure we'll be able to work it out so that we see as much as possible.

    Once again, thank you both for your advice - I think we'll be able to plan a fantastic trip based on what you've told me.

    Also, if you (or any other members) have any particular recommendations for good places to stop on the way, restaurants/sightseeing spots etc, and also once we get to SB and SF that would be great!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Did you check out the link Midwest Michael gave you above?

    If not, go there first. There's lots of good tips there.

    This post has some great tips about beaches along your route.

    After you've read through those posts and gotten some good ideas, come on back with further questions.

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