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  1. Default Roadtrip San Francisco loop, 25 days

    Hey,
    I've been reading a lot on this forum and it's great for getting advices.
    We are planning a road trip/tour in the USA this summer starting in July.
    We have made a travel plan for the California part of the trip looking like this, and we are hoping to receive some great advices on things to change, must sees etc.

    Day 1: Arrive in SF
    Day 2: SF
    Day 3: SF
    Day 4: SF to Monterey
    See the Aquarium
    Day 5: Monterey to Santa Barbara (or perhaps a lilttle closer to Monterey)
    Go Whale watching this morning.
    Day 6: From Santa Barbara to LA
    Day 7: LA
    I like roller coasters, so perhaps six flags magic mountain? Any advice?
    Day 8: LA
    Day 9: From LA to Laughlin (or around - driving through the mohave desert)
    Is there anything "native american" to see on this route?
    Day 10: From Laughlin to Grand Canyon South Rim
    Day 11: From Grand Canyon South Rim to Kayenta
    Day 12: Kayenta
    Again - We would like to see something relating to native americans
    - is this a good place?
    Day 13: From Kayenta to Bryce Canyon (the long way - Moki dugway)
    Day 14: Bryce Canyon
    Which park is the best to spend most time in?
    Day 15: Zion NP
    Day 16: From Zion to Grand Canyon North Rim
    Day 17: From North Rim to Las Vegas
    Day 18: Las Vegas
    Any good advices on a nice hotel?
    Day 19: Las Vegas through Death Valley, sleep on the other side
    Day 20: From our sleeping point to Sequaoia NP
    Which route is the best way to drive from Death Valley to Sequaoia? Would be great with some chance of wildlife etc

    Day 21: Sequaoia NP
    Is it worth taking a whole day here or?
    Day 22: From Sequaoia NP to Yosemite
    Day 23: Yosemite
    Day 24: From Yosemite to SF
    Day 25: Flight from SF to New Orleans

    Rest of the trip is still not planned, but it will probably include New Orleans, and then a drive down Florida.
    Since we havn't booked our flight from SF to New Orleans, we will be able to extend our California part of the trip by 1-2 days if it is neccesary.

    Best regards,
    - Anders

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default busy pace

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your trip seems reasonable, in that there isn't anything that stands out as impossible. However, it really is a very workman-like pace, where you've really got something going on every day. I would suggest either building in a day or two to restt, or at least give yourself some flexability to crossa few things off of your list if you find yourself getting burned out. For example, North Rim is a pretty big detour from Zion to Vegas. Its possible but you're adding a lot of driving here.

    Six Flags is a great place if you want to spend a day on roller coasters, and Monument Valley/Kayenta area is pretty much all Tribal Territory so you'll certainly be in a position to see some Native American Culture.

    Dave took a trip that covered very much of this same territory, I think you'd learn a lot from his experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A couple of thoughts

    Hi there,

    I am in agreement with Michael's thoughts and I have a few to add.

    Day 11: From Grand Canyon South Rim to Kayenta
    Day 12: Kayenta
    Again - We would like to see something relating to native americans
    - is this a good place?
    Day 13: From Kayenta to Bryce Canyon (the long way - Moki dugway)
    A possibility here would be to visit M/V and head on towards Hanksville for the night rather then heading back to Kayenta. This would give you more time along scenic 12 and you could even make a brief visit to Capitol reef N.P. before enjoying a sunset at Bryce.

    Day 14: Bryce Canyon
    Which park is the best to spend most time in?
    Day 15: Zion NP
    Day 16: From Zion to Grand Canyon North Rim
    Day 17: From North Rim to Las Vegas
    Both parks are fabulous but Bryce is quicker to see. Although you can hike, most of the great views are done from the top of the rim whereas Zion is about walking in the canyon.
    If you do want to visit the North rim do it between Bryce and Zion, it will save you back tracking and Zion is a shorter drive to Vegas. If you got to Bryce in good time on the 13th, a possibility would be to leave mid afternoon on the 14th to the North rim giving you 2 full days at Zion [recommended].

    Day 20: From our sleeping point to Sequaoia NP
    Which route is the best way to drive from Death Valley to Sequaoia?
    Lake Isabella area would be a good place to overnight.
    We loved the mountain drive through the Kern valley to Johnsondale and the "Trial of 100 giants", a grove of giant Sequoias and up through Camp Nelson to Strathmore near Visalia, putting you on the doorstep of Sequoia. Your other option is to skip this and head into Sequoia the same day and stay overnight in the park

    Day 21: Sequaoia NP
    Is it worth taking a whole day here or?
    If you just want to travel the Generals highway to the Giants village [home to the the General Sherman tree, the biggest living thing on earth] you will be able to drive through in a day and put yourself on the doorstep of Yosemite in the evening. However if you wanted to explore the park and head into Kings canyon, you would be hard pushed to do it in a day. You would certainly need to forget the mountain route [described above] and get here lunchtime the day before.

    Day 22: From Sequaoia NP to Yosemite
    Day 23: Yosemite
    Day 24: From Yosemite to SF
    You will enter the park through the South entrance on the Wawona road, be sure to take the detour to Glacier point on the way.

    If you are planning on staying in the Parks then you really need to book accomodations as soon as possible in advance as they get filled up quickly.

  4. #4

    Default

    Anders,
    You've got a great trip planned with some excellent advice. One suggestion for you as an overseas visitor. On your drive along the California coast between Monterey and Santa Barbara, you may want to allow 1/2 day to do the tour of the Hearst Castle. It was built over a span from the 20's thru the 50's by that era's equivalent of Bill Gates, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst owned newspapers, movie studios and more. The castle was the sight of many parties with the rich and famous of the era. The video in the welcome center and the tour are really great. You do need to book it in advance but as I recall it's not too hard to book online.

    It's a piece of Americana that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

    Cheers
    Mike

  5. Default

    Hi everybody,
    Sorry for the late reply - I've been away for the holidays.
    Thanks for all your great advice - I will try to change the plan a bit, to allow a more time to relax. I also added a day more to the California part of the trip.
    I will keep you updated :)

    About south and north rim - is the North rim a must see or is this one of those - This I will se when I return - sites?
    We are planning to fly a helicopter trip around the Canyon.

    Mike: We will certainly consider the Hearst Castle :)

    Best regards,
    - Anders

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Different

    Quote Originally Posted by ahh View Post
    is the North rim a must see or is this one of those - This I will se when I return - sites?
    We are planning to fly a helicopter trip around the Canyon.
    The North Rim has a different "feel" than the South Rim mostly due to its elevation and different vegetation. It was the first part of the Canyon that I saw when I took a trip out there, and I enjoyed it. It's definitely worth the trip if you want to get a different perspective on the Canyon without a lot of other tourists around, though the South Rim can offer the latter if you arrive early enough in the day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Fantastic !

    We are planning to fly a helicopter trip around the Canyon.
    We really enjoyed flying over the canyon, it's an unforgettable experience.
    We used Papillon helicopters from the Grand canyon airport in Tusayan and took a 45-50 min flight over the North rim and painted desert. The feeling you get when you are flying over the tree tops and then the ground below you opens up into the canyon with great views of the Colorado is incredible.

    As Tim said the North and South rim have differing feels, a lot of people preferring the remoteness of the North rim but the South rim must be popular for a reason. The G/C is a "must do", whether you want to visit both rims is up to you, but if you have the time without rushing to much.................

  8. Default Sleep in the back of the SUV - rent an RV or a tent site?

    Hi,
    We are a couple traveling to California in July 2009.
    We are planning to sleep in the back of our car (Ford Explorer), of course with the added necessities (Read: air mattress :)).
    We have done this a few times back home, and we usually just book a camp site - alot of people caravan camp here, so it's normally not a problem to park your car instead.

    Now the question - should I book an RV or a tent site?
    Most of the tent sites, as I can see, do allow for 1 or 2 vehicles - that should mean that there is a place to park your car?

    We will be camping in the car in Grand Canyon Mather campground, Zion and Bryce NP, sequoia NP (Hopefully Lodgepole) and finally in Yosemite if we are able to get a spot.

    Thanks alot,
    - Anders

  9. #9

    Default

    I have camped at many of those locations and the first four will present no problem to just book a tent site and then sleep in the car (watch out for the bugs as Sequoia - they are savages!) as you park your car on/next to your pitch. But you will need to check Yosemite as the campground I saw there was a walk-in campground even though it was right off the main road. Also, with the exception of Mather Campground which has showers and laundry nearby, the others will be very basic and you may prefer to look at nearby commercial campgrounds to get the full facilities (showers, etc) Suggetions: Rubys Inn Campground ($22 p/n) for Bryce and Zion Canyon Campground ($28 p/n) for Zion. You will need to be 'Bear Aware' on most of these campgrounds so it'll be a good idea to talk to rangers upon your arrival with regards to food storage if you are sleeping in the car. Personally I would pick up a cheap tent and sleep in that but that's just me - I have been known to sleep in the car from time to time but I invariably find it more comfortable in a tent so try to avoid doing so!


    I have merged your query into your earlier post as we prefer to keep all queries pertaining to one trip in one thread so that the related information is easily available to all our readers. Thanks!
    Last edited by UKCraig; 01-11-2009 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Merged threads

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Book early !

    For all the National park sites you will need to book at the earliest possible time to get a spot.
    The N.P.S website has all the info you could want. Locate a park by clicking on the map and you will get the campsite info and it will show you the earliest dates in which you can make a reservation.

    Yosemite has the lower, middle and upper Pines campsites on the valley floor which have shower and toilet blocks.
    At Zion the tent sites are in a separate area near to the R.V sites which has these facilities as well. [Watchman campground] I think it's only $18-$20 for an R.V. site and is in a great location close to the main entrance and free shuttle bus system that takes you into the park or the town of Springdale.
    Rubys Inn R.V park is great for Bryce. If need be you could stop in Three Rivers at the foot of the Generals Highway and a short drive into Sequoia.

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